The David R. Ravin School of Architecture and AIA Charlotte present a lecture by Marlon Blackwell, FAIA. Blackwell is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas. Blackwell is the recipient of the 2020 AIA Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor, which recognizes those whose work has had an enduring impact on the theory and practice of architecture. He was a 2019 Resident Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, inducted into the 2018 National Academy of Design, and received the E. Fay Jones Gold Medal from the Arkansas AIA in 2017. He was also named the 2020 SEC Professor of The Year and as one of DesignIntelligence magazine’s “30 Most Admired Educators” for 2015.
Blackwell is integrally involved in every phase of the design process, from programming through construction administration, for every project Marlon Blackwell Architects pursues. He is involved on a daily basis, working to establish the design direction and works directly with client leadership on critical issues, ensuring a successful outcome and meaningful relationship. Marlon Blackwell Architects received the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and ranked #1 in Design as part of the Architect 50, a national survey of architecture firms.
Marlon Blackwell's lecture is the second in the David R. Ravin School of Architecture 2023-24 Lecture Series, New South meets Global South.
In 1886, Atlanta Constitution editor Henry W. Grady delivered a speech to the New England Society in New York City entitled The New South, boasting of the vibrant economy of urban industrial growth in the post-Civil War South that was replacing the antebellum world of slavery-based rural agriculture. Cities like Charlotte continue to use this phrase to connect their identities with growth and financial prosperity and encourage investment. What was barely implied by Grady and is only just being acknowledged is the structural racism and exclusion inherent in this prosperity. Not only in the American South but throughout the so- called First World, we live in a new colonialism that continues to marginalize people of color and perpetuate inequitable access to resources.
Similarly, the Global South refers broadly to the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania that generally lie south of the Equator and were exploited by European colonization. These regions continue to be treated as opportunities for investment and wealth production, decimating economies and ecologies while continuing repression of local cultures. The economic, political, and cultural marginalization of the peoples and landscapes of the Global South mirrors that of the New South, demonstrating how colonialism and the violent pursuit of wealth continue today.
The School of Architecture's Lecture Series for 2023-24 will highlight research and design practices working to reveal the colonial injustices of the New South and the Global South as well as to celebrate their marginalized peoples and practices. Presenters are working to overcome social injustice by investigating topics such as territory, housing, immigration, race, social inequity, and civil rights. Their works provide insight into overcoming injustices while producing innovative solutions to issues including climate adaptation, sustainability, resilience, integration, and identity at scales ranging from regional territories to building materials.