• Sacred Stoops: Typological Studies of Black Congregational Spaces
    Germane Barnes

Author unknown, photograph, Sarasota, FL. Courtesy of Newtown Museum.

Sacred Stoops: Typological Studies of Black Congregational Spaces, is an investigation of the porch and its role in the African-American community. The porch is one of the most recognizable symbols in the history of the traditional American home. From historic shotgun homes in New Orleans to bungalow homes in Chicago, the porch has been a key space of congregation for African-Americans. Often viewed as an accessory to the main structure, this covered area shapes the narrative of many who utilize it. Operating as interstitial space, simultaneously public and private, the stoop has molded the perception of numerous black communities. Depending on vernacular and location, the porch manifests itself in many different ways. It is also an overt reminder of how racism and the built environment continue to shape this country. The porch is an important space for observation of collective identity and entry point to the home as well as issues of race, segregation, and spatial politics.

Born in Chicago, Germane Barnes received a bachelor's of science in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s of architecture from Woodbury University. Learning from historical data and perspectives from within architecture as well as cultural and ethnic studies, he examines how the built environment influences the social and cultural experience. His expertise lies in territories of the African-American communities. Currently he is a full-time lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Miami. His topic studios focus on issues of domesticity, politics, and satire. He is also the designer in residence for the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation where his design and research contributions have been published and exhibited in several international publications and institutions. Most notably,, where he was named a member of the 2015 Class of Young Guns, under-the-radar professionals who are busy challenging the status quo in the design industry.