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Georgia Tech College of Design

Formerly known as the College of Architecture

In memorium: Douglas Allen, 1947-2014

Lisa Herrmann
Atlanta, GA

Douglas C. Allen, beloved professor and visionary landscape architect, died on October 26, 2014 from brain cancer. He was born in 1947 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He was predeceased by his mother, Alice Hooper Allen, and his father, William L. Allen, Jr. He grew up in West End and graduated from Brown High School in Atlanta. He attended N.C. State University and graduated in 1970 from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.


In his early career, he worked for Designer's Collaborative in Athens, Ga., and then in Atlanta, Ga.,for William H. Laubmann and Associates. While there, he worked on the Chattahoochee Corridor Study for the Atlanta Regional Commission. In 1973, he continued to work on the Chattahoochee River with the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources. This work led to the designation of the Chattahoochee as a National Recreational Area.


From 1974-1976, he attended graduate school at Harvard University, earning a Master of Landscape Architecture. He was awarded the ASLA Certificate of Honor for "excellence in the study of landscape architecture." He briefly returned to the Georgia DNR.


In 1977, he began a 37-year teaching career in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, except for the 1987-1988 year as visiting professor of landscape architecture at Harvard University. Starting in 2002, teaching shifted to administration. He served five years as associate dean for academic affairs, a year as interim dean, and another three years as senior associate dean. Since his retirement in 2011, he returned to the classroom where he did what he loved best, teaching, at that time on a part-time basis. In the fall of 2013, he was honored by election to the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA).


Doug made seminal contributions to the field of landscape architecture, particularly to the study of cities and the urban landscape. He published, served on juries, and lectured widely, at universities all over the United States. He served for several years on the editorial board of Places Journal.


He co-founded the study abroad program in Italy. For over 20 years he led this highly popular program until his retirement. He made the past come alive through his thoughtful and vivid lectures. Students from disciplines as varied as engineering and the humanities were profoundly impacted by Doug's teaching. He brought the impact of the ancients in Rome and environs on their world to the front and center of today's challenges and opportunities in designing, living, and working in urban environments.

Students and colleagues have shown their esteem for Doug in many ways. One of his proudest moments was winning the ANAK Award in 2006- bestowed annually by a Ga. Tech secret society, to a single professor for contributions to the students of the Institute. He was honored by his former students and colleagues by an endowed lecture in his name. The Douglas C. Allen Lecture invites renowned landscape architects and architects from the U.S. and all over the world to lecture at the College of Architecture at Ga. Tech. In 2013, he was honored by his alma mater, The University of Georgia, with the Distinguished Alumni Medal by the College of Environment and Design. He delivered the commencement address to the CED in May, 2014, at the invitation of Dean Daniel Nadenicek.


Professionally, he practiced landscape architecture for over 40 years, designing and planning commercial, residential, and institutional projects for both public and private sector clients all over the world, from Smyrna, Ga. to Baltimore, Md., and as far away as West Bank, Israel. Former students working in many spheres say they are forever influenced by him in their work.


Doug was not only a gifted teacher, lecturer, and administrator. He loved and was fully devoted to his family. He was a full-time husband, father, and grandfather. He spent countless hours over the years taking care of his family, especially while his wife, Kathy, flew for Delta Airlines. He dearly loved watching his daughter, Jordan play soccer as a child. He would play with Jordan and his beloved border collie, Rock, in the neighborhood parks. More recently, he has enjoyed watching his daughter and son-in-law, Alex, become devoted parents. He traveled with Kathy to England, France, and Switzerland in the past couple of years and made a final trip to Rome with Kathy and friends just a few months ago. Over his entire adult life, Doug enjoyed having wine, dinner, lively conversation, watching Georgia football, and mostly sitting quietly in his backyard enjoying the peace and solitude of his garden.


He was a long time member of First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, where he was a faithful member of the Berean Bible Class, occasional teacher, and class president for a number of years. He was also a long time member of the Ansley Golf Club, serving on the Grounds Committee and as chair for the Trustee Committee.


He is survived by Kathy Hill Allen, his wife of 42 years, his daughter Jordan Allen DeLoach, son-in-law Alex DeLoach, and his two grandchildren, Nora and Mary DeLoach.
Glioblastoma multiforme did not conquer his view of a life well lived. He felt blessed in life in so many ways, and eternally grateful for the opportunities that he was given.
A visitation will be held in the Berean Reception Room at First Presbyterian Church on Friday November 7th from 5- 7 pm. A memorial service will be held on Saturday November 8th at First Presbyterian Church at 11:00 am with a reception following in Fifield Hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Douglas C. Allen Institute for the Study of Cities. Mailing address: 115 Perimeter Center Place, Suite 170, Atlanta, GA 30346-1238. Online condolences may be made at hmpattersonspringhill.com

Summary: 

Douglas C. Allen, beloved professor and visionary landscape architect, died on October 26, 2014 from brain cancer. He was born in 1947 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He was predeceased by his mother, Alice Hooper Allen, and his father, William L. Allen, Jr. He grew up in West End and graduated from Brown High School in Atlanta. He attended N.C. State University and graduated in 1970 from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

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Contact: 

College of Architecture Dean's office

404-894-3880