Alumnus Douglas Kelbaugh, pioneer in passive solar architecture, dies age 78


Douglas Kelbaugh ’67 *72

1945 - 2023


Douglas Kelbaugh FAIA FCNU, Princeton SoA alumnus, as well as professor emeritus of architecture and urban and regional planning and dean emeritus of Taubman College, died on February 18, 2023, at age 78.


Kelbaugh studied architecture at Princeton, receiving his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture in 1968 and 1972, respectively.

In the mid-1970s, he built an innovative solar home at 70 Pine Lane in Princeton, incorporating a Trombe wall, a south-facing glass wall backed by a concrete wall that collects and radiates heat. As a pioneer in passive solar architecture, Kelbaugh took a deep interest in energy conservation. He later pursued transit-oriented development projects with Peter Calthorpe, a founder of New Urbanism.

Kelbaugh joined Taubman College at University of Michigan as dean and professor of architecture and urban planning in 1998 and served as dean until 2008. He taught until 2019. Before Michigan, he served as chair of the architecture department at the University of Washington.

In 2016, Kelbaugh received the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education in recognition of his efforts “to shape a generation’s thinking about the environmental aspects of architecture,” according to the award announcement from the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.


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