#FutureArchitectFriday: Jade Stansbury

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


Jade Stansbury



Matteson, IL


Educational Status:

Master of Architecture – Kendall College of Art and Design – May 2019

Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Design – May 2014


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

I was lucky to attend a school with a high percentage of minority students, and we received a lot of support from our program director. As an advocate for diversity, I’m not afraid to speak up when I witness inequality and I regularly push for change. I am also ambitious. During my time as a grad student, I participated in national conferences, worked at a local firm, and served as president for the AIAS. My achievements have actively changed the perception of many practicing architects that I’ve come in contact with—proving that it’s a lack of awareness and not a lack of ability that adds to the underrepresentation of black architects.

Why do you want to get your license?

First, I want to become a professor of architecture because I believe student success is directly tied to their instructor’s competence. In my opinion, architecture education is limited by professors who are either unwilling or afraid to change the culture. Since they were pushed to their breaking point and overworked in school, they believe that’s the only way to learn. Which leads to my second reason for wanting my license—I want to change the culture of architecture so that it is valued more as a profession. There’s too much “That’s the way it’s always been,” and I won’t be taken seriously until I have a license and years of experience to support my claims.


Biggest inspiration/influence?

I came to architecture from the fashion and retail industry where I had a career in merchandising. I’ve always been interested in retail store design. My M.Arch thesis (Under the Influence: The Architecture of Shopping in the Digital Age) explores the future of retail design and social media, and I pulled a lot of inspiration from Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. I love how they focused on how things are and not how things should be. Like them, I am a practical designer. I am inspired to do fun/creative things within the given context.

How important is representation?

I find it very difficult to express the importance of representation to people that have no experience being underrepresented. There are many people, like me, who will explore new worlds and push themselves outside of their comfort zone, but there is an even greater number of people who don’t. In order to encourage more black architects, students have to see other black architects. It’s also important that they see black architects that are still 100% black and didn’t have to change and become someone else to get to where they are in their career. I hope that my journey in architecture can encourage another young black girl to do the same.

Favorite quote/poem/song/etc.?

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

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