INTtalks: Navigating the Fulbright Scholar Program with Latoya Nelson Kamdang
For her Fulbright, Latoya researched indigenous architecture and urban settlements in Taiwan. This research proposal was about accessibility, inclusion, and acknowledgment of the marginalized and displaced. Her research and investigations have consistently addressed recognition. Through her investigations with the Fulbright program, Latoya studied the historical, architectural conditions of the communities of indigenous Taiwan and interrogated the ways their approach to spatial arrangement, environmental conditions, and building materials can inform design thinking. There are complex issues in the evolution of Taiwan. Her current teaching position is an interdisciplinary course that investigates issues of rapid urban change and seeks radical interventions for preserving culture while creating interventions for productivity.
With Fulbright, Latoya was able to expand perspectives of spatial, cultural, and social architectural histories to benefit the profession. Architecture has an issue of diversity and inclusion, and she has continued to teach architecture from a wider lens to include more people and perspectives during the education process. She is working with GAHTC to insert research into a database for architectural historians to relay a broader history to students and future architects. How can indigenous architecture and its approach to sustainability influence practice? Sometimes the answer is not technical. What was once considered invisible, will be visible.
Latoya Nelson Kamdang is a U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar, Registered Architect, Certified Interior Designer, LEED AP BD+C, and a visionary space creator. Her experience spans architecture, planning, exhibit design, and industrial and interior design. She has experience in hospitality, retail, museums, workplace, education, and institutional design. Latoya was on the design team for the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture. She was an interdisciplinary team member from RFP submission through construction documents. Her spatial focus was the Slavery & Freedom History Gallery. Latoya’s experience has also spanned overseas federal projects and the project executive for aviation and civic projects in NYC. While practicing, Latoya has been simultaneously working as a Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute. She educates students on interdisciplinary design and material theory. She has a research focus on expanding urban areas, neighborhood gentrification, sustainable technologies, and indigenous architecture. Latoya earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and a Certificate in Real Estate Design & Development from the Wharton School of Business. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from Georgetown University. She currently sits on the board of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, The New York State Board of Architecture, The First 500, the ACE Mentor Program NY, and the Van Alen Institute. She serves on the DEI Committee for NCARB.