Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor in Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He served as Department Head from 2009 – 2015. He was named among the “30 Most Admired Educators” by DesignIntelligence in 2015. Working outside the architectural mainstream, his architecture is based in design strategies that draw upon vernaculars and typologies, and the contradictions of place; strategies that seek to transgress conventional boundaries for architecture. Work produced in his professional office, Marlon Blackwell Architects, has received recognition with numerous national and international design awards and significant publication in books, architectural journals and magazines. Recent honors for the renovation of Vol Walker Hall and the addition of the Steven L. Anderson Design Center (with associate architects Polk Stanley Wilcox) on the University of Arkansas Campus include a 2014 American Architecture Award, the 2014 AZ Award for Best Commercial/Institutional Architecture, the 2014 Architect’s Newspaper Building of the Year, and the 2014 Lumen Award for Excellence. National awards include a 2014 AIA National Urban Design Honor Award (with the University of Arkansas Community Design Center) for the Little Rock Creative Corridor (Little Rock, Arkansas), a 2013 AIA National Honor Award for the St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church (Springdale, Arkansas), and a 2012 AIA National Honor Award for the IMA Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion (Indianapolis, Indiana). The church was also named the best Civic and Community Building at the 2011 World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, Spain. The office of Marlon Blackwell Architects was recognized as the Firm of the Year by Residential Architect magazine in 2011.
The significance of Blackwell’s contributions to design is evidenced by being named a United States Artists Ford Fellow 2014 and selected for the 2012 Architecture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A monograph of his early work entitled “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell” was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005. Blackwell was selected by The International Design Magazine, in 2006, as one of the ID Forty: Undersung Heroes and as an “Emerging Voice” in 1998 by the Architectural League of New York.
At the University of Arkansas, Marlon was named as one of DesignIntelligence magazine’s “30 Most Admired Educators” for 2015. He has co-taught visiting design studios with Peter Eisenman (1997 & 1998), Christopher Risher (2000) and Julie Snow (2003) and was most recently the George Baird Professor at Cornell University (Fall 2012). Other visiting academic appointments include the Thomas Jefferson Professor at the University of Virginia (Spring 2011), the Elliel Saarinen Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan (Fall 2009), the Ivan Smith Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida (Spring 2009), the Paul Rudolph Visiting Professor at Auburn University (Spring 2008), the Cameron Visiting Professor at Middlebury College (Fall 2007), the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis (Spring 2003) and visiting graduate professor at MIT in Spring 2001 and 2002.
In 1994, he co-founded the University of Arkansas Mexico Summer Urban Studio, and has coordinated and taught in the program at the Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City since 1996. He received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University in 1980 and a M. Arch II degree from Syracuse University in Florence in 1991.