J. Yolande Daniels is the founder of studioSUMO West in Los Angeles and a co-founding design principal of studioSUMO in New York. The work of the studio ranges from institutional and cultural projects in education and the arts to housing at multiple scales in the US and abroad. Her independent design research explores the spatial effects of race and gender in the built environment, focusing on revealing the narratives of resistance and autonomy. In particular, her work takes as a focus documenting and representing spaces that have been rendered adjunct to, yet supplement and maintain, dominant spatial and political systems of power. Taking the form of writing and design research, this work has been published and exhibited widely, including the recent anthology, In Search of African American Space: Redressing Racism, and, also recently in the project Black City: the Los Angeles Edition, currently featured in the exhibition, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America at the Museum of Modern Art. Along with her fellow Reconstructions exhibitors, she is a co-founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective.
Daniels is a fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture, and her work has been supported by MacDowell and the Independent Study Program of the Whitney American Museum of Art in studio practice and cultural studies. She holds a master of architecture from Columbia University and a bachelor of science in architecture from the City University of New York.
As well as previous visiting positions at MIT, Professor Daniels has taught at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Washington University in St Louis, Pratt Institute, and City College. She has also held the positions of Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University, the Silcott Chair at Howard University, and Interim Director of the Master of Architecture program at Parsons School of Constructed Environments, and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Southern California.