Session 3: Telling the Full Story: African Americans, Activism and Architecture

Hotel Marcel

500 Sargent Dr
New Haven, CT


Jennifer Walkowski

K. Kennedy Whiters

Daniel Williamson

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Telling the Full Story: African Americans, Activism and Architecture

In this session, panelists will challenge historical narratives and how notable African Americans used architecture in their response to adversity. Discussion will include Black writer, poet, and environmental designer, June Jordan, who until recently, remained an uncited collaborator of Buckminster Fuller on their Harlem project, “Skyrise for Harlem” (1964). MIT-trained African American architect, Robert Traynham Coles (1929-2020) and his impact on the African American community Buffalo, New York. J. Max Bond Jr. ‘s design for the King Center whose deliberately anti-monumental memorial of humble materials and diffuse open spaces that created a dignified setting for King’s resting place.

Speakers & Abstracts:
  • 'Leaders and Revolutionaries': Two Works by Robert Traynham Coles 
    Jennifer Walkowski, Historic Preservation Program Analyst in the Survey and National Register Unit at the NY State Historic Preservation Office, serving Western NY.
  • (Un)Redact the Facts of Teaching Modernism to Tell a Full(er) (Hi)Story for Racial Equity 
    K. Kennedy Whiters, AIA, professional architect in the states of Washington and New York, a member of the “less than 1%” of all architects in the United States that are Black women.
  • Urban and Activist Continuities at J. Max Bond Jr.'s King Center 
    Dr. Daniel Williamson, Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, currently teaches art and architectural history at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
  • JC Calderón, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, founding principal of calderón architecture & design studio p.c. (CADS) based in the City of Beacon in New York’s Hudson Valley. 

Hotel Marcel, 500 Sargent Dr, New Haven, CT, 06511


J.C. Calderón

J.C. Calderón, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, is the founding principal of calderón architecture & design studio p.c. (CADS) based in the City of Beacon in New York’s Hudson Valley. A practicing architect for over 25 years, he is currently registered in both New York and New Jersey. His diverse portfolio includes commercial, retail, institutional, hospitality, religious and residential projects always guided by the goals of design excellence and sustainability. In addition to private sector work, the firm has worked in the public sector on projects funded by NYS. Our research proposals include a new Beacon Film Center and a new public entrance to the City of Beacon NY with a public stair that will reconnect a section of Main Street disconnected by Urban Renewal in the 1970s. Mr. Calderón has served on the Planning Board & Main Street Access Committee in Beacon and currently serves as a Member of the Yale Board of Governors, the alumni body that oversees the Yale Alumni Association. He is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and is a LEED Accredited Professional. In 1991, as a student at the Yale School of Architecture, Mr. Calderón organized the symposium “People of Color in Architecture” which garnered national press. In 2022, as President of the American Institute of Architects Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter (AIAWHV), he led a follow up symposium: “Equity & the Environment: The Challenges for AIA & NOMA in 2023 & Beyond” with national leaders of the AIA & NOMA. Mr. Calderón holds a B.A. from Williams College and an M.Arch from Yale.