Fayetteville’s Marlon Blackwell Architects named top firm nationally in design

Fayetteville Montessori Primary / Photo: Timothy Hursley

Marlon Blackwell Architects this month took the top spot in the design category in Architect magazine’s 2016 Architect 50.

The recognition is another feather in the cap for the Fayetteville firm, which received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award earlier this year.

Architect magazine is the official publication of the American Institute of Architects, which publishes an annual survey of top firms, including overall rankings and additional rankings in the categories of design, business and sustainability.

The most recent rankings are based on a firm’s success during 2015.

Fayetteville Montessori Primary / Photo: Timothy Hursley

Two recent small projects for Blackwell include a Montessori primary school in Fayetteville and a practice facility for a golf club in Johnson, both of which Architect called a “rigorous and sometimes daring vernacular Modernism, fashioned on very lean budgets.”

Blackwell said the latest recognition underscores the quality of good design happening in the Midwest and the South.

“At this point, I think our work cuts across a wide range of types and scales and price points, and shows a consistent level of high design no matter what kind of project,” said Blackwell. “This again demonstrates that architecture can happen anywhere, at any scale, at any budget and for anyone.”

The magazine had praise for some of the firm’s larger projects as well, including the 356,000-square-foot expansion of Fayetteville High School, and a collaboration with NYC’s James Corner Field Operations to remake Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, one of the largest urban parks in the country.

Details about the Architect 50, including methodology of rankings, are available at architectmagazine.com.