Do you know who builds your architecture?

Olivia Williams

Mable O. Wilson, an associate architecture professor at Columbia University, spoke to a room full of students and faculty in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) lecture hall.

During Wilson’s Thursday lecture, she talked about her expertise in art, architecture, African-American culture and the correlation between them.

The professor is a research fellow for the Institute for Research in African American Studies. She is also a founding member of “Who Builds Your Architecture,” a support project to enrich the architectural profession about problems of globalization and labor.

“This project is a work in progress, but I am happy to share it with you all. Speaking in front of you and taking questions helps me think through the process,” Wilson said.

She shared excerpts from her current project that are underway: “Notes on a Virginia State House.” The book discusses architecture of the state house during the 18th century. Wilson showed different models, plans, notes and maps that encouraged her current work that focuses on architecture and slavery.

Nina Anani-Manyo, a junior architecture design major from Ghana, was among the many architecture majors to attend the lecture.

“I chose to attend this event because I liked the concept of how slavery impacted our architecture and was interested to learn more,” Anani-Manyo said.

Jon Yoder, the chair of the events committee and associate professor in CAED, concluded the lecture by inviting guests to coffee and a signing of “Notes on a Virginia State House,” which was released in September 2016.

Yoder said that this type of lecture is a scholarly presentation of research in a more conventionally academic vein, different than the other lectures that the college usually holds.

“This type of lecture is relevant to students because it raises awareness of this very detailed, archival research that is being produced within the field of architecture,” Yoder said.

Olivia Williams is the African-American student life reporter, contact her at [email protected].