For Angel Mangham, inspiration to pursue a career in architecture came when she was six years old. “I enjoyed watching HGTV and making wooden models, and asked my parents who creates buildings,” said Angel. “They told me architects, and I was sold. Even though I investigated other careers and had other interests I always came back to architecture.”
Angel continues, “I also grew up in Flint, MI where there are a lot of abandoned homes and vacant lots and I wanted to do something about it.”
Angel, an incoming graduate architecture program student at University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Community Design (UDM SACD) is the recipient of MAF’s 2023 AIA Michigan President’s Scholarship. (Angel completed her Bachelor of Science in Architecture at UDM SACD in May). “Winning the scholarship means a lot because I know there are people who believe in me and see my potential, said Angel. “It is another form of support towards my journey.”
The MAF scholarship jury noted that Angel’s outstanding design portfolio, strong leadership skills with UDM’s student chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIAS) and the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA) as well as excellent references made her an outstanding choice for the award.
As part of their MAF scholarship application, students must include a personal statement describing their interest, experience, and plans related to architecture, as well as information on their leadership and extracurricular activities. “I shared my personal experience from living in a city that needs help (Flint), where I learned what inequity meant because I lived through it,” said Angel. “I explained how architects are problem solvers and how I hope to become a good one in the future. I also expressed the importance of licensure and what it means to be a black woman who is a licensed architect.”
MAF scholarship applicants were also required to submit a student design portfolio. “My goal was to show I can think, design, and produce,” said Angel. “For example, I showed a partner project with Larissa McCoy, where we designed a sustainable mass timber office building. It was the only project in the class to use terra cotta as a façade material.” Another of Angel’s projects was for the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (part of UDM SACD), which featured a collaged rendering illuminating diversity, gardening, and community; Angel assisted with site coordination and final graphics. “I like to try different design outputs to further understand each project’s objectives,” she said.
While Angel does not have a type of architecture she would prefer to design in her future career, she does like historic preservation, urban design/community development, education, and mixed-use projects, as those project types offer a lot of variety and the ability to help people. What Angel enjoys most about architecture is the opportunity to help people through design, and feels it important that architects not forget who they are designing each project for.
She also enjoys learning the history of buildings and sites because that history helps inform the future. Among her favorite works of architecture are the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (particularly the new entrance) and the revitalization of Michigan Central Station in Detroit.
Michigan Architectural Foundation’s mission is to advance awareness of how architecture enriches life. How does Angel think architecture enriches life? “Architecture is the center of all moments. It gives you the space to live your life in whatever way you choose.”
(photos, top to bottom: Angel; Angel presenting her final undergraduate architecture program project; a selection of work from Angel’s student portfolio; Angel receiving her Bachelor of Architecture Degree at UDM SACD; a selection of photos from Angel’s world travels)