Black History Month: Architecture

This fourth instalment of our BHM content series showcases the work of great Black architects. Creativity is part of our everyday lives. It’s our passion, our raison d’être. For Black History Month, we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate this community’s rich artistic and creative heritage. Every week in February, we’ve honoured the work of Black creators in fields that are near and dear to our hearts. As past articles covered visual arts, literature and technology, this one presents great creatives in the field of architecture.

Paul Revere Williams 

“Hollywood's architect” shaped L.A. with homes for stars like Cary Grant, Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra. His major works include the Beverly Hills Hotel Crescent Wing, the Golden State Life Insurance Building, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. He was the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects, and in 2017, he was the first Black American to be awarded the AIA Gold Medal.

Norma Merrick Sklarek

Sklarek’s achievements as one of the first African American women architects in the U.S. led to her being known as the “Rosa Parks of Architecture.” With intelligence, talent and tenacity, she overcame both racism and sexism in a challenging and competitive arena to become a leader in the profession. In 2008, she was honored with the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award from the American Institute of Architects.

Sir David Adjaye, OBE

With studios in Accra, London and New York, Adjaye’s work spans the globe. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is his largest project yet, with The New York Times naming its 2016 opening Cultural Event of the Year. The next year, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and included among TIME’s 100 most influential people.

Michael Ford
aka the Hip-Hop Architect


Michael Ford’s work unveils the subconscious influence of the roles of figures like Le Corbusier on the built environments that birthed hip-hop culture. For the past decade, he’s blurred the line between professional practice and academia, stimulating cross-disciplinary discourse between practitioners and residents on the sociological and cultural implications of architecture and urban planning.

Black Females in Architecture (BFA)

The BFA network works to increase the visibility of Black women across built environment fields, actively addressing inequality and diversity. Its growing membership benefits from shared knowledge, advice, guidance, access to personal networks, job opportunities, and more. In addition, BFA provides a communal digital and physical space where Black women can elevate and empower each other.