The annual award is the highest honor AIA bestows on an architecture practice. The award recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.
As the nation’s largest African-American-owned and operated design firm—with 11 offices in the United States—Moody Nolan has a long history of serving clients with a keen knowledge of cultural sensitivities as well as a deep understanding of the impact its work has on individuals and communities, AIA said in a press release.
Founded by Curt Moody, FAIA, NOMA, and the late engineer Howard E. Nolan, the firm’s work is centered on the belief that diverse perspectives foster creativity and more responsive solutions.
“As the nation grapples with systemic racism and significant issues of inequality, the ideals of diversity espoused by Moody Nolan since its founding stand as a model for advancing the profession,” AIA said in a press release. “The firm has long operated at the critical junction of architecture and citizenship, demonstrating that responsible design requires a flawless marriage of art, function, and community.”
Moody Nolan’s work is reflective of the people who will live, learn, and heal in the spaces it creates. Its work has been lauded with more than 320 design citations and awards, including Moody’s receipt of the AIA’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award in 1992, its Gold Medal in 2007, and the National Organization of Minority Architects’ (NOMA) President’s Exemplary Service Award in 2008. The firm was also named NOMA’s firm of the year in 2000.
Beyond the design of buildings, the firm views its work as a way to encourage architecture careers in diverse communities and carry on the firm’s legacy. That is evident in projects such as Columbus’ Martin Luther King Library Branch, a community center responding to both the character of the surrounding community and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Though it is only 1858 m2 (20,000 sf), the facility makes a powerful and uplifting statement. In Chicago, the firm worked with City Colleges of Chicago to further its commitment to the city’s troubled South Side and replaced the aging Malcolm X College and School of Health Sciences. Despite inheriting budget issues and a very tight timeline, Moody Nolan provided the school’s predominantly low-income student body with a technologically advanced learning environment that is focused on allied health professions.
In 2017, as a way to further its commitment to the community, Moody Nolan launched the Legacy House project. Fully funded by the firm and select partners, the project is committed to designing and constructing a home in each of the 11 communities in which the firm operates. The first house, in Columbus, Ohio, was completed in 2018 and was gifted to a single mother with three young children. The home sparked a renewed interest in the neighborhood, prompting neighbors to clean up their properties and spurring new development. Other homes have broken ground or are planned in Nashville and Chicago.