Mogavero Architects

Celebrating Black History Month: James C. Dodd, Architectural Pioneer

We’re taking the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month this year by sharing the work of a significant driving force for architectural design and innovation in our community – the prolific and trailblazing local architect, James C. Dodd Sr., FAIA.

James C. Dodd Sr., FAIA, NOMA, is recognized as Sacramento’s first Black registered architect and is responsible for several architecturally notable buildings around the city. Born in Texas, Dodd received his architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1952 after being discharged from the US Army.

Following his relocation to Sacramento, Dodd practiced as a Draftsman with the State Division of Architecture and later joined the local firm Barovetto & Thomas before then starting his own practice, James C. Dodd and Associates. Over the firm’s nearly 40-year span, Dodd’s work gained notoriety in the Mid-Century Modern and Brutalist movements, with many examples of his work later earning a place on local and national registers of historic significance.

In the later years of his career, Dodd expanded his practice to include affordable housing developments, places of worship, historic rehabilitation projects, and schools. Dodd was licensed to practice architecture in several states and served on the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and the Sacramento City Board of Education. Dodd was a founding member and contributed to the Charter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), which still operates to this day.

Notable examples of James C. Dodd’s work around Sacramento include the Shiloh Baptist Church, the Sacramento Convention Center complex, renovations to Sacramento High School, and the Nathaniel Colley Building, which served as the law offices of Nathaniel Colley, one of Sacramento’s first Black lawyers and is the current home to the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce.

Dodd’s contribution to architecture in the Sacramento region and beyond is immeasurable and has had a lasting positive impact on the architectural community as a whole. We are honored to share this field’s space with such a talented, visionary individual and to bring a little piece of his story to you today.

Happy Black History Month!

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