Kolker promoted to associate vice chancellor, university architect

James Kolker
University Architect James Kolker stands in front of the Brown School’s Hillman Hall, the newest building on the Danforth Campus — and the greenest — having earned LEED Platinum certification. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

James Kolker has been promoted to associate vice chancellor and university architect at Washington University in St. Louis, effective Feb. 1, announced Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration.

Kolker, a licensed architect, joined the university in 2010 as assistant vice chancellor for campus planning and director of capital projects in Facilities Planning & Management.

In that role, he has been responsible for managing the long-term planning, design and development of the Danforth Campus and its surrounding areas and properties, including North and West campuses.

As his role has expanded to include helping lead planning and design of all university facilities and campuses, including advising the Medical School Campus, Webber said it was appropriate that Kolker’s title reflect his expanded purview. Kolker is the first person to hold the title of university architect here.

“Jamie has done a splendid job since he joined the university six years ago. The success of Hillman Hall, Knight and Bauer Halls, and the Lofts of Washington University, among many other projects, owes much to his skills and ability,” Webber said.

Webber said that Kolker has worked closely with senior academic and administrative leaders to ensure that, whether building new or preserving and restoring a historic building, all buildings serve the university’s mission of teaching, research or patient care.

“I am thrilled with the opportunities we have had on the Danforth Campus to produce innovative, contextual and beautiful new facilities, and I look forward to the chance to work more closely with my colleagues at the Medical School Campus and be part of its evolution and planning for the future,” Kolker said.

Kolker is involved in the design and development of all capital projects, renovation and new facilities, building and landscape sustainability initiatives, space management and use, and project planning and programming.

He provides strategic vision and direction for Facilities Planning & Management’s capital projects and campus planning staff of 17, which includes architects, engineers, planners, project managers and a records coordinator.

He also closely collaborates with units responsible for off-campus real estate, security, sustainability, parking and transportation, and dining services.

Committed to green building design

Since the university committed to constructing buildings that meet at least Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, Kolker has overseen two university projects that have earned LEED Platinum certification — the highest level by the U.S. Green Building Council, for their green design and construction.

The Lofts of Washington University, an $80 million residential and retail project in the Delmar Loop, was the first to earn Platinum certification in 2014, and the Brown School’s Hillman Hall, the newest academic building on the Danforth Campus, earned platinum last month.

Among other major projects he has led are the construction of Olin Business School’s Knight and Bauer halls, which earned LEED Gold certification in 2014, and Umrath Hall’s renovation, which retained the exterior of the historic 1902 building, but included a complete reconstruction of the building’s interior and a new roof.

The Umrath renovation earned LEED Silver certification and a project of the year Keystone Award from the Associated General Contractors of St. Louis.

Before joining the university, Kolker served as principal of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, an architecture and planning firm in Philadelphia, where for more than 20 years, he worked closely with clients to manage the planning, design and project phases of academic, research, academic medical center and civic projects.

Kolker, a licensed architect, earned a bachelor of arts degree in architecture in 1984 from Columbia College and a master’s degree in architecture in 1986 from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he serves on the alumni board.

Active in the Washington University community, Kolker has served as a critic in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Program since 2010, and received the Arts & Sciences Dean’s Award in 2013-14, which is presented to a university employee who has had a significant impact on Arts & Sciences.

In 2011, he was selected to the inaugural class for the Professional Leadership Academy & Network, the yearlong professional development program intended to cultivate future leaders at the university.

Kolker, who earned LEED accreditation in 2006, is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Society for College and University Planners and the Association of University Architects, and a board member of Laumeier Sculpture Park.

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments.