#FutureArchitectFriday: Julian K. Phillips

Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.


Julian Kenard Phillips


Memphis, TN

Educational Status:

Bachelors in Architecture, currently working on Masters in Architecture

How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?

Being black in this profession has taught me the importance of being certain of who I am. I think it is important, as a person of color, to take up space. I have learned the importance of representing my own culture by not being afraid of standing out, taking risks, and practicing humility in all aspects of design. The more we express ourselves the better it becomes for others to understand how to recognize and acknowledge other cultures around the world at the forefront of design.

Architecture serves as a binding agent to people and their history. We learn a lot from culture through habitats. Architecture should speak more to habitat. As designers we must do better at designing for the user group. Designing for the user group requires research and understanding. My own call to action is to use my culture as an expression of my habitat.

Why do you want to get your license?

 I am getting my architectural license for my parents. My parents have helped guide my educational upbringing and provided me with access for becoming an architect. I have gained understanding of what it takes to call myself an architect. Receiving my architectural licensure allows for the privilege of designing and controlling my own designs in hopes of becoming a catalyst for proper design in all aspects of life for all people. Well-studied design decisions are essential in the built and unbuilt environments, on federal, state, and local levels, and in community development.

Biggest inspiration/influence?

 My biggest inspiration in life are my parents, friends, and family. The support of others around me is a large influence for me to not only live out my dreams of becoming an architect but reminds me to remain grounded in who I am and how I got to where I am. I am constantly inspired by my friends. We keep one another on track and make sure we are feeling good and sure of what we are doing. Without support, there is no purpose. Without purpose, there is no direction.

How important is representation?

 Representation is access. Period.

No matter how we are seen, our presence as black people becomes impactful. The more young black people who see blackness spread across the spectrum of privilege, the more tangible the process of privilege becomes. This is relatability.

Proper access is different from relatability. Becoming relatable psychologically engraves positive images in the minds of youth. Proper access is like privilege. At the same time, people who serve as a black representative has to open the discussion of proper access and how proper access to education for black people has to be better.

Favorite quote/poem/song/etc.?

“I’d do anything at the right time, and I would also do things at the wrong time if they felt right.”
Virgil Abloh
This statement holds so much power in a clear and concise format. The more you push yourself, the more you learn, grown, and perform as your imperfect self. I have learned to continue to strive for excellence and set my own standards for what excellence is through my own goals and my own aspirations. As humans, we are only required to present our imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance.

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