Alumnus Germane Barnes has received a Graham Foundation grant for his project Sacred Stoops: Typological Studies of Black Congregational Spaces. The project is an investigation of the porch and its role in the African-American community. Barnes received a Master of Architecture from Woodbury in 2010, and his work examines how the built environment influences social and cultural experience.
“The porch is one of the most recognizable symbols in the history of the traditional American home. From historic shotgun homes in New Orleans to bungalow homes in Chicago, the porch has been a key space of congregation for African-Americans. Often viewed as an accessory to the main structure, this covered area shapes the narrative of many who utilize it. Operating as interstitial space, simultaneously public and private, the stoop has molded the perception of numerous black communities. Depending on vernacular and location, the porch manifests itself in many different ways. It is also an overt reminder of how racism and the built environment continue to shape this country. The porch is an important space for observation of collective identity and entry point to the home as well as issues of race, segregation, and spatial politics.”
Learning from historical data and perspectives from within architecture as well as cultural and ethnic studies, Barnes examines how the built environment influences the social and cultural experience. His expertise lies in territories of the African-American communities. Currently he is a full-time lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Miami. His topic studios focus on issues of domesticity, politics, and satire. He is also the designer in residence for the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation where his design and research contributions have been published and exhibited in several international publications and institutions. Most notably, Curbed.com, where he was named a member of the 2015 Class of Young Guns, under-the-radar professionals who are busy challenging the status quo in the design industry.
Cover photo by Matthew Roy