Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today.
Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture.
Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies.
Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.