GARY NELSON

SAY IT LOUD - NOW Exhibitor

Arizona Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Always inspired by family - from my sister and aunt who were physically disabled and lived in a society prior to ADA. I remained inspired by my late parents who demonstrated to me the impor- tance of giving back to the community.

Gary Nelson

Bio:

Gary J. Nelson is an architect for the City of Phoenix, a founder and first president of NOMAarizona. A native New Yorker, he is the husband of a USAF veteran and father of a son and daughter, He is second-generation West Indian American, passionate about community- based projects and sports architecture. Gary is committed to mentoring design related professionals. He was the first Black Director of Architecture for an ENR top 100 firm, leading its architecture practice expansion to the west.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I read the book “So You Want To Be An Archi- tect?” in the sixth grade and never looked back!

What do you do?

Architect and owner’s representative of the City of Phoenix for community based projects, includ- ing community centers, museums, sports arenas, fire stations and other municipal facilities.

What excites you in the work you do?

Giving back to the community, making a differ- ence for current and future generations.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Always inspired by family - from my sister and aunt who were physically disabled and lived in a society prior to ADA. I remained inspired by my late parents who demonstrated to me the impor- tance of giving back to the community.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Proudest accomplishment is overcoming racism to realize my dream of becoming an architect. Proudest achievement is designing a perimeter fence at my children’s school. Two weeks after construction, it protected the children from a car out of control.

Featured Project Name: 

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center

 

Featured Project Location: 

Phoenix, Arizona

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

2009

Role in Featured Project: 

Architect of Record

Featured Project Description:

The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is a steward of the African American experience in Phoenix, Arizona. Built in 1926 as a segregated school for Blacks, the school closed in 1953 during desegregation. In 1996, the high school’s alumni association purchased the school from the school district and transformed it into a museum and cultural center. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009, Gary J Nelson, led the design team in a major renovation.

Photography Credit:

Gary Nelson

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