As we honor the significance of Black History, we are faced with the reality that even in 2020, People of Color are still widely underrepresented in architecture. As industry leaders, we must ask ourselves whether our profession is continually making strides to be as diverse as the many people we impact through the built environment each day.
As a firm, we have a critical responsibility to flip this script on its head by amplifying the Black voices of tvsdesign and celebrating the countless contributions and ideas they bring. We sat down with Damari Weaver, associate of tvsdesign’s Convention studio for a Q+A series on what we have to gain as an industry when inclusion is at the forefront of the conversation:
Why architecture/what led you to this career path?
I’ve always enjoyed the art of building – whether it’s small personal crafts or large projects around the house. I’ve also been an artists since I was 5, taking every art class available in grade school. By 8th grade, I realized that architecture was the path for me.
What inspires you?
Possibilities. I’m a perpetual optimist, for better or worse. I always look for the positives in life and I think that’s what drives me and other architects. Even when clients like to VE our dreams, the possibilities of what a design could be are what keep us going above and beyond to deliver a service that we can be proud of.
What does an inclusive workplace look like for you?
For a workplace to be inclusive, there needs to be a sense of community. We spend more of our life at work than anywhere else; it’s a second home. There should be a reasonable level of comfortability and acceptance with the people with which you’re spending half of your day. There’s nothing worse than have a team that doesn’t act like a team, or feeling like you don’t belong at your place of work.
Why does diversity matter for the architecture industry?
As architecture professionals, we portray ourselves as jacks of all trades, masters of few. We are asked to wear so many hats and lend our experience to projects of various scales, types and locales; we can’t afford to be exclusionary. Architects and design professionals have often been whittled down into an archetype that doesn’t always reflect the people they aim to serve. I see this changing. Just comparing the demographics of my contemporaries to those of generations above, I see this changing. The culture is changing and the world is too. Architecture isn’t immune from that.
Architecture affects all of us, and therefore, it should be for all of us – it’s as simple as that.
Stay tuned for more from this series as we bring together more voices from different corners of tvsdesign! Learn more about Damari here.