Karen Burton works for more diversity in architecture field

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Karen Burton said she wanted to be an architect since she was in the fourth grade.

By Kirk Pinho

Karen A.D. Burton wanted to be an architect since she was a kid who loved to draw and sketch. After finishing architecture school at the University of Michigan, she began her career in Flint and then ended up in Detroit, doing freelance work on large projects in the city and elsewhere. 

Today, she runs SpaceLab Detroit, a co-working space company, and Noir Design Parti, which documents the work of Black architects in the city, along with Saundra Little, who is principal director of diversity and inclusion for Quinn Evans Architects, including a podcast series called “Hidden in Plain Site.”

Burton spoke with Crain’s about her career, diversity in the architecture field, and her co-working space business.