Communities are better served when the buildings that are designed for them more accurately represent all persons. It is that perspective that is the driving force behind Moody Nolan’s commitment to diversity in both its staff and projects, as it leads in the design of spaces that are more versatile, intriguing and inspiring to those that will live, work and play within them.

The recipient of the 2021 AIA Architecture Firm Award—and the first Black-owned architecture firm to ever received the award in the AIA’s 58 years of conducting the annual recognition—Moody Nolan is a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture since 1982. What began as humble beginnings with just two employees has since grown to become the country's largest Black-owned architecture firm with more than 200 employees at 11 offices across the country.

Floor Trends sat down with founder Curt Moody to talk more about the role a diverse perspective has played in the firm’ historic legacy, compelling designs and commitment to community investment.

FT: What role does diversity play in architecture and design?

Moody: It is our core belief that female, disadvantaged, veteran and minority owned firms hold a special place in our society as they offer a unique perspective on diversity and inclusiveness to clients and this makes a difference for the end result for all projects. Great design is a product of innovative and creative ideas generated by viewing complex problems from many different points of view. Bringing together a collection of diverse individuals allows us to bring forward the best solutions to solve these complex problems and deliver the best results for the clients and communities that we serve.

According to the American Society of Interior Designers, less than 2% of its membership identify as Black, and the International Interior Design Association, reports that less than one percent of its members are women of color. As the largest Black-owned and managed firm in the country, how are you promoting and encouraging diversity in the architecture and design spaces? 

We are diverse by design and have been from day one. It’s in our DNA. Our staff is comprised of 42% women and 32% minorities, which far exceeds industry standards.

Like the projects you support, what has contributed to Moody Nolan’s performance, growth, endurance and ability to stand the test of time for almost 40 years? 

The diversity of our projects and our people in the markets we serve. We also haven’t strayed from our responsive architecture approach, which requires more listening and understanding the needs of the people who will ultimately benefit from our projects.