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T 10 Principles FINAL BlackSpace Design: Hidden In Plain View By Jack Travis, FAIA NOMAC

BLACKSPACE Black Culture in Environmental Design - Hidden in Plain View 10 Principles of Black Space Design

The first four principles have to do with basic infrastructure of resources and services so necessary and yet so often missing in our communities 1 ECONOMY SCALE / SCOPE / Economy is arguably the most significant of the principles when designing and building in communities of color where resources and expertise are scarce. Economy assures a condition of ease of construction technique. Simpler techniques can be taught informally and timely as well as in need for rapid rebuilding in disaster relief and recovery situations. Economy assures that a larger segment of the community can be involved in the design, construction and making of the environments that we live, work and raise our children 2 SIMPLICITY FORM/ SHAPE / Simplicity provides for clarity and understanding in the process of design and construction thus assuring that a larger portion of the community will be able to understand, learn and ultimately participate in the design, making and shaping of the building, spaces and places of and for the black community 3 EASE OF CONSTRUCTION ADVOCACY Opportunity for training unskilled labor for, trade, technical and professional careers in urban planning, environmental design, management and construction can act to provide a strong advocacy approach in building and rebuilding efforts during relatively normal courses of events but especially during emergency and disaster assistance. Economy, Simplicity and Ease of Construction act to form the "core" ingredients for emergence of a black cultural design evolution. Combined they form the foundation for creative endeavor to springboard from. This infrastructure is necessary yet consistently lacking in almost every large-scale endeavor proposed for black communities nationwide and is often supplied by other non-black supporters. 4 EASE OF MAINTENANCE PRESERVATION / LONGEVITY / Promoting the use of materials and methods of construction and detailing that would require a minimum of upkeep, replacement and/or repair over time within communities where lack of resources are often at issue is vital to maintaining positive aesthetic value and perception. Too often funds for upkeep and repair are scarce, non- existent or simply not considered due to other immediate concerns of operation in low income neighborhoods. Concepts and techniques that promote Ease of Maintenance would assist in encouraging longer lasting upkeep and reverence of properties over extended periods of time. The next three principles address basic "specifics" that, in their manifestations, tend to differentiate and thus can act to celebrate black culture in ways that differentiate from other cultures particularly Euro-centric or Western culture. 5 SPIRITUALITY "SOUL" / TANGIBLE vs. INTANGIBLE / ETHERIAL / CALL + RESPONSE Fundamental and at the core of much of our being and tradition as original Africans and descendents of original Africans in the Diaspora is a strong sense of what lies beyond this life. Spirituality, whether group organized and based or non-traditional and of the individual, has its place and can manifest in every aspect of living, working, learning, resting as well as worship. The concept of SOUL embedded in the roots of the cultural paradigm in virtually every aspect of our being is but one example.

JACK TRAVIS, FAIA NOMAC RA

416 E. 176TH STREET

2ND FLOOR

BRONX, NEW YORK 10457

WWW.JACKTRAVIS.COM

JT@JACKTRAVIS.COM

917.701.0870 MOBILE


T 10 Principles FINAL BlackSpace Design: Hidden In Plain View By Jack Travis, FAIA NOMAC

6 HERITAGE LEGACY / IDENTITY Infusing information, symbolism and physical memory of past legacy and achievement of peoples, events, places and dates act as reminders of what has gone before and is therefore critical to making "place" in the black community. Perceived evidence of efforts to suppress black heritage makes inclusive attempts to celebrate legacy meaningful and necessary. Educating those severed from such and reaffirming the importance of knowing from whence you came, heritage, integrated within the design process further fuels other catalysts in unifying and in assuring healthy growth of our communities. 7 DUALITY OR IRONY OF THE CONDITION SYMBIOTIC / Past and current situations of the African Diaspora cultural enclave attempting to co-exist within a dominant culture but with the former, by nature, being in direct conflict with the latter is an ongoing theme in our lives and in the make-up of our communities. The dual identity one exhibits and the irony of cultural acceptance while the collective is often deemed unacceptable is real for us and must be revealed for what it is as long as it exists. Artists have found ways to deal with this condition in positive and meaningful ways ultimately. The larger art form of Environmental design is challenged to seek ways to reveal this condition and its manifestations. Then and only then will we be able to move past this reality. The last set of principles relate themes that have direct correlation to environmental design principles as well as green and sustainable principles for making space /form relationships. 8 EARTH CENTERED/EARTH NUTURING SUSTAINABLE / GREEN This principle expresses the need for designers to relate that which is made to that which is found. The African sense is to build with the found in respect and repose, existing with + within as opposed to on or over. Also implied is the respect for the ground or horizontal plane in an informal rather than a formal relationship where functions of movement and rest are incorporated within. 9 STRONG INDOOR/OUTDOOR RELATIONSHIP CLIMATE / REGION This space relationship is basic and key to the overall concepts that Sub-Saharan tribal groups practice in creating all typologies of shelter. Cultural concepts historically affirm the notion that indoor and outdoor spaces are inseparable and crucial to existence due to climatic and other environmental factors. Activities are hybrid in use and therefore both kinds of spaces are often used for the same activity at different times of the day and of the season. Out door space seen as integral with indoor spaces acts as "extended" reception, gathering and ceremonial enclaves fully entrenched in life style beyond climatic challenges. 10 INTENSE USE OF COLOR, PATTERN & TEXTURE VISUAL / TACTILE / MATERIALITY / SKIN Essential in expression of spatial/formal content elevating the aesthetics qualities of our lives, it is the intensity of the use of these three components, presently and historically that differentiates the Western and the non-Western approaches. Africans and peoples of African descent incorporate Color, Pattern and Texture in intensities that rival if not surpass all other cultures.

JACK TRAVIS, FAIA NOMAC RA

416 E. 176TH STREET

2ND FLOOR

BRONX, NEW YORK 10457

WWW.JACKTRAVIS.COM

JT@JACKTRAVIS.COM

917.701.0870 MOBILE

Profile for Jack Travis

10 Principles of Black Space Design  

10 Principles FINAL

10 Principles of Black Space Design  

10 Principles FINAL

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