Despite all the reasons for me not to be an architect, I am one of the exceptions. When I was young I enjoyed art and design and I easily succeeded at mathematics. At a young age I was introduced to architecture at a Girl Scout career event. From there, my aspirations grew. It did not matter how difficult others told me it was or how many times architects, that I later met, asked me how certain I was about my career choice. The more I researched and discovered, the more I wanted to become an architect.
As one of 287 (as of 10/01/12) African American architects in the US, about .2% of all US licensed architects, I have a unique perspective that is not always represented in mainstream periodicals and almost no one is studying these statistics, what these women are doing in their careers, and how to increase this number.
I also bring that unique observation to how communities are designed. Originally from Virginia, I previously lived in San Francisco and attended university in Washington DC. All of these environments shaped my thoughts on what makes a good community. We all want to live in vibrant, thriving communities. Sharing examples and asking questions is my way of helping to improve neighborhoods and communities.
I have been a technical advisor at the Sustainable Cities Design Academy and a delegate at the Design Futures Council Sustainability Leadership Summit. I have spoken at the American Institute of Architects national conventions and National Organization of Minority Architects international conferences.
Katherine’s Toolbox is an effort to collect good community development models and share them with the world and discuss what is means to be an African-American female architect doing this work.
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