Black Architecture: Unearthing a Black Aesthetic
Founder, OffTop Design
Black residents in Los Angeles face a major crisis in the implications of gentrification. Trendy neighborhoods of Watts, Jefferson Park, West Adams, and Inglewood are all historically black neighborhoods that are being emptied out as the neighborhoods gentrify. Research shows that when black people move out of L.A. (mostly due to cost), they move over 60 miles away (such as Inland Empire or Palmdale/Lancaster), and with those families goes the community’s rich, historic culture. Demar Matthews, founder of OffTop Design (based in Los Angeles), is changing that trend and forging a path forward for black identity to not only be preserved in the communities facing a surge of growth (and historically, displacement), but flourish and prosper in these evolving L.A. neighborhoods, and beyond. His first project, a backyard home and makerspace development, will demonstrate how black identity in L.A. can leave a lasting impression on the built world.