The Work and Legacy of John Moutoussamy, FAIA: A Celebration

John Moutoussamy + NORR

John Moutoussamy, FAIA, was one of the first—and most influential—African American architects to work with a large firm not only in Chicago, but in the entire country. He was a graduate of the Illinois Tech College of Architecture, protégé of Mies van der Rohe, and was managing partner at Dubin, Dubin and Moutoussamy (DD&M), formerly Dubin, Dubin, Black and Moutoussamy (DDB&M), a significant architectural design firm in the city for many decades, and a predecessor firm to the NORR Chicago office.

In a distinguished career spanning multiple decades, Moutoussamy designed many notable and iconic buildings in Chicago. In 1971, Moutoussamy designed the headquarters building for the Johnson Publishing Company on Michigan Avenue, which is still the only high-rise company headquarters designed by an African American for an African American owned company. The building was awarded the Chicago Landmark designation in 2017.

Mies van der Rohe + NORR

NORR’s connection with the Office of Mies van der Rohe goes back about 60 years. When the Office of Mies van der Rohe set out to design the Toronto-Dominion Centre, they collaborated with the Toronto-based firm of John B. Parkin Associates, the predecessor firm of NORR in Toronto.

Toronto-Dominion Centre – John B. Parkin, NORR’s founder, was the local architect who began work with a joint venture of Toronto-Dominion Bank and the developer Cadillac Fairview to design Toronto-Dominion Centre as a part of a competition. Phyllis Lambert (M.S.ARCH ’63), a member of the Bronfman family that owned Cadillac Fairview, recommended Mies van der Rohe be added to the project design team. With Mies as the design consultant to John B. Parkin Associates, the project showcased Mies’ design that married all of the key characteristics of his unique style with the strength of Parkin’s architectural diligence and contextual understanding. This project demonstrated the power of collaboration in design and architectural construction. Mies and his design gave the project the added significance of being a symbol of Toronto’s emergence as a major city. It also marked one of Mies’ last major works before his passing in 1969.

John B. Parkin Associates later became NORR. The firm continues the longstanding traditions of its predecessor firms and is involved in the design and execution of large collaborative projects to this day.

Source: Mies van der Rohe Society