Thomas Luebke MArch '91

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 has edited the 2013 book, Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; he initiated and guided the National Capital 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. He administers the multi-million-dollar National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs grant program for arts institutions in Washington, DC; he 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 Alexandra, 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 initiated the agency’s centennial history program, culminating this year with the publication, Civic Art, a large-format comprehensive history of the Commission of Fine Arts produced by the agency staff with additional contributed academic essays.

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. He was a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome in 2010, where he edited the manuscript for the agency history project. He has served as a board member for the Washington, DC, chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 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 Washington, 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.