Hidden In Plain Site - Episode Four - "Higher Calling" - Sara Timberlake



Sara Timberlake


Sara is a Detroit-based architectural designer, educator, mentor and theorist. She currently works at Quinn Evans, an architectural firm where she works at the intersection of design, planning, and community engagement in order to bring her clients’ visions to life and collaborate with project communities. 

Outside of her professional pursuits, she is the Youth Outreach chair for NOMA National, where she has led Project Pipeline - a free, five-day youth architecture camp - for the past 4 years. She is also engaged with her research “Call and Response: Speculation of a Future Typology for the Black Church”, which aims to clarify a design language to the historic American Black Church, while proposing a building typology for the Black Church in this current moment. 


5 favorite projects


Detroit City of Design Spotlight

20th Century Civil Rights Sites (Michigan)

Second Baptist Church – Detroit

Bethel AME Church – Detroit

African Methodist Episcopal Church (denomination)

Shrine of the Black Madonna – Detroit

New Bethel Baptist Church - Detroit

The Black Church, PBS

Nation of Islam Mosque No. 1

Donald White, Michigan's first licensed black architect, broke new ground – Michigan Radio


Show Topic Links

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and NOMA: Baseline On Belonging

University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

NOMAS Student Design Competition

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Girl Scouts of the USA

Quinn Evans Architects



Urban Sketchers


Devil in a White City by Erik Larson

Ramona Westbrook, Brook Architecture


NOMA Project Pipeline – Detroit and National

Michigan-Mellon Detroit Fellowship for Egalitarianism in the Metropolis

University of Michigan ARC Prep

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago


St. Stephen AME Church – Detroit


Sara Timberlake’s 5 Tenets of Black Church Design

  1. The church must respond.
  2. The church must use light and passive design for gathering spaces.
  3. The church must be layered.
  4. The church must be intentional about the procession.
  5. The church must have a clear ceremonial threshold.