News
08.02.2011
Obit> Douglas Garofalo, 1958-2011
Cutting-edge Chicago architect passed away at his home the day before his 53rd birthday.
Douglas Garofalo and a house he designed in Green Bay.
Nathan Kirkman

A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Doug Garofalo received the AIA Chicago Young Architect Award in 1995 and was elevated to Fellow in 2003. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 and acquired his Master’s degree from Yale University in 1987. Doug was a tenured professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), serving as acting director from 2001-2003 and also assisted in the co-founding of Archeworks, an alternative design school focused on addressing societal needs.

Shortly after receiving the Young Architect Award, he was published in Metropolis for an innovative project in the Chicago suburbs.  I had always been enamored with Doug’s approach and was quoted in the piece saying, “He’s at once practical and theoretically charged, and these traits feed each other. Doug doesn’t compromise, but he’s able to use the crappy materials young architects get stuck with and make them look as if they were bearing fruit from the rich theoretical materials of his mind.  Doug doesn’t come from a lot of money or pretention—he listens, he’s not dogmatic, he’s not attitude-laden. With a little luck, in 10 years he’ll be one of the architects to contend with.”

House at Prairie Spring.
 

Doug was among the first in the United States to utilize computer technology in the design of buildings and was a lightning rod for young emerging talent. Among his built projects are the award-winning Korean Presbyterian Church of New York in collaboration with Greg Lynn and Michael McInturf, a project that gained international notoriety as the first building truly conceived and executed with digital media, and because it represents an alternative solution to adaptive reuse. Additional built projects include the Hyde Park Art Center and numerous residential projects. His unbuilt designs include a gateway in Visionary Chicago Architecture, housing for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic Bid, and an urban design for Roscoe Village in collaboration with Xavier Vendrell in a forthcoming book and exhibition entitled Designs on the Edge: Chicago Architects Reimagine Neighborhoods, sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Recent professional honors include the “Emerging Voices” program at the Architectural League of New York in 2001, a one-person exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006, Chicago AIA Distinguished Building Award, and a Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design for his Hyde Park Arts Center in 2007, a United States Artists Fellowship in 2008. Doug was named a University Scholar for 2009-12 by UIC.  Bob Somol, Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said of his work, “In addition to his professional accomplishments and teaching excellence, Garofalo is tireless in his service to the University and larger architectural community. Along with his increasing national and international acclaim, Garofalo continues to be one of the most generous and dedicated members of the Unversity and School community.”

Zurich Esposito, Executive Director of AIA Chicago, added that, “Doug was a shooting star and always ahead of most. We are only just now starting to understand everything he was moving forward in design. His recent absence from the practice was palpable. His death is a huge loss for our community.”

Stanley Tigerman

Stanley Tigerman is a principal at Tigerman McCurry Architects in Chicago.