Ennead Celebrates Black History Month

2023 BHM final

Black History Month honors the achievements, rich culture, and history of the Black Community. Ennead celebrates the contributions and perspectives of our Black colleagues and collaborators. We asked four Ennead employees to share how they got into architecture, and why they stay.

"My father wanted to be an architect, but unfortunately didn’t finish school. In high school, if you were a student with an aptitude in math, counselors would shoe-horn you into engineering or some form of STEM. I found myself extremely miserable on track to a Civil Engineering degree when I got lost in the Architecture building and consequently transferred to Architecture – with my father’s blessing.

I stay in this career because it’s the profession where I can be the best version of myself, and make the best use of the skills I have. What keeps me in this profession in spite of the challenges unique to me as a black woman is knowing that I’m meant to be here and hopefully I can help someone else realize they’re meant to be here as well."

—Ashley Marshall

"I come from a long line of designers and builders. Growing up, creating spaces was how I saw love manifested at home and in my community. I continue to pursue architecture because it is a way to show love and serve people's needs.

The field of architecture is enriched by the contributions of African American architects and designers. Beyond its impact on the built environment, their work inspires others, like me, to pursue their passions. Celebrating Black History Month honors their legacy, acknowledges the challenges they faced, and recognizes the work that still needs to be done to create an inclusive and equitable profession for future generations."

—Keristen Edwards

"My introduction to design started back when I was still in elementary school. One of my teachers noticed I had a talent for sketching and painting the world around me and suggested to my parents that I enter some competitions. To my surprise, I began to win a few and gain some recognition for the art I was producing. That experience, along with a few summers spent chasing my dad around the art museum where he works, encouraged me to find a profession that would let me paint the world around me. Architecture allowed me to do that by just changing my canvas to a screen and my brush to a mouse.

Creative “freedom” at what I consider to be the highest level of design, the unique challenges surrounding every project, and the positive impact I have seen projects have on the environment and people, are the big reasons why I continue to practice architecture."

—Akil Matthews

"I was always a builder: makeshift bike ramps, lego collections, and helping my grandfather build additions to the house."

—Troy Monroe

Join us on February 22, 2023, between 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm for "The 2%: The Black Experience in Architecture," a panel discussion on equity and belonging in Architecture. Learn more and register here.