The University Record, January 14, 1998

Kelbaugh recommended dean of architecture, urban planning


By Jane R. Elgass

Douglas S. Kelbaugh, professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Washington since 1985, will be recommended as dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning following an international search. If approved by the Regents at their Jan. 15-16 meeting, his appointment for a five-year term will be effective July 1.

In recommending Kelbaugh for the post, Provost Nancy Cantor notes that he "is a highly respected teacher, researcher and academic administrator. He has the leadership qualities required to lead the College of Architecture and Urban Planning into the 21st century, and I am personally delighted that he is willing to assume this important leadership role at the University."

Kelbaugh has taught at eight schools of architecture in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia and delivered lectures at dozens of other schools. He has practiced in the United States and abroad, spoken at scores of conferences and published many papers. He is the editor of The Pedestrian Pocket Book, a national bestseller in its field. He is author of the recently published book COMMON PLACE, Toward Neighborhood and Regional Design, which presents the theory, design and policy that came out of the dozen community design charrettes he organized in Seattle.

His Princeton home was one of the first passive solar homes in the country, and was featured in more than 100 books and periodicals, as were many of his firm's other projects that pioneered energy-efficient architecture.

Kelbaugh was nominated several times for the presidency of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, but declined to run because of his administrative, teaching and practice commitments. He has co-chaired several national and international conferences on energy and design, spoken to hundreds of professional and community groups, and served on many regional and national design juries, including the 1995 Progressive Architecture Awards. He also has spoken and consulted on private and public development projects in the United States and abroad.

Kelbaugh holds a B.A. magna cum laude and an M.A. from Princeton University where he was awarded the Butler European Traveling Prize. As a VISTA volunteer, he founded and ran a community design center in Trenton, NJ, for two years between his undergraduate and graduate studies.

Following completion of his master's degree in 1972, he became a planner and architect for the Department of Planning and Development for the city of Trenton. He held this position until 1978 when he founded Kelbaugh + Lee, a firm that won several international design competitions and garnered more than 15 design awards in half as many years. During this time, Kelbaugh also taught part time at the University of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and held visiting appointments at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and several American universities.

In 1985, he became chair of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Washington, a post he held for eight years. While chair, he initiated many curricular reforms and new initiatives, including the annual community design charrette. In 1989, he opened Kelbaugh, Calthorpe & Associates, a design and planning firm, which won first place in Montreal's Place Jacques Cartier International Design Competition and a 1997 national honor award from the American Wood Council. Kelbaugh has been active in starting the New Urbanism, a postmodern movement in planning and design, described by Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times as "the most important phenomenon to emerge in American architecture in the post-Cold War era."

At the U-M, he hopes to help bridge architecture and urban planning in the college, the University and the community.

Charrette is a term used in the architectural design field. Kelbaugh explains that a charrette is a lengthy and intensive workshop for designers who compete on deadline. The work is usually then displayed at a public presentation.

"The origin of the term is curious," Kelbaugh says. "The Parisian architecture school Ecole de Beaux Arts used to dispatch a wagon to pick up student drawings in the Latin Quarter. To be 'en charrette' was to jump on the wagon in order to continue working to the very last moment."

"Today, it has come to mean a high-intensity design workshop."