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Open Access White Out: Architecture's enduring resistance to blackness

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Civil rights activist Whitney Young noted in his keynote speech at the 1968 American Institute of Architects (AlA) Convention, '[... ] you are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights, [... ] You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance'. Young's call begets the questions of the architectural design profession: How has the development of America's public spaces, streets, parks and buildings engaged in the habitual rejection of black residents? In part it is due to a naturalised ideology of whiteness at the foundation of architectural education and practice. In order to address the continued 'complete irrelevance' of architectural education and practice fifty years after Young's exhortation, this paper will: 1) conceptualise notions of whiteness and blackness and how they operate in the United States (both in practice and theory); 2) delineate the architectural implications of whiteness and blackness; and, 3) begin a discussion of how American architectural schools can address this issue explicitly by discussing a pedagogical project.
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Keywords: ARCHITECTURE; DESIGN; PEDAGOGY; PUBLIC SPACE; RACE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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