Keelan P. Kaiser is a national collaborator in architecture education, an architecture program administrator, an educator, and a practicing architect. He is a native of Nebraska; he has lived and practiced in Lincoln, New York City, and Chicago; and has traveled and experienced architecture and urbanism around the world. Kaiser studied under notable visionaries Michael Sorkin and Aaron Betsky, among others, while completing the M.Arch. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1993), and worked in the office of Peter Eisenman. He considers himself a recovering post-structuralist and optimist. A licensed architect, Kaiser has designed small to medium scaled architecture, primarily educational in type, in Nebraska, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and New York. He holds national certification through NCARB and holds the LEED BD+C credential. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserve, serving in two terms of active duty, including one term served stateside in support of wartime action (Desert Storm, 1991). His father is a finish carpenter and furniture maker; he is married to designer Melisa (Shaw) Kaiser, and is the father of Nikolas, Kadin, Aria, and Mathias. He is an avid runner and triathlete, having completed the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Chicago Marathons (3:44 pb), the 2014 Lima, Peru Marathon, and has completed the 2014 Racine, 2015 Steelhead, and 2016 Barcelona 70.3 Ironman (5:44 pb) races.
Kaiser has served in two notable national leadership capacities during the past several years. He was elected by regional peer institution faculty to serve as West Central regional director of the national board of the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). He was chair of the Architecture Education committee during this term and contributed to the development of the ACSA position paper for the 2008 Accreditation Review Conference. He was nominated by the ACSA to serve on the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and served in the role of president of the board. He represented the ACSA as an invited participant at the 2008 Accreditation Review Conference. He has participated in the accreditation review of several architecture programs in the US. In the past few years, Kaiser has also participated in multiple leadership training events including two leadership symposia hosted by The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE): Chief Executive Officer leadership led by Glenn Tecker (2011) and Exceptional Boards by Nancy Axelrod (2012). Prior to this he participated in the “Teleconference Workshop Leading and Managing Academic Departments: A Primer for Department Chairs,” led by Dr. Don Chu, California State University, Chico (2005); “Council of Independent Colleges Workshop for Department and Division Chairs,” led by Dr. Mary Ann F. Rehnke, CIC (2005). He has participated in the development of three new schools of architecture in the United States, Judson University (1998-2017, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008-2009), and is currently the Program Director and Professor of Architecture in the emerging architecture program at California Baptist University. His advice is sought by architecture program Chairs and Deans for accreditation and leadership related support. He has served as juror for the national AIA Upjohn Research Initiative Award and national AIA COTE Awards programs in addition to numerous local juries.
During the 19 years he served at Judson, Kaiser helped develop the new architecture program, developed numerous new courses, and served in various administrative posts including Department Chair (2009-2014), Interim Division Chair (Judson’s version of a School Dean at the time (2007-2008)), and several as the Graduate Program Coordinator. In a very distinctive context of a faith-based University, Kaiser has helped educate a constituency largely unfamiliar with sustainability and environmental justice, and the design disciplines, while investigating the intersections of theology, culture, ecology and architecture. Because of the scale of both the program and the University, Kaiser participated in every aspect of management and leadership within the unit from recruiting and retention of students, faculty and staff, to curriculum development and management, to resources management, development strategies, and strategic planning and initiatives. Among other actions, he worked to develop and strengthen elective study abroad programs with multiple architecture schools around the world. Because the institution emphasizes vocational education to an unusually high degree, he was well connected with the local practice community in the Chicago area for both graduate office placement and development purposes. While only one measure of success, the Judson graduates consistently outperform the graduates of the peer architecture schools in the region on the architecture registration exams, a testimony to the professional quality of the program he helped develop at Judson University. (See NCARB ARE pass rates here and click on Illinois to compare)
In addition to department leadership, Kaiser served in various leadership capacities within the institution. He served as Faculty Moderator (Judson’s version of a Faculty President/Senate President), and the University Graduate Council. He served the University as campus planner and architect for over 10 years. A major achievement during his tenure as campus planner was guiding the building campaign ending in 2007 that resulted in an innovative new LEED Gold architecture facility, the Harm Weber Academic Center, by British architect, C. Alan Short and landscape architect Slaine Campbell. Kaiser served as competition chair and building committee chair for the Weber Center building campaign. This experience is perhaps one of the most defining of his middle career, serving to guide him in the potential and politics in the delivery of high-performance sustainable architecture. His collaborative association with Alan Short was nothing short of a tutorial post-graduate study in natural ventilation and daylighting. He provided leadership in the greening of the campus plant.
Because much of his teaching has occurred within the context of emerging programs, his teaching has been necessarily broad-based, spanning the spectrum of architectural education, from history to building technology to design, and from first year studio to graduate theses. He explores, along with his mentees, contemporary work through a lens of passivity and environmentally responsive design. He believes creating architecture that leads to improved quality of life and edify the human spirit are among the highest callings of the architect. He is a LEED accredited professional and has recently designed and completed a LEED Platinum high school addition in the Wheaton, IL. At the time of construction, there were less than a half-dozen LEED Platinum schools in the United States. He has guided several low-energy, LEED projects in his consulting role at Serena Sturm Architects in Chicago. He was involved with the American Institute of Architects (AIA)/Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) Carbon Neutral Design Studio Curriculum Project, an international education resource development initiative, developing and refining architecture pedagogy in conjunction with the 2030 Challenge. He was a beta tester for the 2030 Palatte, a resource for developing carbon neutral buildings. Most recently he is a beta tester for the new AIA 2030 Commitment EUI tool that rolled out in 2015. He explored advanced digital media and sustainability issues before they were cool, recognizing both as game-changers long before they picked up mainstream traction in practice or the academy. He is fluent in the use of Sefaira, a design-based energy modeling plug in to Sketchup and Revit, and uses it both in practice and in the delivery of sustainable design studios.
Kaiser’s career could be described as hybridized and elastic, broadly experiencing the boundaries of the discipline, collaborating with multiple others inside and outside the discipline, and keenly aware of the value of life-enriching architecture and urbanism.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Master of Architecture (1993)
Emphasis: History and Theory / Digital Technology (3.75/4.0)
Thesis: A Search for an Electronically Integrated Approach to Exploratory Architectural Design: “A Center for the Study of Television and Cinema.”
Thesis project placed in Center for Critical Architecture/2AES-San Francisco, CA National Competition “The Next Generation: Student Work from the United States.” (1993)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (1991)
Emphasis: Design and Structures (3.0/4.0)
National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB): Member of the Board (2009-2012), President (2011-2012), Chair of the Assessment and Evaluation Committee (2010-2011). Serve as a lifetime visiting team pool member for annual accreditation visits to various programs; representing the NAAB.
American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA): ACSA West Central Regional Director and ACSA National Board of Directors (2006-2009), Chair of the ACSA Board Architecture Education Committee (2007-2008), Judson College Faculty Councilor to West Central Region ACSA (2001-2004).
Design Communication Association, Officer, West Central Regional Director (2012-2014)
ACSA Central Regional Meeting Host and Co-Chair (2004)
Peer Reviewer of Papers: 2016 International Conference on Sustainability, Design and Construction, 2004 ACSA Central Regional Meeting, 2006 Beginning Design Conference, 2006 ACSA Annual Conference, 2006 ACSA Central Fall Conference, 2012 Design Communication Association Conference.
Peer Tenure/Promotion Reviewer: Judson University, Kent State University, Oklahoma State University, Southern Illinois University, University of Las Vegas-Nevada, and University of Houston.
Guest Studio Critic/Lecturer: Kansas State University (Condia, Orneleas, Knox, Krstic), Illinois Institute of Technology (Felsen, Flury), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Donohue, Hoistad, Cronrath), University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana (Baumgartner), Oklahoma State University (Bilbesi, Richards), Florida A&M University (Chin).
Executive Leadership Training: The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE), Exceptional Boards by Nancy Axelrod (2012); The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE), Chief Executive Officer leadership led by Glenn Tecker (2011); Teleconference Workshop Leading and Managing Academic Departments: A Primer for Department Chairs, led by Dr. Don Chu, California State University, Chico (2005); and Council of Independent Colleges Workshop for Department and Division Chairs, led by Dr. Mary Ann F. Rehnke, CIC (2005).
Specialized Accreditation (NAAB) Advising for New Programs: South Dakota State University (consultant), California Baptist University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Invited Juror: 2014 Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top 10 Award, 2012 AIA Upjohn Award
California Baptist University (2017-Present). Architecture Program Director
Judson University (1998-2017). Department Chair, Architecture (2009-2014), Interim Chair/Dean, Division of Art, Design and Architecture (2007-2008), Architecture Department Interim Chair (2004-2005); Architecture Department Graduate Coordinator (2003-2007); Judson College Faculty Moderator (2003-2004); Chair of LEED Gold Harm Weber Architecture and Central Library Center Invited Design Competition and subsequent Building Committee (2001-2007), New Faculty Search Committees (2000-Present), Academic Advising of both Undergraduate and Graduate Students (1998-Present), NAAB Team Room Exhibit coordinator (2000, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2012 visits).
California Baptist University (2017-Present) Riverside, CA
College of Architecture, Visual Art, and Design
Department of Architecture
Teaching: ARC510 Design Studio 7, ARC511 Thesis Preparation, ARC580 Advanced Sustainable Systems, ARC511 Thesis Studio
Judson University (1998-2017) Elgin, IL
School of Art, Design and Architecture
Department of Architecture
Professor, Tenured (2005)
Teaching: Des 121-Foundation Design 2D, Des 122-Foundation Design 3D, Des 231-Intro to Digital Representation, Arc 251/252-Architecture Design Studio I/II, Arc 351/352-Architecture Design Studio III/IV, Arc 381-European Study Tour, Arc 451-Design Studio V, Arc 462 Preceptorship Preparation, Arc 681/682-Graduate Thesis I/II, Arc 651/652-Advanced Graduate Architecture Studio I/II, Arc 410/610-Advanced Digital Representation I, Arc 411/611-Advanced Digital Representation II, Arc 671 Case Studies in Sustainable Design.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008-2009) Chicago, IL
Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects
Visiting Associate Professor of Architecture (On Joint Appointment with Judson University)
Teaching: 6210-Graduate Interior Architecture Studio V, 6212-Choreographed and Ambient Systems for Architects and Interior Architects, 4001-Advanced Interior Architecture Studio, 6222-Sustainable Practice Economies
University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1996-1998) Lincoln, NE
College of Fine and Performing Arts
Department of Art and Art History
Visiting Assistant Professor
Teaching: Art 111-Foundation Design, Art 221-Beginning Graphic Design
University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1994-1996) Lincoln, NE
College of Architecture
Department of Architecture
Assistant Professor (Adjunct)
Teaching: Arch 218 and 223-Computers in Architecture, Arch 310-Design Studio III, Arch 311-Design Studio IV
(NCARB Architect; Currently Licensed in: IL; Previously Licensed in KY, TN, NE; Current Member Chicago AIA, Chicago USGBC)
Serena Sturm Architects (2008-Present) Chicago, IL
Sustainable Research, Planning and Architecture
Notable recent projects as a design and sustainability consulting architect at Serena Sturm Architects: 2012 LEED Platinum High School Addition (at the time, one of only six in the nation), Wheaton, IL; 2014 LEED Platinum, Net Zero Energy Single Family Houses in Bozeman, MT and Chautauqua, NY; Currently consulting on several low energy, net positive projects in the office.
Judson University (2000-2015) Elgin, IL
Campus Architect and Planner, Campus Sustainability Committee (2008-Present)
Kaiser Architects (1998-2008) Elgin, IL
Consulting and Research in: Residential, Light Commercial, Community/Ministry Planning and Design.
Pickrel Architecture and Design (1996-1998) York, NE
Project Designer, Project Architect
Residential and Light Commercial/Public Architecture
The Architectural Partnership, P.C. (1993-1996) Lincoln, NE
Housing and Educational Architecture, Graphic Design
Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C. (1991-1993 P.T.) Lincoln, NE
Community Planning and Research, Low Income Housing Planning and Design
Eisenman Architects (Summer 1992) New York, NY
Assistant on the Schematic Design of the Emory Center for the Arts, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, and Assistant on the Construction Documentation of the DAAP, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.
Lectures and Exhibitions
International Conference on Sustainability, Design, and Construction – Elsevier (2016) Phoenix, AZ Peer Reviewed Paper: “Expressions and evidence, advances in architecture studio pedagogy.”
International Conference on Sustainability, Design, and Construction – Elsevier (2015) Chicago, IL Peer Reviewed Paper: “Substantial energy use reduction strategies for buildings in continental climates.”
Florida A&M University (2015) Invited Workshop Leader: Travel Drawing and Watercolor, Analog-Digital Symposium, Tallahassee, FL.
Urban Sketchers (2014-16) Invited Workshop Leader Chicago Summer Workshop: Travel Drawing and Watercolor.
ARCC – University of Texas (2009) San Antonio, TX
Peer Reviewed Paper: “Harm A. Weber academic center, post-occupancy building performance and comfort perceptions.”
AIA Illinois State Convention (2008) Moline, IL
Peer Reviewed Paper: “Green Pedagogy, Using Scale Changes in Teaching Holistic Sustainable Design”
AIA Illinois State Convention (2007) Elgin, IL
Peer Reviewed Paper: “2030 and the Inevitability of Regenerative Architecture(s) and Urbanism(s)”
Taylor University, 42nd Annual Natural Sciences Seminar Series (2007) Upland, IN
Invited Lecture: “Shades of Green: Addressing Climate Change in Architecture and the Built Environment”
Ball State University, Design Communication Association Conference (2007) Muncie, IN
Peer Reviewed Paper: “Lines of Thought”
SBSE Retreat (2007) Bainbridge, WA
Invited Workshop 1: Sustainability in Architecture Education, Preparing for the 2008 NAAB Accreditation Review Conference, co-led with Walter Grondzik, P.E. (Ball State University).
Invited Workshop 2: A New Mixed-Mode Naturally Ventilated Building at Judson College, co-led with Dr. David M. Ogoli (Judson University)
ARCC – University of Oregon (2007) Eugene, OR
Peer Reviewed Paper: “A Green Studio Pedagogy: Using scale changes to influence architectural design for sustainability.”
Judson University (2006) Elgin, IL
Sabbatical Exhibit: “A House and Five Lions,” A low energy affordable single family campus housing proposal and drawings/watercolors after grotesques at the Alley of the Hundred Fountains, Tivoli
AIA Illinois State Convention (2005) Rockford, IL
Seminar: “Earth Stewardship and Sustainable Development at Judson College”
Professional AIA Seminar (1.5 HWS), Co-Authored with Dr. David M. Ogoli
U.S. Green Building Council, Chicago Chapter (2005) Chicago, IL
Seminar: “Harm A. Weber Academic Center and the Greening of Judson College”
Professional AIA Seminar (1.5 HWS), Co-Authored with Dr. David M. Ogoli
Illinois Institute of Technology (2005) Chicago, IL
Invited Graduate Studio Lecture: “Harm A. Weber Academic Center and the Greening of Judson College”
Union University, Department of Art (2005) Jackson, TN
Invited Lecture: “Current Academic and Professional Work”
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (2005) Deerfield, IL
Invited Graduate Seminar Lecture: “Communities of Sustainability”
University Place Art Center (2001) Lincoln, NE
Three person show: “Influenced by Architecture”
Judson University (1999-Present) Elgin, IL
Faculty Show: “Current works”
Carnegie Mellon University, 14th Annual Conference on the Beginning Design Student (1997) Pittsburgh, PA. Exhibit: Freshmen student work from courses at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Minnesota, ACSA Midwest Regional Conference (1993) Minneapolis, MN
Peer Reviewed Paper: “Spatiality and the Electronic Wire frame”
Notable Institutional Development
Studio Sponsorship (2012-Present)
Establishing new funding streams for graduate scholarship endowment development through connecting regional architecture offices with design studios, 3 year commitments at approximately $3000-5000 per year.
Federation of Independent Colleges and Universities (2010-Present)
Capital improvement funding in excess of $2.5M toward campus infrastructure and facilities improvements. Supporting role in conjunction with development office of the university in conjunction with campus planner/architect role.
ICECF Building Integrated PV Grant (2004)
$110,000 Grant for the incremental costs associated with the south facing exterior wall of the Harm A. Weber Academic Center which combines a series of vertically oriented natural ventilation stack/chases with Photo-voltaic cells, resulting in electricity harvesting and accelerates the buoyancy in the ventilation exhaust system by artificially super heating the exhausting air within the chase. Co-authored with Dr. David M. Ogoli, in conjunction with the College Development Office.
U.S. Water and Energy Appropriations Bill, Institutional Grant (2003)
$7.5M Grant towards the construction of the Harm A. Weber Academic Center. Provided support data, including materials generated through the ICECF Design Grant and subsequent environmental testing, to the College Development office towards the procurement of this grant.
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) Design Grant (2001)
$75,000 Grant for the purposes of developing Schematic Design of new Harm A. Weber Academic Center (Architect: Short and Associates, London, England) which utilizes a hybrid natural ventilation system. Primary author, in conjunction with the College Development Office.
The Designers Guide to Doing Research: Applying Knowledge to Inform Design, Ed. Sally Augustin and Cindy Coleman, Wiley (2012). Chapter 7 includes Post-Occupancy Evaluation Case Study, Primary author.
Digital Architecture, M. Uddin, McGraw Hill Publishing (1999)
Publication includes two student digital media projects from courses taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Hybrid Drawings by Contemporary Architects and Designers, M. Uddin, McGraw Hill Publishing (1999)
Publication includes images from Masters Thesis (UNL ’93) and one project from private practice.
Composite Drawings, M. Uddin, McGraw Hill Publishing (1996)
Publication includes images from Masters Thesis (UNL ’93).
Progressive Architecture (Jan 1993), GA Document (June 1993), A & D (July 1993),
M Emory Games, P. Eisenman, Rizzoli, (1995).
Project Assistant in the design of the Emory University Center for the Arts, Emory University, GA.
Recent Professional Development
Regular participant at ACSA Regional Conferences, Annual Conferences, and Administrators Conferences.
International Conference on Sustainability, Design, and Construction (2015) Chicago, IL Academic and Technical Conference
Facades Design and Delivery (2012) Chicago, IL
LEED for New Construction (2007) Chicago, IL
Technical Review Workshop
Green Roof Infrastructure (2006) Chicago, IL
Design and Installation 201
University of Wisconsin (2006) Milwaukee, WI
ACSA Fall Conference (Session Moderator)
Illinois Institute of Technology (2005) Chicago, IL
Sustainable Wetlands Symposium
Cranbrook ACSA/AIA Teachers Conference (2001) Bloomfield Hills, MI
Material and Digital Media
Active Member of Urban Sketchers Chicago Chapter
Veteran U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve (1986-1993) Omaha, NE
Honorable Discharge at E5 Rank, Desert Storm Veteran, Decorated
Keelan can be reached at: kkaiser(at)judsonu.edu