Kimberly Nicole Dowdell

Kimberly Nicole Dowdell

MPA ’15
BArch '06, Cornell University
Chicago, Illinois
Kimberly Dowdell

The immediate past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Kimberly Dowdell is committed to sustainable design and development, equity and inclusion, and improving the quality of life in cities.

Dowdell was named 2020 Young Architect of the Year by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and honored by Architectural Record for her activism within the profession. In 2019 she delivered the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Annual Dunlop Lecture, addressing how sustainable and equitable design can shape urban futures.

She is currently a principal in the Chicago studio of global design firm HOK. Prior to her 2019 relocation to Chicago, Dowdell helped lead neighborhood revitalization efforts in her native Detroit, having previously worked in real estate development and public service in city government. 

As president of NOMA, Dowdell championed numerous initiatives to increase opportunities for architects of color through a multigenerational approach including access to educational support, leadership training, and legacy building. 

An inaugural Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellow while a student at Harvard Kennedy School, she now co-chairs the alumni council of the School’s Center for Public Leadership. As a Cornell undergraduate, she founded the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network, which now includes more than 2,000 members worldwide. 

“As a millennial Black woman from the American Midwest, and as an architect with experience in sustainable design and inclusive planning, I hope to help Harvard lead the change that will set an example for a post-COVID society, at a turning point in global and American history.”  

Election Year

Candidate for Board