The Harvard Graduate School of Design Frances Loeb Library is establishing the African American Design Nexus to highlight the important contributions of African American design leaders and increase accessibility to their work and stories. We envision this virtual collection as a beacon to attract and inspire the next generation of young designers.

Our Ambition

  • Build an innovative, engaging, and comprehensive online resource that surveys the history of African American designers (architects, landscape architects, urban designers) working in the U.S., identifies African American designers who are working professionally, chronicles their respective contributions to the disciplines, and provides access to both their work and their professional experiences through a variety of interactive media
  • Establish an expert research team to identify critical figures, locate institutions with essential materials, and assess gaps in knowledge
  • Build collaborative relationships with others working on this important topic both within Harvard and beyond
  • Develop related programming such as lectures, exhibitions, and symposia
  • Recruit a select group of leading African American architects, designers, and historians to serve in an advisory capacity

About Us

Since its opening in Gund Hall more than 40 years ago, the Frances Loeb Library has been the preeminent global design resource, serving as the GSD’s primary portal for information access, knowledge building, archival storage, retrieval, and acquisition. As a knowledge laboratory, the Library pursues innovation, new technologies, and relevant cultural advancements. By establishing a virtual collection for African American design resources, the GSD’s Frances Loeb Library will ensure the legacy of African American architects by collecting, cataloguing, and sharing the work and stories of this important group.

The African American Design Nexus is the latest and most significant undertaking of the Dean's Diversity Initiative, a portfolio of projects aimed at recruiting students from critically underrepresented populations in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture; ensuring equity and advancement of the best faculty and staff; and maintaining an inclusive environment that promotes an active and effective exchange of ideas.

Get Involved

Visionary philanthropy has the power to preserve this important narrative and inspire future generations. A gift to the GSD in support of the African American Design Nexus will provide seed funding to begin this important work over the next two years. Please contact us to discuss how you can contribute to this project.

Is there an architect, designer, or theorist whom you believe should be included in this collection? Please let us know what you would like to see featured on the African American Design Nexus website. Send your ideas and suggestions to aadn@gsd.harvard.edu.