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December 14, 2022
From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers will open at MOHAI on Feb. 4. 2023. MOHAI is the first venue for this national traveling exhibit that explores the history of Black architects and celebrates the enduring innovation and impact they have had across the United States.
The exhibit highlights 24 individual architects and designers, from the late 1800s to today. Visitors will recognize iconic landmarks from across the country and experience stories of people who paved the way for future generations. The exhibit also highlights seven historically Black college and university architecture programs that have been instrumental in providing opportunities and fostering growth within the field.
Featured architects include Georgia Louise H. Brown who was the first Black woman to earn a Bachelor of Science in architecture engineering from Kansas University and second to become a licensed architect in the U.S, and Philip G. Freelon the Founder of The Freelon Group and the first African American architect to join the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.
Visitors will also learn about regional Black architects and designers who have had an impact locally and are appreciated nationally. These include Seattle-area Black architects such as Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr., the first Black architect registered in Washington and the founder of the first African American-owned architecture practice in Seattle.
The exhibit consists of bold visual panels, including a timeline noting innovative moments in the field, from the pyramids in Egypt to today and video interviews where featured architects dive further into the inspiration, impact, and experience of being a Black person in the architecture field, specifically noting the structural, overt, and covert racism faced.
From the Ground Up was originally created by The Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago. MOHAI will add some local additions to the exhibit which have been co-developed with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State and curatorial consultant Hasaan Kirkland of Kairos Industry LLC.
The exhibit will be on display through April 30. Up-to-date information about the exhibit and related programming can be found in the MOHAI online calendar at mohai.org.