Archinect
Leigh Ann Black

Leigh Ann Black

Oxford, MS, US

 
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About 

I think it's best to describe my underlying motivators. 

I've worked for architecture firms since I graduated with a B.Arch in 2003. I've worked on residential projects in Los Angeles. I moved from Mississippi in search of learning everything I can. That's what happened. I spent most of my early years in the industry traveling and moving over the West Coast. From a very young firm in Venice to Gensler in Orange County. After, I moved to Seattle and worked on a variety of projects, but multifamily/mixed-use was trending at the time.

After the 2009 recession, I spent time caring for my grandmother before she passed away in Mississippi. It was incredibly meaningful and changed my life. 

After she passed, I took a position with a large General Contractor, and I worked in the field with the title of Project Engineer. My qualifications allowed me access to work on USACE projects on installations throughout the county. The experience working in construction management was invaluable. Every single day, I sat down with subcontractors. I walked in the field and observed, but I also talked to everyone. I asked questions. I learned. I gained respect in the field. 

Eventually, I wanted to settle in Mississippi again. Blame love. Blame family. Blame comfort. Blame cost of living. I came back and was hired as a Project Manager at a boutique, award winning design firm that's been featured on Archinect. Specifically, my project was featured. I think we all know the result of working in boutique firm for a couple years. Burn. Out. My firm wouldn't transition to Revit, and I paid for it in production time. I needed a better work life balance, and I was headstrong and convinced it is possible to achieve in this profession.

I had an opportunity to join a larger firm & was trained in Revit. I think all of you know how difficult it is to be proficient in Revit while under fire with project deadlines looming. After a lot of work, persistence and determination I became highly skilled in Revit. 

I've had amazing design opportunities, and somehow I've managed to work on incredibly innovative projects in Mississippi. The two projects I am most proud of are Nicholas Air in Oxford, MS and The Greenwood, MS Police Department and Municipal Court.

I'm now in the place of running my design business. Yes, I'm behind getting licensed. I work on residential projects in rural communities for retirees, artists and other misfits. Currently, I am working on a small house for a dear friend in Boston that is transgender. It is incredibly important to me to create an amazing, safe, beautiful place for my friend to enjoy while in Mississippi. It's important to me to design spaces to enhance the user's life in the best way. Moments to gasp. Moments to bring joy. Moments to make it easier to bring the groceries in from the car. All of it. 

My end goal is to get licensed this year. I'm freelancing to supplement my income as I do this. I currently have a freelance gig, but I want to move into something more challenging with design opportunities. 

I just want a conversation with anyone looking for a passionate, driven, talented, above competent woman. I can help your firm. I show up. I produce good work, and I know above all else, the only thing that matters in life is being real and true to your passions.

Employment 

Eley Barkley Architects, Oxford, MS, US, Project Designer/Project Manager

This firm was primarily remote, even before Covid. There were several project managers throughout the Southeast. This made the Covid transition seamless. I was in the main office with the Principal. I was his right hand. I worked on a variety of projects. The best thing about working in a state where architecture is considered a luxury is the opportunity to work on a variety of building types. We can discuss this further, but I had a hand in every single aspect of operating a firm. I had amazing design opportunities, but I also learned everything about business development and running a firm.

Apr 2019 - Jun 2021
 

Education 

Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, US, BArch, Architecture

Typical B.Arch 5 year experience. I won multiple awards throughout. I attended T.U. Delft as an exchange student. It was an amazing experience, and I think of it fondly.

Aug 1998 - May 2003
 

Awards 

AIA Mississippi Merit Award, 1st Place

2017
 

AIA Mississippi Emerging Professional of the Year, 1st Place

2016
 

Mississippi Heritage Trust Preservation Award, 1st Place

2016
 

Mississippi ABC Excellence in Construction for Out of State Renovation, 1st Place

2014
 

Mississippi ABC Excellence in Construction for Out of State Renovation, 1st Place

2012
 

Festival of Children Playhouse Design Award, 1st Place

2005
 

Fifth Year Jurist Book Award, 1st Place

2003
 

Fifth Year Jurist Book Award, 1st Place

2002
 

Mississippi Concrete Industries Award Winner, 1st Place

2001
 

Second Year Faculty Book Award, 1st Place

2000
 

Areas of Specialization 

Skills