Burt Pinnock’s passion for design has created award-winning work for countless communities, from historic sites and cultural institutions to forward-thinking companies and inspiring foundations. With a firm grasp on contextual design, Burt’s work is rooted in the belief that architecture can provide solutions and change to cultural challenges. For Burt, architecture and design isn’t a job; it’s his personal contribution to the well-being and vitality of our communities.
How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?
My parents worked on the historic Tuskegee University campus where the coolest thing to do as a kid was run around the soaring spaces and winding stairs of the modernist Chapel. I thought: I’ll do whatever this job is that makes giant toys like this!
What do you do?
Lead, make, manage, and mentor. Collaborate, create, and cultivate talent. Ideate and innovate. Design.
What excites you in the work you do?
The gravity and longevity of how we should think about architecture is what gets me excited. Architecture can be that which represents our values and ideals for generations. I’m always seeking to imbue that in the work regardless.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
Imagining. Being presented with design requirements by a client, challenges by a community,
or a construction detail by a colleague, I imagine the near limitless possibilities. When that internal combustion engine kicks in it’s like nothing else.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?
If you take the literal definition then I would have to say being elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2018 is up there. Having my professional achievements recognized and celebrated by peers, people who share my passion – it was meaningful.
Featured Project Name:
National Slavery Museum Concept
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Featured Project Description:
Envisioned as the anchor of the Slave Trail, the proposed National Slavery Museum sits at the
foot of the African Burial Ground commemorative landscape in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood. The 45,000-SF, six-story museum would include an education center, research and resource facility, lecture hall, and 250-seat experience theater. Its form is inspired by the traditional “tog una” of Mali’s Dogon people – meaning “great shelter” – a place for teaching and working, rest and conversation.