Black Arts Legacies Feature: Laurie Allison Wilson | Crosscut

Laurie Allison Wilson photo
By Laurie Allison Wilson

As one of just over 500 Black women architects in the country, and one of the first Black women to become a licensed architect in Washington state, WT Associate and affordable housing project manager, Laurie Allison Wilson has been blazing her own path in a predominately white industry for over thirty years.

Read more about Laurie’s career and how she’s working to bring African American culture into focus through her work in architecture in Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies artist feature.

The content for this article was originally featured in Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies on June 1, 2022.

One of the few Black women in her field, the Seattle architect is working to build projects that honor the diversity of Black life in the city.

Photo of Laurie Wilson speaking during a community presentation for Africatown Plaza’s Affordable Housing project

Laurie Wilson speaks during a community presentation for Africatown Plaza’s Affordable Housing project at 23rd and Spring in August 2019.

Laurie Allison Wilson is in rare company. She is currently one of just over 500 Black women architects in the United States. While the number of women architects is growing every year, the number of Black architects of any gender remains quite low. In 2020, two architectural associations (the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and the American Institute of Architects) reported that Black people make up less than 2% of the profession.

Wilson has spent three decades charting her own path through this predominantly white field. One of the first Black women to become a licensed architect in Washington state, she established and ran her own firm in Seattle from 1998 to 2010 and eventually joined local firm Weber Thompson, where she is an associate and a project manager specializing in affordable housing. A recent project, a mixed-use workforce housing development and non-profit hub at Othello Square, is slated to start construction mid-2023.

For much of her career, she has developed culturally responsive architecture — including her work as a consultant on the Africatown Plaza project in the Central District, which broke ground at 23rd Avenue and Spring Street in February 2022.

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