Architecture Archive

  • Design gets more Diverse

    Design gets more Diverse

    LONDON — One night at design school in London, Eddie Opara was working late with a friend, Kojo Boateng. “A friend of ours came in and was like: ‘Why are you still here?”’ he recalled. “Kojo said: ‘It’s because we’re black. We have to work harder than you.’ I don’t know if it was true, but that was how we felt.”

    Twenty years later, Mr. Opara is a partner of Pentagram, the prestigious design group in New York, and Mr. Boateng is design director of ITN, the television news network in London. They have joined the elite band of successful black designers in Europe and North America, which includes Gail Anderson in graphics, Joshua Darden in typography and the furniture designer Stephen Burks.

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  • nokia

    Another 3 Big Ideas for designers, retailers and entrepreneurs. Networking: Old Fashion, Strategic Tactics and User-Friendly

    by Atim Annette Oton

    Years ago, a friend of mine called me a “master networker”. I laughed because she was not far from the truth. I could be one. I talk to strangers and get to know them anywhere. I am a big people person and in reality, years ago, I was even more so. Now, I have slowed my networking a bit; not because I don’t have energy or the interest in it; more because I have become more strategic about how I do it. My networking revolves around 3 simple ideas: the Old fashion still works; Strategic Tactics is about how and when, and critical to me, how user friendly can I make it for myself to actually do it.

    More here.

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  • button-coaster

    3 Big Ideas for Designers, Retailers and Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Thinking, Risk Taking and Growing Your Business

    by Atim Annette Oton

    The last year has been phenomenal for some designers, retailers and entrepreneurs. I know, I have been working in that space and seeing the real deal of what it takes to be in it, maintain and grow. Yet a good number of designers, retailers and entrepreneurs, I have been watching, have been in the dumps; they have been in what I call mediocre, stagnation place and simply, stuck on the old. This sameness has made them unable to move, change and take their business to the next level. I call it “Pre-2008” thinking and I am calling for “2014 Thinking”. So, I am blogging again to inform and share some of my strategies on how to make this shift, change, take a risk, build and re-build business in these buoyant times. Yes, I said buoyant: plentiful and open for more.

    More here.

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  • BDNN-LOGO-sm

    Inspiring Designers Across the Globe: Making Sense of the Art of Doing

    The Last Week: 7 days of Inspiring Designers

    by Atim Annette Oton

    This July, I decided to write a short series of inspiring notes for designers on my Facebook page called Lesson of the Day. It was simple, a daily motivational paragraph to inspire designers and others to rise early and do what they need to do: I will write four parts to this post of the 31 days of lessons. The last week ended today, so I am posting the lessons of the day for the last week with images and will post more next week.

    July 31, 2013:

    Love your work. Love your dreams. Love yourself. Life is about passion. Do what you love and enjoy life. Work your dreams. Work your passion. Work your life missions. Be your work. Be your passion. Be you. Life is a dream. Make it worth it. Make it happen. There is bliss in life. Life is joy. Life is amazing. Life is yours.

    July 30, 2013:

    Life is a journey that comes with bends and twists. It is not straight or simple. It is complex and complicated. Expect no peace or solitude. It comes with hills and valleys. Learn to ride life as it is a moving ocean wave. Set a course or path but expect diversions. The journey is the experience. Celebrate and enjoy it in all is joys and challenges.

    July 29, 2013:

    Life has many options. You have to be willing to see them and make a choice. Each one is a risk and each one can take you ahead or back. You have to analyze each option you select. Each has a beginning, middle and an end. Work it out. Then engage. Life is a risk.

    July 28, 2013:

    It takes courage to change things. Gather your strength and build your courage but banish fear. Step outside and step ahead. Life is calling you to act. Be smart and do your best.

    July 27, 2013:

    It takes courage to change things. Gather your strength and build your courage but banish fear. Step outside and step ahead. Life is calling you to act. Be smart and do your best.

    July 26, 2013:

    Shine brightly. Yes, shine even more. Life is yours to bask in. Shine. The moon and sun are shinning on you. Step up to the plate and take the glory. It is time. Be bold, be smart. Live it. Live fully. Live with powerful spirit.

    July 25, 2013:

    Focus. Focus. Focus. Invest your energy to make your dream come through. Spend time and resources to make it, through trial and error, experimentation and risk. Pass through the tunnel of fear into the light of reality. Focus is the one ingredient.

    The last week of Lesson of the Day focused on 7 ideas and themes: Passion, Journey, Choices. Courage, Change, Embrace and Focus. Each theme was to move a designer forward. Come back next week to read about the third week.

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  • A tribute to Barbara Laurie.

    A tribute to Barbara Laurie.

    Yes Barbara Laurie once was my student–many moons ago–when I taught at Howard University’s School of Architecture. She even imitated me once at a Faculty Roast- wearing my trademark fluorescent orange polka dot stockings and dragging a briefcase full of plans behind her. Bright, classy, smart— a real go-getter with a wry sense of humor. Students loved her tenacity and faculty admired her ambition.  Barbara was always polite and crisply dressed. This, coupled with her inquiring mind and highly disciplined manner, made her a role model to many aspiring young architects.  When she graduated from Howard, her next goal was to learn how to put a “real” building  together. With Deverouax and Purnell Architects, she found true mentors who believed in her value and who embraced her every professional desire. For Barabra, D+P was a dream come true. And with D+P’s  staunch yet unwavering support, Barbara quietly and studiously climbed the ranks of the firm from student intern to full partner, seemingly overnight!

    It was not lost on us that when Marshall Purnell, FAIA became the first African American President of the American Institute of Architects– surely Barbara Laurie was being groomed to become the first Black female president of that same organization. Not only did Barbara climb the ladder to success within the firm, but she also was a keen proponent of outreach and community service. She gave back to Howard University, her Alma Mater, in innumerable ways. Always grateful for the education it had imparted to her.

    Once upon a time, in 1988, Ms. Laurie actively participated in the first National Conference on Black Women in Architecture: A Sense of Achievement. I, as faculty advisor to women, directed this ground breaking conference under a grant from AIA with support for Dean Harry G. Robinson III. There, she met keynote speaker Norma Sklarek (one of the first black women to be licensed in the USA). She also met 200 other black women in architecture 13 states and 3 foreign nations. Barbara never forgot that experience and years later, she and Kathy Prigmore FAIA, picked up the mantle to create the Vortex Program once again encouraging black women to pursue their grandest dreams in architecture and design. Fully equipped with graphs, charts and many smiles, she kept keen statistics on Black women and their contributions to the profession of architecture, cross country.

    Over the years, I loved seeing Barb at NOMA conferences–Once we met each other on an elevator and that one coincidence turned into a four hour conversation about the profession and the roles each of us wished to play in making change to the profession. What fun, what humor, what dedication. I recently spent quality time with Barb once again at the Detroit NOMA Conference, witnessing an entourage of students wildly seeking her advisement. When last in DC, she scooped me up-so that we could chat about old times and new ideas. Today, I wish her a loving farewell with great sadness–but soon she will go forth with white crisp angel wings to build even more award winning castles in the sky. May the Creator, forever, be pleased with the kindness of her soul and the goodness of her work.


    Renee Kemp-Rotan


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  • latop2

    Black Design News Network (BDNN) seeks writers and bloggers

    Black Design News Network (BDNN) seeks writers and bloggers


    Black Design News Network (BDNN) is the premier black design content website and voice of black designers world-wide features four key service components: a news bureau, online publication, digital library and ‘workspace’ hub for designers.

    We cover:


    Writers and bloggers must have experience, a point of view and ability to locate and access to innovative black designers globally. BDNN is about thinking, criticallyBDNN is about reporting, collectivelyBDNN is about communicating, digitally.

    BDNN is the new, hip, hot, black design clearinghouse. BDNN is a news bureau that only collects intellectual capital to invest in projects that bring fair return on cultural imagination as our greatest investment. BDNN is about the power of design ideas to change global attitudes, impact lives and  sustain cultures.


    Email us at




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  • Moody-Nolan Opens New Office in Dallas to Expand its Business and to Gain New Projects Further West

    Moody-Nolan Opens New Office in Dallas to Expand its Business and to Gain New Projects Further West

    Moody-Nolan, the nation’s largest African-American owned and operated architecture firm, has opened a new office in Dallas. With its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, Moody-Nolan sees its new presence in Dallas as a hub for conducting business across the State of Texas.

    “We see more project opportunities in Texas that parallel Moody-Nolan’s strengths and skills for architecture and design,” saidCurt Moody, president and chief executive officer of Moody-Nolan. The firm has a deep portfolio of completed designs that crisscross the nation, including educational, healthcare, fitness and recreation, as well as cultural architectural projects. Read more here:

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  • hadid_evelyn_grace

    Architect Zaha Hadid wins second consecutive Stirling Prize


    Zaha Hadid is arguably the most famous active female architect in the world today. And while she’s been called a diva, she’s certainly one of the most prolific and, having won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Stirling Prize for the second year in a row, one of the more decorated working architects.

    Over the weekend, Hadid’s Evelyn Grace Academy, the heavily glazed and angular home of a secondary school in South London, claimed the Stirling (and $31,000 purse) from a competitive short list that included the 2012 Olympic Velodrome and a re-imagined Royal Shakespeare Theatre. More here:

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  • un-design

    “Design with the Other 90%: Cities” at the United Nations

    “Design with the Other 90%: Cities,” the second in a series of themed exhibitions by Cooper-Hewitt that demonstrate how design can address the world’s most critical issues, opens Oct. 15 at the United Nations and runs through Jan. 9, 2012. Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, the museum’s curator of socially responsible design, the exhibition will feature more than 60 projects from 22 countries around the globe.

    The exhibition will explore design solutions to the challenges created by rapid urban growth in informal settlements, commonly referred to as slums. Close to 1 billion people live in informal settlements, and that population is projected to swell to 2 billion people by 2030. This accelerated urban expansion will take place primarily in developing and emerging economies in an increasingly climate-challenged world. Projects and products at every scale will be included, with a focus on designs that are informed by end users: alternative housing design, methods and materials; low-cost clean water; accessible education initiatives; sanitation and solid-waste management; transportation solutions; innovative systems and infrastructure; and urban design and planning. “Cooper-Hewitt is delighted to present this free exhibition at the United Nations, where visitors from all over the world will be able to see how design can address the most critical issues in developing and emerging countries,” said Bill Moggridge, director of the museum.

    More details:

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  • UN launches competition to design memorial to victims of slavery

    UN launches competition to design memorial to victims of slavery

    On September 30, the committee tasked with building a permanent memorial at the United Nations to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade today launched a global competition for the design of the structure to remind the world that millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity.

    The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will administer the design competition, Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, the chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee on Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, told a news conference at UN Headquarters. More details can be found at

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