History & the Profession (of Architecture)

History and the Profession (poster)

Each year, the Friend of Architecture at Morgan (FoAM) host a panel on one issue related to the architectural profession. This year the theme was ‘History and the Profession’. I was asked to serve as a panelist with an architect and a preservationist. It ended up being a really interesting conversation, primarily because we all had slightly different takes on what the role of history was in a professional context. Of course, everyone agreed that it was important to preserve minority contributions to the built environment, but I was also interested in developing scholarship that exposed the cultural biases of architectural education and architectural historiography. I have to thank Jeremy Kargon, the graduate program director, for reaching out to include me in this year’s program. He gave me a tour of the Phil Freelon building that houses the professional architecture program there, and he walked me through the studios to show me the work of current undergrad students. I had a great time and hope to attend other events held at the school.

Morgan State_photo 1

From Left to Right: Respondent: Samia Rab Kirchner; Panelists: Brent Leggs, Charles Davis, Roberta Washington

Charles Davis speaking with student at Morgan State

Me speaking with a graduate student at Morgan State. I am not sure why my eyes were closed here… probably trying to visualize a formal idea in my head!

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About cldavisii

Charles Davis is an Assistant Professor of Architecture History at the University at Buffalo. He has a PhD in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.Arch from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His specialization is the role of racial discourses in modern architectural style debates, including the ways that organic concepts of form allowed designers to invest buildings with racial and ethnic characters. In addition to maintaining this blog, his academic research and books reviews can be found in journals such as Architecture Research Quarterly (arq), the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard Design Magazine, Append-x and VIA. He is co-editor of Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden consequences (Routledge: 2015), a volume of fifteen case studies examining the influence of diversity of contemporary design. His dissertation research will be published in an upcoming monograph entitled Building Character: the Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press).