Remembering David Sharpe, College of Architecture Professor for Nearly 50 Years

Renowned architect and educator David Sharpe (B.ARCH. ’60 M.S. ARCH ’62) handed away on June 20, 2020. For many years Sharpe worked as an architect at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill whilst also teaching at Illinois Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture, wherever he turned the architecture program’s first Black professor.

“His getting an African American was so significant to the College—and to me,” claims Faculty of Architecture Professor Mahjoub Elnimeiri, a long-time colleague and close friend of Sharpe. “In this hard time, one particular appears to be again to see that David aided carry in African-American learners, championing inclusion and diversity.”

Sharpe received a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee College. Following a tour of obligation in the United States Air Pressure, he then arrived to Illinois Institute of Engineering, where by he concluded a Bachelor of Architecture in 1960 and a Master of Science in Architecture in 1962. As a university student, Sharpe was taught by Myron Goldsmith and was classmates with Phyllis Lambert (M.S. ARCH ’63), founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

“David and I ended up good good friends,” suggests Lambert. “We did our master’s theses on extended-span buildings together—his on metal, for which I did the historical research, and mine on self-supporting concrete roof structures, for which David did the drawings. Several a evening we stayed to get the job done at Crown Corridor, and I experienced dinner with Ruth [Sharpe’s wife] and David at their apartment. This was a critical time for me, with so numerous content and great memories.”

Just after obtaining his graduate degree, Sharpe practiced at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, wherever he rose to affiliate partner by 1967. Functioning alongside fellow IIT Architecture faculty users this sort of as Goldsmith and Elnimeiri, Sharpe contributed to some of the firm’s most important large-scale jobs.

At the exact same time, and at the recommendation of Goldsmith, Sharpe started a virtually 50-year-long teaching vocation at the University of Architecture, beginning as a drawing teacher in fall 1962 and becoming a tenured professor in 1982. Sharpe’s doing the job expertise, wealth of architectural knowledge, and personal financial commitment in the results of his learners designed him a deeply admired member of the IIT Architecture group.

“David experienced a complete command of architectural and scheduling problems,” suggests Elnimeiri. “He pressured and demanded high quality get the job done, but he often taught with a perception of humor. He never ever instructed learners what to do, but guided them towards sensible and meaningful methods.”

While he taught throughout the curriculum and even served as performing chair of the plan, Sharpe obtained his greatest academic difference working with his mentor Goldsmith and fellow professor Elnimeiri to establish the department’s renowned graduate application. Noted for its analysis in buildings and making programs, the system was an incubator for daring innovations in tall and tremendous-tall properties.

“Beginning as teacher and university student, Goldsmith and Sharpe set up an mental and academic partnership at Illinois Institute of Technological innovation that properly spanned an astonishing 50 several years. The two blended as principal advisers for 280 graduate thesis jobs, over 50 percent of all theses completed in the Faculty of Architecture throughout that time,” writes alumnus Ed Windhorst (M.ARCH. ’93) in the guide Superior-Rise and Extended-Span Investigate at Illinois Institute of Engineering: The Legacy of Myron Goldsmith and David Sharpe.

Sharpe retired from the College of Architecture in 2010. A yr prior, the American Institute of Architects Chicago chapter recognized him with its Distinguished Support Award. Sharpe ongoing to instruct, advise learners, and do analysis almost till the working day he died.

“David was a considerate and reassuring mentor to hundreds of younger folks who are now productive practising architects,” states College of Architecture Dean Reed Kroloff. “In that, and so many other strategies, he embodied the best of this institution, and we will overlook him significantly.”

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