National Organization of Minority Architects, NOMA, holds 46th ‘without wall’ conference

The recently held National Organization of Minority Architects, NOMA, 2018 conference themed “Unbounded” was branded with various out-of-the-box ideas surpassing previous records what it used to be.

An event with about 900 people in attendance, exhausted the work of creative work of nature by switching between locations adjacent to each other. The event was hosted by local institutions, design firms and allied organization.

The “without walls” format “breaks us out of the confines of stuffy hotel rooms was the description of joint chairmen Jason Pugh and Sharon Samuels.

The exclusion of some key buildings in the south side of Chicago was frowned at by architectural critic and photographer Lee Bey while speaking on Thursday at the keynote held at the  School of the Art Institute (1908. Barnett Haynes & Barnett).

The two session held at 111 East Wacker, One Illinois Center (1967-1990s, Illinois Center-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), to impart and influence minority professionals was hosted by Mohawk group and the International Interior Design Association, IIDA.

NOMA 2018/Photo: Elaine S Miller

The charge was led by top experts, IIDA Executive VP and CEO Cheryl Durst who both eloquently responded to questions regarding race and ethnicity. She said “You can’t design for the world if you’re not of the world.”

The VP of sustainability and director of marketing for Mohawk Group, George Bandy, who was a panelist cited humor as his best defense against offensive racial comments.

“I try to change behavior and leverage my leadership when I have a mic.”

“I’m always thinking about the 300 people behind me and how I can have an impact on the future.”

NOMA 2018/Photo: Elaine S Miller

Gabrielle Bullock, principal and director of global diversity at Perkins+Will, spoke on mentoring the coming generation, admonishing them to grow to the top of their field and accept the leadership mantle whenever it locates them.

“Find your voice. Keep the diversity goal and social equity front and center.”

The president of Interactive Design Architects, Dina Griffin, stressed the importance to discern between public and private information and what not to share.

​”Bring your voice and culture to work every day. Corporate America’s racism has gotten discreet. Don’t leave your street sense at home.”

NOMA 2018/Photo: Elaine S Miller

At the IIDA headquarters, Architect Katherine Williams introduced “Beyond Vortex”. A session that has helped many young professional that makes her a beneficiary. The session is aimed at sharing professional challenges between African-American women architectural designers and licensed professionals.

The lower number of African-American women architects in the United States was raised and the statistics showed 0.3 percent of the 113,500 thousand architects in the country. As move to increase the number the facilitators introduced various programs that will capture creative fellow by using relevant projects.

The speakers Maya Bird-Murphy, Tiffany Brown, and Tiara Hughes spoke in turn as they addressed youth mentoring by using mobile makers in Chicago, future of women architects and urban planners and lastly The First 500 Project, an initiative compiling and documenting the contribution of African-American women architects to creativity respectively.

The event would be incomplete with the presence of social meander. NOMA Chicago hosted a party filled with fun-lovers, Motorola’s Merchandise Mart rooftop provided a neat view of outline of buildings.

Jermaine Washington appointed NOMA student-chapter faculty advisor believes student needs continuity support to migrate between education and professional opening.

“We lose promising talent in the profession when personal and workplace obstacles are challenging.”

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