National Building Museum Invites Public to Honor Mabel O. Wilson in Person & Via Livestream

Categories: Articles, Press

Live Presentation from Celebrated Architect, Scholar and Author Focuses on Intersection of Design and Black History and Culture

Mabel Wilson by Dario Calmese
Mabel O. Wilson by Dario Calmese













  • Hybrid in person/livestream discussion and celebration of the ground-breaking work and accomplishments of Mabel O. Wilson, the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Wilson is the 2021 Vincent Scully Prize Recipient. Full press release here.
  • Live conversation between Wilson and Steven Nelson, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Wilson will also present highlights of her career and ongoing work to expand the narrative of African American contributions to the built environment.
  • Program and timely discussion topics to include:
    • How the invention of racial difference was influenced by and influences the aesthetic and technical dimensions of architecture in the early modern era of the nineteenth century.
    • How and why historically marginalized groups were excluded from the commemorative landscape of memorial structures in American cities.
    • How to articulate criteria and practices that can be used when public memorials or monuments are contested.
  • Public and Media Q & A welcome, from both in-person and livestream attendees
  • Tickets still available — Reserve tickets today for in-person socially-distanced attendance or virtual event here. $10 Museum Member / FREE Student / $15 Non-member.
  • Program is submitted for continuing education credits 


  • Tuesday, October 19 – 6:30 – 8 pm
  • In Person — Great Hall, National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
  • Livestream – All registrants receive online access for virtual attendance. Register here.


For complimentary media access, contact Karen Baratz, Baratz Communications,

QUOTE – “The Museum is honored to recognize Mabel Wilson as our 2021 Scully Prize Recipient.  As a woman of color, her extraordinary contributions as an architect, teacher and author illuminate, engage and challenge our understanding of the community impact of the built environment.  We look forward to celebrating her success and hosting this timely discussion.”  Aileen Fuchs, President & Executive Director, National Building Museum.


Wilson is an architect, scholar, researcher, artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on Black culture and history and the ways they intersect with the built environment.  Her recent contributions have culminated in both co-editing Race and Modern Architecture and co-organizing Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. She also is a professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia, in addition to serving as the director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies and co-director of Global Africa Lab. With her private practice, Studio &, she is part of the architectural team that completed the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers (2020) at the University of Virginia.  Read more here.


Steven Nelson is dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Nelson has published widely on the arts, architecture, and urbanism of Africa and its diasporas and on queer studies. Nelson is professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as director of the African Studies Center and advised the university on its diversity and inclusion strategic planning. Before assuming the role of dean, he was the Center’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor. Most recently, he has joined the Kress Foundation Board of Trustees and has been named as a member of the Society of Architectural Historian’s 2021 Class of Fellows. Nelson earned a BA in studio art from Yale University and an AM and a PhD in art history from Harvard University.


Established in 1999, the Scully Prize recognizes excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. Wilson joins esteemed past recipients, including Elizabeth Meyer, Robert Campbell and Inga Saffron.  Learn more here.

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, planning, and design is important for everyone. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome visitors of all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, our communities, and our futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448,, or visit Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Karen Baratz, Baratz Communications, / 240-497-1811


Purchase Race and Modern Architecture in the Museum’s Shop.