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In our names?

  • 1.  In our names?

    Posted 06-19-2020 04:55

  • 2.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-22-2020 17:54
    Thank you Franziska,
    Architecture is about more than our buildings. What we put our names on are a reflection of our society -- who we are, what we stand for, what we aspire to. Serving injustice should have no role in our profession.

    Dean Blake Chambliss FAIA
    Denver CO

  • 3.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-22-2020 19:25
    Thanks for contributing to this!  Greatly appreciatred.

    Roger Schluntz, FAIA
    Professor and Dean Emeritus
    Architecture and Planning
    University of New Mexico
    Bursar, AIA College of Fellows

    Executive Committee,
    AIA College of Fellows
    505-507-6796 (mobile)
    505-277-7300 (UNM direct)

    Distinguished Professor of the ACSA
    International Competitions Commission – UIA
    Executive Committee – AIA College of Fellows

  • 4.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-22-2020 18:19
    Dear Fransiska;
    Thank you for sharing this article.

    I would agree that the current approach to civil liberties fails on so many levels.  At the same time, not having architects at the table for a future solution I believe is a mistake.  As a disclaimer, I've never designed a prison, nor have I've ever sought to.

    As a creative profession, I believe we can advocate change.  In the book, Blue Ocean Shift, it profiles how the Malaysian government used the creative processes showcased in Blue Ocean Strategy, the first book, to develop a system of lesser offender prisoner incarceration resulting in reduced recidivism rates as well as improved post-prison life.  I'm not advocating this solution here, only that this example took a diverse and open mindset to improve a system that was not performing.  Architects are trained for and almost always encourage open and divergent thinking.  I feel that our profession needs to advocate and educate and not hide.  We can not accept what is going on today AND we must lead the way with viable alternatives to the justice system that will allow it to be reset.  I wish I could play a role in this effort.

    My role today is to say that Architects need to be at the table.  Those with knowledge and compassion need to be at the table, my guess is that the injustices will only worsen if we hide.

    Peacefully and with respect,

    Zigmund Rubel FAIA
    A Design+Consulting
    Greenbrae CA

  • 5.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-22-2020 20:21
    When  I moved from New York City to take my first academic position at the University of Cincinnati, I was a practicing architect.  My mentor, J. Max Bond, FAIA had encouraged me to make the move, saying I might find more practice opportunities in a smaller city (his words paraphrased: "you'll be a bigger fish in smaller pond.").  What I found was a city that was as racist as it was when I had departed twenty-five years earlier.  However, I set about seeking government work, that being the best option for a black architect.

    After much searching, the only offers I got were as a subcontractor to majority firms that were designing prisons.  Perhaps the procurement folks thought I would be a compassionate black face who could be at the table to make sure black men were properly locked up.  When I tried to explain that my expertise was in educational facilities, the procurement folks happily responded that prisons have schools!  I decided not to be at a table set by white supremacy.

    Thanks for sharing the article.  I missed the effort to get AIA to take a stand against designing facilities that give three-dimensional form to racial injustice, which is beyond comprehension to me.  I am wondering which of us would defend Albert Speer.

    Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA
    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architecture
    Parsons School of Design
    New York, New York

  • 6.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-23-2020 20:17
    Speaking of the late Max Bond, the greatest black architect of his generation, I first me him at the 1968 anti-apartheid march in NYC. Soon thereafter we hired him to do a high rise affordable housing project in Trenton, where I worked in my first job out of ugrad study. I remember sitting on his studio review at Columbia about then. Much later I appointed him a Visiting Lecturer at U of Michigan. Then I arranged for him to get his first honorary degree there. He sat next to President Bill Clinton on a stage in our Huge (113,000 capacity) stadium in front of about 35,000 graduating students and their families.
    A wonderful, accomplished, balanced and quietly inspiring member of our profession.

    Doug Kelbaugh

  • 7.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-24-2020 18:01
    Doug, thanks for acknowledging Max! When I was a teenager hanging around with my father, architect Roger C. Lewis in the early 70's when he, Max, and a host of other Black architects were launching their practices in NYC. As a "fly on the wall," I was able to hear first hand accounts of the challenges they all faced as they attempted to do what all of us architects aspire to - to leave behind a positive legacy - one that in this case would include making the statement, "We Are Here, and won't be forgotten." Max appeared to me to be a larger than life figure among his peers, and was a formative influence on my education and ultimately my career. To my great satisfaction, years later while working with GSA, I was assigned the Thurgood Marshall Federal courthouse renovation in downtown Manhattan where the consulting architects were John Bell and J. Max Bond. When we saw each other in the room for the first time, all the years faded away, probably because for a moment he thought he was looking at my dad, who I favor quite a bit. Anyway, for the duration of that project we were able to rekindle the relationship, albeit on updated terms. I wish more of our colleague knew about Max and his incredible legacy. Thanks again for your reflections.


  • 8.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-24-2020 20:00
    Max WAS a special person.
    Btw, I forgot to mention that the housing project he did for the City of Trenton about 1975 won a PA Design Award, which was the top honor in those days for unbuilt projects.
    May he rest in peace.

    Doug Kelbaugh FAIA
    Emil Lorch Collegiate Professor
    of Architecture and Urban Planning
    and Dean Emeritus
    Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
    University of Michigan
    2000 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069
    Mobile: 734 358-9587 Home: 734 827-2259

  • 9.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-25-2020 12:30
      |   view attached
    Yes, Max died way too soon and on my birthday!  Here is the letter I wrote in 1994 for his elevation to fellowship, which describes his mentoring Columbia University students to practice the social art of architecture.  I wrote it the year before I was elevated (and before letters were required to be one page and on stationery!).  Until now, I had misremembered the sequence of events, thinking I had written for him after my elevation.

    Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA
    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architecture
    Parsons School of Design
    New York, New York


    Yes.BondMax.pdf   28K 1 version

  • 10.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-26-2020 17:36
    Two more items on Max:
    - In 1967 NASPA - the National Association of Student Planners and Architects - was founded. As the V.P., I worked with Max, who was a key advisor. I remember meeting with him and his partner Ryder at their office in Harlem. (Richard Hatch was the other national advisor.)
    - I think I also wrote him a FAIA letter of support and he wrote one for me in 1986 (but my records don’t go that far back).


  • 11.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-26-2020 17:55
    Thank you Sharon for sharing your letter for Max's fellowship in 1994.  It illustrates very well the Max that I worked for and was mentored by at Davis Brody Bond in the year before he was elevated to fellowship.

    Thomas Fowler FAIA
    Professor, Director of Graduate Architecture Program
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo CA

  • 12.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-27-2020 11:08
    Brian Goldstein, who is a consummate researcher came to New York last summer (or maybe the summer before!) to interview me and Max's sister Jean and others about Max for a book he was writing.  I unfortunately did not have the kind of detail he was looking for, but hopefully others did.  The  book should be out soon.

    Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA
    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architecture
    Parsons School of Design
    New York, New York

  • 13.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-27-2020 12:01
    HA, Brian is a dear friend. When I worked at GSA in DC back in the mid-2000's, he arrived in the Office of the Chief Architect as an intern. He captured the hearts of all the mothers of my generation, shall I say, because he looked far too young to be in that position. But Brian proved to be a kind and considerate super brain, who I enlisted as my critic for the Loeb Fellowship application I was trying to perfect. He then went on to get his advance degree from Harvard, married a lovely chef, who is now doing other things, and wrote his book about urban renewal with a focus on Harlem. Brian is a delightful friend and I hope many, if not all of you get to meet him at some point.

  • 14.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-27-2020 16:34
      |   view attached
    Steve and Sharon - Found a cover image of Brian Goldstein's book on Max Bond's life and work, but does not appear to be out yet. Look forward to reading it! 

    Thomas Fowler FAIA
    Professor, Director of Graduate Architecture Program
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo CA

  • 15.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-29-2020 08:05
    I checked with Brian and he said he has just finished data collection and is beginning the long process of developing a book proposal and finding a publisher.  He expects the book to be out in about five years.  I told him that was one year more than TIAA has estimated that I will croke.  So I guess I will just have to prove them wrong and continue collecting my guaranteed lifetime annuity because I definitely want to read the book.

    Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA
    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architecture
    Parsons School of Design
    New York, New York

  • 16.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-25-2020 20:09
    Max Bond was my teacher at Columbia.  He was so thoughtful and not egotistical at all.  He was a great teacher and also a role model as a person who could be great and kind at the same time.  And, of course a gifted architect

  • 17.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-26-2020 06:49
    Thanks for that interesting reminiscence. As it happens, just yesterday I was talking with an editor and we (a couple of white guys) talked of Max Bond and his great legacy. I regret not ever having met him. We also talked of Phil Freelon whom I had been fortunate enough to meet as a fellow panelist in Boston some years ago. 
    Thank you too, for the use of the word 'favor' in relation to your father, meaning to resemble. It does seem archaic but what is so resonant is the sense of embracing the visual comparison with love and respect. 

    T | 617.492.3532     M | 617.794.4600

  • 18.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-27-2020 20:50
    Yes, I remember Max.  He came to San Francisco on a visit and I had lunch with him.  So great to be in the room with one of the truly good people, and a true pioneer, as Steve has said.  He made it look like a joy to take on the task of building what America would look like.  I was happy to take on that joy.  Rest In Peace, Max.

    Michael Willis FAIA
    Oakland CA

  • 19.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-24-2020 23:02

    Thank you Sharon, Doug and Steve for bringing Max Bond's name up as an important Black architect. I worked for Max in the mid 90s when he was a partner with Davis Brody Architects in NYC. And while I did not have a great deal of time working with Max, my interactions with him had a profound impact on understanding the impact that he had with his soft spoken voice and kind/gentle demeanor, which provided a level of comfort in being approachable.
    Max also had an incredible eye for details along with an encyclopedic knowledge of building precedents that all contributed to his strong design sense abilities and insightful critiques on evolving projects in the office. 

    I remember the day In 1994 that I was meeting with Max in his office when he received the shocking phone call news that another Black architect in NYC, Harry Simmons, died at the age of 51 in a plane crash. While visibly shaken, after he received this news, we did spend a little time talking about Harry's contributions and his founding of the NY Coalition of Black Architects.

    i died far too young.

    Thomas Fowler FAIA
    Professor, Director of Graduate Architecture Program
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo CA

  • 20.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-22-2020 20:26
    We should have an ethical imperative to resist the temptation of a commission when there is  moral issue. If we refuse the project and all of our colleagues similarly refuse such work, maybe, just maybe the client might re-think the intention and use of the project. Had architects in Germany taken that stance, the death camps depicted, may never have come about.

    Judson A. Kline, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
    President CIVITAD Services, LLC
    3959 Orangewood Drive Orange Village, OH 44122

  • 21.  RE: In our names?

    Posted 06-23-2020 08:59
    Thank you Franziska for forwarding the article.

    We need to be aware of our actions, no matter how small, no matter how justified they may be to keep food on the table and pay our bills, that reinforce racism, bias and prejudice.

    Michael Ford, the architect featured prominently in the article, sponsored a design competition to be addressing social justice.  His premise, that Hip Hop lyrics address architectural issues and the impact the built environment plays in negatively shaping minority communities.  We are all aware of the award winning housing projects that were demolished soon after they became disfunctional living environments that did not serve the community they were meant to serve.   I attended the web session announced in the link below and am eager to see the results.


    A previous discussion thread lamented the recent destruction of the storefronts that had been making a long and slow comback.  What was not discussed was the policies by the City of New York that identified, and redlined, poor and minority neighborhoods to reduce fire protection and municipal services to save money in the municipal budgets.  That resulted in the destruction of those neighborhoods, not the saving of the City.  Then we tell the police to step in and bust heads to stop the windows from being broken.  A viscous cycle that could have been averted with wiser decisions that did not place the economic burden on poorer neighborhoods.

    We, as architects, are asked to design solutions to problems.  We should also step back and look at the solution being proposed by the client.  Does the client's solution reinforce the racism, bias and prejudices within our society?  If so, our designs for that built environment, no matter how functional or beautiful they may be, will also reinforce racism, bias and predudice.  We need to question if this is the best approach?  What are the alternatives?  We are designers after all, develop solutions that address the problems with possibilities for a better society.  Do not punish the victims to protect the privilaged.  Do not ghettoize or concentrate people in the hope they will live better lives.  Step back and listen to the real clients, the users of the environment to be created.

    With time, the current events and protests will become history.  What changes in attitude and policies will evolve tommorrow?  Will we as architects be part of a positive change or reinforce a we vs. them polarization politics.  We need to be part of the design that shapes the questions and defines the problems that become the programs for the designs that will better our society.

    Arlan Kay, FAIA
    Oregon, WI

    Arlan Kay FAIA
    Oregon WI