Eric Knowles, Gensler Charlotte
Eric Knowles, Gensler Charlotte

Gensler Voices: Eric Knowles on How Design Can Create a More Sustainable, Just, and Equitable World

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Eric Knowles, technical designer, Gensler Charlotte:

How does your identity and experience inform the work that you do?

Living as someone who is first-generation American to Antiguan parents, I grew up in a generation focused to build on the dreams and success wanted by my forbearers; something I take great pride in. I remain the benefactor of decades of unwavering drive, humility, and hard work. This has inspired me to ensure that my work is a true reflection of the sacrifices made.

How has your career shaped your understanding of the world?

My career choice has fueled my constant optimistic perspective feeling that more work can be done, and should be done, to make the world a more sustainable, fair, and equitable one through the Power of Design. Design affects everyone and ensuring the traditionally voiceless are heard will only result in a more equitable and just society. Our country will then be not just a society, but a just society.

How have you stayed connected or discovered new communities during the pandemic?

Moving to a new city during the pandemic has forced me to use electronic means to connect with new communities and strengthen existing connections, thereby reaching further with less effort. Moving to Charlotte has propelled me to discover new histories and platforms. I have become a member of the Harvey B. Gantt Center, and through this, I hope to become more active with the local community when the pandemic protocols allow.

How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make Gensler a better design firm?

Representation matters! The various backgrounds and expertise of people within our firm coincide around the vision of our founder, Art Gensler, to allow each person to reach their full potential. With this idea in mind, Gensler has created a foundation for all professionals to be heard, thereby hosting more equitable, diverse, and inclusive dialogues all around the hope of creating a better world through the Power of Design.

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