In one London borough, a quarter of residents are black. Yet of the 110 firms selected by the council to compete for £100m in fees, not a single one is led by a black architect
It was billed as one of the most inclusive opportunities for architects in history, a bold open call for emerging talents to be given the chance to win public-sector projects – the holy grail of any aspiring young practice. Southwark council declared that its New Architect Design Services Framework was a “first-of-a-kind” attempt to engage with a new generation of diverse designers. As councillor Leo Pollak put it: “It is the framework some architects have been waiting for all their years.”
It turns out that black architects will have to wait even longer. Out of the 110 architecture firms selected for the panel, with the chance to bid for £100m of fees from public sector clients over the next four years, not a single one of them is led by a black architect. It would be an alarming result in any context, but it is particularly stark in a London borough that has the largest black African population in the country, and where over a quarter of residents identify as black.
No black child can see anybody that looks like them design so much as a park bench in their borough
In a situation that has historically had lower BAME representation, you would expect the procurement exercise to take positive steps
It's like a toxic cult. One of my brightest students couldn’t even get a job interview because he had an African name
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