#FutureArchitectFriday: Aaron deRoux
Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.
Aaron B deRoux
Ocho Rios, Jamaica, but I primarily grew up in the Washington DC, Area
Currently, I am a second-year graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, I am set to graduate in May 2020 with my masters of architecture
How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?
It has been a journey. I attend Morgan state university for my undergraduate which is one of two schools in the states of Maryland to have an architecture program and one of the few HBCUs to provide one as well. I was challenged since day by both the professors and peers and thanks to being on the east coast, I was able to develop my architectural prowess in cities such as Baltimore, DC, Philly and New York. There I have made some great connections
When going into both practice and graduate school, that’s when reality became more prevalent. I’ve always known of the lack of representation in the field but working at my first firm being the only person of color it sank in deeper. I attend the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign now, and I appreciate this school for its resources and professors that care in shaping my skills at a professional level. Being the only African American in the class of 2020, I have faced adversary while in the program from fellow students due to the color of my skin, but I refuse to let that at the effect me or my designs. Coming from an HBCU and transitioning to PWI, it showed me the challenges and trials I can face because of my skin color and perspective outsiders tend to have. I strive to counter those negative stigmas showing that color doesn’t matter when it comes to both skill, creativity, and professionalism.
Why do you want to get your license?
I plan to start my own practice and getting my license allows me to truly make an impact on the world around me. Becoming a Leader in decision making and having the ability to express my architectural vision for a community. Plus I want to add to the 1% of black architects, hopefully inspiring an increase in that percentage.
My biggest inspiration has to be my father. He is the hardest worker I know, he owns his own landscaping company, and my dream as a child was to build the homes he would work on. Through him, I embedded the mindset of both a leader and the understanding that one should always give back to their community.
How important is representation?
It is crucial. There is a large community of creatives that have never had their stories told and are deterred because of the lack of inspiration. Having someone who looks like you, and does what you inspire to do in life is fundamental to your development. The statistics of 1%-2% of black architects in practice is sad, but the fact that they exist is motivation to someone who strives to achieve that title such as myself. Their influence and contribution to the field will go on to inspire younger generations.