Food & Culture

MOHAI honors Black Architects

Traveling Exhibit Highlights Innovators Who Broke Barriers

By Seattle Mag March 27, 2023

A photo of Architect Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr.
MOHAI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, 2000.107.120.2701, photo by Tom Barlet

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Seattle’s iconic Museum of History and Industry, or MOHAI, is the first venue outside Chicago to host the national traveling exhibit, From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers. The exhibit runs through April 30.

The exhibit serves as a narrative of the evolution of architecture produced by African American architects across the U.S. and features the work of 24 historic and contemporary architects.

The display also showcases regional Black architects and designers who have helped shape the Puget Sound region’s built environment, including Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr., (right), the first Black architect registered in the state and the founder of the first African American-owned architecture practice in Seattle.

“Local Black architects from the Pacific Northwest have been designing and developing ‘our block’ for over 50 years,” says Hasson Kirkland, a curatorial consultant with Renton-based Kairos Industries LLC, who helped organize the show. “This exhibit honors and acknowledges the presence of African American ingenuity and architectural expertise.”

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