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Marlon Blackwell Receives 2020 AIA Gold Medal


Marlon Blackwell
(Photo by Mark Jackson/CHROMA)

University of Arkansas architecture professor Marlon Blackwell has received the 2020 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. The AI presents the Gold Medal annually to architects whose work has had a lasting impact on architecture – both the theory and practice of the profession.

Blackwell is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arkansas and holds the E. Fay Jones Chair at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, where he has taught since 1992. In addition, he is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

“Too often, it is said, ‘A prophet is without honor in his own country,’ but this recognition of Marlon Blackwell definitively accords him a deserved place in architecture culture,” Dean Peter MacKeith, dean and professor of architecture at the Fay Jones School, said in a statement. “For our school, he is a valued colleague and faculty leader, and for the state and nation, he is a distinguished representative and ambassador. Yet in these roles, Marlon is distinguished as much by his generosity and humaneness, as he is by his talent in design and his commitment to buildings and places.” 

Blackwell also operates his own professional practice, Marlon Blackwell Architects, which is based in Fayetteville. Notable projects that Blackwell has worked on include the Shelby Farms Park Visitor Center, Harvey Pediatric Clinic, Indianapolis Museum of Art Visitors Pavilion, Steven L. Anderson Design Center and the Fayetteville High School.

“It’s been a pleasure watching Marlon’s practice mature. His talent, persistence and clarity of vision have long made him one of the top architects nationally, even internationally,” former Fay Jones School dean Jeff Shannon said. “To see him now confirmed as deserving of the AIA Gold Medal validates everything I have come to know and respect about Marlon as a colleague and friend. His teaching is extraordinary and parallels his talent as a designer as well. The Fay Jones School, our faculty and students, are fortunate to enjoy his continuing contributions.” 

Blackwell has previously been recognized as a Ford Fellow in 2014 and received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2016.

READ MORE: Marlon Blackwell Named to National Academy of Design

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