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Deborah Berke

Deborah Berke

Architect’s Biography

Deborah Berke’s nearly thirty-five year career in architecture began with a unique education. Berke studied at the Rhode Island School of Design but took time to gain practical experience in building construction and to study at the London Architectural Association under Rem Koolhaas before graduating with her Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1977.  She immediately became involved in education, working at the Institute for Architecture and Urban studies for six years, and eventually became head of educational programming. Berke left the institute in 1983, at the invitation of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, to teach at the University of Miami; this move began a decade of explosive growth for Berke’s professional career.

In 1982 Berke founded her firm, Deborah Berke Architect, and after teaching at the University of Miami for a semester moved to Seaside, Florida. This was at a time when Seaside was just beginning to grow up out of nothing and over the next ten years Berke played a major role in building the community. By the early 90s Berke had designed and built seventeen houses in Seaside, as well as Modica Market, the local food shop situated on the main piazza, and a beachside arcade in the commercial area of Seaside. In the same decade Berke also completed her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning, graduating from New York’s City University in 1984. She continued to be involved in academia as well, teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Maryland and Yale University where she still serves as a Professor of Architecture today. Her firm, which had begun very small, grew and took on more permanent roots in an office, first in Washington D.C. and later in New York City, where it remains today.

Deborah Berke’s architectural career has been long heralded, both for her role as a prominent female figure in a field still dominated by men and for her unique design philosophy which she refers to as the ‘architecture of the everyday.’ As Partner-in-Charge of her firm, now Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, Berke’s work encompasses several architectural types: residential, commercial, institutional and hospitality, focusing on arts and community-related projects. The firm has garnered numerous design awards for their architecture and interior design work, including awards from the American Institute of Architecture. Their work has been published in various periodicals, from Architectural Record to the Wall Street Journal. In 2005, Deborah Berke was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design, her alma mater.

Throughout her career, Berke has held many leadership positions in various not-for-profit organizations, both in the architectural realm and outside of it. She currently is a trustee of the National Building Museum and of the Design Trust for Public Space. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Forum for Urban Design. In the past she has been a trustee for the Brearley School, Chairman of the Board of Advisors at the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, AIA New York Chapter Vice-President and a Fellow of the National Institute for Architectural Education.

Berke was a coeditor of the Architecture of the Everyday with Steven Harris. She also wrote an essay on “An Architecture of the Workplace” for Architecture From the Outside In, a collection of essays edited by Robert Gutman. In 2008, a monograph of her work was published by Yale University Press. Berke has served as a jurist and lectures widely throughout the United States and abroad. 

Architect Details

Preferred Name:
Deborah Berke
Known As:
Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP
  • Aquila

    Building Name:
    Aquila
    Preferred Name:
    Aquila, Floridays
    Address:
    22 Pensacola
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • As Good As It Gets

    Building Name:
    As Good As It Gets
    Preferred Name:
    As Good As It Gets
    Address:
    60 East Ruskin Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Blue Suede Shoes

    Building Name:
    Blue Suede Shoes
    Preferred Name:
    Blue Suede Shoes
    Address:
    52 East Ruskin
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Colors

    Building Name:
    Colors
    Preferred Name:
    Colors
    Address:
    485 Forest
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Dream Come True

    Building Name:
    Dream Come True
    Preferred Name:
    Dream Come True, Gray House IV
    Address:
    31 West Ruskin Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Giant's Roost

    Building Name:
    Giant's Roost
    Preferred Name:
    Giant's Roost, Averett House
    Address:
    56 Tupelo Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    3
  • Hurrah!

    Building Name:
    Hurrah!
    Preferred Name:
    Hurrah!, Childs House
    Address:
    112 Savannah Street
    Code Type:
    Type VIII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    3
  • Rainbow House

    Building Name:
    Rainbow House
    Preferred Name:
    Rainbow House, Jones Compound, Jones House (1)
    Address:
    117 Savannah
    Code Type:
    Type VIII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Salad Days

    Building Name:
    Salad Days
    Preferred Name:
    Salad Days, Brinkman House
    Address:
    102 Savannah Street
    Code Type:
    Type VIII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Shady Lady

    Building Name:
    Shady Lady
    Preferred Name:
    Shady Lady, Gray House I
    Address:
    108 Tupelo Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Sonshine Blessings

    Building Name:
    Sonshine Blessings
    Preferred Name:
    Sonshine Blessings
    Address:
    12 Savannah
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Sward House

    Building Name:
    Sward House
    Preferred Name:
    Sward House, Sward Cottage
    Address:
    69 Savannah
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Whatever

    Building Name:
    Whatever
    Preferred Name:
    Whatever, Nestledown, Rise and Shine, Sward House II
    Address:
    44 East Ruskin Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Floors:
    2
  • Forever Mary

    Building Name:
    Forever Mary
    Preferred Name:
    Forever Mary, Panhandle, Circa 1984, Panhandle
    Address:
    25 Tupelo
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
    Start of Construction:
    1984
    Floors:
    1
  • Modica Market

    Building Name:
    Modica Market
    Preferred Name:
    Modica Market
    Address:
    109 Central Square
    Code Type:
    Type I – Residential, Retail and Lodging
    Building Type:
    Commercial