2019 Young Architects Award Recipient
Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
The early career of Jason Jackson, AIA, is marked with commitment and meaningful contributions to the profession. As one of the youngest owners of one of Memphis’ oldest architecture firms, his design excellence and leadership inform projects for both established institutions and underserved communities. Exemplifying the role of citizen architect, he continuously elevates the status of architects in the community he serves.
Jackson is a principal brg3s architects in Memphis, a role he has held since 2014; previously he was a lead designer for the firm. When he stepped into his leadership role, he immediately reconfigured the firm’s process, instilling a new focus on human-centered design. Every step of the process—from meetings to client and community engagement—was overhauled, and now, several years later, the firm operates with dramatically increased efficiency. Jackson spearheads the firm’s continuous improvement initiatives and organizes its annual partner retreat, during which goals are reassessed and new growth strategies are shared.
Community and client feedback are critical to the success of Jackson’s design leadership. His work in Memphis’ historic but impoverished Soulsville neighborhood sparked a long-running relationship with its residents. Situated near one of the nation's oldest African-American institutions of higher education, Lemoyne-Owen College, the neighborhood had pushed for a community-driven development plan with little success. Whether due to lack of funds or poor communication with residents, developers had failed to deliver on their promises. Working with a local nonprofit, Jackson turned a low-income residential home on the verge of collapse into the Memphis Slim Collaboratory, a music studio and community meeting space.
Spurred by the success of the project, Memphis turned to Jackson for a volunteer revisioning project for the entire neighborhood. Once again focusing on what Soulsville itself brings to the project and its residents’ willingness to tackle beautification projects hands-on, Jackson’s multiyear strategy activates the historic neighborhood, weaving in large-scale redevelopment that satisfied the community’s needs.
An active member of AIA Memphis, Jackson has served on its board of directors and in numerous other leadership roles. He was invited to participate in the chapter’s inaugural Emerging Professionals Leadership Program, and as its AIA Emerging Professional director engaged young design professionals in the city’s architectural community through a variety of programs, including a special tour of the National Civil Rights Museum.
Through his practice, Jackson inspires his colleagues and other design professionals to find new ways to ensure architecture remains relevant and improves the quality of life in our communities. His work in Memphis has both greatly benefited the city and served as a model for young architects designing for our future.