The members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts are pleased to announce that Thomas Luebke, AIA, has been selected to serve as Secretary to the Commission. An architect with experience in planning and historic preservation in both public and private sectors, Mr. Luebke has been directly involved for over twenty years in design issues in the Washington area. He replaces Charles H. Atherton, FAIA, who retired last May after 44 years with the Commission.
Thomas Luebke most recently held the position of City Architect in the Department of Planning and Zoning for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. As City Architect, he was responsible for the development and design review of all new projects in the city, including the 275-acre Potomac Yard redevelopment and Carlyle, a seven-million square foot mixed-use development. As the principal staff to the Carlyle Design Review Board, he has worked with development teams to bring more than 1.2 million square feet in office, retail, and residential projects through the public approvals process in the past two years. He has represented the City of Alexandria on design issues for all development projects such as schools, housing, and public buildings, as well as for long-range neighborhood and master planning initiatives.
Mr. Luebke's past professional experience includes serving as executive director of the Mayor's Institute on City Design, an urban design forum sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts for civic leaders from across the country. He worked for the federal government on the historic preservation of several 19th century landmark buildings in Washington, D.C., including the Old Executive Office Building and the Treasury Department. His primary professional focus has been as an architectural designer on institutional, commercial and high-rise projects for such firms as Hartman-Cox and Leo A. Daly, where he led the design for the 45-story First National Tower in Omaha, Nebraska, completed in 2002 and winner of an AIA honor award for design in 2004.
A native of Nebraska, Mr. Luebke graduated with a Masters of Architecture degree in 1991 from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is an alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis and graduated in 1984. He has been a board member for the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Institute of Architects, where he served as design committee chairman and developed the biennial exhibit, "Monuments and Memory" in 2001, as well as the photographic essay calendar "Gems of Washington" in 2003.
The Commission of Fine Arts was established in 1910 to create a permanent advisory agency to make available to the government expert opinions on questions of art and architecture. The Commission's mission, as design proposals are brought before it, is to safeguard and improve the appearance and symbolic significance of Washington, D.C. for the benefit of citizens of the United States and foreign visitors. It is the only independent agency whose purpose is to render decisions on designs brought before it by the Federal and District of Columbia government agencies. Specifically, the Commission provides knowledgeable advice on matters pertaining to architecture, landscape architecture, and the related arts to all branches and departments of the Federal and District of Columbia governments when such matters affect the National Capital. In addition, the Commission advises on the design of medals and of circulating and commemorative coins. It also must approve the siting and design of American memorials, both in the United States and on foreign soil, in accordance with the American Battle Monuments Act and the Commemorative Works Act. Recent memorials that have been approved by the Commission include the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the George Mason Memorial, the National Japanese-American Patriotism Memorial and the National World War II Memorial.
The Commission is composed of seven members, appointed by the President. Since the Commission's inception, more than 107 distinguished architects, landscape architects, painters, sculptors, and laymen in the field of fine arts have given freely of their time, experience, and professional skills in advising the President, the Congress, and Government agencies on design matters.