Largest Black-Owned Architectural Firm In The Country Shapes Major Monuments Of Columbus

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Curt Moody's offices in the Arena District are the hub of an architectural empire that's designed buildings in 40 states.

Moody-Nolan Inc. has completed hundreds of projects, worth billions of dollars in construction in cities across the country.

“You do a good job on one project; it can lead to three others,” said Moody.

Proof of this multiplier effect can be seen across Columbus.

Moody’s design of Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in the late 1990's catapulted his firm into national prominence.   

Three of his more recent projects are anchoring a corridor along Olentangy River Road just west of downtown.

They include The Ohio State University's Eye & Ear Institute, Time Warner Cable's Mid-Ohio Division offices, and OSU's Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center.

Moody calls his style of design “responsive architecture.”

Clients provide a vision and he turns it into reality, like the student-inspired design of the Ohio Union.

“The students wanted something more traditional. They wanted a collegiate-looking building. They didn't want a steel and glass building,” said Moody.

Moody went on to design the mammoth Recreation and Physical Activity Center at Ohio State and the Student Center at Ohio Dominican University.

Other projects include the new Hilton Hotel at the Convention Center and the Bicentennial Pavilion at Columbus Commons.

One dream project he'd like to do in the heart of downtown Columbus is a massive, new skyscraper. He made designs for such a project when Sears considered moving its headquarters out of Chicago a few years ago.

“The economy of downtown would have changed forever, just with that one structure,” he said.

Moody added that his firm picks up a design award every 39 days on average.

But for all his success and a lobby full of those commendations, Moody still finds himself sometimes battling an age-old nemesis.

“I was in Mississippi, interviewing for a project, showing the project we had designed; and the chairman of the committee during the interview says, ‘Mr. Moody did you really design those?’ He had never seen a black architect that had designed them,” explained Moody.

Moody eventually won the project. He said still having to prove himself only serves to energize him.

“One of the goals I have as a company for the other black architects that are coming along, is that we continue to work and design at a level that there's no question we're as talented as anybody else that they want to consider,” said Moody.

As a further testament of the company's staying power, Moody-Nolan survived the recession without making a single employee layoff.

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