Related Midwest Blog

Moody Nolan's Renauld Deandre Mitchell inspires next generation of Black architects

Related Midwest’s partner Renauld Deandre Mitchell brings a unique viewpoint to the Chicago architecture scene. His long career includes experience working both as a client and as a practitioner. Now, as the managing director of the Chicago and Washington, D.C., offices of Moody Nolan, Renauld says his true value as a practitioner is viewing the design process from his clients’ perspective. 

“All architects like making beautiful buildings, but there are multiple layers that go into a company’s decision-making,” Renauld says. “By relating to my clients’ end goals, I can create a balance between a beautiful design and a useful, fiscally responsible space.”

In developing one of his most recent projects—Related Midwest’s Roosevelt Square Phase 3B—Renauld prioritized designing buildings that fit into the neighborhood’s aesthetic. Because the development had been years in the making and was located in a historically disinvested community, he shared Related’s vision that the project is more than just adding housing. 

“It makes my life as a design professional easier when I know I have a client like Related with shared values and ethos,” he says. “Roosevelt 3B is about creating a vibrant, mixed-income community where families and individuals can thrive.”

Renauld’s empathetic viewpoint toward architecture extends beyond thinking like his clients. He was raised in Englewood and says it’s critical that young Black students can see themselves in the field of architecture—where people of color are underrepresented. The number of Black architects awarded the most high-profile projects is typically low—while on Roosevelt Square Phase 3B, 74% of the architecture and engineering work was completed by minority- and women-owned businesses. 

That growing opportunity is why Renauld uses his platform to make architecture more relatable for Black youth. He subscribes to the principle that “seeing is believing”, and knows that the visibility of projects like Roosevelt Square allows him to demonstrate the impact that architecture can have in under-resourced communities. Renauld also brings Black students into the Moody Nolan office so they can imagine the possibilities of a career in architecture.

One of the ways he got that message out was by returning home, to Englewood, to help design the new Englewood STEM High School. 

“How often is it that someone gets to not just figuratively come back home, but to do so and have a tangible and lasting impact on it?” Renauld says. “I’ve helped create things that will be around for the next 50-100 years, long after I’ve left this earth—and that’s an indescribable feeling.”