Saundra Little, FAIA, LEED AP, NOMA, principal, and director of diversity and inclusion at Quinn Evans was interviewed by Crain’s Detroit Business to discuss the importance of historic preservation and the inclusion of Black professional representation in the architectural design industry.
In the article, Saundra notes that she would like to see more recognition of the layers of Black spaces in architectural history in Detroit and an overall intentional focus on diversity in the field of architecture. “A lot of people don't have access, [or] feel like things are not possible. They don't know the possibility – they don't know they can get paid to draw. That is like, the coolest thing,” says Little. “I think it's very important for somebody to know that and then that you can actually have a role in changing your community. They can not only be a future architect, [but] they can understand how to move things within their own communities and actually empower people who are coming from communities [that] have been disinvested in how to change them.” Saundra also speaks on how preserving buildings can revitalize neighborhoods and social infrastructure. Additionally, she highlights the opportunity to tell stories through the creation of the Hidden in Plain Site podcast for Noir Design Parti where she provides a platform for stories of Black architects and their journeys to be told in impactful ways.
Little is an award-winning architect and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)—the organization’s highest individual honor, and she is the only Black woman in Michigan to earn the recognition. Saundra has planned and designed many notable projects in Detroit and throughout the Midwest, including leading a collaborative team to document and honor Black civil rights sites in Detroit for the National Park Service, and the creation of a plan for an underutilized recreation district that leverages the significance of the Negro National League history in Hamtramck, Michigan that will help celebrate the area’s multicultural heritage. Other projects under her direction include Fiberglas Tower in Toledo, Ohio, the national Arab-American Museum in Dearborn, and the David Klein Art Gallery and the Randolph Hotel in Detroit.
Little holds a Master of Architecture (1998) and a B.S. in Architecture and Design (1994) from Lawrence Technological University. Read the full article here.