Celebrating Mark Bess, AIA, NOMA, for Teacher Appreciation Day 2024!

May 6, 2024

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Photo credit: NJIT

Celebrating Mark Bess, AIA, NOMA, for Teacher Appreciation Day 2024! 

Principal Blackberry Studios / University Lecturer- Undergrad Program Coordinator NJIT Hillier College of Architecture & Design
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day 2024, we recognize Mark Bess, AIA, NOMA, professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD) since 2005!
Mark leads the Newark Design Collaborative initiative at HCAD and coordinates the Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture Programs. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including professional practice, construction, contract documents, and environmental control systems. As HCAD’s coordinator for the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), he actively assists architecture students in entering the profession.

For over 30 years, Mark has worked continuously as an architect, specification consultant, and academic. His passions include mentoring his students, working with clients to help them realize their goals, and understanding how design impacts communities, especially those typically marginalized.

Bess graduated from the Pratt Institute School of Architecture with Honors in 1988 and has been an accomplished architect ever since. Throughout his career, he has developed a specialized understanding of the development of construction documentation. 

When he’s not in the classroom, Mark is the Principal of Blackberry Studios, a Newark-based, full-service architecture and design firm for the people. The firm recognizes that architectural design is often perceived as elitist, reserved only for the few. Blackberry Studios strives to challenge this paradigm, developing innovative solutions at the intersection of science and art, offering timely service along with compelling, budget-minded designs.

Mark’s experience includes holding positions like Chief Architect and Lead Project Manager at Netta Architects in Mountainside, NJ, on numerous projects and various building types, including corporate headquarters, significant historic restoration projects, educational buildings, housing, commercial facilities, and government buildings. He also directed the firm’s specification department, assisted with marketing and recruitment, and managed the firm’s staff architects and designers.

Mark actively serves the profession through membership and volunteering for many organizations, including The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the American Institute of Architects, AIA Newark and Suburban, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Additionally, he is a founding member of the NJ Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects and a member of the Construction Specifications Institute with a Contract Document Certification.

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Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

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