Architecture schools across America have put out statements expressing their support for the protests currently roiling cities across the U.S. and beyond.
By Matt Hickman
Along with professional architecture associations and nonprofits, major academic institutions with schools and departments devoted to creating and better understanding the built environment have also joined the choir of voices in support of protests and demonstrations taking place across the country—and, now, the world—calling for an immediate end to racial injustice and the need for sweeping police reform. The historic ongoing protests, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other recent deaths of Black Americans, are now nearing the two-week mark.
Below is a sampling of official statements and letters to students and faculty, most of them issued by the deans of each respective school, that recognize and stand in solidarity with the most significant national protest movement for African American causes in generations. Most acknowledge that work needs to be done and call for conversation, transformation, and meaningful action. And while not all architecture schools/departments within larger colleges and universities have issued statements such as these, the institutions that they are a part of—for the most part—have. Some statements, while eloquent and well-meaning, have prompted pushback and calls from students and alumni alike to commit to immediate and concrete plans for change.
The Associate of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA) has also spoken out, stating that: “We acknowledge the role of design in creating and perpetuating differential access to basic public services, including housing, green space, education, and health care, to name a few. We recognize the profession’s history of contributing to inequity through actions but also through inaction. We understand that architectural education has for too long accepted white privilege as the norm, limiting diverse voices and marginalizing the discipline’s impact on society.” The ASCA goes on to outline its current commitments to “making architectural education more accessible, inclusive, and equitable” and further actions it will take to “increase understanding and empower action.”