“Rewriting ‘American Architecture’”

On September 16, 2020, Amber participated in the Architectural History Colloquium at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning entitled “Rewriting ‘American Architecture:’ Recovering Black Narratives of Space.” Moderated by Charles Davis II, the panel included Amber, Brian Goldstein, and Maura Lucking.

This colloquium invited viewers to consider the ways that recovering black narratives of space propels us toward a more equitable reconsideration of canonical histories of American architecture. It began with a brief outline of the racial and nationalist myths that were immortalized by early histories of American architecture, from the early histories of Fiske Kimball to the postmodern tinged histories of Vincent Scully. Then it transitioned into three short presentations of new histories of African American architecture that recover important details about black cultural production: from the radical spatial imaginaries of nineteenth-century Black industrial education to the latent and concrete architectural principles of Black Power politics. These new histories enable us to better assess the blatant omissions, erasures, and biases that were perpetuated by early twentieth century histories—a record that continues to haunt architectural education today.

To view a recording of the colloquium, click this link.