#MentorMonday: Benjamin Patterson

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: Benjamin R. Patterson

Hometown: Waugh, AL

What/who sparked your interest in Architecture and when?

When I was younger, my mom would constantly travel to Atlanta to visit family and friends. I would be in awe riding through the city looking at the detail in buildings.

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

Being a black designer/architect means that my background brings just as much to the table as others. I feel that I hold more responsibility in creating representation in the industry and showcasing that my creativity deserves space in this realm.


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

Some obstacles I’ve experienced as a designer is being aware of when my experience can add value to a project and being empowered to vocalizing it. Another is walking into a room and it’s clear I wasn’t expected to be sitting at the table.

Should we ignore race in this profession?

We should never ignore race/ethnicity/gender/or sexuality in this profession. Once you do you ignore that person, their skill set and experiences as a whole.

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

Studying for the ARE will give you the answers you’re looking for on how the industry works. Find creativity in watching other creatives of all mediums. Never doubt your power or allow any one to dim your light.

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

I’m still pursuing my license. The first time I took an exam and failed, it made me question everything I thought I knew. It allowed me to think 5 steps ahead instead of only what’s in front of me.

How important is representation?

Representation is paramount in this profession for African Americans. Seeing another empowers one to take risk and find opportunities to showcase their value when they didn’t think they could. I’ve been able to see several African Americans take tremendous leaps in the industry recently and it’s inspired me to do the same.

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