Rodney Leon, founder and principal of Rodney Leon Architects PLLC has an architectural background as a designer on a diversity of building types in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Leon has focused his professional efforts and developed an expertise in Master Planning and Mixed Use Urban Development for a multiplicity of cultural, religious, housing and international development organizations. He has also been an advocate for “Culturally Contextual” contemporary design. Recent projects include a Master Plan for the Museum of Contemporary African and Diaspora Arts (MOCADA) in Brooklyn, NY and the 14,000 SF French Evangelical Presbyterian Church of New York in the neighborhood of Chelsea, Manhattan.
Mr. Leon is the designer of the African Burial Ground Memorial in New York City which is the first 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 also 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 is the 24-acre, mixed use “Belle Rive” residential development in Jacmel, Haiti. In addition, immediately after the Haiti earthquake of January 2010, Mr. Leon conceived of a Master Planning solution centered upon the concept of Memorialization and Re-forestation entitled “The Hibiscus Project.” He also partnered in a professional collaboration with three other architects on efforts to provide transitional housing for displaced families in Haiti through an initiative entitled the “HaitiSOFTHOUSE.” He is currently planning a 60-acre, 500 unit sustainable development for the town of Milot in the north of Haiti.
Recently, Mr. Leon was 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 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mr. Leon’s winning entry entitled “The Ark of Return’, was unveiled at the United Nations Plaza by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 25th, 2015.
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 and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Design since 2009. He has also been serving in the capacity as a Capital and Planning Grants Reviewer for the New York State Council of the Arts since 2014.