I have never known a time in my life when I wasn’t an artist. My first writing was published (a poem) when I was 17, and I made a clay sculpture that was exhibited when I was 16. I was around 12 or 13 when I started designing cars and boats, and I think I was in the 4th or 5th grade when I drew a [scaled] design of a building. I taught my first art class at the Boys Club when I was around 15. However, in the entire 12 years of my public education I did not have one single African-American male teacher of any subject. And though currently less than 2% of all architects are African-Americans, in time I’d like to join their official ranks.

Now, a few words on architecture-at-large.

While it’s true that all architecture is some sort of building, all buildings are not architecture.  Around the the 1st century B.C., Vitruvius wrote a handbook for architects in which he stated that in order for a building to be considered architecture it must have the 3 qualities of: commodity, firmness and delight.  And in this essay at Britannica.com, these concepts are explored further in layman’s terms.  In my own experience with coming to greater appreciate and understand the meaning of architecture, while leading a preservation effort to save a public library from certain demolition, I concluded that in order for a building to be architecture it must be a creatively conceived structure that was originally purpose built, yet even when not in service it is worth keeping for its communal value. And as is the case with all collectibles, value is not solely comprised of personal tastes of the day.

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