#MentorMonday: Trystin Kier Francis, Allied ASID, AIAS, NOMAS

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: Trystin Kier Francis 

Hometown: Bronx, NY

What/who sparked your interest in Architecture and when?

From the moment my mother gave me my first Tonka Truck I knew I would be a builder or a designer of some sort

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

Black Architect’s built this country, they were called slaves. I am the son of Panamanian immigrants who sailed across waters so that I could wear the crown I wear today as an Architect. It means a continued legacy of greatness deeply rooted in the history of the great Architect’s that set the stone for me to draft structure. 

I absolutely feel I have more responsibility because my people were not provided education or a seminar. My people did not participate in a Charette or have the opportunity to be the NCARB student licensing advisor. The ancestors weren’t asked about their hopes and their dreams. This is a defining moment in my life to be reverential and impactful. 

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

Walking into a room and all eyes are on me wondering why are you here? In many cases, I have been mistaken for security, a server, basically the help. People are astounded that I went to school and excelled and here I am now

Should we ignore race in this profession?

Absolutely not! We should confront it face on and address it at the moment. 

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

Build the strongest bridges, create the greatest alliances, be open to peer to peer feedback, and network your ass off because one of your classmates might be your boss one day! 

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

I am currently in licensure and I’ve struggled with practice management. However, a friend organized a student group which has been very helpful. You must have a study group in order to conquer these exams!

How important is representation?

The only way to increase the number of women of color in this field particularly Black women is exposing young people of color to the possibilities that await them which means we have to be visible and accessible. .

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