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From Paul Revere Williams to HOK’s Paul Auguste, Black Architects Make Their Mark on Airports

Paul Auguste, a principal and senior project manager in HOK’s New York studio, talked to U.S. travel website The Points Guy about his experience as a Black architect designing airports.

As The Points Guy notes, there are “strikingly few airports in the U.S. designed by architects of color” and “people of color make up a strikingly small percentage of architects in the U.S.”

In addition to highlighting Auguste’s airport terminal experience and leadership role for the new Terminal B project at LaGuardia in New York, the article describes how he is working to increase diversity in architecture, including through his participation in the ACE Mentor Program.

The story also touches on the aviation work of architects of color Philip Freelon, Norma Sklarek, Allison Williams, Paul Revere Williams and Clarence Wigington.

Excerpted from The Points Guy:.

HOK senior project manager Paul Auguste is among those Black architects designing airports today. He has worked on terminal projects at New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Washington Dulles (IAD), but his most recent project is arguably his largest: the new Terminal B at New York LaGuardia (LGA).

“Big picture, I’ve experienced discrimination throughout my education and career but you have to look forward and move beyond it,” he told TPG when asked about his experience as a Black American in architecture.

Auguste, in addition to his work on airports and other projects, has focused on ways to increase diversity in architecture. He has been a mentor and served on the board of the Architecture, Construction and Engineering, or ACE, Mentor Program that aims to “engage, excite and enlighten” high school students to pursue careers in one of the three disciplines. In addition, he works to include more than the requisite number of minority- and women-owned businesses — or those with what is known as MBE/WBE certification — in his projects at HOK.

“Part of my giving back and working with talented individuals is to try and grow those numbers, grow those people so they have experience to work on the next aviation project,” Auguste said.

In addition, HOK has its own diversity council that aims to raise the profile of architects of color and others both at the firm and in the profession. Council members include Kimberly Dowdell, who is both business development director at HOK and president of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

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