Towards a Critical Race History of Space and Place

Co-Chair: Michelle Joan Wilkinson, NMAAHC

Co-Chair: Camara Dia Holloway, ACRAH

How have architects, designers, and urban planners considered the history of racism and the politics of difference in their professions? How do educators in these fields situate their pedagogy in relation to contemporary efforts to decolonize the curriculum? How does critical race theory inform aesthetic considerations of space and place? What has been the impact of moves toward greater equity and dismantling patriarchy and white supremacy in architecture, design, and planning, fields where contemporary BIPOC practitioners have urged traditional leaders to #cedepower? In this session, panelists address such questions in short presentations about their work and in a moderated discussion.

Alberto de Salvatierra, University of Calgary

Pedagogical Pluralism

An underexamined, yet insidious force in the perpetuation of pedagogies of colonialism and supremacy is that of the prevalence of narrow-minded disciplinarity in the architecture field. Often made manifest through a Euro-centric exploration of “canon,” or through the valorization of a homogenous group of “luminaries,” architecture—as a design discipline that routinely unfolds space into place—must embrace cross-fertilization and modalities of interdisciplinarity. It must enact a pedagogy of pluralism. This presentation will unpack a brief history that underpins architecture’s problematic relationship with singular voices, and will aim to open up a discussion towards alternatives. This panel builds on research completed for a co-authored paper—“Pedagogical Pluralism” in T-Squared: Theories and Tactics in Architecture and Design (2022), Samantha Krukowski (ed.)—by the speaker and his colleagues Prof. Samantha Solano and Prof. Joshua Vermillion.

Ramon Tejada, RISD

“PUNCTURING,” version 4.0/Post-Pandemic Edition

We must confront Art and Design history, theory, and practice for the lack of representation of BIPOC voices, narratives, stories, and contributions. We must “puncture” a design Canon and culture myopically embedded in Anglo/European systems and structures that colonize our thinking and making. “Puncturing” as a working methodology can literally or metaphorically create gaps, spaces, and holes. New “punctures” allow for missing histories and theories—the local, the cultural, the ethnic, the non-Anglo/European—that have been erased, neglected, rejected, subjugated, destroyed, refuted, supplanted, appropriated, ignored—to flow and become essentials aspects of the contemporary, post-pandemic landscape.

Janette Kim, California College of the Arts

***UPDATED***: Manifold Enclosure: Architecture and the Decommodification of Property

This talk explores how architectural practice and pedagogy can reshape the legal and economic systems of property ownership. The subdivision of land as property has structured racial and social injustice by shaping the creation of wealth and the legitimization of occupation. But many of the underlying logics of property—such as the commons, liability, maintenance, belonging, and yes, even profit—can be altered to more inclusive ends. To set the stage, I will present the Property Playbook: Reclaiming Land for Racial and Social Equity, a book I created with students at California College of the Arts that outlines twelve innovative property arrangements, from community-owned solar farms to honor taxation. I will then take a closer look at one of these models, called the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, and reflect on their proposals to transform West Oakland’s last remaining venue of the West Coast Blues scene into a haven for Black culture and livelihood. Ultimately, my goal is to reveal pedagogical strategies for linking design to systems of structural racism and design strategies for the respatialization of enclosure—all to support the decommodification of property and redistribution of power to those long excluded from it.

Quilian Riano, Pratt Institute

Negotiating Subjectivities: reflections on anti-racist design pedagogical models for democratic space-making

In this presentation I will show pedagogical models used in architectural and urban design studios that center the embodied experiences of individuals and groups in communities of color. This process seeks to not center any single subjectivity but rather to create democratically-run spaces for negotiation amongst the multiple social and political subjectivities found in any community. I will also talk about how this pedagogic model changed the relationships within the classroom, relationships with local stakeholders, and the design outcomes. Instead of producing only final spaces, the projects included cooperative models that helped facilitate changes in the architectural and urban form.


The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Gloria Anzaldua, Borderland/La Frontera

Designs for the Pluriverse, Arturo Escobar

Design Struggles: Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives, includes FREE pdf edition

“Decolonizing Design mean many things to many people” — Four practioners discuss Decolonizing Design

Decolonial Listening, An interview with Rolando Vazquez

BIPOC Design History Course: Black Design in America & Incomplete Latinx Stories de Diseño Gráfico

Modernity & Coloniality, online seminar by Ahmed Ansari

bell hooks, 👀 @ Teaching Community, a Pedagogy of Hope & Teaching to Transgress

Emergent Strategies, adrienne maree brown, videointerview

The Politics of Design & Caps Lock, Ruben Pater (videos 12)

Dean Dori Tunstall, OCADU

Decolonizing Design Collective

Decentering Whiteness Resource List

Teaching Design Collective, bibliography

What Design Needs to Understand about Racial Gaslighting, Shannon Doronio (Chavez)

%d bloggers like this: