Citizen Architect

When Milton S.F. Curry stepped before an audience at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he admitted to feeling a tad bit nervous about returning to his alma mater. “The anxious butterflies hit me just as I walked into the lobby,” he said. Curry, who until recently served as the dean of USC Architecture (he has since assumed the title of professor), argued that race and Blackness are necessary “theoretical vehicles” for training “citizen architects.” More adequate frameworks for learning—for instance, a race-integrated course track and an expanded canon—are needed at the university level, but also earlier than that, Curry suggested. He discussed models for secondary education he developed as an associate dean at the University of Michigan and subsequently at USC that aimed at exposing students to both architecture and critical race theory. On the latter subject, he expressed concern about the censoring of books in public schools across the country and what it augurs for institutions of higher learning: “They’re coming for us, they’re coming for universities.”

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