#FutureArchitectFriday: Gianna Noel
Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.
I am currently a third year undergraduate architecture student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a minor in Africana Studies.
How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?
As a Black Architecture student I can say that it has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced. When I first arrived to UT Knox I definitely experienced some culture shock and the architecture program was not as diverse as I thought it would be but I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. I remind myself everyday that if it was easy, then everyone would do it. But I can also say that being a student of architecture and design has really made me more open minded and aware of the different opportunities that minorities may not have the privilege of being exposed to. I am grateful for the opportunity to use architecture as a platform to have my voice be “heard” and for my art to be “seen.”
Why do you want to get your license?
Why do I want to get my license? I aspire to get my license because there should be more black women in the field of Architecture. It is such an important career because there is freedom in design and I think that being able to help “build” up communities, not only in my hometown but other marginalized places as well, would be amazing. I’ve always enjoyed “making” things for other people. I find joy in putting smiles on other people faces. So to have my license would give be the ultimate opportunity to give back to those who need people like us the most.
My biggest inspiration/ influence is really any black woman who paved the way before me. These women are so powerful and elegant because in spite of the critics wanting to keep them in a confined “space”, they still went after their dreams with such grace and poise. They still were motivated and dedicated enough to open doors that many people thought were locked. Black women are innovators and I aspire to be like each and every one of them.
How important is representation?
Representation is so important because people are influenced by perception. To be able to see someone like you doing something that you aspire to do is unexplainable. It really does matter! Being a dark skin, black student at a predominantly white institution has not been a “walk in the park” to say the least. I’ve dealt with several instances of racism and sexism but these instances have only made me stronger. That is why I feel that I am obligated to stand in my purpose and to work hard so that younger black girls can see themselves going into any field of work, whether an architect or an accountant, and dominating their practice. I want to inspire them to dream big and to live bold. Don’t let the fear of something being “too hard” or “too tough” hold you back from your purpose.