Thomas Luebke, FAIA, MArch '91
Thomas Luebke has served since 2005 as Secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the federal design review agency for the nation’s capital. As the executive director of the agency, he initiated and guided the National Capital Framework Plan (2009), a major federal planning effort to extend the commemorative core of the National Mall. He administers the multi-million-dollar National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs grant program for arts institutions in Washington, DC. Luebke also represents the Commission of Fine Arts on the Federal Council for the Arts and on the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission to guide the authorization, location, and design of national memorials in Washington, DC, under the Commemorative Works Act.
An architect with experience in planning and historic preservation in both public and private sectors, Luebke served previously as the City Architect for Alexandria, Virginia, where he was responsible for design review of all new public and private projects in the city, including the Potomac Yard and Carlyle developments. He served previously as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, an urban design forum sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and was the lead designer for the First National Bank Tower in Omaha, Nebraska, for Leo A. Daly Architects. He has also worked for several nationally prominent architectural firms, including William Rawn Associates in Boston, and Hartman-Cox Architects and SOM in Washington, DC.
Luebke is a frequent speaker and panelist on topics such as the design of Washington, DC; the history of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and the design of commemorative works for such institutions as the National Building Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Institute of Architects, and the American Society of Landscape Architects. In cooperation with the National Building Museum, he has initiated and participated in numerous symposiums and exhibits, including Monuments and Memory (2001), Framing A Capital City (2007), and Power, Architecture, and Politics: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Design of Washington (2010). He edited and produced the agency’s centennial history program, culminating with the publication of the book, Civic Art, a large-format comprehensive history of the Commission of Fine Arts in 2013. His forthcoming publication, Palace of State, is a monograph of the Second Empire-style Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., to be released in 2018.
Luebke is a Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, and he graduated with a Master in Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University, where he currently serves on the Alumni Council. In 2016, he chaired the American Academy in Rome conservation and preservation jury, and he served as a visiting scholar and studio critic at Catholic University of America in 2017. He has served as a board member for the Washington, DC chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Washington, DC chapter of Lambda Alpha, the honorary land-use society. He served as president of the board of the Washington Architectural Foundation, a non-profit organization of architects serving the DC community, leading the transformation of the institution’s mission through relocation and a capital campaign.
He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2011, and he was recognized with the AIA’s Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in 2015.