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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

March 30, 2022

APDesign presents the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal Symposium and Lectures

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design, in a rare opportunity, hosts multiple recipients of the coveted American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the AIA's highest annual honor.

Angela Brooks, Larry Scarpa, Marlon Blackwell and Meryati Johari Blackwell will lead the symposium at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Regnier Forum in Regnier Hall. The symposium is followed by a lecture at 3:30 p.m. with Brooks and Scarpa and at 4:30 p.m. with Marlon Blackwell. The event is free and open to the public.

Partners in life and design, Brooks and Scarpa have forged a pioneering brand of architecture that profoundly enriches the human experience and reveals the extraordinary in what is widely considered ordinary. Across three decades, the excellence of their work has been celebrated internationally, recognized for its unparalleled intersection of collaboration, community, research and reflection. Moreover, their projects demonstrate a keen understanding of beauty and the raw power of architecture, standing among the very best in the profession.

“Aside from being outstanding, award-winning design architects, Angie and Larry are also exceptional activists, community leaders and civic collaborators,” wrote AIA fellows Steve Dumez and Douglas A. Benson in a letter nominating Brooks and Scarpa for the 2021 Gold Medal. “They are motivated by a social responsibility and environmental stewardship that seeks to find ways to improve the livability of cities and ennoble the daily lives of its citizens. Actively engaged citizen-architects, their efforts have fundamentally reshaped public policy initiatives that address critical issues and reforms that serve the public good, increase housing equity and improve the built environment.”

Brooks and Scarpa both come from humble, blue-collar families who hail from small central Florida towns, and they eventually met while studying architecture at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Scarpa had recently returned to Florida to pursue his graduate studies after working with Paul Rudolph in New York, and Brooks was completing her undergraduate work. They married in 1987 with their passion for architecture and its ability to amplify the human experience fully engaged.

Marlon Blackwell, AIA fellow and 2020 AIA Gold Medal recipient, is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones distinguished professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He 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. His keen attention to detail and design rigor ensures the success of every project, evident in his acclaim as an architect and educator.

The office of Marlon Blackwell Architects received the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and ranked No. 1 in design as part of the Architect 50, a national survey of architecture firms. In 2011, Marlon Blackwell Architects was recognized as the Firm of the Year by Residential Architect Magazine. The firm has earned an international design reputation through recognition of its work in many publications, including architectural design journals and books, and receiving more than 120 design awards including state, regional, national and international awards.

Meryati Johari Blackwell brings over 25 years of experience to her role as principal at Marlon Blackwell Architects where she also serves as director of interiors and sustainability. Her sensitivity as a designer and knowledge of materials and details enriches every project in the office. She works closely with Marlon Blackwell and the project teams to deliver thoughtful designs that are both sensual and sensible.

With a degree in architecture and planning, she is both a registered architect and a registered interior designer involved in the broad range of project types engaged in at Marlon Blackwell Architects. She has been integrally involved in the realization of numerous noteworthy and award-winning projects and provides oversight of business operations and the development of the firm’s team and resources. She is a LEED-accredited professional specializing in building design and construction and serves as the LEED project team administrator for each of the firm’s projects that seek LEED certification.

The AIA Gold Medal Symposium and Lecture  is  supported by the Oscar Ekdahl Lectureships  in Architecture and Design  and the Victor L. Regnier Distinguished International Lecture.