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The Leon Bridges Company
African American AIA Fellow

SAY IT LOUD - NOMA 50th Exhibition
SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC Exhibitor

Maryland Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

My hero architects include Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, I.M. Pei, FAIA, and Minoru Yamasaki, FAIA.



The great architect ,Leon Bridges is a Fellow and a Past Vice President of the American Institute of Architects. Since entering the profession as a draftsman in 1956, he has won national and local awards for design excellence including the restoration of Baltimore’s Penn Station. He is also a Past President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). In 2005, he semi-retired from practice to become an Assistant Professor at the Morgan State School of Architecture and Planning. He retired in 2019.

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

My first encounter with an architect was with Paul Revere Williams, FAIA in his Los Angeles Offices in 1944 when I was just 12 years old. My mother introduced me to him, and it was at that moment that I decided I wanted to be an architect.

What do you do?

I am currently retired from the profession. Today, although I am still designing small projects, my major interest is in promoting African American students for entering the practice of architecture.

What excites you in the work you do?

When I look at the projects I completed over the years, it’s so awesome to be able to see them and say, ‘that’s my project’. It’s important to feel a sense of ownership and pride over the projects you work on, either in a firm or on your own.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

My hero architects include Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, I.M. Pei, FAIA, and Minoru Yamasaki, FAIA.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Receiving the Whitney M. Young Award in 1998 and being the first African American recipient of the AIA Citation for Excellence in Community Architecture in 1972. I am also proud of designing our family residence, in which we lived for 45 years.

Year of Elevation: 


Featured Project Name: 

Penn Station Renovation

Featured Project Location: 

Baltimore, MD


Featured Project Completion Date: 


Role in Featured Project: 



Featured Project Description:

Originally designed in 1911, Penn Station is a major railway station that was pivotal to bringing the Amtrak Northeast Corridor through Baltimore. In 1984, in collaboration with Robert Nash, FAIA, my firm lead the renovation of the main concourse and passenger waiting area and the restoration of the façade to the original design. It was a major project for which I received several AIA chapter’s and NOMA’s Awards for Achievement in Excellence.

Photography Credit:

Leon Bridges

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