SAY IT LOUD - United Nations 

SAY IT LOUD - United Nations World Wide

New York Based Designer

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you? 

Jenn was exposed to architecture at the Ohio State University after selecting that major for her strengths in creativity and math/science.  After excelling during her first semester, she found she could have a lifelong passion for architecture.



The great architect, Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, With over eleven years of experience, she has been on the team for a variety of mixed-use, commercial, cultural & residential projects in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, India, Azerbaijan, & UAE. Currently an Associate at Adjey Associates. Pascale is the 315th living African-American female registered architect in the United States. She is the Founder & Executive Director of Beyond the Built Environment, positioned to uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline. She has been awarded with the 2018 Pratt Alumni Achievement Award, the NOMA Prize for Excellence in Design and Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40; featured on the Cover of the September 2017 issue. Pascale is 2018 AIA Young Architects Award Recipient and was featured in the Council of Tall Building & Urban Habitat Research Paper, in the same company as Zaha Hadid. Mrs. Sablan holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from the Columbia University. Pascale has given lectures at Colleges and Universities all over the US; cultural institutions such as the United Nations and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad quite frequently during my childhood. I observed that architecture can be a direct interpretation of culture, or in some cases, a particular family. What I understood “home” to be in the U.S. was very different in another country. The idea that you can make a tailored space sparked my creativity and imagination. “An architect!” was always my answer when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. While pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture at Pratt Institute, I developed my voice; I learned how to defend both my designs and my design process. It was also where I developed my drawing skills, since I did hand drafting and model making (it was common to find me covered in sawdust from working with my hands in the woodshop). More importantly, I was introduced to a collaborative working process. Late at night in the studio, after the professors went home, all of the students would get together to share their ideas and knowledge.

After graduating from Pratt, I pursued a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University where I developed my advocacy voice–defending my design ideas and implementing holistic design visions for the built environment. I developed my point-of-view on what I wanted to see in the world and how I could use my designs to implement change. I also began experimenting with technology in the design process. Recently, I’ve been lecturing on how to manipulate technology to direct the design process.

What excites you in the work you do?

What I enjoy the most about my job is the collaboration with my peers. In addition I am always surprised by how quickly architectural practice evolves. Developing new ideas and the pace at which architecture changes is the most exciting part of the profession. As with technology, it is impossible to predict what will happen in 10 years. We currently invest a lot of time and effort toward environmental sustainability, and it would be great to invest more in social sustainability, in pushing the idea of building society. That change in focus could impact architecture and the tools we use. Technology will continue to evolve, making it even easier for us to articulate our ideas and execute design. Sometimes the most interesting, intriguing architecture is not just the singular project, but how it integrates into the community. Interstitial ideas, moments for collaboration, imagination, and spark are what makes architecture profound to me.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

I am the 315th African American female architect in the United States to attain my architectural license. As of 2016, there are only 349 women who hold this distinction.

Photography Credit:

Pascale Sablan