Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
Thomas Luebke has served since 2005 as the 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 produced the 2013 book, Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and he initiated and guided the Monumental Core Framework Plan, 2009, a major federal planning effort to extend the commemorative core of the National Mall, in cooperation with the National Capital Planning Commission. Most recently, he was the editor of Palace of State: The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, published in 2018. In addition to overseeing the Commission’s review of almost 700 cases per year, he represents the Commission of Fine Arts as a member of the National Capital Memorials Advisory Commission and the National Council of the Arts and Humanities.
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 large-scale private development projects in the city, including the Potomac Yard and Carlyle districts. In the private sector, Mr. Luebke’s professional focus was as a designer on institutional, commercial, and high-rise projects for such firms as SOM, 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. 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.
In addition to his work on Civic Art and Palace of State, 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, Harvard University, Princeton University, and the International Fulbright Committee. 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).
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 Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he was a teaching fellow in architectural history. He was a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome in 2010 and a 2014 recipient of the Likhachev Foundation Cultural Fellowship in St. Petersburg, Russia. He served as president of the board of the Washington Architectural Foundation, a non-profit organization of architects serving the Washington, DC community, where he led the transformation of the institution’s mission as the District Architecture Center. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2011, and was honored with the Institute's Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in 2015.