Meet the Architects

Lamplighter is thrilled to partner with two award-winning, internationally-recognized architects for the School's campus additions and enhancements as a result of the Bright Future campaign. 

Marlon Blackwell Architects

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas. Marlon 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 ensure 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 #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.

Marlon is the recipient of the 2020 AIA Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor, which recognizes those whose work has had an enduring impact on the theory and practice of architecture. He was a 2019 Resident Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, inducted into the 2018 National Academy of Design and received the E. Fay Jones Gold Medal from the Arkansas AIA in 2017. A monograph of his early work entitled “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell” was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005. Marlon was selected by The International Design Magazine, in 2006, as one of the ID Forty: Undersung Heroes and as an “Emerging Voice” in 1998 by the Architectural League of New York.

At The Lamplighter School, Marlon designed the Eastin Family Innovation Lab and the LPA Barn, both of which opened in 2017. He was honored with the 2021 AIA Dallas Community Honor Award, the 2019 Arkansas Honor Award for the LPA Barn, and the 2019 AIA Arkansas Honor Award for the Eastin Family Innovation Lab. 

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Michael van Valkenburgh’s lifelong dedication to the medium of landscape and its robust material expression is evident in MVVA's diverse body of work, including gardens, museums, parks of all sizes, campuses, and urban design. Regardless of size, he strives to bring out the potential for every project to move people and make the world a better place.

As head of one of the country's leading landscape architecture firms, Michael promotes collaboration, creativity, and the individual talents of his staff through his inclusive working style. Michael provides senior leadership on a wide range of projects, in both the New York and Cambridge offices. Recent examples include the ongoing completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, A Gathering Place for Tulsa, and the intimate Monk's Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Michael's current projects include the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, the redevelopment of Toronto's Port Lands, West Riverfront Park in Detroit, Dix Park in Raleigh, and the design of a waterfront park in Boston to honor Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing.

As the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, Michael has influenced countless students and academic colleagues over the years. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and a Master of Fine Arts in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a registered landscape architect in more than 25 states and in Canada and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Michael was honored with the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Environmental Design in 2003. In 2010, MVVA's design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was awarded the prestigious Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society of New York, presented to the work of art in a given year that best captures the spirit and energy of New York City. Michael was also the recipient of the 2010 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to the practice of architecture as an art. In 2011, Michael received the ASLA Design Medal.