"It took a great deal of skill and creativity and imagination to build the kind of situation we have, and it is going to take skill and imagination and creativity to change it. We are going to have to have people as committed to doing the right thing, to inclusiveness, as we have in the past to exclusiveness."

 

- Whitney M. Young Jr, 1968

Who is Bmore NOMA?

Bmore NOMA is an organization that champions diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members. We seek to engage, impact and cultivate growth within our communities in the Baltimore region and beyond.

Meet The Executive Board

Calvin McCargo Jr.
NOMA


NOMA Position: President
Firm: DesignHAND Architects
Occupation/Job Title: Architect

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path? 
I was always fond of art and science growing up along with the feeling one gets when they see or walk into an incredible building. I also enjoyed the admiration I would get from people after I would tell them that I wanted to be an architect. It just seemed so prestigious. 

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 
My architectural inspiration is mainly from styles that I enjoy most. This includes modernist, deconstructivism and, what I call, organic rationalism. People like Moshe Safdie, Zaha Hadid, Bjarke Ingles and Frank Lloyd Write to name a few. My design inspiration is also inspired by Hip-hop culture. 
 
How did you first get involved with NOMA? 
I was first introduced to NOMA as a junior at Morgan State University. I was later reintroduced to the organization by current friends of mine that wanted to bring the organization to Baltimore.

 

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA? 
My personal goal is to help create an accessible organization that can become a household name known for excellent architects of color and the growth of this under represented group.  

If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?
Rio. Tropical beach life within an urban setting. Great mix of history and contemporary architecture. Access to amazing tropical jungles. Great food and night life. (At least this is what I have been told.)

Melanie Ray
AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc.


NOMA Position: Vice President/ Treasurer
Firm: Hord Coplan Macht
Occupation/Job Title: Design Architect

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path? 
My father is an architect, so I was exposed to the field at a very young age. I never thought about actually becoming an architect until my junior year of high school, when I realized I was good at math and science, but could see myself doing titrations and calculus everyday.

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 
I love the work of Weiss Manfredi. Their ability to create intimate spaces with large sites is amazing.
 
How did you first get involved with NOMA? 
We had a NOMAS chapter at Penn State, where I did my undergraduate studies. My first conference was in Atlanta in 2011, and I was blown away by the number of black architects that had gathered for this one event! I made sure that the NOMAS chapter at my school continued to thrive, and now provide that same assistance to other schools as the Northeast University Liaison.
 
What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA? 
I look forward to Bmore NOMA becoming a go-to resource for activism and advocacy in the city of Baltimore. We are at a crucial moment in the city’s history, and Bmore NOMA should play a role in the shaping of our city’s future.
 
If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?
South Africa! So far, I have been to almost every major continent (with the exception of Australia), and a tour of Africa is next on my list.

Tasheria Shorts
Associate AIA, Associate NOMA, LEED AP BD+C

 

NOMA Position: Secretary

Firm: TCA Architects
Occupation/Job Title: Associate

 

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path?

I always knew I would be involved with a profession that focused on one’s creativity. Growing up my Grandfather always tinkered with something. He renovated his own home and turned his garage into a second home. I wanted to be just like him one day.  

 

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 

Zaha Hadid's work always fascinated me. She indirectly catered to my dream of not only becoming a woman architect but a woman architect who created organic/nontraditional building designs.

 

How did you first get involved with NOMA? 

I first became aware of NOMA during my college years, but I didn't join the NOMAS chapter at my university until my later years.

 

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA?

To foster connections among minority design professionals in Baltimore, as well as, inspire the next generation of minority architects.

 

If given a week long all-expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?

Tokyo. The culture, the landscape, and the architecture; it all seems so beautiful. 

Leon Bridges
FAIA, NOMAC


NOMA Position: Parliamentarian
Firm: Morgan State University
Occupation/Job Title: Assistant Professor

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path? 
As a 12 year old and drawing pictures of houses, my Mom felt that architecture might be a field of interest to me. She introduced me to Mr. Paul R. Williams, FAIA, and the rest is history.

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 
I. M Pei, FAIA, Paul R. Williams, FAIA, Minoru Yamasaki, FAIA, & Pietro Belluschi, FAIA because they have all practiced to the highest degree of design excellence.
 
How did you first get involved with NOMA? 
I joined the first organizational meeting in Detroit, MI, 1971. Other than Jeh Johnson, FAIA, the only surviving member who formed the idea in Nassau, Bahamas, 1970, I and Robert Coles, FAIA, are the oldest “original” members of NOMA.

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA? 
My personal goal is to grow the organization by increasing the membership from all racial identities for the purpose of increasing their personal growth and, perhaps, ownership of their own firms.
 
If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?
Barbados because it is the closest English speaking nation to the U.S. which has a sound economy and is peopled, controlled and administered by peoples of color.

Meet The Board

(Committee Chairs)

Beresford Pratt
AIA, NOMA

 

NOMA Position: Communication Chair

Firm: Ayers Saint Gross

Occupation/Job Title: Architect (Associate)

 

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path? 

My first day in junior high ‘Tech Ed’ we were charged with designing a wooden bridge that would withstand a pressure test of an unknown amount. After slaving away for 2 weeks in class I ended up designing the classes strongest bridge. I realized what got me excited about the assignment had nothing to do with the calculations that got me there, but the process of working with my hands, constructing with materials, and designing on paper… If it wasn’t for that realization I would have been a civil engineer.

 

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 

I love the work of Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, followed by (in non particular order) Francis Kere, Renzo Piano, and David Adjaye. I lean to each of these architects work, because of there varying degrees of obsessions with materials and light. Carlo Scapa in particular was a glass blower turned architect with no formal training in architecture. He consistently worked with brass makers, carpenters, welders and craftsmen during design and construction, and his buildings were giant thoughtful experiments of details, materials, and form. He worked inversely from most architects…the detail came before the building, and Its pretty astonishing!

 

How did you first get involved with NOMA?

The current ‘President Elect’ of NYC/nycoba chapter recruited me my freshman year at Penn State University to join our NOMAS chapter. However, when our NOMAS chapter fell dormant for a few years our current BmoreNOMA Treasurer decided to rekindle the flame in a number of students, and I became active as the NOMAS  Treasurer and later the Vice President.

 

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA?

My mission is to share and connect people to Bmore NOMA and get them excited about creating an equitable tomorrow. The staggering numbers, when it comes to minority representation in our industry, are disheartening. I desperately want young kids in Baltimore who would ordinarily not enter our profession to see people who look like them thriving so that one day they would pursue a career in designing built environments and hopefully in turn our industry’s demographics will mirror the diversity of out cliental nation wide.  

 

If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?

Japan! Japan! Japan! I am obsessed with Japanese wood working and joinery. This particular culture of architects and craftsmen have mastered the gift of designing structures out of intricate wood details, lattice works, and sculptures with using minimal or no nails. The same is true for West African indigenous structures. Making Sierra Leone and Nigeria very close seconds!

Jordan A. Rhodes

 

AIA, NCARB, NOMA, LEED Green Associate

NOMA Position: Professional Development Chair 
Firm: EwingCole
Occupation/Job Title: Architect I

 

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path? 

Spent my whole life wanting to be an engineer. Got 2.5 years into an Aerospace engineering program and realized I was bored to tears. I took an intro to interior design class as a filler course while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do next. The following semester I was a full-time Interior design student. Architecture was the natural next step when I was looking into graduate programs. For me, the way I would like to practice it, Architecture is the happy place where both the left side and right side of my brain can live up to their full potential.

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 

The Saarinens, especially Eero Saarinen. They were starchitects in the best sense of the word. No signature style other than the highest most considerate merger of materiality, form, and the programmatic needs of the client. I’d take picture of Farnsworth but I’d live in the Miller House.

How did you first get involved with NOMA? 

I was a part of NOMAS in grad school.

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA? 

To create a support structure which foster an increase the number of licensed architects in our membership. To have the 500th black women architect licensed to be a member of Bmore NOMA.

If given a week long all-expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why? 

Hawaii or Australia/New Zealand. Strictly financial. Plane fare to those locations are killer.

Camessia D. Johnson

 

Assoc. AIA, NOMA

 

NOMA Position: Community Outreach + Civic Engagement Committee Chair

Firm: Streetsense 

Occupation/Job Title: Architectural Designer III

 

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path?

I truly believe that the built environment can be a medium for positive change, joy, and inspiration! Over the past few years I have built my career based on honesty and integrity. My experience and education thus far have given me a strong understanding of the importance of place, people, and context within a project. I have had the opportunity to work on various project types including mixed‐use, retail, senior living, multi‐family housing, adaptive‐reuse, master planning, and environmental graphics. I have also gained hands-on experience working with nonprofit groups, providing pro‐bono design, research, and visioning graphics in development proposals for local community organizations. I would say that Architecture is the profession that found me. In high school, I was on track for our schools Computer Science curriculum. However, I was fortunate enough to take electives such as Microsoft Skills, Hand Drafting, CAD, and Model making all in two early courses. I knew then, that I was an artist at heart and that is how I made my way into the profession. After taking the bulk of my general education courses as a freshman, I chose to start the Architecture program at my college as a sophomore who was ready to change the world!

How did you first get involved with NOMA?

I am dedicated to sharing my time and talents to promote diversity and inclusion in the profession and have been volunteering since the age of 12. Over the past few years, I have worked diligently to establish myself in the design industry as a young leader, mentor, outreach organizer, advocate, educator, and placemaker.  I noticed the lack of representation in my field early on, while I was still pursuing my undergraduate degree at Morgan State University. There was no local chapter and during my time at Morgan, I was active in the community and in AIAS but our NOMAS chapter was not thriving. Branching out, I attended my first NOMA Conference in Houston, Texas in 2017 as Chair of the FAR Committee and in support of the establishment of the Baltimore Chapter. Most importantly, II was an advocate for membership early on and encouraged many of my peers and colleagues to attend the Bmore NOMA kick-off meeting!

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA?

My personal goal has always been to foster the dialogue between generations of design thinkers, planners, entrepreneurs, innovators, creatives, students, and professionals to drive positive change within our community.While studying at Morgan, I learned to be a steward of the neighborhoods and context in which I live, work, and design. Morgan’s design curriculum is deeply rooted in community based research and project development. As an aspiring architect, I am an advocate for the built environment AND the people in it.  I want to expand my role in issues facing Baltimore, underrepresented communities, and the profession, to demonstrate how architecture and planning make a difference. I believe that strengthening the sustainability of our neighborhoods should be a the forefront of the City’s revitalization efforts.  I would like to see this group significantly increase its presence and membership in the Baltimore/Washington Area among minority designers, especially women and girls of color. I feel that I have made enough valuable connections during my career thus far to uplift the mission of NOMA and bridge the gap and supporting the local career pipeline for young leaders and designers of tomorrow. I believe that within our chapter, we have a unique opportunity to break the mold and set a new standard for what inclusivity looks and feels like. We also have the opportunity to plan for solutions that accommodate diversity and complex household and family structures. We have what it takes! I have set out to be a resource and advocate for others and that is the enthusiasm I am bringing with me to this position on the NOMA Executive Board. I would also like to encourage students that are studying in Baltimore to return to the city and uplift it through sharing their knowledge and expertise in the workforce to help strengthen Baltimore’s  local economy and social capital. 

​Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why?

Many people have influenced and inspired me throughout my life and in my career. Carpentry, sketching, and working with automobiles came naturally to my grandfather. My mom has always said that I inherited is wit, will, and natural creativity. These two are my biggest inspiration from my family. Some of my favorite architects are Frank Lloyd Wright, Tadao Ando, Phil Freelon, Sasaki, Jeanne Gang, Bjarke Ingels, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, and Liz Diller! I am a technical thinker as well as a musician so thinking outside of the box is my jam! I was also very inspired at the 2019 Harvard GSD Black in Design Conference by the following three presenters:  Black Space by Pierce Freelon, Restorative Justice by Deanna Van Buren, and Holistic Design Strategy by Denise Shante Brown.

If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go?

Phuket Island in Thailand! I would love to go there and enjoy the beautiful beachy scenery, blue waters, gorgeous mountains / limestone cliffs, and explore the old town architecture, temples, waterfront villages, museums, night markets, culture, and history of this island province!

Vernon Fluker

NOMA

 

NOMA Position: Scholarship Chair

Firm: Roman Mosaic & Tile Co.

Occupation/Job Title: Estimator

 

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path?

I first garnered interest in architecture while I was in 3rd grade. I was always drawing, sketching and building things and my father made the suggestion and described what an architect does. From there, I've always loved the concept of seeing something go from our heads, to paper, to the build environment.

 

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)?

I was inspired by two architects. First, Frank Lloyd Wright as I recieved heavy doses of his projects while studying in Chicago. I resonanated with many of his concepts and approach to architecture and the development of the prarie style. Second, Paul Revere Williams, seeing the obstacles that he overcame during his era and the level of success that he obtained proved to me that we do have a place in this field.

 

How did you first get involved with NOMA?

I first got involved in NOMA in college. Our student chapter had been defunct. I felt that with sparse amount of african americans that we had in studio we needed to stick together and support one another. From there, I relaunched our UIC NOMAS Chapter.

 

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA?

My personal goal has been the same since college. To increase the number of african american architects. To introduce architecture to as many children and provide as many opportunies to the youth to know that architecture is a career option and you too can shape your environment.


If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why? 

I would travel to Japan and China. I've always been inspired by their culture, architecture and now, technological advances. I would love to experience it all first hand.

Nikolas Hill

NOMA

 

NOMA Position: Programming Chair

 

Ginikachi Eburuoh

NOMA

 

NOMA Position: External Secretary 

 

Thank You to Our Past Leaders!

Kathleen Starghill Sherrill
AIA, NCARB, NOMA, LEED AP


NOMA Position: Past President (2017-2019)
Firm: SP Arch Inc.
Occupation/Job Title: Principal & Lead Designer

What personally drew you to architecture/design as a career path?
Carpentry was a hobby of my dad, changing spacing in our home, my great uncle had built my Grandfather’s church, and his house as well as several other buildings in their community. Additionally, my Grandmother was constantly rearranging rooms in her house, and this started my love of design. By the age of 12, I knew I wanted to be an architect. 

Who is your architectural/design inspiration and why (professional, starchitect, family member, mentor etc.)? 
Several people have influenced and inspired me in my career. Early on, I had few influences. Growing up, there were no women or African Americans that I knew of doing what I wanted to do. My cousin was a mechanical engineer designing trains and industrial equipment, but that was as close as I got. My mother’s spirit of ‘go out there and be the first’ was always guiding me, but it was not until much later that I met Anthony Johns, Leon Bridges, Marshal Purnell and Jack Travis, that I began to have real role models. When I discovered Norma Sklarek and Paul Williams and read their stories, it was like I discovered a new world.

 

How did you first get involved with NOMA? 
I found there was no local chapter. I wanted to know why, but there were no answers. I questioned other architects and students about starting a chapter, but there was no real interest. I attended my first NOMA Conference in Washington DC in 2012 as president of AIA Baltimore when Marshal Purnell was president of AIA National.

 

What is your personal mission/goal for Bmore NOMA? 
I would like to see this group become a strong advocate for our profession by supporting and adding to the sustained growth of minorities in the field of architecture. Bmore NOMA will be a resource to architects in all stages of professional career, especially those looking to enter the profession. As we support professional growth, we will also be a resource to support better living conditions in undeserved communities in our city.

If given a week long all expense paid trip to travel today, where would you go and why?
I would travel to Egypt. Africa is the birthplace of humans, and on this continent Egypt has the most preserved ancient examples of early humans’ first examples of creating space. Ingenuity, understanding of climate, and use of mater
ials 

GET IN TOUCH:

CONTACT US:

Address:

Center for Architecture and Design

100 N Charles Street

Suite P101

Baltimore, MD 21201

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