Reimagining Blackness and Architecture
What is architecture? Ten architects featured in a new MoMA exhibition and online course weigh in.
Feb 25, 2021
These ideas are a point of departure for the exhibition opening this week at MoMA, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, as well as a new online course, Reimagining Blackness and Architecture. Through original films, audio interviews, and short readings, the course will introduce learners to the ways in which Black artists, architects, scholars, and writers have responded to these histories of violence and exclusion to create new ways of being, reimagining the spaces that have refused us. My hope is that, through this course, we can begin to not only have meaningful conversations about building more equitable spaces, but also inspire new generations of emerging creatives who, like myself, never saw themselves reflected in architecture. We encourage everyone, regardless of your profession or where you’re located, to engage in these conversations by enrolling in the course at any time.
At this moment in time, all of us should be thinking of radically different worlds.
Emanuel Admassu, working on Immeasurability in Atlanta, Georgia
For me, architecture is not only about making buildings. It is a world-making practice. So, instead of just thinking, “We’re going to design a new building,” I want to ask, “How can we design a new environment that allows for other perspectives, for other forms of communality and relationships with one another?” The only way architecture can survive is if it decouples itself from this idea that we have to constantly produce property. When we do that, we can go back to certain spaces and look at them differently. Architecture gives us the tools to imagine radically different worlds. And I think at this moment in time, all of us should be thinking of radically different worlds.
Sekou Cooke. We Outchea. 2020
Sekou Cooke, working on We Outchea in Syracuse, New York
Some people might imagine that architects are only concerned with designing and creating buildings. But there are many, many more layers—of society, economies, politics, of the ways we live in the physical environment. Architecture is concerned with the psychology of what it means to be in space. As architects, we’re concerned with how we interact with each other as human beings.
The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation.
Volkswagen of America is proud to be MoMA’s lead partner of education.
MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.