After 37 years of service at the Knowlton School, Professor of Architecture Doug Graf will retire from The Ohio State University at the end of the summer 2020. “Doug’s teaching—infused with vast erudition, palpable energy, and ironic wit—quickly became legendary,” said Architecture Section Head Todd Gannon.
Before joining Knowlton, Graf taught at the University of Kentucky, the University of Washington, and Yale, as well as positions in Britain, Germany, and Finland, where he first went on a Fulbright to study the work of Alvar Aalto.
Graf’s interest in design theory had a primary focus on formal analysis, which was applied not only to architecture but also to urban form, landscape, photography, painting, and graphics. One of his signature investigations has been into the structure and use of diagrams as tools for ‘close reading,’ beginning with his article “Diagrams” (1986) in Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal.
Forty-six years of studios and theory classes have marked scores of students as well as Graf’s contribution to architectural pedagogy. “In marathon theory lectures, Doug unpacked the formal intricacies of such masterpieces as Venturi’s Mother’s House, Aalto’s Villa Mairea, and the château at Vaux-le-Vicomte, and extolled the urban complexities of enlightenment Paris, ancient Rome, and postwar Los Angeles,” said Gannon on Graf’s impact at the school. “Generations of Knowlton-trained architects fondly remember these lectures, which often extended well past midnight, and continue to quote—sometimes decades later—the incisive and amusing criticism he was famous for on studio reviews.”
Among other recognitions for this teaching, Graf was the first recipient of the Robert S. Livesey Teaching Award for his excellence in teaching and his demonstrate commitment to Knowlton students beyond the classroom.
Upon retirement, Doug will split his time between Columbus, where he is principal of Mid-Ohio Design Planners and Architects, and London, where he devotes his attention to the study of English Gardens.