The Directory of African American Architects

Harold Varner

posted Jan 6, 2014 by mannda

Detroit Architect Harold Varner Dies at Age 78 . Associated Press - Harold Varner, an architect on the design team for Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, has died at age 78.

Varner died Saturday at Harper Hospital in Detroit after a long illness, his daughter, Kimberly Varner Tandy, told The Associated Press Wednesday.

One of Detroit's most noted architects, Varner was part of Sims Varner Associates when the firm was hired to design a building for the museum. Being able to design it was an incredible honor for him," Tandy said. "The rotunda is an example of things he had experienced as we traveled to Africa. He wanted it to be more of a gathering place than a museum. That's really what he was trying to impart into that building — a place to come and experience the culture as well as celebrate our heritage.

The 125,000-square-foot museum opened in 1997 just north of downtown Detroit. It houses more than 30,000 artifacts and archival materials. It also serves as a repository of documents of Detroit's labor movement. It served as the location for visitation during memorial services for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in 2005. He was hands-on in making sure it was completed properly," curator of exhibitions Patrina Chatman said of Varner's work on the design. "He also continued to support this institution until his death. He just really loved it. Some people come and build and never come back. He was always here. Varner also was an American Institute of Architecture fellow. He's survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters Kimberly Varner Tandy and Stacy Varner Jackson; two sisters and a brother. Visitation is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the museum.

See more posts.

The Directory of African American Architects is maintained as a public service to promote an awareness of who African American architects are and where they are located. The sole qualification for listing is licensure in one of the fifty US jurisdictions and their territories.

If you are not presently listed please complete the PLEASE ADD ME form and submit.

The Directory is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Practice at the University of Cincinnati.

If you are listed and would like to see a link to your firm's web site please contact Dennis Alan Mann at

Privacy Policy

No information in our database is made public except what appears on the web site.

Name, City, State, Home State of License

If the person is a firm owner or partner and if the firm has a web site then a live link is provided to that web site. All other information is stored in our database and used only for research purposes with no names connected to information (see Publications for examples of our research).

Database Summary

There are currently 1921 licensed African American architects in our database.
  • 311
  • 1610

The last 10 architects added to the database:

Apr 18, 2014 Delvin J. Jackson TX
Apr 8, 2014 Del Leroy Dixon NM
Apr 2, 2014 Frederick James Johnson CT
Mar 30, 2014 LoriAnne M. Jones NJ
Mar 28, 2014 April Cherie Drake VA
Mar 23, 2014 Michael DeFreese Robinson TN
Mar 6, 2014 Chad Jones FL
Feb 27, 2014 Akeeb Bamidele Shekoni NY
Feb 27, 2014 Jared Wesley Smith NY
Feb 22, 2014 Allen Emoakpo Oghenejobo TX

The last 5 faculty added to the database:

Apr 5, 2014 MaLik Benjamin FL
Oct 9, 2013 Emile Dixon AL
Oct 8, 2013 Stephen Slaughter OH
Aug 23, 2013 Clifton Fordham PA
Mar 19, 2013 Oghenerumo Okiomah VA


Apr 9, 2014 Sharon Sutton, FAIA with receive the Seattle AIA Medal of honor and Rico Quirindongo with receive the Seattle AIA Young Architects Award. Read about it:
Feb 28, 2014 We are delighted to congratulate the new 2014 AIA Awardees. First, elevated to FAIA are Gabrielle A. Bullock (CA), Anthony C. Floyd (AZ), Vergel Lee Gay (TX), Robert Arthur King (NY), and Thierry Paret (NV). This year's Whitney M. Young, Jr. recipient is Ivenue Love-Stanley (GA). One of the Young Architect's Awardees is Karen E. Williams (FL). We are honored to have included them all in the Directory.
Jan 21, 2014 We were recently informed of the passing of Professor Victor A. Adegbite of Howard University. Professor Adegbite passed on 10 January. Services on 25 January, details pending. Victor served as chair, Department of City Planning and Associate Dean, School of Architecture and Planning. Our condolences are extended to the family.
Oct 17, 2013 See Obituary for ARTHUR G. SAUNDERS, Cleveland architect;
Oct 16, 2013 THEODORE D. GAILLARD (Age 89) Died on November 21, 2011 at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland, after a recent illness. Beloved husband for 60 years of Geraldine C. Gaillard and devoted father of Kathryn M. Smith (Douglas). He is also survived by one grandchild, Malcolm D. Smith and a host of loving family and friends. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Janet A. Gaillard. Mr. Gaillard, an architect, was a World War II veteran and long time resident of Washington, DC. He had a distinguished career working for the federal government and in private practice.
Jul 30, 2013 It is with a very heavy heart that I tell the Board, my friend and colleague Jumaane Stewart passed away this morning. I received the news from fellow board member Najeeb Hameen a close friend of Jumaane. As more details become available we will let the membership know. Jumaane was instrumental in planning the 2004 NOMA Conference in NY. He brought many of the young people in the NY area together with his passion for architecture. He was truly a young architect on the rise in NY and he will be sadly missed by the NY chapter NYCOBA-NOMA as well as others he touched when he attended many of the National Conferences. Andrew Thompson
Jan 21, 2007 We are proud to announce that THE DIRECTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ARCHITECTS has received a 2007 AIA Award for Collaborative Achievement. The Directory of African American Architects, established in 1991 by two faculty, Professor Bradford Grant, chair of Architecture at Hampton University, and Dennis Mann, Professor of Architecture at the University of Cincinnati, have garnered an Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement for its success in advancing “the visibility, representation, and contributions of African-American architects,” in the words of its founding collaborators. The directory lists more than 1,500 African-American architects who practice in the private and public sectors, teach in higher education, or work outside the profession and still maintain licensure. The listing, with its series of highlight studies, continues to expand and now includes a Web site [] and a comparable listing of landscape architects. Noting the directory’s immediate usefulness, J. Max Bond Jr., FAIA, writes in support of the nomination: “The Directory’s existence helped give a presence to African-American architects. It helped people contact each other and thus helped to reinforce the creation of a community of Architects.”
There have been 161,832 visits to this site.