GAME CHANGERS: In the Heart of Mississippi, Duvall Decker Built a Grassroots Network to Grow Its Practice

By Martin Pederson
Feb. 19, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. — Twenty years ago the husband-and-wife team of Roy Decker and Anne Marie Duvall founded the architecture firm Duvall Decker. It was a bigger leap of faith than even they realized. They wanted to make contemporary work, contribute to their community, and run a profitable business. Lofty aspirations all—for almost any architects, in any market—but the Deckers’ goals came with a higher degree of difficulty. They were setting up shop in Jackson, Mississippi, a shrinking city in the Deep South, with about 183,000 residents (roughly 17,000 fewer live there today), conservative aesthetics, low expectations for design, and a shallow pool of potential clients. What exactly were they thinking?

“I don’t think we realized how limiting the limits were—we were hopeful,” Anne Marie says. “Exactly right,” adds Roy. “We were blinded by hopefulness. And we still are.”

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Mississippi Library Commission Headquarters Building
Jackson, MS