Reverend Christopher Tobias is the Executive Director of Hands Up Outreach Ministry (HUOM), a faith-base organization that is meeting the needs of individuals living in underserved communities. Guided by a servant’s heart, HUOM seeks to empower and strengthen their journey towards an improved quality of life. Hands Up Outreach Ministry has worked extensively with Tyler House through social engagement as well as hosting holiday meals and provide financial literacy programs for the Northwest One neighborhood.
Support Hands Up Outreach Ministry by making a donation at https://www.handsupministry.org/
“What if Black neighborhoods were defined by the beauty of the architecture that represents Black culture?” This question is on the ‘About’ page of the OffTop Design website. In this episode, we explore answers to this question with Demar Matthews, a Los Angeles based architectural designer, founder/Principal of OffTop Design, as well as the benefits and challenges of running a design firm.
Born in Moreno Valley, California, Demar received his Bachelor’s from HBCU Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, and completed his Master of Architecture at Woodbury University where he was awarded the Graduate Thesis Prize for his project Black Architecture: Unearth-ing the Black Aesthetic. His introduction to the field was through his article ‘A Black Architecture Education Experience’. Demar believes architecture and good design should not only be for the privileged. Every community deserves to be proud of the built environment around them, and the built environment around them should be based on the cultures of the people who live there; regardless of income, race, and gender.
Earlier this year, Architecture is Political Podcast had the opportunity to present at Pyatok's Skull Session, a weekly meet-up where various guests come to discuss topics related to architectural practices, emerging innovations, and everything in between. Pyatok is an architecture and urban design firm in Oakland, California. Topics discussed in this episode include displacement, housing and gentrification.
Gabriela Gonjon and Nicole Bass are undergraduate B. Arch students and NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) chapter members at City College of New York. Together, they are host/producer of Talks at NOMAS CCNY, a podcast about architecture school, professionalism and entrepreneurship.
Anna earned her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from The Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and a Masters in Architecture from The Virginia Polytechnical Institute.
She is Senior Project Manager at Beyer Blinder Belle in Washington, DC. She has worked on complex projects, focused on design, documentation, and construction for multi-family residential, commercial, and public space projects in the metropolitan DC area.
She is an active member of the AIA Northern Virginia, serving on the Board of Directors in 2008, a past chair of the Young Architects Forum from 2008-2015 and organizer of the ARE Prep series since 2007. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Women in Architecture Committee. She is a scholar from the 2011 Virginia Emerging Leaders in Architecture class and the 2016 Christopher Kelly Leadership Development Program.
Christina Schaller is a passionate and ambitious project designer currently pursuing licensure in the state of Massachusetts. At her role at Flansburgh Architects, her work focuses on designing K-12 schools that encourage a desire for learning as well as address the needs of the greater community. She holds a B.S in Architecture and Environmental Design from Morgan State University and a M.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design. Christina also teaches an introduction to architecture course during the summers at RISD as apart of their Pre-College/Advanced Program for High School Students Program and is actively involved in the architectural community in Boston, serving as a co-chair of the Emerging Professionals Network (EPNet) at the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA).
Rosalie Shen is a visual storyteller. She has a passion for creative marketing and media, telling stories through imagery & design. Her interests lie at the intersection of art, commerce, and culture. Rosalie currently works as a Marketing Manager for Flansburgh Architects, headquartered in Boston. She is also the founder of an apparel e-commerce website, WhiteElephantCollective.org, dedicated to elephant conservation. You can find her at rosalieshen.com.
For job opportunities: http://www.flansburgh.com/people/careers/
Through her work as a speaker, organizer, and activist, Paula Brooks has devoted herself to educating residents, community and elected leaders, civil servants, and others on environmental justice issues in Indiana. She has led successful campaigns to stop projects that would expose marginalized communities to additional pollution. Her efforts have helped raise awareness of the disproportionate environmental health burdens shouldered by low-income communities and communities of color in Indianapolis and contributed to the inclusion of environmental equity as a key planning criterion of Indianapolis’ first resilience plan. Additionally, Brooks has worked to encourage sustainable design of new infrastructure and advocated for the preservation of urban trees. She is committed to mentoring students interested in careers in environmental justice. Brooks, an Environmental Leadership Program Senior (ELP) Fellow also serves as a co-facilitator of the National Black Environmental Justice Network’s (NBEJN) Climate Change Working Group. She chairs the Equity and Environmental Justice Committee of ReThink, a transportation advocacy organization. She was named a 2021 Hoosier Resilience Hero by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI).
The Reclaiming Indiana Avenue Planning Initiative goal is to bring residents and stakeholders together to design a community-driven future, one that prioritizes people over projects and seeks to address past harms. Reclaiming Indiana Avenue is an important and rare opportunity to lay the framework to collaboratively chart a new course for the Indiana Avenue and MLK Corridors.
Designing in Color (DCo), a collective of architects and designers of culture. Their mission aims to diversify the way architecture is taught and practiced to amplify marginalized communities who’ve been historically silenced and erased throughout the design process.
Opalia is a Massachusetts based designer, advocate, and one of the Co-founders of Designing in Color. She enjoys residential architecture, real estate development and community building. In addition to her work as a designer, Opalia’s passions lie in curating spaces of inclusion for quieted voices to collaborate, grow, and enjoy themselves. She is also an avid traveler and is looking forward to her next cultural exchange. She holds a Master of Architecture degree and has studied abroad in both Florence, Italy and Tokyo, Japan.
Rubin is a designer with experience designing movie theaters, industrial, and retail spaces around the States. He is currently working on new projects for a major, globally renowned client. From work with the marketing teams at Taubman College at the University of Michigan - where he earned his Master's in Architecture - to a multitude of graphic design jobs, he has become comfortable at managing branding while creating artistic narratives. In what little spare time he has, Rubin pursues an active art and photography business, selling his works online and doing frequent photoshoots from his home base in Seattle.
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