Through design proposals combining architecture and historic preservation, grounded in community histories and policy research, this studio seeks to contribute to spatial justice for Portland’s Black diaspora. Alongside community and architectural histories, students will conduct research on city and real estate policies, examining historical patterns of disinvestment in African American neighborhoods. Resulting projects will incorporate input from community members and strive toward African American community advancement.

This studio course will include site design and development for two locations: the Mayo house, located at 236 NE Sacramento, and the Historical Black Williams Art Project plaza, at the intersection of N Russell and N Williams. Students will design a renovation of the Mayo house as the future home of the ARTchive, an art hub, studio, archive, and intergenerational community space for the Black diaspora in Portland, and will create designs for the development of the surrounding areas. Additionally, students will work with youth to conceptualize an active memory space as part of the existing Historical Black Williams Art Project.

Approaching the Mayo house development through its unique site and history, we will also explore its potential as a prototype for anti-displacement projects of an intermediate physical scale, between “missing middle” buildings, such as quadplexes, and housing tower blocks. Student design proposals will combine adaptive reuse of the Mayo house with new housing construction to create an infrastructure for culture and collective memory.

University of Oregon

Karen Kubey, Spatial Justice Fellow
Cleo Davis, Visiting Artist
Kayin Talton Davis, Visiting Artist