#FutureArchitectFriday:  Isabelle Ndoumy-Kouakou

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

Name:  Isabelle Ndoumy-Kouakou

Hometown: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Educational Status: UIUC alumna (‘21), Rice University MArch (‘24)

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

It’s been interesting! I was not really sure what to expect going to architecture school. Though once I started, I was shocked by the lack of representation in the field in general, in the faculties, curriculums, etc… However, it has motivated me to work harder. NOMA/NOMAS has also been a great resource for me because I have met so many mentors through it. They all have been so supportive and encouraging because they have been in my shoes before.

Why do you want to get your licensed?

I want to open my own firm one day, so getting licensed would bring me one step closer to that goal!

Biggest inspiration/influence?

There are so many!! My uncle, Dominique N’Doumy-Kouakou, is an architect in Ivory Coast! He is definitely an inspiration. I would also add Issa Diabaté, Mariam Kamara, Francis Kéré, and my professors to the list.

How important is representation? 

SO important! When you don’t see people that look like you doing the things that you want to be doing, it may make you doubt yourself and make you think that you cannot do it. That’s why being the first to do something can be so difficult.

Favorite quote/poem/song/etc.?

One of my favorite sayings is « just do it » because sometimes I have to remind myself to stop overthinking and just go for it and do what I want to do.

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