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James Chaffers

Emeritus Professor of Architecture

An Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, Dr. Chaffers was recipient of the nation’s first, Professional Doctorate of Architecture degree. Post-Doctoral studies were completed at Stanford University, Terman Engineering Center, Palo Alto, CA.

A Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Finalist for The Whitehouse Fellowship, Dr. Chaffers is the recipient of three, “Distinguished Faculty” and three, “Outstanding Teacher” Awards. Dr. Chaffers has been honored, in addition, as “Educator of the Year” of Michigan Colleges and Universities. In further recognition of his distinguished teaching and professional practice, Dr. Chaffers was recently elevated to the “College of Fellows,“ FAIA, within The American Institute of Architects. (Elevation to ‘Fellow’ status is among the highest honors that the American Architectural Profession can bestow upon one of its individual members.)

In his academic/professional roles, Dr. Chaffers has served as Director of the University of Michigan Ph.D. Program in Architecture, Director of the Florence-Tuscany Design Studio (Florence, Italy) and 10-year Director of the West African Design Studio (Kumasi, Ghana). Dr. Chaffers is the founder of two, Inner City Design Centers, a ‘First Prize’ winner in the Student/Professor category of several international design competitions and the author of Spiritspace, a forth coming ‘Dictionary’ for Third Millennium visionaries.

With the focus of his professional and academic work being the exploration of design links between spatial quality and human spirituality, Dr. Chaffers was asked, in April, 1997, to serve as Senior Design Juror for the design of a “living memorial” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Guided by competition criteria co-developed by Dr. Chaffers, the winning entry for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial emerged from over 900 competitive briefs submitted by the international design community. With construction completed and accompanied by an Official Presidential Unveiling Ceremony in October/2011, this current cornerstone of Love, Justice, Peace, and Possibility now stands in the U.S. Capital, on the U.S. National Mall in Washington, DC.