Meet Germane Barnes, award-winning designer-architect

Special release in collaboration with Commissioner

Germane Barnes’ research and design practice explores the connection between architecture and identity. Exhibited and published at The Museum of Modern Art, in The New York Times and Architect Magazine, recent awards include the Harvard Wheelwright Prize, the Rome Prize in Architecture and the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. Germane is the AIRIE Everglades inaugural Wege Invitational Fellow

In your own words, who are you and what do you do?
I’m an architecturally-trained designer that is most interested in work that lies at the intersection of cultural identity and space. I’m also an associate professor of architecture at the University of Miami, where I direct the speculative Community, Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL for short).

What’s your favorite Miami memory?
My favorite Miami memory is when my former boss at the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation allowed me to participate in a basketball tournament organized by the Miami Heat, where he is a season-ticket holder. Our team won the tournament and got to play the championship game on the Heat floor before the game. It was an incredible experience. 

What are you looking forward to this year?
I am looking forward to Miami Art Week! I can’t wait to see my friends—artists like Roscoè B. Thické III, Diana Eusebio and Morel Doucet—and their work. It’s always a fun time of the year to explore the city.

Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: What brings you most alive about this city?
Miami has been my home for almost 10 years and what brings me the most joy is the music. The music is emblematic of the multiple cultures present in this young city. It is impossible to be sad in this delightful city.   

How does Miami help you do what you do/influence your work?
Miami has been integral in the development of my work because it is a test bed for themes of Blackness, which are central to my practice. It’s expansive and thoughtful and important, and Miami provides many opportunities to blend themes.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would be the Southern BBQ Eggs Benedict from Blue Collar with bread pudding as my dessert!

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.
I love the back patio of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, it’s an amazing place to sit and view the city. I spend a LOT of time playing basketball at the University of Miami Herbert Wellness Center. The third location that is a part of my perfect day is a trip to Andiamo for pizza.

What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?
On Instagram I follow a page called @fatgirlhedonist and as someone that loves food, this page speaks to my soul. I don’t know who she is, but she’s amazing!

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Those poles that separate the express lane from the regular lanes are plastic. IYKYK.

What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city?
It is not a very progressive city. As diverse as the city is, it is incredibly conservative.

Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2023.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.