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***JOHN RIDLEY*** CPDI Africa Internship 2020 SPOTLIGHT!

Hello everyone,

My name is John Ridley, I was born in Panama City Florida and raised in Kennesaw Georgia. I graduated from Kennesaw State University where I majored in African and African Diaspora Studies. My hobbies are health and fitness, and freshwater - saltwater fishing is another favorite hobby of mine. It naturally connects me with the hunter-gatherer spirit in a way! A fun fact about me, 3 years ago I decided to pick a guitar and self learn. I’m enjoying the challenge that comes along with it when learning to play a new song.

I love architecture not just for its functional use, and creative use of materials, but for its cultural and symbolic meanings. As a researcher, the depth of scholarship and of course connection to identity, found in the subject matter grabbed my attention. I am thankful for my African architecture course at Kennesaw State University with Prof. Okwumabua, as it opened my eyes to so much of my cultural heritage as an African American that I would not have otherwise been exposed to. I’m truly grateful for that experience.

Gaining admission to the CPDI AFRICA Summer Internship thus broadened my Pan African worldview, learning and engaging with my fellow interns, who were architects and architecture students from around the world.  I learned that culture, traditions, spirituality, aesthetics where the actual building blocks for building communities. As an African American, it made me all too aware of what Diaspora designers would build if our communities could be reflective of our 'identity" as descendants of Africans in the Americas. 

I recommend the CPDI AFRICA internship for those who are looking to learn how to celebrate Black culture in the built environment. Shout out to Nmadili Okwumabua for giving me an opportunity when others did not.

Join us at our virtual Global Studio for African Centered Architecture at, and engage with me this week as I spotlight my journey!


#OurArchitectureMatters #BlackCulture #AfricanArchitecture #CPDIAfrica #Architecture #AfricaDefinesArchitecture


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