marlon blackwell ozark architect

a fellow arky is making quite a name for himself with his contemporary, innovative architecture popping up throughout a quiet, traditional southern state. marlon blackwell was born in germany, grew up in florida and the philippines, studied architecture at auburn, worked in boston, taught at syracuse, and at the age of 35, migrated to fayetteville, arkansas, where he is now a tenured associate professor at the university of arkansas and maintains a full-time practice.
it’s understandable that someone who has moved so often might finally decide to settle in and stay put; but why fayetteville, a sleepy university town in the ozarks?
"because i can get things built here" is his response. and he can drive to most of his projects in 30 minutes. he likes teaching and is fascinated by the ozarks with their blend of old farmland, new trailer parks, and shopping malls. it’s the perfect test of the hypothesis that good architecture can happen anywhere.

besides his website, there's also a lovely book published in 2005 all about his body of works: an architecture of the ozarks.

resource: architectural record


paris parfait said...

Such fabulous work - although really, I'm surprised he chose the Ozarks. Besides the heat and humidity, the area is rife with white supremacist groups (I've covered a few federal court trials there) and other extremists who live in isolated areas. There are also large pockets of poverty and drug use. Then again, I guess you could say that about practically every area of any reasonable size. I will look for his book, as I'm quite impressed with these glimpses of his work.

studio wellspring said...

my roots are in nw arkansas, and having spent much time there i can agree with you. the interesting thing about that part of the u.s. is the natural beauty and healing energy that contrasts with the harsher human cultural realities. for ex: tons & tons of natural hot springs, ancient native american ritual holy grounds, the ozark mtns, 8th largest diamond reserve in the world, multitudes of huge caves, the highest peak in the rockies, longest natural stone bridges, amongst many other natural wonders. it is considered a holy and healing place by many. this is why i am so thrilled to learn of blackwell's work ~ i think his architecture & perspectives are very fitting. (sorry for the long-windedness. i'm quite passionate about it) ;o)

University of the Ozarks said...

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