by Garrad Lee
Award-winning and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry once said, “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” That is the perfect description of the physical location of the Seabold Architecture Studio at 2819 N. State Street. The yellow house that is home to the firm is also known as the Fondren House, one of the older houses in the neighborhood that, perched atop a hill, has overlooked Fondren both in its earliest days and presently in the full throes of a renaissance.
This is something that owner Jeff Seabold takes very seriously. His eyes light up when he talks about his current projects, just as much as they do when he discusses the examples of classic architecture in the neighborhood. Whether looking at an old home or a new build out, one thing remains true for Seabold and his co-workers: “We believe in design and the quality of it.”
Seabold originally grew up in Memphis and came to Jackson to attend Millsaps College, where he graduated in 1996. After a few years of “working and traveling” and “looking at law schools” he enrolled in architecture school at Mississippi State University. Upon graduation in 2002, he worked for several months at Pearl River Glass Studio before moving to a small commercial architecture firm where he remained for a little over six years.
By February of 2009, Seabold set out on his own, first working from home, then moving to a space on President Street for about a year. The firm has been in the current location for about four years.
Seabold’s decision to live and work in Fondren is part of his and his firm’s larger ethos of sustainability. “We are a sustainable firm. We preach sustainability and we practice that,” he says. This encapsulates everything from being able to bike to work and walk to meetings to using building materials that help clientsÂ save on energy costs.
Ultimately, Seabold, recently named to the city’s Historic Preservation Board, is driven by his core principle of “a commitment to make Jackson a better place.” Fondren residents can see that come to light through the firm’s various residential projects as well as work in new developments like Fondren Public, Saltine Oyster Bar and Surin of Thailand, which is opening in the old Nick’s location. “We are seeing a lot of progress,” Seabold says. “Things are happening here that don’t happen in a lot of other neighborhoods.”