The Pryor Center hosts “Abstract Unions” presented by Marlon Blackwell


School Inovation Lab, Dallas, Texas; this project won an AIA Architecture Award 2021.” width=”100%”/>

Timothy hursley

Lamplighter School Inovation Lab, Dallas, Texas; this project won an AIA Architecture Award 2021.

The Pryor Center Presents lecture series continues with Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Distinguished Professor and E. Fay Jones Chair of Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 24, as ‘he presents “Abstract Unions” at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. The series is part of the Pryor Center’s expanded mission of education, research and awareness.

Tickets for the event are free, but seats are limited and reservations are required. Masks will also be compulsory for participants.

Blackwell, working outside the mainstream of architecture, will discuss his architecture and design process as being based on design strategies that draw on vernacular languages, building typologies and contradictions of place – strategies that seek to transgress the conventional limits of architecture.

Rather than withdrawing from reality, abstraction is the process of connecting to a place, seeking the possibilities of maximum meaning with minimum means. Blackwell will demonstrate how these ideas for reinterpreting the familiar are generated from careful observations of intersections of conditions created by nature and culture particular to an architectural situation.

Using examples of selected design works from his firm, Marlon Blackwell Architects, he will discuss resilient architecture that can be achieved as an interplay of detail, form and place. In particular, Blackwell will illustrate the need to be responsive to environmental factors, site specifics and sustainable design principles that ultimately provide an architecture that can be felt as much as it is understood, as immediate and tactile as it is readable, contributing to the fundamental civic dignity of communities.

Blackwell is a life member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence in 2019 at the American Academy in Rome, was inducted into the National Academy of Design in 2018 and selected as a United States Artists Ford Fellow in 2014. Blackwell received the Medal of ‘Gold E. Fay Jones of Arkansas AIA in 2017 and the 2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award. He is the recipient of the AIA 2020 Gold Medal, the institute’s highest honor, which recognizes those whose work has had a lasting impact on the theory and practice of architecture.

Blackwell is a practicing architect in Fayetteville. The work produced in his professional office has received national and international recognition with major publications in books, architectural journals and magazines and over 160 design awards. His company received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture 2016 and was ranked # 1 in design in the 2016 Architect 50.

A monograph of Blackwell’s early work Architecture of the Ozarks: the works of Marlon Blackwell was published in 2005 by Princeton Architectural Press, which will also publish a new monograph titled Radical practice to be released in the fall of 2022.

Upcoming Pryor Center gifts

November 4 – “City in the Woods: John Cooper, Sr., Cherokee Village, Arkansas, and the Founding of the American Retirement Community” – Presented by Stephen Luoni, Emeritus Professor of Architecture, Steven L. Anderson Chair of Architecture and of Urban Planning Studies and director of the U of A Community Design Center. Luoni will speak about the community early retirement industry, focusing on Cherokee Village in the foothills of Ozark.

December 2 – “Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Epidemic: Effects by Race, Ethnicity, and Class” – Presented by Brittany N. Hearne, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the U of A. This conference will focus on research collected from nationally representative survey data and in-depth interview data collected in the Northwest Arkansas region in 2020. The results reveal both national patterns of psychological distress according to race / ethnicity and educational level and specific resources and coping strategies used by black Arkansan college graduates to decrease distress.

About the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program whose mission is to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual recordings, to preserve the collection in perpetuity and to connect the Arkansans and the world to collection via the Internet, television broadcasts, educational programs and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews on Arkansas history and culture, collects recordings from other organizations, organizes these recordings in archives, and provides public access to the archives, primarily through the website at the ‘pryorcenter.uark.edu address. The Pryor Center is the state’s only oral and visual history program with a statewide mission, in seventy-five counties, to collect, preserve and share audio and motion picture recordings of the history of Arkansas.

About Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments, and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the majority of the core curriculum to all University of Arkansas students.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in over 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $ 2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. American News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. Find out how the U of A is working to build a better world on Arkansas Research News.


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