Crown Purple – part of Color(ed) Theory by Amanda Williams (c). Courtesy of the artist

How does race affect design and the way our cities are built? That’s the question being explored at the National Building Museum in Washington DC this month through a programme of talks with pioneering Black architects, artists and designers.

INTERSECTIONS: Where Diversity, Equity and Design Meet launches on 16 September and runs through 14 December 2022 as a series of in-person talks, panel discussions and events.

‘Black Elevation’ by Demar Matthews is inspired by geometric patterns of popular African American hairstyles, reimagined as architectural motifs, as well as Earnie Barnes’ painting, ‘Sugar Shack’. Credit: OffTop Design

Highlights include a conversation with OffTop Design founder Demar Matthews on 16 September 2022. A pioneer of the Black Aesthetic movement, Matthews will discuss how architecture amplifies or silences perspectives and how buildings and landscapes can define community. (You can read about Matthew’s development of the Black Aesthetic here.)

Artist-provocateur Amanda Williams will revisit her pivotal project, Color(ed) Theory, on 21 September 2022. Williams decked abandoned houses in Chicago’s South Side in bright colours for the project, such as ‘Cheetos Orange’ to highlight urban decay in the neighbourhood.

‘I want people to contemplate what these structures are worth to them and whether they like or dislike my intervention,’ she told us. ‘If you think it’s pretty, are you willing to fight for it? Or are you equally motivated by disgust? There’s no prescribed response.’

Abandoned house painted in Flamin' Hot Cheetos orange by Amanda Williams (c)
‘Flamin’ Hot Cheetos’ – part of Color(ed) Theory by Amanda Williams (c). Courtesy of the artist

Dr Kaye Wise-Whitehead, associate professor of African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland, will chair a talk on 20 September 2022 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth – and unpick her enduring impact on American culture.

And later in the month, Studio& founder Professor Mabel O Wilson will explore the architecture of memory in a panel discussion with Glenn LaRue Smith, co-founder and design director of PUSH Studio, on 23 September 2022. And Studio Barnes principal Germane Barnes will explore the intersection of architecture and storytelling on 10 November 2022.

See the full programme of ticketed events on the National Building Museum’s website.

Block Party by Studio Barnes is inspired by South and West Side Chicago’s annual block parties. Credit: MAW Photography
PopUp Porch by Studio Barnes  – a converted 8′ x 20′ container with motor-operated panels that allow occupation, inspired by the Historic Settler’s District (The Set) of Delray Beach, FL. Credit Germane Barnes / Studio Barnes

Read next: Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s Canberra pavilion is a sculpture and a gathering space

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House re-opens for tours



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