DeVon Carlson, FAIA was a great mentor to Emerging Professionals in Colorado throughout his career. Sadly, we have lost a meaningful member of the architecture community in Colorado, but his legacy lives on.
Feel free to watch AIA Colorado History Committee’s video of DeVon Carlson here.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 14, 1:30 p.m. at the University Memorial Center, CU Boulder, on Broadway and Euclid.
DeVon M. Carlson, FAIA by Stephen K. Loos, FAIA
A stroke took DeVon (Dev) M. Carlson, FAIA, from us during the night of April 9, 2016. He was 98.
Writing in 1972 in the Colorado Fellows’ Book, Dev said that life’s great adventure began for him when, as a 24-year old, newly-minted architecture graduate, he left the “wooded, rolling plains of Eastern Kansas,” and headed to what would become his lifelong home, Boulder, Colorado.
Responding to a great influx of Navy students seeking engineering degrees, Dev began to look at his adopted “sleepy little community” as an opportunity to pursue a career as an educator.
Seeking suitable credentials, Dev turned to New York City and Columbia University for post- graduate study. Upon completion, he returned to Boulder and “uncovered” the earlier existence of a program in architectural engineering that had gone dormant during the war years. Along with Robert Rathburn, a graduate of the former program, Dev fostered the development of an accredited curriculum in architecture. In 1962, the University of Colorado took the School of Architecture out of the College of Engineering and made it an established, independent school with Dev as its first Dean. As the school’s Dean, Dev helped it find its ”voice” moving away from the historic tradition of the Beaux Arts architectural education and helping establish other influences on design such as historic context, climate, topography, materials, and structural innovation. After serving as Dean for nine years, he returned to full-time teaching in 1971 – ultimately retiring from teaching in 1981.
Following his retirement, Dev continued to stay active in the Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the American Institute of Architects continuing a life-long focus on young architects and architectural history by serving on the AIA Scholarship and Historic Resources Committees.
Dev continued his devotion to young professionals by serving on the NCARB Examination writing Committee and the Colorado State Board of Examiners. While I never had the good fortune to have Dean Carlson as a teacher, I did have the opportunity to take his “Introduction to Architecture” course in my first year as an undergraduate.
I remember his course as a gentle and compelling presentation of the elegance, importance, and potential contribution of a career in architecture. Clearly evident was his enthusiasm and the energy he committed “to trying to prepare neophytes for entry into the profession of architecture.” I came away from his introductory semester convinced that my uninformed idea of wanting to become an architect was absolutely the right choice.
DeVon M. Carlson, FAIA, was a very effective mentor of young professionals, an incredible educator, and a wonderful contributor to the architectural community in Colorado. He will be sorely missed.
At this writing, no arrangements have been finalized for funeral or memorial services.
Stephen K. Loos, FAIA, April 14, 2016