MONDAY  |  NOV 14 | 5 PM Lecture | AB 100

Photo Mark Jackson

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, will discuss his architecture and design process and introduce Radical Practice: The Work of Marlon Blackwell Architects, a monograph released this year by Princeton Architectural Press on Nov. 14.  A reception will take place at 4 p.m. in the first-floor art gallery of the Architecture Building with Mr. Blackwell’s lecture beginning at 5 p.m. in AB 100.

Both the book and the lecture emphasize projects in the public and civic realm, emerging from outside the established centers of architectural culture, illustrating the distinct and original voice of Marlon Blackwell Architects.  Their iconic and award-winning designs span across typologies, scales, and budgets, by merging the universal language of architecture and the particulars of place.   The lecture will discuss the richness of the work, its methods, and its consequences and suggest an open-endedness, at once generous and provocative, to the practice’s trajectory and interest in what a “radical practice” can be in the contemporary moment. A core principle at the heart of the practice, radical in its fundamental simplicity, is the assertion of the making of buildings and places as a constant, authentic focus.

Blackwell’s two-day visit to Ball State is part of the Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning’s Sappenfield lecture series, named for founding CAP Dean Charles Sappenfield, and designed to bring prestigious practitioners to campus to work with students in design classes and to lecture on topics of interest to students of the built environment.

Learning objectives

  • Participants will be able to recognize the capacity of small regional firms, located outside the centers of fashion, to produce design excellence in buildings of all scales that are economically and environmentally responsive, providing architectural diversity and civic dignity at a national level.
  • Participants will be able distinguish social, economic, and environmental benefits of high-performance adaptive reuse design as an essential preservation strategy, for the development of sustainable communities, using three sample course adaptive reuse projects that incorporate both renovations and additions to existing building structures.
  • Participants will be able to define the role of topography, site drainage, local ecologies, and accessibility (pedestrian and vehicular) to modify and transform existing conventions for building organizational strategies that lead to economically resourceful and sustainable permutations of building form and construction assemblies.
  • Participants will be able to describe the relationship between building articulation systems (brise soleil, porches, canopies, etc.), site water management, and sustainable material assemblies and the generation of building typologies that are more adaptive and environmentally responsive to the specificities of a place and region.

Mr. Blackwell’s bio

Marlon Blackwell is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Ark., and the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor at the University of Arkansas. Blackwell is the recipient of the 2020 AIA Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor recognizing those whose work has had an enduring impact on the theory and practice of architecture. Blackwell is a lifetime member of the American Academy of Arts and National Academy of Design Academician, a 2019 Resident Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and a 2014 United States Artists Ford Fellow. Work produced in his professional office, Marlon Blackwell Architects (MBA), has received recognition with significant publication and more than 160 design awards including the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture. A monograph of Marlon’s early work, “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell,” was published in 2005 and a new monograph titled Radical Practice, was published in 2022.  

Suggested readings related to the CAP lecture series.

For more information, contact

This lecture has been approved for LACES and AIA continuing education credits.

AIA Continuing Education