CHAMPAIGN — 2021 AIA Illinois Gold Medal Recipient Robert I. Selby, FAIA, passed away Christmas Day 2021 at the age of 78.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Barbara K. Selby; their son, Michael (Melissa) of Atlanta; and his older (by 6 minutes) twin brother, the Rev. Dr. Richard W. Selby (Beverly) of Farmers Branch, Texas.
Bob earned a bachelor of architecture in 1967 and a master's of architecture in 1985 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a licensed architect in Illinois since 1970. He interned with Harry Weese, FAIA, in Chicago and practiced for many years as a principal in The Hawkweed Group, Ltd. He co-authored and illustrated "The Hawkweed Passive Solar House Book" in 1980.
Bob taught in the design division of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1984 to 2009, when he retired as associate director for graduate studies and associate professor emeritus. He served as chair of the Design Division from 1988 to 1993. Bob’s pro-bono service-learning studios included work in such Illinois cities as Springfield, East St. Louis, Quincy, Rantoul (Chanute AFB) and Highland Park (Ft. Sheridan). It is this body of work that earned him elevation to AIA Fellowship in 2004. His work has been published in Progressive Architecture, Inland Architect and elsewhere.
Bob joined the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1970. He was the 2021 AIA Illinois Gold Medal recipient, the highest honor for outstanding lifetime service by an AIA member. He served in important leadership positions in the AIA at the Section, chapter and state levels in Illinois as well as the national level. He was president of the AIA Champaign-Urbana section in 1987, AIA Central Illinois in 1990, and president of AIA Illinois in 2002. He served as Illinois region director on the AIA National Board from 2002 to 2005. He was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2004 as an educator. He also served as a regional representative of the AIA College of Fellows from 2007 to 2010 and was editor-in-chief of Fellowscope, the electronic newsletter of the College of Fellows from 2010 to 2015.
Bob and Barb loved to travel, visiting all seven continents, all 50 states and 54 countries.
Bob’s love and knowledge of jazz spanned most of his life. Bob was part of the CU jazz world for decades and enjoyed jazz happy hour at the Iron Post. He played trumpet and flugelhorn for a dozen years with the Parkland big band. He recently played with the BVD band at nursing homes until COVID-19 hit. Bob first began on the WEFT airwaves in 2013 doing a jazz show until 2021. He was a longtime WEFT listener and supporter. His love of jazz was infectious.
A jazzy celebration of Bob’s life is planned for later in the year. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family prefers donations to WEFT either on its website at weft.org or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 1223, Champaign, IL 61824, or to the charity of one’s choice. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at renner-wikoffchapel.com.