Nation's largest African American-owned architecture firm with Houston office, Moody Nolan, receives highest honor from the American Institute of Architects.


With an office in Houston since 2012, Moody Nolan has been at the forefront of transformational projects

HOUSTON, TX (February 2021) – Like millions of Black Americans across the country, Curt Moody has seen more than his share of injustice over the decades. Such intentional display of inequality in the field of architecture is what prompted him in 1982 to open Moody Nolan.

In today’s climate of racial reckoning, it’s fitting for Moody Nolan, the nation’s largest African American-owned architecture firm, to be honored with the 2021 Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The annual award is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture practice. It recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years. This is the first time a Black-owned architecture firm has ever received the award in the AIA’s 58 years of conducting the annual recognition.

Since opening its Houston office in 2012, Moody Nolan already has made a name for itself by bringing its strengths of high design and community engagement to several of the city’s legendary located in historic communities, such as the Texas Southern University Library Learning Center in Houston, completed in 2019; Jack Yates High School, completed in 2018, and Prairie View A&M Student Recreation Center, completed in 2015.         

“Receiving the national award helps to shine a spotlight on the work we’ve done locally since opening an office in 2012,” says Wardell Ross, Jr., director of Houston operations. “We’re excited to continue to bring such impactful and transformational projects to communities throughout Houston.”


AIA Award

“We are delighted to be recognized with our industry’s most prestigious award for our work, which always has been grounded in a belief that a diverse design team is more creative and delivers architecture that better responds to the needs of the community,” says Jonathan Moody, who succeeded his father in the role of CEO in January 2020 and recently was named to Building Design + Construction’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. “This clearly demonstrates that architectural designs that are centered on and respectful of cultural nuances and are attuned to the impact they have on neighborhoods and residents can coexist.”

The No. 26 ranked architecture firm (Building Design + Construction) has received more than 49 awards from the American Institute of Architects and 45 from the National Organization of Minority Architects. While the recognition makes them immensely proud, it never overshadows the firm’s deep commitment to meeting the unique goals of each client. Its primary focus is always to work collaboratively with clients from initial idea through construction to ensure their vision is met. “This core belief, we think, is what sets us apart from the vast majority of award-winning design firms,” says Curt Moody, chairman of the board.

Nationally, the firm has been recognized for a number of projects including being part of the $1.5 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York and Englewood S.T.E.M. High School in Chicago. Other notable national projects include Wintrust Arena, Martin Luther King Jr. Branch Library in Columbus, OH, and Malcolm X College and School of Health Sciences. In Texas, Moody Nolan’s profile continues to grow with projects beyond Houston such as the Parkland Health and Hospital System Mike A. Myers Skybridge, completed in 2015; and University of North Texas Student Center in South Dallas, which opened in 2019. 


Commitment to Philanthropy

In February, as the nation celebrates historic and recent contributions of African Americans during Black History, Curt and Jonathan Moody continue making history of their own and on their own terms. The Legacy House Project helps fulfill the firm’s philanthropic commitment to community investment and closing the wealth gap for families by giving away a new home designed by the firm to a deserving family in each city where its offices are located. The Columbus Legacy House was completed in 2019. The Nashville Legacy House broke ground in 2020, and the one for Chicago is slated for 2021.


About Moody Nolan

Moody Nolan’s 10 other full-service offices are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. Moody Nolan is the country’s largest African American-owned architecture firm with 11 offices across the country. Headquartered in Columbus, OH, Moody Nolan was founded in 1982 with just two employees. It has grown to more than 200 employees and has received notable national recognition and awards. Moody Nolan specializes in corporate, education, sports/recreation, collegiate, healthcare, housing/mixed-use, and public service facilities. For more information about Moody Nolan, visit For more information about the AIA award, visit