In October we had the pleasure of participating in NOMA’s HBCU PDP Speed Networking event. For the six participating ESKW/A staff, the students’ projects and experiences brought us back to our student days and those long studio nights working through uncertainty, relief, and joy towards an ambitious project.  With over 100+ students in attendance representing seven HBCUs, we had the opportunity to mentor several students and get to know their projects and their unique vision of architecture. Below are a few student projects that stood out to us:

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Prea Davis is a second-year at Rice University and is also the Social Events Coordinator at Rice University’s National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). Prea’s project, Bridge, “focuses on the characteristic of connection associated with the concept of bridging between spaces. The spatial organization of the house from the exterior emphasizes three main sections of the structure. The interior reveals that there are clear and obscure connections between each section through the placement of stairs. Bridge’s concentration on connection overall is displayed in the structure’s relationship within its interior spaces, and its relationship to its exterior spaces which have a variety of functions.  There is an intentional lack of division between spaces using walls to allow continuity between these spaces as the inhabitant transitions from one room to another. The windows of the structure further emphasize this idea of connections between spaces as windows are positioned parallel to one another to allow the inhabitant’s view to expand beyond the space they are currently in into the next space.”

“Prea shared an intriguing array of 3D process drawings and models examining spatial relationships within a house in her Bridge project. The creative process seemed to spark an excitement and confidence within her. Prea shows promise for a young architecture student!”

– Cary, Senior Project Manager at ESKW/A.

“It was impressive to see Prea walk us through her projects with such clarity and confidence: not only was her choice of images impactful, her presentation skills were also very effective in weaving together the many parts of her design process. With Bridge, every moment seemed to be thoughtfully imagined and curated. I think this speaks greatly to Prea’s attention to detail as well as her design sensibilities.”

 – Connie, Architectural Designer at ESKW/A.

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Tatiana Williams is a third-year at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), her project, Rhythmic Tide is “a site depiction of R&B music represented by architectural elements. The curves represent the smooth melodies in R&B music, while the rigid straight edges represent the hard beats featured in the background of the song. The circulation of the space flows seamlessly, like transitions between the verses and choruses in R&B music. The pergola also creates the optical illusion of bending and curving, which shows the collaboration between the beats and melodies to create R&B songs.”

“Working with a physical model to represent a design concept is an invaluable precursor to creating Architecture. I appreciated Tatiana’s project for the study of rhythm as a design strategy. And the use of museum board in a physical model is the best way to connect with the elements that create the rhythm.”

– Kimberly, Partner at ESKW/A.

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Soleil Oladeji is a third-year architecture student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Soleil’s “Nova Scotia Lighthouse” is inspired by the quill boxes of the Mi’kmaq—the first peoples of Nova Scotia and members of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

“The Mi’kmaq presence can be traced as far back as 10,000 years. They were hunters and traders and, because of their proximity to the ocean, skilled saltwater fishers. A lot of the Mi’kmaq history was “erased” in nova scotia due to their early interactions with the European and French people. This led to many traditions being changed before they were ever officially documented. This Inspired me to incorporate a quilled box. A tradition that survived colonization and continues to remain relevant to this day within their culture. These boxes were constructed out of the quills of a porcupine. My concept is derived from the patterns made by the quills to decorate the box.”

“I love that Soleil drew inspiration from a sacred tradition that has withstood generations and that she has honored that tradition in her work. Drawing inspiration from and honoring cultures is something that she can take with her into the profession.” – Kimberly, Partner at ESKW/A.

It was an honor to share our professional knowledge with this next generation of architects, and we encourage other firms to participate in NOMA HBCU PDP events in the future.

About NOMA’s HBCU Professional Development Program:

NOMA and the NOMA Charitable Education Foundation have partnered with the seven (7) HBCUs with accredited architecture programs across the country to foster opportunities for architecture firms to engage in mentorship, recruiting, and general networking with these talented and underrepresented students studying architecture.  Founded in 2020, the HBCU PDP has three primary goals.  Goal one is to help students and HBCUs build a pipeline with award-winning firms across the country that have expressed an interest in advancing diversity in the profession. Goal two is to support students from HBCUs in securing entry-level positions with these large-scale architecture firms. Goal three is to develop a community of professionals in architecture that will continue to support diversity within the profession through continued mentorship of minorities working in the profession. It is NOMA’s expectation that through the HBCU PDP, we will continue to shine a light on the value of inclusion as we continue to advance the promise of diversity in the architectural profession.

Student Information:

Prea Davis:

Email: prea.davis02@gmail.com

Instagram: @prea.davis

Tatiana Williams:

Email: tatianawilliams1702@gmail.com

Website Portfolio: https://tatiana2williams1702.myportfolio.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tatiana-williams-4424b5225/

Instagram: @_t_a_b_

Soleil Oladeji:

Email: soleiloladeji@gmail.com

Instagram: @the_sunny_architect