FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 26, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Award-winning architect and OU educator Hans Butzer has been named dean of the OU College of Architecture. He has been a recipient of the highest national award given each year by the American Institute of Architects, the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.
OU President David L. Boren made the announcement today at the January meeting of the OU Board of Regents.
“Professor Butzer is a gifted teacher and one of the most respected architects in the nation,” Boren said. “He will continue to strengthen academic programs and initiatives implemented by the late Dean Charles Graham.”
Butzer and his wife, Torrey A. Butzer, are founders of Butzer Architects and Urbanism and have been internationally noted for their design of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
In 2008, Butzer assembled a team of designers and engineers that won an international design competition for a new pedestrian bridge in Oklahoma City. The SkyDance Bridge, which spans Interstate 40 to connect Oklahoma City’s central business district to the Oklahoma River, takes its cues from the state bird of Oklahoma, the scissor-tailed flycatcher.
Since being named interim dean of the OU College of Architecture in February 2016, Butzer has focused on enhancing the quality of student learning experiences through his sustained support of study abroad programs and by continuing to leverage the recently-renovated Gould Hall, a state-of-the-art facility now home to the college. Butzer also has advanced social and environmental initiatives within the department through the creation of three research clusters: Resilient Planning, Design and Construction; Digital Technologies and Data in Design; and Design Entrepreneurship.
He has initiated a celebration of the rich history of the College of Architecture and continues to strengthen the college’s relationships with alumni and professionals of the built environment.
Prior to his tenure as interim dean, Butzer served as director of the OU Division of Architecture within the college He began teaching at OU in 2000 and is known for advocating for excellence in public architecture through his role as an educator.
In 2001, the Butzers co-taught a course in which students developed designs for a new landmark boathouse along the river. The work of the students established the vision for what has today become the United States Olympic Rowing Training Facility in Oklahoma City, marked by a series of American Institute of Architects-award winning boathouses along the Oklahoma River.
In 2003, he established a capstone studio dedicated to Oklahoma City-based urban research studies at the OU Division of Architecture. The studio challenges students to envision a more densely, varied and sustainably developed urban fabric for the city. Speculative studio projects have contributed to the development of some of the most transformative projects in Oklahoma City, including Maywood Park, the downtown John Rex Elementary School, the Core to Shore Master Plan and the proposed multimodal hub at historic Santa Fe Station.
He was instrumental in guiding the vision for the $18 million redevelopment of downtown Oklahoma City’s Century Center from a defunct 1970s mall into a lively mix of retail and office space. Additionally, the Butzers have collaborated with two other families to redevelop a 1930s warehouse building into their new award-winning architecture office while helping contribute to the resurgence of Oklahoma City’s historic Film Row District.
In 2015, following 12 years of planning and advocacy, Butzer’s vision for an Oklahoma City design center became reality with the opening of the OU Community Design Center in the Film Row District. The center provides OU students the opportunity to work with professionals from architecture and allied disciplines in an urban setting.
He is licensed in the state of Oklahoma and has a German architecture license from the state of North-Rhine/Westphalia. Butzer earned a Bachelor of Architecture with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.