NORMAN – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today named award-winning architect and OU educator Hans Butzer as interim dean of the OU College of Architecture, pending approval of the OU Board of Regents. Butzer will fill the college’s key leadership position following the death of Dean Charles Graham.
“Professor Butzer is a gifted teacher and one of the most respected architects in the nation,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He will continue to strengthen academic programs and initiatives implemented by Dean Graham.”
Butzer currently serves as director of the OU Division of Architecture within the college and was recently awarded the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
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, Professor Butzer and his wife, Torrey A. Butzer, 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, Professor Butzer 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.
The Butzers are founders of Butzer Architects and Urbanism and have been internationally noted for their design of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
In 2008, Professor 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.
Most recently, Professor Butzer helped guide the visioning 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, Professor 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.
Professor Butzer is licensed in the state of Oklahoma and has a German architecture license from the state of North-Rhine/Westphalia. He 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.