FROM WHERE I SIT: BRIANA FOUNTAIN
As we honor the significance of Black History, we are faced with the reality that even in 2020, People of Color are still widely underrepresented in architecture. As industry leaders, we must ask ourselves whether our profession is continually making strides to be as diverse as the many people we impact through the built environment each day.
As a firm, we have a critical responsibility to flip this script on its head by amplifying the Black voices of tvsdesign and celebrating the countless contributions and ideas they bring. We sat down with Briana Fountain, practice professional in tvsdesign’s Corporate Office studio for a Q+A series on what we have to gain as an industry when inclusion is at the forefront of the conversation:
Why architecture/what led you to this career path?
It all started with my dad, the realtor. He would to take my family and me to look at homes on the weekend. I promise you I have probably seen every home built in my hometown from 2004 to 2008. That’s where my interest in the built environment started. When I started high school, I had been placed in a drafting class and spent the rest of my time in high school taking architecture classes. By the time I started college, I was determined to work in the architecture field.
What inspires you?
The opportunity to help improve the lives of others. Architecture is literally all around us, from something as simple as a Chipotle restaurant to the Burj Khalifa. It is amazing to think of the chances we have to positively influence the life of others through design. It could be implementing sustainable practices using LEED or WELL, creating new methods of design for the elderly, or creating community centers for those in disenfranchised areas.
Why does diversity matter for the architecture industry?
With an increase in connectivity through the internet and social media, we as an industry should be looking towards diversity, because diversity leads to exposure which leads to inspiration. The more we begin exposing our industry to more diverse groups of people, the more people in those group will be inspired to join us. This is important because having a set of individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and thoughts will help further push the envelope and creativity within the field.
What does an inclusive workplace look like for you?
An inclusive workplace is one in which an individual can be their authentic (professional) self without fear of being persecuted, shamed, or becoming a pariah. This means having a diverse set of team members at all levels within an office who are both empathetic, open minded and professional.
Stay tuned for more from this series as we bring together more voices from different corners of tvsdesign! Learn more about Briana here.