Chuck Albanese FAIA
I grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., with most of my interest and activities focused on music. I attended the University of Illinois and received degrees in architecture and urban design. Most importantly, I met my wife Claire. We spent our first year together travelling through Europe in a Volkswagen camper on a university fellowship. That year was documented in a detailed journal and sketchbook, and we created a foundation that would eventually re-emerge to direct our lives even today.
I joined the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Architecture in 1967 and soon found myself immersed in community projects along with my fulltime teaching responsibilities. I became registered as an architect, formed a firm that continues today, and settled into a busy pattern of teaching, architectural practice, coaching soccer, sketching, and painting in limited periods, and watching life proceed – as planned. I created a university program that enabled Claire and me to spend portions of the following 16 summers guiding university students through Italy and Greece. I retired after 36 years on the faculty, only to soon return as Dean of the now renamed College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The summer painting and sketching trips continued, and, now with 24 trips behind us, hundreds of new painters have emerged. Some “summer alumni” are now successful exhibiting professional painters.
My forty years at the University of Arizona and almost that many years of practice, and the completion of over 250 built projects, have given me a sense of accomplishment that frees me to pursue what I have always set aside as a passion-in-waiting… painting. Finally able to dedicate enough time to painting, I am now exploring ideas, media, and subject matter that has intrigued me for years. I am now able to explore a media that should be a life-long journey and accept that it is never too late to pursue the dream. I integrate my painting with all aspects of life today, including travel, recreation, teaching, and social life. I accept the structural influence that being an architect implies and strive to achieve freedom and understanding of watercolor as an artist. I see myself today as a student again: A full career circle that now requires exploration, dedication, commitment, and a free and unencumbered focus on the creative process of being a painter.