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K-State Today

May 15, 2017



Condia earns 2017 Wayne Hunt McElwee Faculty Award

By Thom Jackson

Bob Condia

Bob Condia, professor of architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, and practicing architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, is the 2017 Wayne Hunt McElwee Faculty Award recipient.

The award is given to a faculty member for being an outstanding teacher as designated by the dean of the college based upon the recommendations of both students and faculty.

Condia is an architect and design partner with Condia+Ornelas Architects in Manhattan. He teaches architecture as an art form with due considerations to neuroscience and architecture; the real; the ancient works of man; a building's terrestrial and celestial alignments; and metaphysics and poetics of architectural design. He has been a studio critic for 30 years in both architecture and interior design. In 2008 he received the Commerce Bank Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and in 2015 American Institute of Architects Kansas' Schirmer Award for service.

Condia's publications range from monographs on the works of progressive architects to theoretical articles on the experience of space as well as a catalog of his own surrealist illustrations. Of particular attention are his recent works on neuroscience and architecture, the biological basis of aesthetic experience, and the craft of teaching architects to teach. Condia earned his master's in architecture and building design at Columbia University in 1983, and a bachelor's in architecture at California Polytechnic State University in1980.

The McElwee award was established in 1993 in honor of Wayne Hunt McElwee who received his bachelor's in architecture from K-State in 1950. He began his career the same year at Black & Veatch in Los Alamos, New Mexico. By 1957, McElwee was serving as head of the architectural department in the company's Special Projects Division, a position he had until 1970. In 1977, he was named a partner in the firm.

In his career, McElwee managed several U.S. Department of Energy projects, as well as numerous projects pertaining to the military. He set the standards for facilities used to store weapons, arms and ammunition and designed contractor support facilities for a military base, missile reentry system facilities and missile maintenance facilities. In addition to the many structures he designed, Wayne also prepared studies on energy use and pollution abatement at military bases.

Merrit Lippert, a friend of McElwee's for 20 years, offered some insight into McElwee's success.

"Wayne was very good at delegating responsibility," Lippert said. "For one thing, when he assigned a job, he expected it would be done and he would step back and let people go to work. He wouldn't hesitate to interject some useful advice, but did this in such a way that people under him still felt they had control over the project and were valuable members of the team."

The award was established to honor McElwee and provide recognition and support faculty growth and development for outstanding teaching at APDesign at K-State, the alma mater he loved.

"In line with Merrit Lippert's comments regarding McElwee, Professor Condia has an amazing capacity to interject advice and analogous ideas such that students expend the depth of their design investigations," said Tim de Noble, dean and professor at APDesign.