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David Sharpe, IIT Professor

  • 1.  David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-01-2020 09:30
    Note that IIT professor David Sharpe passed away last week.  I remember his significant influence in Crown Hall during my days as an undergrad in the late 70's.


    Director | Project Programs Division
    Chief Architect | Great Lakes Region
    US General Services Administration

  • 2.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-02-2020 17:54
    I have had so many fond memories of David Sharpe. He was the third IIT professior visiting my Chinese Alma mater Huazhong University of science& technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China in 1980s. When I can to IIT for graduated study in 1990, he was always there for me. He will be truly missed.

    JJ Tang, FAIA

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 3.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-03-2020 19:09

  • 4.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-06-2020 18:28

    It is wonderful to see these remembrances of David. Mine:

    I was 7-8 years after Elliot to enter Crown Hall.  By that time, David was firmly ensconced in the 5th year and graduate studios, leading extraordinary research on long span and super tall buildings.  It was a time for heroic structures (and a few years before we started to hear about learning from Las Vegas). He was the most elegant and erudite man, highly successful and fully devoted to teaching.

    I got married during my third year and was allowed to rent a married student apartment in the grad/faculty apartment cluster (in Mies buildings!). David and his wife lived in the building next door. While I didn't have David for any of my studios, I often saw him walking to Crown Hall in the morning and he never failed to invite me to walk with him and talk about what was going on.  This was in 1970-73, so there was a lot to discuss! He was a wonderful man.

    Recently, in my involvement with the Mies van der Rohe Society, we honored several of the iconic Mies Curriculum faculty, including David.  We mounted an exhibit of some of his student's long span and tall building projects and he was very generous in his help.  Our next Mies Birthday event, next March, will include a more complete exhibit of long span projects, which he was helping to curate at the time of his passing.

    Indeed, may his memory be a blessing.


    Steven F. Weiss, FAIA


    Architecture • Planning • Design

  • 5.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-07-2020 17:24
    Wonderful to read about an architect who cared about people as well as design and building. Thanks so much for sending it on.
    Steven Foote FAIA

  • 6.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-03-2020 19:23

    I remember David in the design studio at SOM Chicago in the late sixties. At that time, the John Hancock was going up and SOM had been recently featured on the cover of time magazine. I know that David was very influential to SOM at that time and will be missed greatly by the profession in general.

    Joel Tomei, FAIA

  • 7.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-03-2020 19:52
    David Sharpe was my freshman studio instructor when I entered the IIT Architecture program in Fall 1960. He was a graduate student in the program and taught the introductory drafting course which (my how we date ourselves) pencil drafting where we learned to sharpen our wooden pencils using knives and sanding blocks as well as to rotate your wrist as you drew to ensure the line remained constant as the lead flattened, ink drawings using ruling pens (Rapidographs were never allowed), and other basic skills. David came to IIT after graduating from Tuskegee and service in the USAF and had graduated with his BArch the previous spring. One of David's grad school classmates was Phyllis Lambert (of Seagram's Building and family fame), who often awed us by driving her black Corvette to school and parking alongside Crown Hall, but also for inviting, at David's request, the freshman class to her apartment at 860 (or 900 Lake Shore Drive where she had purchased and combined two adjoining units. He also took us out to see the Farnsworth House and, shockingly enough, Bruce Goff's Ford House in Aurora (now restored and owned by one of my former UIC colleagues).

    Over the nearly sixty years since then, as I graduated and moved on into academia myself (with only a short stint as a TA with Myron Goldsmith at IIT), I still saw David while working at SOM (didn't everyone who graduated from IIT start there?) and when visiting Crown Hall for alumni events, end-of-year shows, and lectures. He never lost his sense of humor and we still spoke of those early days of his teaching career and my architectural studies.  David was one of the last of that group of students that studied under Mies or his initial cohort of instructors who then extended that legacy and approach to pedagogy and architecture for one or more generations. I believe, since we all, in many ways, teach our biographies, that what i learned from David and many of those other professors at IIT, as well from my practice and other studies, has informed my own teaching  and has been passed on to subsequent generations of our profession. He will be missed.

    Elliott E Dudnik, PhD FAIA
    Professor Emeritus of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Principal, Elliott Dudnik + Associates Evanston IL

  • 8.  RE: David Sharpe, IIT Professor

    Posted 07-04-2020 09:43
    I first met David when he was in Mies' office and one summer I was the office boy.  He was the perfect introduction to architecture a youngster could have, an inspiration, in his own, along with others there.  I had my second encounter with him in my first year in Crown Hall.  He was kind, humorous, and deeply serious about teaching excellence in architecture.

    May his memory be a blessing.

    Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
    Madison, Wisconsin