2020 Annual Report Insights _ Bailey and Dunn

2020 Annual Report Insights

Underrepresentation in the Architecture and Design Professions

David Bailey, Principal, HASTINGS Architecture

Dillon Dunn, HASTINGS Architecture

Dillon Dunn and David Bailey
Dillon Dunn (left) and David Bailey

Throughout their careers, aspiring architects of diverse backgrounds face barriers that disproportionately inhibit their growth in the profession when compared to their white colleagues. This is especially true of Black architects and Black architecture students.  When compared to national racial or ethnic demographics, Black architects are consistently the most underrepresented group at every stage of their careers according to NCARB’s annual reports. The purpose of the Diversity Scholarship Endowment and the Keystone Scholarship is to eliminate barriers to higher education within the state and strengthen networks within the profession.


Dillon Dunn, Architecture Alumnus (2018), Fulbright Scholar

As a recent graduate and rising professional, I vividly remember the importance of scholarships and community. Whether due to a lack of financial support, a missing sense of belonging, or other unseen barriers unique to Black and brown students, I have witnessed the attrition of fellow aspiring minority architects throughout my academic and professional career. For many minority students, the financial burden of an architecture degree is too great, especially for first- and second-generation college students. Combine this economic stress with additional barriers unique to Black and brown students, and the reason for 2% Black representation within the profession becomes clear.

I am excited to be a part of this new partnership between HASTINGS Architecture and the College of Architecture and Design, which seeks to remediate some of these issues within our state. Perhaps the most important aspect of the initiative is the partnership with the Tennessee chapters of NOMA and the insights, resources, and networks that it provides to students and professionals. I am hopeful that other firms within the state and country will join us in eliminating barriers to our profession.


David Bailey, Architecture Alumnus (1993), Principal, HASTINGS Architecture

As we look at the landscape of the profession, we know that we need to do more to open it to minorities and to benefit from their creativity, point of view and life experiences. We believe that the Keystone Scholarship will help recruit new aspiring and talented minority students to the College of Architecture and Design. And since the funding of the endowment will be sourced from architects across the state and country, we are communicating a deep message that the profession not only supports these students, but that we also need to bring them into our practices.

The profession often talks of educating more primary and secondary students about architecture and design. By partnering with NOMA and coordinating with ACE, this goal can but put into action awhile also reaching minority students, exposing them to the potential of this rewarding career.  Identifying and recruiting outstanding students through NOMA and having the Keystone Scholarship in place is a significant step. Then, offering the recipients access to internships while in school will go the extra mile of building first-hand knowledge and experience, plus an invaluable opportunity to build a professional network.  This approach connects students on both sides of the outstanding UT COAD education and prepares talented, new additions for the profession.