Race, Space, and Architecture in the United States

Spring 2022
Danielle Willkens
ARCH 4823
ARCH 6160
ARCH 6352

This course is interdisciplinary by nature, referencing the projects and methodologies of architects and architectural historians, as well as archaeologists, artists, designers, environmentalists, ethnographers, photographers, urbanists, sociologists, technicians, and writers. Although we will cover topics and themes across the U.S., our focus will decidedly be on the American South and we will leverage our location in Atlanta. Through historiography, we will counter the stance that underrepresented histories in the built environment are studied only alongside stories of white supremacy and oppression. We will explore overlooked BIPOC projects and designers. We will enact research, field studies, reflective site interpretation, and productive creativity to forward questions and historical narratives related to social justice and equity. Working collaboratively to honor erased histories, we will contribute to the documentary record of selected sites in Atlanta: students will undertake local fieldwork associated with team-based, semester-long research projects. Course deliverables will focus on digital documentation (i.e., 3D scanning, photogrammetry, UAVs), site interpretation, and the design of exhibits for public outreach and preservation/rehabilitation planning. Through active dialogues, we will consistently engage myriad voices from the fields of architecture, urban planning, education, public history, and historic preservation, as well as non-profits and community stakeholders from various outreach projects and local sites. These goals support a just, equitable world, encouraging students to interact and serve the local community through their research and visualization projects. The work from the 2021 course spurred pending grant applications for more than $750k towards the preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources in the English Avenue neighborhood. These initiatives aspire to spark local investment, raise visibility, and leverage Georgia Tech's expertise for common good. 

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