Collge of Design, Construction & Planning
Solar Decathlon 2011

Karl Thorne: An illustrious career

August 24, 2010
Karl Thorne has been a professor in the UF School of Architecture for 27 years. His illustrious career has been marked with numerous awards for design and outstanding service to the profession.

In 1998, Thorne was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and received the Anthony Pullara Memorial award from Florida AIA. At the AIA national level, he has served as vice-chair of the Minority Resources Committee and co-chair of the Minority and Women in Architecture Committee. He also served as president of AIA Gainesville.

Among his other honors, Thorne was the recipient of the AIA Florida 2009 William Mc Minn Educator Award.

Thorne also has served with many local and state organizations including the Mayor of the City of Gainesville’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Revitalization of the Fifth Avenue Neighborhood, the State Board of Building Codes and Standards, and the Florida Building Commission.

At UF, he organized the Society of Black Student Architects and served as chairman of the Historic Building and Sites Committee and the Campus Planning Assembly. In the early 1980s, he led the appeal to save Floyd Hall, one of the university’s oldest buildings built in 1912, from demolition.

Thorne received his bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Illinois and his master’s in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, but for the past 27 years, UF has been his home, and he values the time he spent here.

“It’s been a broadening of my experience with exposure to diverse faculty,” he said.

He enjoyed the challenge of working with students, as well.

“As a professor, it has been challenging having to answer the questions of the young, bright minds,” he said. “It was stimulating and rewarding to see so many students who now have successful practices.”

But he will leave students with the one piece of advice he always emphasized.

“Practice better time management,” he said. “I preach time management every semester, and they never listen.”

Thorne plans to stay in Gainesville and continue with his practice, Karl Thorne Associates Inc. He will also be teaching part time at UF as an Emeritus Professor. Eventually, he would like to travel to the Mediterranean and the Far East.

“China has developed so much, so there is so much to see, especially buildings inspired by Western architecture,” he said.

School of Architecture Director Martin Gold will miss his involvement on campus. “With amazing patience and insight, Karl has been for me a quiet voice of thoughtful, intelligent and solidly good ideas,” he said.