Congratulations to MZA’s Nelle Blevins (left) for being recognized as one of three recipients of the 2023 Louisa Nelson Award. Each year, this award celebrates the achievements of three women who have left a positive and lasting impact on the city of Nashville. United Street Tours’ Chakita Patterson (right) and Councilwoman Terry Vo (middle) are this year’s other recipients.

Nelle chose the Nashville Industry Fund as the receipient of the $5,000 prize. The NIF helps Nashville creatives and service workers afford to live in the city by facilitating a path to home ownership.

An East Tennessee native, Nelle earned her Master of Architecture at Tulane University in 2002 before relocating to Nashville in 2005. She joined MZA in 2015 and is a co-owner of the firm. Nelle’s work encompasses a diverse range of projects, including commercial, educational, residential, historic, and adaptive reuse ventures across Nashville. Her projects have helped to redefine Nashville neighborhoods like 12 South, while also strengthening existing urban fabric in neighborhoods like Germantown.

Innovative and unique, her designs are never subject to trends or the latest architectural fashion. Rather, Nelle has a clear sense of what she wants to achieve with each project, and her artistic eye means that she approaches her projects with a full awareness of their impact, whether at the scale of a neighborhood or at the scale of a small architectural detail.