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Marshall Purnell

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Nationality  American
Role  Architect
Name  Marshall Purnell

Occupation  Architect
Education  University of Michigan
Marshall Purnell cdnarchinectnetimages200xaiaiuMarshallPurn
Born  June 8, 1950Grand Rapids, Michigan
Practice  Devrouax + Purnell Architects and Planners, PC
Buildings  PEPCO Headquarters Washington Convention Center Nationals Park
Projects  African American Civil War Memorial
Structures  Nationals Park, Verizon Center
People also search for  Paul S. Devrouax, Joe Spear, Michael Ray, Jim Chibnall, Clark Mleynek, Earl Santee

Alma mater  University of Michigan

Marshall Purnell (born June 8, 1950) is a prominent African-American architect and 2008 president of the American Institute of Architects.


Marshall Purnell Marshall Purnell design principal of Washington DCbased


Born in Toledo Ohio, and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he is the second son of the late Lelia (Givens) Purnell (1922-2016) and the late long-time professional jazz saxophonist Curtis Purnell (1921–2006). After attending Ottawa Hills High School and playing point guard on its state high school championship winning basketball team, and being recruited by the Boston Red Sox he chose not to pursue sports and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Architecture & Urban Planning a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Architecture from the Boston Architectural College, BAC. Purnell taught design in 1973 at the University of Maryland. He is thought to be one of the first African American architects to hold a faculty position in the ACC. From 1974 to 1978 Purnell worked at The American Institute of Architects headquarters in Washington, DC where he was one of three members of the executive office. He entered private practice with the late Paul S. Devrouax, FAIA (1942-2010) in 1978 and co-founded the firm Devrouax & Purnell Architects and Planners, PC.


Marshall E. Purnell, FAIA, NOMAC

BS, M Arch, (Hon): D Arch, JIA, KIRA, MFA, RAIA, RCIA

Marshall E. Purnell, FAIA is considered one of the most accomplished architects in America today. He is a former national President of The American Institute of Architects (2008) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (1985, 1986). He served as Design Principal of Devrouax & Purnell Architects Planners for thirty-five years. More than twenty million people a year live, work, play, or otherwise move through spaces and structures his firm designed. Firm projects include; the $850 million Washington Convention Center, the $700 million Washington Nationals Baseball Park, the Washington NBA and NHL venue Verizon Center, PEPCO Energy’s corporate headquarters, FreddieMac corporate Headquarters The National Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, several projects for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, a New Town in Turkey, modernization projects at U.S. Embassies in Moscow and the former Yugoslavia, Cabinet drawing updates for 86 different Ambassadorial Residences world wide, a marina, restaurant, luxury housing, and golf course in the Bahamas’; and many mix use residential, institutional, educational, industrial, transportation, and commercial projects on both the east and west coasts. The firm has won AIA Design Awards at the local, regional and national level. Additionally, at the same time Mr. Purnell was a Principal of the graphics design firm Design Communications for over ten years.

Mr. Purnell earned BS and M Arch degrees from the University of Michigan where he served as President (1994) of the College of Architecture and Planning Alumni Association Board of Governors and a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association Executive Committee (1996-2003). In 2007 he received the University of Michigan Distinguished Service Award and Michigan’s College of Architecture Service Award where upon he presented the Commencement Address. In 2009 he received an honorary Doctorate of Architecture from the Boston Architectural College.

He has lectured extensively abroad including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. In the US he has lectured at the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Howard, Florida A&M, Morgan State, Montana State, Prairie View, Tuskegee, and Yale University. Mr. Purnell has testified before Congress on numerous occasions and been interviewed and quoted by professional magazines and newspapers such as; Architectural Record, Building Design and Construction, Interiors, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal.


The American Institute of Architects, AIA, (President 2008, Fellow 1991),

The American Institute of Architects Fellow (1991),

The American Institute of Architects, DC Chapter, AIA/DC (President 2003)

The American Institute of Architects DC Chapter Centennial Medal (2012)

The American Institute of Architects Potomac Valley Chapter Paul Kea Medal (2010)

The American Institute of Architects, Legacy Foundation (President 2009-2012)

The American Institute of Architects National Design Award (2006)

Japan Institute of Architects, JIA (2008)

Korean Institute of Registered Architects, KIRA (2008)

Mexican Federation of Architects, MFA (2008)

National Organization of Minority Architects, NOMAC, (President 1985 & 1986) National Organization of Minority Architects Counsel

National Organization of Minority Architects (Vice President 1984, Treasurer 1982-1984)

National Organization of Minority Architects, Founder Washington, DC Chapter

National Organization of Minority Architects, Founder Detroit, MI Chapter

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, NCARB

Royal Architectural Institute of Australia, RAIA (2008)

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, RAIC (2008)

Commencement Address Boston Architectural College 2007

Commencement Address University of Michigan College of Architecture (2007)

University of Michigan Distinguished Alumni Service Award (2007)

University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture & Planning Distinguished Service Award (2007)

Honorary Doctorate of Architecture: Boston Architectural College (2009)

Washington, DC Hall of Fame (2013, Science and Technology)

Grand Rapids Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (2004, Basketball)

Omega Psi Phi fraternity (1969)

(Other Former Affiliations)

Member, US Delegation: UNESCO Conference on the Environment, (1977), Tiblisi, Georgia

Organizer: AE Federal Programs Conference, Miami Beach, FL (1975), COFPAES

Organizer: AE Federal Programs Conference, San Francisco, CA (1976), COFPAES

American Institute of Architects Scholarship Committee (Chairman 1986)

American Institute of Architects Housing Committee (1985)

DC/AIA Education Committee (1986)

DC/ AIA Treasurer (2001)

DC/AIA Chairman, Fellows Committee (2002)

DC/ AIA Vice President (2002)

District of Columbia Preservation League

District of Columbia Urban League

Episcopal Diocese Architectural Review Committee

Montgomery County Salvation Army Board of Directors

United States Presidential Design Awards Jury (Member 1992)

Studio Theatre (Vice Chairman 1998)

City First Bank of DC (Chairman 2003- 2006)

The Cultural Alliance Board of Directors

University of the District of Columbia (Board Advisor)

United Way Campaign, District of Columbia (Campaign Chairman 1986, 1991)

University of Michigan College of Architecture & Planning Alumni Board (President 1994)

University of Michigan Alumni Board (Executive Committee 1997)


M. Purnell, (1975) “The Federal Market Place: Are you Prepared?” (American Institute of Architects)

M. Purnell, L. Spiller (1976), (1978) “A Directory of Minority Architectural and Engineering Firms” (American Institute of Architects, American Consulting Engineers Council)

In 2014, Purnell joined the College of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He took the position of Professor of the Practice, Teaching Professional Practice, Design Studios, IDP Coordinator, AIAT Board Member, AIAS representative and Advisory Board Coordinator.


Marshall Purnell Wikipedia