The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Jose J. Mapily

Retired architecture professor and artist Jose Julian Mapily was born on August 13, 1941 in Washington, D.C. to Gladys Mines Mapily, a clerk, and William Mapily, a master sheet metal mechanic. Mapily attended and graduated from Howard University in 1965, earning his B.A. degree in architecture. In 1972, Mapily earned his M.A. degree in city and regional planning, also from Howard University.

Mapily started his career at Morgan State University as an associate professor of architecture and city planning on the graduate level program. He then returned to his alma mater, Howard University, in 1980 again serving as associate professor of architecture and city planning. While serving as an educator, Mapily also worked at a local architectural firm, Bryant and Bryant Architects and Planners. He served as the principal architect in charge of designs for some Washington, D.C. building projects including the Charles Hamilton Houston Neighborhood Center, the Mary McLeod Bethune House and the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. Mapily also completed designs for a $20 million project for the University of the District of Columbia, Van Ness campus.

Mapily has also begun a career as an artist. His artwork can be described as gridlike paintings made out of white dots on a dark ground that resemble schematic drawings of buildings or circuit diagrams for electrical components. In 2002, Mapily’s artwork appeared at the Gala Auction Exhibition at the WPA/Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In 2004, he participated in the exhibition, Medusa Muse Artists at North Carolina Wesleyan College Gallery in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Mapily was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.165

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2007

Last Name

Mapily

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Julian

Schools

Kelly Miller Ms

Nalle Elementary School

Spingarn STAY High School

Bruce-Monroe Elementary School

Richardson Elementary School

Howard University

First Name

Jose

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

MAP01

Favorite Season

None

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere New

Favorite Quote

It Is All Leslie's Fault.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/13/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Architect and architecture professor Jose J. Mapily (1941 - ) was an associate professor of architecture at Morgan State University and Howard University. He also served as principal architect in charge of designs for some Washington, D.C. building projects, including the Charles Hamilton Houston Neighborhood Center and the Mary McLeod Bethune House.

Employment

Bryant and Bryant Architects and Planners

Mapily Associates Architects and Planners

Turner Associates

Anthony N. Johns Archtects

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:8228,162:8954,167:12783,176:13671,185:14670,194:16446,226:17001,232:17556,239:18444,249:18999,254:20331,267:26610,282:27546,297:28716,319:32460,366:32850,372:35112,415:35424,420:36204,431:36828,441:37452,448:41196,506:41976,536:42288,541:48171,570:49134,581:54717,605:55466,613:58890,646:59425,652:60495,664:60923,669:69921,731:71104,747:71741,755:72105,760:72469,765:87960,956:88660,968:90660,986:94949,1001:95265,1006:96687,1025:97635,1038:99294,1065:105190,1079:109150,1088:109550,1094:111179,1103:111415,1108:111710,1115:121127,1191:127740,1332$0,0:676,3:4720,21:5165,27:5877,35:7301,59:10238,102:12285,124:12997,132:13709,141:16201,157:23100,281:44706,492:45798,506:46981,522:59407,631:60908,655:61935,670:62962,691:63278,696:65253,732:65727,743:66517,754:71390,775:72218,782:73184,790:78890,821:84350,869:87343,970:88438,1003:88730,1008:90482,1056:93329,1127:93767,1134:94424,1146:102950,1246:116330,1430:119769,1440:124920,1472:125376,1479:127504,1518:127884,1524:130012,1563:134952,1693:137384,1752:137764,1758:138068,1763:142960,1786:143660,1799:152220,1877:152780,1887:155696,1914:156398,1926:156866,1933:160432,1962:161116,1973:164004,2021:164916,2039:170084,2126:171832,2155:178110,2199:178485,2205:178785,2210:179160,2216:180060,2230:185280,2283:186307,2302:186939,2312:187334,2318:191945,2355:192490,2361:193362,2370:194125,2378:194670,2384:202057,2500:203242,2520:213604,2645:214048,2653:217090,2692
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jose J. Mapily's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily talks about the history of slavery in New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jose J. Mapily describes his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jose J. Mapily describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jose J. Mapily describes his father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily describes how he takes after his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily talks about his experiences as a Boy Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily remembers his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily remembers his neighbors

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily recalls the technology of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily remembers repairing his family's television set

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily describes the practical skills he learned as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily describes his elementary schools

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily talks about his dyslexia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily recalls his experiences with dyslexia in school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily remembers his early mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily describes the Episcopal Church of the Atonement in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily remembers professional basketball players from his neighborhood

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily recalls running track at Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily recalls his decision to become an architect

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily lists influential African American architects

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily talks about William H. Moses, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily describes the challenges faced by African American architects

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily describes his experiences with dyslexia as an adult

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily remembers his influences at Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily recalls being discouraged by his guidance counselor

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily describes the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily recalls SNCC members at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily recalls the alumni of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily describes his studies at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily remembers his early career in architecture

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily remembers founding Turner Associates, PC

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily remembers working on the Logan Circle historic district in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily remembers designing mass transit systems

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily describes his challenges as an architect

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily describes the impact of computers on the architecture industry

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jose J. Mapily describes the Charles Houston Community Center in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily remembers building the Charles Houston Community Center

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily recalls his designs for the University of the District of Columbia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily recalls his designs for the University of the District of Columbia, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily describes the courses he taught at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily reflects upon his teaching experiences

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily describes his concerns for his students

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily describes his concerns about the educational system

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily talks about his architectural style

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily describes his architectural style

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily talks about his painting career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily recalls his partnership with Leslie King-Hammond

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jose J. Mapily talks about 'The Magic Birdhouse'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jose J. Mapily describes his other collaborations with Leslie King-Hammond

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jose J. Mapily describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jose J. Mapily reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jose J. Mapily reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Jose J. Mapily describes his son

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jose J. Mapily describes his concerns for the architecture industry

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jose J. Mapily describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jose J. Mapily narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Jose J. Mapily recalls his decision to become an architect
Jose J. Mapily remembers building the Charles Houston Community Center
Transcript
What was your concentration in high school [Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School, Washington, D.C.]? Did you--$$In, in high school, in the ninth grade was the year that the Russians launched Sputnik [Sputnik 1] and was the first time I heard the term aeronautical engineer. So, myself and one other friend, the one other Eagle Scout, Otis Young, he was, Otis is three years older than I am so he was already in high school and wanted to pursue aeronautical engineering so I asked him what do I need to take, you know, when I get to high school. So, his, one of the courses he said was drafting and I started drafting, my drafting course the first semester in high school and it was taught by an architect who happened to be a classmate of my parents from high school. Dave Brown, as soon as he saw the last name, he said, "I know you, Billy [William Mapily] and Gladys' [Gladys Mines Mapily] son," I said, "Yep." Well, he gave me permission to come over to his office and that's when I changed from deciding to pursue aeronautical engineering to becoming an architect and from the tenth grade, I knew what I wanted to be.$$Okay.$$Okay.$$Now was the, I just wondered, was the, was the National Organization of Minority Architects (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, not yet.$$No, yeah.$$It was around, I didn't know about it.$We were, I think the first African American firm that they hired and one of the reasons they hired us because it was in the African American community. The community needed this facility [Charles Houston Community Center; Charles Houston Recreation Center, Alexandria, Virginia], however, it was one extremely tight budget and the individual that I had as a project manager, actually had, (laughter) had less experience than I did, okay. He was a younger guy than I was and when I finished designing the building and we were submitting it for what we call, bids, that means that you're about to give the drawings and the written documents to a bunch of contractors to determine, you know, what they would build the facility for. Well, this particular person looked at the square footage that we had and he went into a cost estimating book and looked at what was the average cost and came to me and said, "Jose [HistoryMaker Jose J. Mapily], your building is going to cost, you know, it's going to be over budget." I said, "No it's not." I said, "I've never designed anything over budget." He said, "It's going to be over budget based on my calculations." I said, "Well, my estimator says that here's what it's going to cost and it's below budget." He didn't want to believe me and was going to hold up our pay request, said, you have too much square footage. So, you know, being a problem solving kind of individual, you know, I'm looking at, I got, I have about twenty folks that are going to be looking for their paychecks soon and this guy's going to hold it up 'cause he doesn't want to believe me. On the way back to the office [of Turner Associates, PC], I said, I know how to solve this. I've got to get the square footage down. So, there were certain build--certain parts of the building along the perimeter that, I said, okay, if I cut off one foot by the length of this element, I can get it down to the square footage. I went back to the office and told my draftsman, "Look, change this dimension down by one foot, this one down by one foot." "Why?" I told him what happened. I said, "And then run a fresh set of prints and that tomorrow I want you to take these drawings, along with these calculations, over to this guy and turn 'em in." We did, I got my payment and then a couple of weeks later when the bids came out, it was forty thousand dollars below what my estimator said it was going to be. So, you know, you asked me my favorite, favorite is a nice great little building done for a community that badly needed this kind of facility and I was able to prove, you know, my point that, you know, no, I'm right, this is under the budget. That's one favorite.