#MentorMonday: Dawveed Scully

Welcome to #MentorMonday! Mondays are dedicated to celebrating Black LICENSED Architects, Designers, and individuals in the profession of Architecture!

The questions asked to these individuals are to allow us into their lives and to be used as an inspiration. I hope you all enjoy this series.

Name: Dawveed Scully

Hometown: Chicago, IL

What/who sparked your interest in Architecture and when?

I’ve always been interested in creating objects and spaces. Like a lot of designers Lego’s started my journey but I didn’t start getting serious until I was in high school and took drafting classes. That’s really when architecture really shifted to the top of my list of careers. I learned hand drafting, 2D CAD and 3D CAD while in high school and what sealed the deal was winning an internship at a firm when I graduated school which gave me a taste for the field and confidence that architecture and the built environment was the field I wanted to pursue. 

What does it mean to be a black architect to you? Do you feel that you have more responsibility?

I think the environment, spaces and experiences people have access to strongly shapes there future. Growing up in the majority black south side of Chicago, many of our environments don’t reflect the richness of our culture and don’t inspire folks to reach for better. Creating black spaces are extremely necessary in building just and equitable cities and neighborhoods. We need to be at the table and designing the solutions to create truly rich spaces our neighborhoods deserve. 

What are some obstacles you’ve experienced or currently experiencing as a black architect/designer?

There’s so many moments that were additional barriers to the field. From simply even knowing its an option to issues with certain people throughout my educational experience. Finding opportunities to prove yourself in the professional environments and trying to find your identity and place in the field is difficult and on top of that the extra layer of understanding the racial dynamic. 

Should we ignore race in this profession?

Definitely not. Our differences aren’t something to be tossed aside but something to be embraced fully as part of the rich mosaic of society and the only way to achieve a more just city.

If you could give advice to a black student in Architecture school right now, what would it be?

You have support if needed. The professionals out there are always happy to support your journey and don’t feel bashful to reach out on LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram, email etc. NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) is a great resource to help connect students to other students, students to professionals and inter-professional connections as well. Many of the folks I’ve met through NOMA have been great connections and allies in my professional journey. Reach out and don’t be afraid to just share your work and get feedback on portfolios as well. 

Describe a moment you were at your lowest on your pursuit to licensure and how did you overcome it?

I’m still working on my license. I had given up on it for a while as most of my work is in the urban design and planning scale. The overall difficulty of the process never made it seem worth but I have sense renewed my desire to become a licensed architect. I’ve never been a great exam taker and my biggest struggle has been finding the time to properly study. I’ve passed 3 exams but failed my last 4 attempts. But I will keep going. I was able to develop a better support system. Leveraging NOMA and my friends who are also taking the exams. Working to pass the rest this year and get pinned at the NOMA conference. 

How important is representation?

Representation is necessary. For people to not just see us working and doing in the industry but we are necessary to contribute to the ideas and help deepen the understanding of cultures and communities outside the status quo. 

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