Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gertrude Lempp Kerbis passed away on the evening of June 14, 2016. She was 89. An undergraduate at Illinois after transferring from Wisconsin, Kerbis earned the BS in Architectural Engineering in 1948. She did graduate work at Harvard University, 1949-50, and received the Master of Architecture and Urban Planning degree from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1954.

According to school records, Kerbis worked in the Chicago offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1954-59, and then for C.F. Murphy Associates, 1959-62 and 1965-67, before establishing her own firm, Lempp Kerbis, in 1967. Notable built projects include Mitchell Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Rotunda Building at O’Hare International Airport.

During her years of practice, Kerbis was active in teaching. She was a Lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Lecturer-At-Large at Ball State University and the Art Institute of Chicago, Lecturer-in-the-Field for Washington University in St. Louis, and an Associate Professor at William Rainey Harper College.

Kerbis served as director of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1970-74. In 1970, she was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows. Kerbis was architect for The Greenhouse residential development, which received AIA Chicago’s Distinguished Building Award in 1976, and she was honored by AIA Chicago in 2008 with its lifetime achievement award. Additional details about Kerbis’ accomplishments can be found in Crain’s coverage of her passing, as well as in an article by Blair Kamin in the Chicago Tribune.

In September 1978, Kerbis’ work was represented in an exhibition entitled “Chicago Women Architects: Contemporary Directions,” which after opening in Chicago traveled to the then-newly renovated Temple Buell Architecture Gallery. In the year before she died, Kerbis re-established contact with the school, expressing gratitude for the excellent undergraduate foundation in architectural engineering she received here.

A memorial service is planned for August 23 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.