Sinclair Black has many talents: as an architect, educator, author, and urban designer. His design work stems from years of study of the vernacular architecture of Central Texas with design intentions that celebrate and preserve the particulars of the region. He is deeply involved in the community affairs of Austin and has achieved widespread recognition for his efforts on behalf of Austin’s natural and man-made environments. His talents have earned him hundreds of awards and distinctions, including recognition from the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows.
Stephi Motal has been with Black + Vernooy since 1996. She began as a young intern and continued to work while pursuing her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin, which she received in 2004.
Ms. Motal wears many hats and serves as the key institutional memory of the firm. She has contributed her design expertise, superior graphic skills, and marketing know-how to many of the firm’s projects and has served as project manager for several custom residences.
Heyden Black Walker (MSCRP '87) is continuing the Black + Vernooy family legacy of local urban design and community advocacy. Together with her father, Sinclair Black, she created Reconnect Austin, a community-based call to lower the main lanes of I-35 through downtown Austin, creating a vision of the highway rebuild that reconnects neighborhoods while providing multi-modal access to jobs, medical facilities, transit, and civic resources.
With the goal of equity in transportation and increased access for all, Heyden also donates her time and advocacy efforts to the City of Austin Pedestrian Advisory Council (member), the Congress for the New Urbanism – Central Texas Chapter (secretary, Board of Directors), Vision Zero ATX (member), and the City of Austin Design Commission (former commissioner). Heyden is a 2016 fellow of the national Walking College.
Priya Patel works as a city planner and urban designer at Black + Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design. She has considerable experience working on a wide variety of small scale to large scale planning and design projects. She provides assistance with the project’s design process: which includes research, analysis, preparation of design documents as well as presentation materials, and final reports. Priya recently graduated with a dual-degree Master’s from the University of Texas at Austin in the School of Architecture. Her dual Master of Science degrees is in City & Regional Planning and Urban Design. Her dual master’s research at UT focused on the development of sustainable urban ecosystems, including stormwater management and low-impact development (LID) techniques. She previously completed her five-year undergraduate studies in Architecture from Vadodara Design Academy: School of Architecture, (Gujarat University) and is licensed to practice architecture in India.
Priya’s interdisciplinary knowledge in the field of design gives her the technical capability and creative capacity to work on solving some of the biggest challenges facing our cities today. She is a board of directors alternate for CNU, Central Texas Chapter, and serves on the Education and Outreach Committee.
Briana Thomas was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but has claimed Austin as her home for the past six years. During her upbringing, a passion for the arts and nature were instilled within her by frequenting museums and parks with her mother. She started designing buildings at the tender age of six, and her devotion to imagination and creativity would launch her into a career of design and aspiration of becoming an architect. Aside from pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Architecture at the University of Texas, she has studied nanotechnology in Japan, conducted research on urban farming in Brazil and Germany, and multi-modal transportation in Spain. She aspires to utilize her multidisciplinary education, which has shaped her understanding of the world, by becoming a transformative architect in the future.Email: Briana Thomas
Sophia is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and has been working at Black & Vernooy since July 2018. She was raised in the DC Metropolitan Area, which has nurtured her passion for urban design at all scales. During her time at UT, Sophia traveled with her studios to Berlin, Barcelona, the South of France, and London with a focus on growth and structure of cities and their individual fabrics. She is currently working toward her architectural license, and enjoys her time spent on Custom Residential work with BV.Email: Sophia Fleshman
Addie is a professional advocate for Black + Vernooy’s Planning Department. Addie began working for Black + Vernooy in May of 2020 after receiving her BA in Public Health & Environment. She views planning through a public health and equity lens, and works to make Austin more equitable and sustainable by supporting pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure. She works with local organizations and community members around Austin to advance this goal and to bring historically underrepresented voices into the world of planning. Addie works with Reconnect Austin, a proposal to cut and cap I-35 from Holly St to Airport Blvd co-founded by Firm Principal Sinclair Black and Director of Planning Heyden Black Walker. She frequently represents Reconnect Austin at statewide and nationwide freeway-fighting coalitions. Addie is a Board Alternate for CNU-CTX and Co-Founder of FNU-CTX (Future of New Urbanism CTX) with Priya Patel. FNU-CTX is a subcommittee under CNU-CTX dedicated to involving students and young professionals in the Congress for the New Urbanism, and is especially focused on outreach to youth, POC, and queer communities. Addie is a fellow of the 2022 Texas State Walking College.Email: Addie Walker