Kolb, Keith R.
A native of Montana, Keith Robert Kolb was enrolled at the University of Washington before enlisting into the Army in 1943 during WWII. While in the Army, he earned a Basic Engineering degree in 1944 through Rutgers University's US Army Specialized Training Program. After the war, he returned to the University of Washington and earned a Bachelorís degree in Architecture 1947. A talented student, upon graduation he became the only teacher of architectural design at Montana State College (1947-1949). "Disillusioned with teaching" Kolb moved to Cambridge in order to learn from Walter Gropius and received a Masterís degree from Harvard in 1950.
While back East, Kolb spent two years with Gropius and The Architects Collaborative, where he declined a partnership offer and returned to Seattle. Back in Seattle in 1952, Kolb took a job as the senior draftsman for Decker & Christenson and quickly became a partner in the newly renamed firm of Decker, Kolb & Stansfield (1967). Upon Decker's death in 1971, the firm's name was changed to Kolb & Stansfield.
By the late 1950s, the firm began receiving many high profile commissions including work for several universities, cities, and hospitals. Among their notable projects are Mackenzie and Balmer Halls (1962) at the University of Washington; Harrison Memorial Hospital (1965) in Bremerton; the Nelskog Building in (1969) in Everett; Redmond City Library (1975); a Bio-Sciences Building / Eastlick Hall for Washington State University in Pullman (1977); the State Patrol Headquarters in Bellevue; Stevens Memorial Hospital near Edmonds (c.1975); and the Seattle First National Bank in Forks (1980, design citation from the American Wood Council).
Other high profile designs include an award-winning branch bank for Seattle First National Bank (1965) in Puyallup; remodel of University District Post Office in Seattle (1981); US Post Office sorting facility in Seattle's Interbay; the Dr. Hampson House (1973) which received an AIA Honor Award in Better Homes for Better Living Program; and a unique central facility for Seattle's Puget Sound Blood Center (1982).
Shortly after his arrival in Seattle, in 1952, Kolb was encouraged by then University of Washington Dean of the School of Architecture, Arthur Herrman, to develop a career which combined both teaching and an independent architectural practice. Over the next four decades, he taught at UW College of Architecture and Urban Planning, rising to level of full professor in 1982. Kolb influenced several generations of architects until his designation as Professor Emeritus in 1990.
Recognizing his work in advancing the profession, Kolb was inducted in the AIA College of Fellows in 1981. Today, he still resides in Seattle with his family.
- Michael C. Houser