Moody Nolan is the largest black-owned and operated architecture firm in the country. The firm is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, but has offices in ten other cities, including Atlanta.
The company expanded to Atlanta in 2017 and is located in the art district downtown.
Linda Nunnelly is the director of operations, and describes her position as doing “whatever it takes for us to be successful.” She graduated from Howard University with a degree in architecture and has been working in the field for almost 20 years, most of which have been spent with Moody Nolan.
When asked what made her want to work for the firm, she simply said that it was “the story” that not only drew her in but made her stay.
Nunnelly found that the company being family-owned and diverse to be attractive.
“Our company was founded by Curt Moody,” Nunnelly said. “Curt Moody was an Ohio State basketball player and majored in architecture. When Curt came out of school, he ended up drafting, and was told he could be a drafter or be an architect and run his own firm.”
He opened Moody and Associates in 1982. When Moody was just starting out, it was just himself and a graduate student. By the end of their first year, he partnered with Howard E. Nolan and associates, an engineering firm, and Moody Nolan was born.
Moody named his son Jonathan as the CEO in 2020, and in 2021, the firm received the American Institute of Architects Award.
The company has grown over the years, but not without challenges.
“The industry is predominantly not run by minorities,” Nunnelly said. “We faced challenges just growing into other markets. We faced challenges becoming the lead designer on projects.”
Having diversity in architecture is important to Nunnelly because she believes it’s the chance to bring forth different perspectives.
“Bringing diversity and sensitivity as a firm to some of our clients and some of our markets is critical,” Nunnelly said. “We work in urban schools, and being able to bring a design team that looks diverse to a client who doesn’t see diversity, that opens up doors. Not only for great design that impact our communities but kids seeing architects and thinking ‘I can be that.’”
With a staff of approximately 42% women, Nunnelly believes in the firm reflecting the communities that they serve.
Moody Nolan Atlanta has worked on Roosevelt Hall, Central Library, and also will be renovating Morris Brown’s Fountain Hall.
There’s also a possibility that the firm’s Legacy House project will make it to Atlanta in the future. Legacy House is an initiative where Moody Nolan designs, builds and gives away a home.