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November 16, 2016

DDC Talks: Intersections of Culture and Design

Jack Travis with Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis and the DDC STEAM Team.

On November 16, 2016, Architect Jack Travis was the featured guest speaker for the DDC Talks Series. Mr. Travis presented on the Intersections of Culture & Design, and specifically the black cultural aesthetic.

He began his investigation of the black aesthetic to address the concern of, “children needing to see faces that look like theirs in the creation, management, maintenance and design of the communities in which they live and grow.”

Mr. Travis spoke passionately about the Black Architect in public work and why institutions needed to recognize the importance and necessity of diversifying the architectural talent pool. He highlighted the significance of minorities within the architectural, engineering, and construction professions to address diversity by focusing on city projects within their own communities.

About Jack Travis; FAIA: Since opening his namesake design studio in 1985, Jack Travis has been at the forefront of interior design, creating both personal and commercial spaces for renowned clients such as Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes, John Saunders, and Giorgio Amani. He is now working with New York’s top design schools to educate the next generation of architects.

The work of Jack Travis’ career over the last 25 years has focused attention on the lack of awareness of Blacks in the profession. His teaching methods for “inclusion without reverse exclusion” has drawn praise and recognition worldwide.

Mr. Travis lives and works in the black communities of Harlem and the South Bronx. He is a current member of Harlem’s Community Board 10, serving on the sub-committee of Planning and Land-Use and has been involved in more than a dozen mentorship programs.

Mr. Travis encourages investigation into Black history where appropriate, and includes forms, motifs, materials, and colors that reflect this heritage in his work. Through his work, he continues to make a distinctive and definitive addition to the existing American design vocabulary. Mr. Travis’ interests have broadened in recent years to include design issues not only concerning cultural content but sustainability in environmental design, as well as alternative educational practices that seek to insure the entrance of more students of color into the profession.

In 1992, Travis edited, African American Architects: In Current Practice, the first publication to profile the work of black architects in the United States.

He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Arizona State University and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

In 2004, Jack Travis received his “Fellowship” in the AIA, and in 2006 Mr. Travis was inducted into the Council of Elders” of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the highest honor that each organization bestows upon its individual members. Mr. Travis’ message is consistent and direct. His educational efforts include a formal academic professorship at Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) and Pratt Institute, all of New York City as studio and thesis instructor in the schools or departments of interior design. Informal design studio instructorship in his not-for-profit academy, the Studio for Africulturalism in Architecture & Design (specifically targeting Blacks and Hispanic students interested in architecture), and private practice where his efforts inform fellow practitioners, clients, and others as to the importance of cultural awareness in the creation of places, spaces and the forms, motifs that make them.