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Local Architects Aim to Bring Diversity to the Industry

blog-10-15-2Over the years, the U.S. has produced few African American architects. Noticing the lack of diversity, architect and co-owner of MC Harry & Associates, Craig Aquart, launched Black Architects in the Making to introduce African American youth to the field.

CBS 4 News visited Aquart’s firm to learn more about BAM and meet the students.

Craig Aquart is a veteran architect and co-owner of M C Harry & Associates headquartered in Miami.

Even though he has dozens of projects in development, he is on a mission to spread what he calls the gospel of Architecture.

CBS4 recently visited Aquart while he and his staff hosted a group of students from the community to expose them to various career opportunities in the field.

“I did some research and found out that of the 113-thousand registered architects in the United States, less than two-thousand architects were actually black and the statistics were even worse when you look at black females. There were only 430 in the field. I realized there was a disparity there and one of the reasons for that is the awareness in the black community is severely lacking,” said Aquart.

In response, Aquart created BAM, which stands for Black Architects in the Making with the support of the Miami Center for Architecture & Design (MCAD).

For the last two years he and his staff have hosted workshops for students in Overtown, Liberty City and Richmond Heights just to name a few.

“We encourage students to sketch regularly, and like everything else practice makes perfect,” said Aquart. He advises students to at least sketch one image per day.

Aquart says BAM has reached more than 300 students in two years.

To read more, visit CBS4 here.

 

Hospitality Leaders Discuss Industry Trends at Miami Hospitality Designs Awards Panel

dsc_4812-copyTop leaders in South Florida’s hospitality industry gathered yesterday for the Miami Hospitality Design Awards’ inaugural panel discussion, Distinctive Hospitality Design in Miami’s Evolving Neighborhoods.

 Hosted by the award’s founders Oberhausen Marketing & Public Relations, the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association and AIA Miami Chapter and in support of IIDA South Florida, the panel took place at the Hyatt Centric Brickell.  The panelists included Stantec Director of Interiors, Susan LaFleur; The Barlington Group Co-founder, Bill Fuller; and The Genuine Hospitality Group Chef and Owner, Michael Schwartz.

Moderated by Indulge Magazine Editor in Chief, Evan Benn, the panelists discussed how consumer demands are affecting hospitality architecture, design and programming.

 Downtown Miami, Brickell, Wynwood, Little Havana, and Coconut Grove are some of these evolving neighborhoods that have emerged with their own distinctive identity.

“We take into account what speaks to us about the neighborhood and translate it into the architecture and interiors to make each project relatable to its location,” said Susan LaFleur.

“Although the food has to be great, I’ve always said it’s not the one thing that makes a restaurant successful,” said Michael Schwartz. “We want our restaurants to fit with the neighborhood, so we look at where we are, what we’re trying to accomplish and how that plays into the design.”

“Little Havana is a passion project for me because of my Cuban American background,” said Bill Fuller. “We seek out historic properties in Miami to give them a new life, but always wrap the property’s history into what we do to keep the building’s and neighborhood’s authenticity.”

The panel is part of the awards’ program leading up to the second annual Miami Hospitality Design Awards to be held in spring 2019. The awards will honor the architects and designers whose hospitality projects have enriched Miami’s built environment. Next year’s awards will include new categories, giving additional designers an opportunity to showcase their work.

Stay tuned for details on the 2019 Miami Hospitality Design Awards by visiting http://miamidesignawards.com.

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