Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA
Charlotte, North Carolina
Public service, community development
Honored with the 2013 Whitney Young Award for a lifelong commitment to civil rights, public service, and socially-conscious architecture, Harvey Gantt, FAIA, has remained a well-known public figure since the early 1960s, when he became the first African American student admitted to Clemson University.
Following a master’s in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gantt settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. After working as an architecture lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Clemson, he opened Gantt Huberman Architects in 1971. Politically active since he was a teenager, he was appointed in 1974 to Charlotte City Council, holding the seat until he was elected as the city’s first African American mayor in 1983.
Finding success in the fields of both architecture and politics, Gantt used his platform to educate the public about architecture and urban issues, paving the way for aspiring architects of color. He would run two high-profile (though unsuccessful) campaigns against U.S. Senator Jessie Helms, lead the National Organization of Minority Architects as elected president, and chair the National Capital Planning Commission under President Bill Clinton.
“He has literally opened doors, provided opportunity, and personally mentored generations of design professionals and civic leaders through his life’s work,” wrote AIA South Atlantic Region directors William J. Carpenter, FAIA, and Jane Frederick, FAIA, in Gantt’s nomination letter.