Alan DeFrees '74

Alan DeFrees '74

James A. and Louise F. Nolen Professor of the Practice


Alan DeFrees is a 1974 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and became a registered architect in 1979 and NCARB certified in 1980. In the 1990’s he taught part-time at the Notre Dame School of Architecture and full-time since 2000 in a variety of topics from computer graphics to historic construction and preservation. He has been honored with several Educator of the Year awards from student organizations, and has been twice honored with the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, CSC Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In November, 2015, he was recognized by DesignIntelligence as one of the “25 Most Admired Educators for 2016”, saying: “Constantly pursuing knowledge in the field of building technology, Alan DeFrees is known as a passionate professor who is truly dedicated to teaching the technical aspects of architecture.”

His professional practice spans nearly three decades and includes office and retail buildings, sports facilities, restaurants, and school, church and hospital additions. Since 1990 he has focused on a range of residential work from low-cost urban in-fill projects to high-end residences and condominiums, including many homes along Lake Michigan.

Prof. DeFrees has used computers in architectural applications since 1979 including computer programming for structural engineering, energy design and perspective drawing. His computer-aided drawing and graphic-design experience date back to 1988. Prof. DeFrees is an accomplished woodworker whose work in sculpture and furniture has appeared in many exhibitions and publications. 

Educational Background

University of Notre Dame

Bachelor of Architecture, 1974

Rome Studies Program, 1971-1972      

Indiana University, South Bend Graduate Studies, 1984-1989

Registration Data

Indiana 3670       Since 1979

Michigan 27820       Since 1980

NCARB Certification 24198       1980

Recent Honors and Awards

"America's Most Admired Educators," DesignIntelligence, 2015

Educator of the Year, University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, 2015

Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, 2013

Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, 2008

Featured Educator, article in Licensed Architect  magazine, Summer, 2001

Teacher of the Year Award, AIAS, Notre Dame Chapter, 2001

Nomination for the national AIAS Educator Award  (one of three in the nation), 2000

Research and Creative Activity

Design Charrette: Downtown South Bend, Indiana, 2001

Design Charrette: Greenville, Alabama, 2003


Conference: Traditional Architecture and Urbanism - The Original Green

"Saving a Treasure" by Angie Long, Greenville Advocate, January, 29, 2003

"An Incredible Weekend" by Angie Long, Greenville Advocate, January, 29, 2003

"Improvement Ideas Studied" by Alvin Benn, Montgomery Advertiser, January 26, 2003

"Cemeteries Require Sense of Permanence" by Andrew Hughes, South Bend Tribune, May 27, 2002

"Students Visit, Hear Plans", Staff, Times Argus, January 31, 2002

Co-author, Kinetic Skyscraper, presented at conference in Hong Kong, 2000

Current Academic, Public Service and Professional Memberships

American Institute of Architecture Students

Notre Dame Sustainability Committee 2008-2009

Notre Dame Center for Building Communities Advisory Board 2007-2009

Dean's Review 2008

School of Architecture Task Force on the Environment 2007-2008

Center for Social Concerns Ganey Grant Review 2008

Academic Metrics 2007-2008

University Council on Academic Technology 2003-2007

Computer Committee 2000-2009

Publication Committee 2002-2009

Web Design Committee 2000-2009

Marketing Committee 2006-2009

Facilities Committee 2007-2009

Ad Hoc Committee for the NAAB interim visit 2007

Faculty Advisor, Notre Dame Chapter, American Institute of Architecture Students

Instructor, Notre Dame High School Career Discovery Program, 2002-2012

Respondent, Cathedrals for a New Century, Notre Dame, Indiana, October 2001

Research Field Trip Leader:

Greenville, Alabama, 2003
Marshall, Michigan, 2002
Montpelier, Vermont, 2002
Chico, California, 2002

Historic Preservation

Feasibility study for rehabilitation of the South Bend Natatorium Building, 2002
Structural inspection and investigation at Copshaholm, Northern Indiana Historical Society, 2001

Professional Practice

Hannah and Friends Farm Main Building, St. Joseph Co., IN, 2007
The Price Residence, New Buffalo, Michigan, 2002
The George Residence, New Buffalo, Michigan, 2002
Building Envelope Analysis, The Pointe at North Shore Woods, 2001-2002
Urban In-fill Residences, various cities in Indiana and Michigan, 1996-2000
The Thomas Residence, South Bend, Indiana, 1998
Logan Center Housing for mentally handicapped study, 1998

Recently Taught Courses

ARCH 20511 Structural Mechanics

ARCH 40411 Environmental Systems I

ARCH 40421 Building Technology II

ARCH 40511 Structural Design for Architects

ARCH 47411 Independent Research: Urban Issues

ARCH 50419 Environmental Systems II

ARCH 54321 Historic Construction and Preservation

ARCH 57611 Environmental Issues in Historic Architecture

ARCH 60421 Building Technology II

ARCH 60431 Environmental Systems I

ARCH 60511 Structures I

ARCH 70441 Environmental Systems II

ARCH 70531 Structures III: Wood and Steel

ARCH 81161 Terminal Design Project

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