Marshall Purnell

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Marshall Emmiett Purnell
Born June 8, 1950
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Architect
Practice Devrouax + Purnell Architects and Planners, PC

PEPCO Headquarters
Washington Convention Center

Nationals Park
Projects African American Civil War Memorial

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


Born in Toledo Ohio, and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he is the second son of Lelia (Givens) Purnell and the late long-time professional jazz saxophonist Curtis Purnell (1921–2006). After attending Ottawa Hills High School and playing on its state high school championship winning basketball team, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Architecture & Urban Planning and a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.[1] He entered private practice with the late Paul S. Devrouax, FAIA (1942-2010) in 1978.[2]


In 2006, Purnell was nationally elected to serve as the 2007 First Vice President/President-elect/2008 President of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Purnell, an AIA regional director from the Mid-Atlantic Region and design principal of Devrouax+Purnell Architects and Planners PC, Washington, DC, has been involved in numerous AIA activities, including service on the Board Advocacy and Diversity committees, as well as on the AIA Scholarship, Historic Resources and Housing committees. He has also been involved in leadership at the local component level through the AIA District of Columbia chapter (AIA|DC) and is a Fellow of the AIA and Council Member of National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), of which he was elected president in 1985-1987, and to several other executive positions.[3]

In 2014, Purnell joined the College of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He took the position of IDP Coordinator, studio instructor, and pro-practice professor.


  1. ^ devrouax + purnell
  2. ^ DSLBD: Devrouax & Purnell, Architects-Planners
  3. ^ "Marshall E. Purnell, FAIA Elected 2008 AIA President; First African-American President in AIA History". American Institute of Architects. 15 June 2006. Delegates to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2006 National Convention and Design Exposition elected Marshall E. Purnell, FAIA, to serve as the 2007 first vice president/president-elect/2008 president. 

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