Ep 02

Dr. Mabel O. Wilson, Architect and Scholar

     08 Jun 2021

Dr. Mabel O. Wilson, Architect and Scholar

Today’s episode is with architect, designer, and scholar, Dr. Mabel O. Wilson. Doing double-duty as a Professor of Architecture and as Associate Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies, both at Columbia University, Dr. Wilson is not your traditional designer of buildings. Her trans-disciplinary practice extends well beyond the built environment in to the worlds of curation, performance, art, and cultural history.

In today’s episode we discuss how Mabel’s problems fitting in as a young architect led to designing her own path to success (5:40), her advice for young architectural students (9:00), what Beyonce stole from her (21:30), the ways in which design and structures have been used to create the concepts of both blackness and whiteness (26:26), the radical change needed for an equitable America (32:27), the invisibility of Black women (35:00) and how mass incarceration not only tied a generation of Black men to a failing capitalist state, but left a generation of Black women without partners (49:40).

Links we mention in the episode:

Mabel's Instagram: @studio_and
Her new book: Race and Modern
Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present

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Image credit: Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia GSAPP. Courtesy Dario Calmese

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