#MentorMonday: Malcolm A. Jones, Assoc. AIA, CMIT

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: Malcolm Anthony Jones

Hometown: Tampa, FL

What/who sparked your interest in Architecture and when?

Interestingly enough it was my Mother! At a young age she often noticed me sketching and playing with building blocks such as Legos. From that, she would always say to me, “You are going to be an Architect.” With this declaration being engrained in me, I chose to attend a high school that had a Drafting & Design program. Fast forward some years later and here I sit today with a Master of Architecture degree.

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

It means everything, in the sense that it proves to other people who look like me and come from similar or worse backgrounds have access into a field not commonly held by black people, nor people of color for that matter. I do have a responsibility, which is why I have introduced a program known as Black Architects in the Making to the Orlando area (I have attached our brochure for your use). In a brief summary, we are a program that introduces Architecture to young boys and girls of color with the hopes that they will want to pursue Architecture as a career in the future.


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

I have actually been blessed to have a strong support system and mentors that have encouraged me to continue to grow as a young architect. My current firm is very supportive of me and all programs that I involve myself with. I think right now there is a strong trend of firms realizing that diversity is necessity for the sustained success and growth of their company, which is why I believe now is a great time for black and brown people to enter into the field.

Should we ignore race in this profession?

I believe that race is one of those things that can never be ignored no matter how hard you may try, however, we should not let it affect the production of projects. I will make a point to say that it is very important to have people who can relate to a particular project, must have heavy input in the direction and development of said project. (i.e. African American Museums, and other culturally specific facilities)

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

Remain focused on creating a project that makes sense and not getting hung up on making the most beautiful project. That is not to say that aesthetics aren’t important, however, what good is a building that does not serve its function.

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

I have failed my first few ARE exams, which is a tough pill to sallow when you had all the confidence in the world that you were going to pass. However, I simply look at it as me now knowing what to expect on the second time around and using that to my advantage to focus my studying efforts.

How important is representation?

Representation can be the difference as to whether or not a younger “Malcolm” decides to take on the wonderful challenge of becoming an architect, or the lack there of deters them from believing that they are worthy and deciding that they do not have what it take to walk in my shoes or the shoes of others who look like me in the same position.

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