The American School
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Dear friends,

This issue of The American School newsletter highlights several upcoming American School events, including lectures by Penelope Dean, associate professor at the UIC School of Architecture (March 11), and Christopher Mead, professor emeritus of the University of New Mexico (April 15). Mead will also lead a moderated discussion with several American School alumni, including Herb Greene, Nelson Brackin, Ernie Burden, and Arthur Dyson (April 15). These events are made possible with the generous support of the OU Presidential Dream Course program.

In this issue, I am also pleased to share an excerpt of a recent interview with American School alumnus Michael D'Amico (Class of 1961), who was inspired to study architecture after seeing Bruce Goff's Bavinger House. Later, he helped Herb Green build the Prairie House. D'Amico went on to lead a diverse and successful career that married architecture and planning as far away as Pakistan and Guam.
We also highlight a stunning piece from the Robert Faust Collection in the ever-growing American School archive, which is part of OU Libraries' world-class Western History Collection. Faust is an American School alumnus who continued his career in Auburn, Alabama, where he taught architecture at Auburn University and became a leader in the design-build movement.
Thank you for your continued interest in The American School project at the OU. We look forward to providing you with more exciting updates soon.

Kind regards,
Stephanie Pilat
Director, Division of Architecture
Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture
The University of Oklahoma
American School Events
Whatever Happened to the Future?

Penelope Dean is an associate professor at the UIC School of Architecture. Her research focuses on contemporary architectural culture with an emphasis on the exchanges between architecture and the allied design fields, including graphic, industrial, interior and strategic design. Made possible by the OU Presidential Dream Course program.

When: 4 p.m., March 11, 2019
Where: Gould Hall, Buskuhl Gallery
American School Symposium

A public lecture by University of New Mexico professor emeritus Christopher Mead, followed by a moderated discussion with American School alumni. Herb Greene,  Nelson Brackin, Ernie Burden and Arthur Dyson are among those confirmed to attend. Made possible by the OU Presidential Dream Course program.

When: 1:30 pm, April 15, 2019
Where: Gould Hall, Buskuhl Gallery

Renegades at Bizzell: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture

Join us for an exhibition highlighting pieces from the  American School Archive, including works of Bruce Goff and his students! For more information, visit the OU Libraries  website.

When: Sept. 22, 2018 - July 29, 2019
Where: Bizzell Library, Main Level

For more information, or to request accommodations, contact Angela Person (
Visiting Professors from Auburn, Cincinnati Lead American School Workshops
Christian Dagg, Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University, and Terry Boling, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati, recently visited the Gibbs College of Architecture to lead American School-themed workshops that challenged the students' skills and understanding. These workshops were made possible by Bruce Goff Chair of Creative Architecture.

Learn more on the Oculus blog.
American School Alumni Highligh t:
Michael D'Amico
Recently, we spoke with American School alumnus Michael (Mike) D'Amico. Mike graduated from OU in 1961 and went on to establish D'Amico & Associates in San Francisco. He was ultimately joined by three OU classmates, Jerry Anderson, George Newman and Dave Armstrong. Read on to learn more about Mike's time at OU and incr edible career as an architect and planner which found him managing offices in both California and Guam.
Where did you grow up?
Brooklyn and Long Island, New York

Why did you choose to study architecture?
Knowing little about architecture, I originally enrolled in O.U. as a pre-med/pre-dental candidate. A few months into the school year my parents decided to visit us. Since they were from New York City and accustomed to fairly sophisticated activities, I began making inquiries as to how I could entertain them. A friend informed me of a "weird" house that had recently been built by students close to the campus for an art professor and was open for paid tours in an attempt to cover its construction costs. I decided to take them to see it.
When we arrived there, I was staggered by the magnificent creativity of the entire endeavor that had been undertaken by the owner (Gene Bavinger), the students (O.U. Architecture Students) and, of course, the architect (Bruce Goff).
That night this epiphany forced me to tell my wife that, if human beings could do something so beautiful, I wanted to try. So, the next morning, I began to process my transfer to the School of Architecture.

What are your most memorable recollections of Herb Greene? 
My most memorable recollections of Herb were watching him draw the construction details for each of my day's work on the subflooring of his house [the Prairie House] on his knees and helping him apply the long individual shingles, one at a time, to create the wonderful patterns that so successfully marry his artistic and architectural philosophies into one grand, freestanding work of living art.

How did you branch out into planning, as well as architecture?

The first job I got when I graduated was directing the planning department for the City of Dallas. I went to law school, mainly because that's where planners were coming from at the time. I then ended up in a large international organization that thought they could send one guy (me) overseas to do two jobs (architecture and planning). This turned me into a re-development specialist and is what really sprung my own firm.

D'Amico shared several images of his professional work including projects in Pakistan, Guam, and California, seen below.
Habib Bank Building
Karachi, Pakistan
Ca. 1975
Martinez Plaza
Agana, U.S Territory of Guam
Ca. 1980
Wester Ballet School
Carmel Valley, CA
Ca. 1990
If you would like to be interviewed as part of The American School project, contact Luca Guido (
Archive Highlight: The Robert Faust Collection
Above: Drawing by Robert Faust. The American School Archive. OU Libraries Western History Collection.
Please contact Erik Baker if you would like to support the American School Project.
American School Project Supporters
OU Division of Architecture Professional Advisory Board
The American School project is led by the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma.