The architect and educator Thomas Gordon Smith, known for his dedication to classical architecture and its contemporary uses, died on June 23 at the age of 73.
Smith was a professor emeritus and former professor at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. Born on April 23, 1948 in Oakland, California, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in painting in 1970 and a master’s degree in architecture in 1975. From 1979 to 1980 Smith worked as a Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. Here he devoted himself entirely to the study and practice of classical architecture. He ended his scholarship by participating in his facade design for “Strada Novissima”, an exhibition at the 1980 Venice Biennale.
After graduating, Smith founded his own architectural firm, Thomas Gordon Smith Architects, and taught at institutions such as the College of Marin, UCLA, Yale University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, before joining Notre Dame in 1989, before moving to the classic in 1998 Architecture on the Notre Dame curriculum, making it a leader in higher education at the forefront of the style’s resurgence.
“Thomas Gordon Smith brought a new vision to Notre Dame’s architecture program and brought me and many of my colleagues to the university,” said professor and former dean Michael Lykoudis. “We all owe a lot to Thomas; he was a valued colleague and friend. He was instrumental in rebuilding a culture of classical and traditional architecture that went beyond style and led to the core of what it means to be an architect in contemporary society. “
Smith designed dozens of ecclesiastical, public, and housing projects across the country, including the Cathedral City Civic Center in Cathedral, California. He also designed several buildings on the Notre Dame campus. Smith’s work is also reflected in various of his publications, such as “Classical Architecture: Rule and Invention” and “Vitruvius on Architecture”. It was also the subject of a 2001 book by Richard John entitled “Thomas Gordon Smith: The Rebirth of Classical Architecture,” which highlights Smith’s work.
Thomas Gordon Smith leaves behind his 50-year-old wife Marika, a sister and a brother, six children and ten grandchildren.