Rodney Leon, AIA

Rodney Leon, AIA

Rodney Leon, founder and principal of Rodney Leon Architects PLLC has an architectural background as a designer on a diversity of building types including housing, churches and transportation projects in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Leon has focused his professional efforts and developed an expertise in Master Planning and Mixed Use Urban Housing Development for a multiplicity of international development organizations. He has also been an advocate for “Culturally Contextual” contemporary design. Current projects include the Museum of Contemporary African and Diaspora Arts (MOCADA) in Brooklyn, NY and the French Evangelical Presbyterian Church of New York.

Mr. Leon is the designer of the African Burial Ground Memorial in New York City which is the only National Monument in the United States dedicated to the contributions of people of African descent. The monument situated North of City Hall features a “symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation.”

Mr. Leon has developed and is partnering with non-profit organizations, private clients and manufacturers to design and implement sustainable housing development models for emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The first of such projects are the 24 acre, mixed use “Belle Rive” Residential Development and the 75 acre, 1,000 unit Village of “Ylanville” in Haiti.

Immediately after the Haiti earthquake of January 2010, Mr. Leon conceived of a Master Planning solution for Haiti centered upon the concept of Memorialization and Re-forestation entitled “The HiBIscus Project.” In addition, Mr. Leon is also involved in a professional collaboration with 3 other architects on efforts to provide transitional housing for displaced families in Haiti through an initiative entitled the “HaitiSOFTHOUSE.”

Most recently, Mr. Leon was declared the winner of the international competition by the United Nations to design the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Mr. Leon’s work was selected from among 310 design proposals from 83 countries in a competition launched two years ago by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Mr. Leon’s winning entry entitled “The Ark of Return’, was announced by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said the memorial “will serve as a reminder of the bravery of those slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes who managed to rise up against an oppressive system, fight for their freedom and end the practice.” “The Ark of Return” is tentatively scheduled for unveiling during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2014.

Mr. Leon received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute School of Architecture in 1992 and his Masters of Architecture from Yale University in 1995. He has also been a Visiting Design professor at Pratt Institute School of Architecture from 1998 to 2003. He has served as 2nd Year Design Coordinator for Pratt in 2003 and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Design since 2009.


Yale University School of Architecture, New Haven, CT
M.Arch (Masters of Architecture) 1995

Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Brooklyn, NY
B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture) 1992

Academic Experience

Adjunct Professor
Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Brooklyn, NY
1998-2003; 2009-Present

NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, New York, NY

Professional Experience:

Rodney Leon Architect, New York, NY 1999-2002

AARRIS Architects P.C., New York, NY 2002-2008

Rodney Leon Architects PLLC 2008- Present

Academic Awards, Competitions, Honors, Programs, Lectures

• Guest; Brooklyn Independent Television Program “Rebuilding Haiti Post- Earthquake”
Brooklyn, NY January 18, 2013

• Panelist; Faith Facilities and Finance Symposium, Allen AME Cathedral,
Queens, NY November 2010

• Haiti SOFTHOUSE , Phase I Prototype Installation, Port au Prince Haiti, August, 2010

• Presenter and Panelist, Hibiscus Memorial Project, CENTURY OF ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE IN HAITI”, Queens Museum of the Arts, July 2010

• Organizer and Moderator; SOFTHOUSE Fundraising Event, Deutsche Bank Wall Street Headquarters, New York, NY June 2010

• Designer, Build Back Better Communities (BBBC) Modular Shelter for Clayton Homes, Exemplar Housing Competition, November, 2010

• Designer and Finalist; Build Back Better Communities (BBBC) “House of Tomorrow”
Exemplar Housing Competition, October 2010

New York Women’s Foundation, New York, NY, September 2010

• Lecture and Panelist; “Unspoken Borders” Disaster Relief Conference
University of Pennsylvania, April 2010,

• Lecture and Presentation on Belle Rive in Jacmel, Haiti, Medgar Evers College, April 2010

• Interview on Haiti Development, Radio Soleil, March 2010
• Interview on Haiti Reconstruction , Grit TV, March 2010

• Presentation, Hibiscus Memorial Project “Circle of Solidarity” Brooklyn Museum, February 2010

• Lecture Presentation, Pratt Institute School of Architecture Enduring Legacies, February 2010

• Interview on Haiti Reconstruction, Grit TV, February 2010

• Special Invitation; Clinton Foundation Roundtable Policy meeting and discussion #2
with former President Bill Clinton, New York, NY February 2010

• Organizer and Panelist; Faith Facilities Finance, Columbia University Interfaith Center,
New York, NY November 2009

• Special Invitation; Clinton Foundation Roundtable Policy meeting and discussion #1 with former President Bill Clinton, New York, NY June 2009

• Lecture, “African Burial Ground Memorial” University of Mississippi State University,
Tupelo, Mississippi, February 2009

• Pratt Institute Distinguished Alumni, October 12, 2007

• The Network Journal 40 Under 40 Award, 2006

• NYC Council Proclamation
Toussaint L’ouverture Business Award, April, 10 2006

• Distinguished Keynote Speaker
Pratt Institute President’s Lecture Series, Spring 2006

• Visionary Leadership Award
African-American News and Business World Summit, 2005

• Ernest D. Davis Scholarship Fund
Architecture Achievement Award October 27, 2005

• Harlem Minority Real Estate Club Award, July 15, 2005

• Liberty Partnerships Award, June, 2005

• African Burial Ground Memorial Competition, May 2005

• Black Alumni of Pratt Alumni Honor, December 10, 2004

• Visiting Professor, 2nd Year Design Studio
Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Brooklyn, NY, 1998-2002

• Internship, Guillaume Koffi Cabinet D’architecture
Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa, 1996

• President, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)
Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1994

• President, Black Architecture Students Coalition (BASC)
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, 1990, 1992

• Rome Program
Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Rome, Italy, 1991

Professional Registration and Organizations

• State of New York Architecture License 1999-Present

• American Institute of Architects, New York City Chapter

• National Organization of Minority Architects, New York City Chapter

• 100 Black Men, Inc. New York City

• Brooklyn Arts Council, Board Member 2005-Present

• The Haitian Roundtable; Founding Member 2009- Present