February 6, 2008 — Marshall Purnell, president of the American Institute of Architects and a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based Devrouax and Purnell Architects and Planners PC, will give the Career Forum Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on Friday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall room 158.
During his long and illustrious career, Purnell has contributed both to the design of architecture and to the architecture profession through more than two decades with the American Institute of Architects and other important roles in public service.
Purnell earned bachelor’s and master's of architecture degrees from the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, he worked for the University of Michigan, then taught at the University of Maryland before joining the AIA national staff in the executive office for four years prior to founding his firm in 1978.
Devrouax and Purnell Architects and Planners PC is noted for the D.C. City Museum; the new Washington convention center; the MCI Arena; headquarters for many significant corporations and institutions, including Freddie Mac, Crestar Mortgage Corporation, Potomac Electric Power Company, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Medical Association; and several projects commissioned by the federal government.
For more than 20 years, Purnell has been actively engaged with the American Institute of Architects. He began with service on the Housing Committee (1985 to 1990), Historic Resources Committee (1985–1990), and the National Scholarship Committee (1987 to 1990; chair, 1989). He served as the Washington, D.C., component’s director at-large for education (1989), then as its director of fellows (1999 to 2001), treasurer (2001), vice-president (2002), and president (2003). He was elevated to the AIA’s College of Fellows in 1991. Purnell was a Middle Atlantic regional director (from 2003 to 2006), and served as vice-president of the AIA in 2007.
Purnell is a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (from 1985 to 1986), and was designated a fellow of that organization in 1994.
Among Purnell’s many positions in the greater community, he is currently serving as chair of City First Bank of D.C. Former board activities include participation with the Washington Urban League, D.C. Commission on the Arts, Cultural Alliance and Studio Theatre.