Blackwell, working outside the architectural mainstream, will discuss his architecture and design process as being based in design strategies that draw upon vernaculars and building typologies and the contradictions of place; strategies that seek to transgress conventional boundaries for architecture. Blackwell will demonstrate how ideas and actions are generated from careful observations of intersections of nature-made and culture-made conditions particular to an architectural situation. Using examples of selected design works from his firm, Marlon Blackwell Architects, he will demonstrate that a resilient architecture can be achieved as interplay between details, form, and place. In particular, he will illustrate the necessity of being responsive to environmental factors, the specificities of site, and sustainable design principles that ultimately provides an architecture that can be felt as much as it is understood, as immediate and tactile as it is legible, contributing to the fundamental civic dignity of communities.
Named one of Design Intelligence’s “30 Most Admired Educators” in 2015, Marlon Blackwell is the E. Fay Jones Jones Distinguished Professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.
Work produced in his professional office, Marlon Blackwell Architects, has received national and international recognition, and Blackwell was named a United States Artists Ford Fellow in 2014 and selected for the 2012 Architecture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Blackwell’s work is described as “based in design strategies that draw upon vernaculars and typologies, and the contradictions of place; strategies that seek to transgress conventional boundaries for architecture.”
Blackwell has been named to numerous academic appointments at institutions including the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, Auburn University, Middlebury College, and Washington University in St. Louis, and MIT. He co-founded the University of Arkansas Mexico Summer Urban Studio in 1994, and has coordinated and taught in the program in Mexico City since 1996. He received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his master of architecture degree from Syracuse University in Florence.