11 pioneering architects of color who made their mark

Securing commissions as an architect is no easy feat, even when one has academic connections, career mentors, and a balance sheet that’s in the black. In trying to garner such commissions under the tyranny of exclusion, lack of professional advancement, and racial discrimination, the field becomes exponentially more difficult to navigate.

As we examine diversity—and the lack thereof—in the architectural profession today, we also want to look back at some pioneering talents. But the story of early architects and craftsman of color will always be incomplete: We will never know how many potential designers were denied careers by systems of discrimination and a lack of access.

Left: Painting of Julian Abele. Right: Duke University campus, bird’s-eye view, architectural rendering.
Left: William Alton Pinkney III/Courtesy Duke…

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