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Marlon Blackwell speaking with Record Assistant Editor Laura Raskin. Photo by Alanna Malone.

On Friday morning, Marlon Blackwell stopped by RECORD’s booth at AIA to chat about some of his recent work (his firm, Marlon Blackwell Architect, won an AIA Honor Award this year for the Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion). The Fayetteville, Arkansas-based architect has been busy. A 37,000-square-foot addition to, and renovation of, the Vol Walker Hall at the University of Arkansas’s architecture school – where Blackwell is the department head and a professor – is now under construction, despite what Blackwell described as some initial resistance from faculty and students to its distinctly modern approach to the original 1930s building.


An addition and redesign of an enormous high school in Fayetteville is also under construction (with Hight Jackson Associates PA and DLR Group).

And Blackwell told the packed booth audience about his work with a multidisciplinary team – the firm is working with Guy Nordenson and Richard Renfro, among others – to come up with public-friendly solutions for Point State Park’s Portal Bridge in Pittsburgh, an elevated highway that bisects the park and currently renders the space underneath unusable. While Blackwell was clear that the ideas project is not a competition and no one has “won” a commission, his team’s design for the bridge’s underbelly is currently being priced out. 

All renderings courtesy MBA.