Imagine a Place Podcast with Taylor Staten of TnS Studios

Mentoring as activism

Taylor Staten is one of only 520 Black female architects in the US. She owns and runs TnS Studio, an architecture firm in the South Side of Chicago. She speaks up, she speaks out, but most importantly she speaks in. Through TnS Studio, she mentors young Black teenagers in her neighborhood around the possibilities that a career in architecture and design could hold for them. In our conversation, she shares her passion for sustainability and how she is taking action to help create the world around that she wants to see.

Topics discussed in this episode

  • Diversity in design
  • Sustainability 
  • Architecture and design
  • The importance of mentorship

Quotes from Taylor Staten:

“Old is not always bad. New is not always good”

"There still are a lot of Black people who are not very aware of architecture as a career path. We know things like art and math. But we don't always realize that architecture is a marriage of those two things." 

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

About Taylor Staten of TnS Studios:

Taylor Staten is an architect based in Chicago, where she leads TnS Studio as Managing Partner and Design Principal. Founded in 2018, TnS Studio primarily serves communities on the South Side of Chicago and works to save abandoned buildings. Recently, the firm received a Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant from the City of Chicago to renovate a space in South Shore for their first office.

Learn more about Taylor Staten and TnS Studio at

In addition to design work, TnS will host an architecture camp for students in 6th-12th grades in summer 2021, and currently provides mentorship to architecture students and recent graduates. The firm is also developing a scholarship to support education for young Black architects. Currently, only 2.5% of all architects in the U.S. are Black; it is TnS Studios goal to create equity in architecture and open the field to those that can change it.

Related Imagine a Place podcast episodes:

Krystal Lucero (Edwards Mulhausen): Using the gifts you’ve been given to create change.

Roby Isaac (Mannington Commercial): Change at the studio level.

Cheryl Durst (IIDA): What's next for the spaces we design?


  • Doug Shapiro
  • Taylor Staten
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