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KPF Celebrates Black History Month 2023

Throughout February, the firm hosted and sponsored events celebrating Black History Month, and staff members reflected on the importance of Black leadership within the profession.

At an internal Town Hall event in New York, Jack Travis, FAIA NOMAC, presented a talk titled, “Imagining Black Architecture,” about the atmospheres and perspectives regarding Black culture and design. As an architect and firm founder, Jack spoke about influential Black architects over the decades, spanning from Amanza Lee Meredith to Paul Revere Williams, as well as the oldest African American architecture firm in the United States, McKissick + McKissick. His focus shifted to what constitutes a “Black aesthetic,” stating “a Black aesthetic in the environmental design disciplines does exist, under so many layers of resistance, denial, and mis-education, that it remains in plain view.” Through 10 defined principles, Jack outlined the makeup for Black cultural design applications.

On February 15th, as part of the “Good Trouble: Creativity + Collaboration” series of events held by AIA Brooklyn and sponsored by KPF, a panel of industry experts discussed “Design for Change.” The series featured architects, academics and change makers as they considered solutions to some of the most pressing problems in the built environment.

On February 27th, the firm sponsored an event, alongside AIA New York’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, honoring the legacy of Black architects with nycobaNOMA. Held at the Center for Architecture, the event featured stories from a collection of longstanding professional members of nycobaNOMA.

KPF invited employees to participate in a firm-wide discussion about the importance of Black History Month and what it means to the community. Staff members at all levels reflected on the importance of obtaining an Architecture license as a Black designer, the positive impacts of Black leadership, and initiatives in the works at KPF to help celebrate Black excellence and increase representation. An in-depth version was shown at a global Town Hall meeting. Watch a recap of the month’s events above.