Photograph of book cover

Duvall Decker

Nine Propositions and fifty-three Foundations
By Anne Marie Duvall Decker, FAIA and Roy Decker, FAIA



The most important project for a design studio is the design of the practice itself. A studio’s point of view is often first defined by feelings and hopes, but if cultivated, grows into values and tactics.

How the studio environment is crafted and how it cultivates a kinship around this point of view with collaborators, clients, consultants, community members, and contractors is essential for it to be productive and have a healthy impact. With discipline, a studio evolves a practice that shapes the character, performance, and value of the work. The studio’s early critiques define the approach and territory of work and the propositions that are asked of every project. The studio environment and relationships create the space for the work to be possible.

Nine (9) Propositions and fifty-three (53) Foundations are shared herein. Each Foundation additionally includes a supportive commentary. Foundations and Propositions are presented as a work in progress. These are lists that chronicle our thinking and doing over 25 years. For us, there is no separation between theory and practice. This collection of Foundations and Propositions captures an approach to the work and way of being an architect. This work is a privilege with public responsibilities. This is one studio’s search for public good.

Author Bios

Anne Marie Duvall Decker, FAIA sees architecture as instrument, engaging the material phenomena of the environment and culture to create the potential for education and growth. She leads the studio in creating elusive forms and engaging public spaces, no matter the type, size, or budget of projects. Anne Marie a is teacher, leader, and an accomplished pianist.

Beyond the studio, Anne Marie has served the profession in many capacities, as a long-term board member and past president of AIA Mississippi and as a Trustee and 2021 Chair of the AIA Trust. She was appointed to serve the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations as an Industry Advisory Group Peer. She is often invited to share her experience as a lecturer, critic, visiting professor, and design juror.

Roy Decker, FAIA expands the role of an architect in search of public good. Roy’s dedication to design excellence, education, and craft infuse the firm’s work with meaning. For the past three decades, Roy has led the firm to complete public projects of varying scales and types and to achieve significant design recognition. Roy is a design and critical thought leader, teacher, and an armature landscape painter. 

Prior to founding Duvall Decker, he spent over a decade splitting his time between practice and teaching, and he has received recognition and honors for both endeavors.