Peter MacKeith is dean and professor of architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. Appointed in July, 2014, and reappointed for a second five year term in 2019, he is the fifth dean of the school and a nationally recognized design educator and administrator. He also serves as Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Campus Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.
Over the eight years of his leadership of the Fay Jones School, the school has grown significantly in student enrollment, retention and graduation outcomes, faculty appointments and accomplishments, curricular programs, diversity initiatives, community engagements and outreach centers, external funded research, new facilities, and financial resources. He is currently overseeing the completion of an $80,000,000 capital campaign for the Fay Jones School, and guiding the design and construction of the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, a regional center for research and development of new wood products and new approaches in sustainable construction materials.
Based on an international competition attracting over 100 submissions, Grafton Architects (Dublin, Ireland), the 2020 Pritzker Prize in Architecture award recipients, have been commissioned to design the Anthony Timberlands Center, working with modus-studio of Fayetteville, Arkansas. A groundbreaking took place in late 2021, substantial construction has begun in late 2022, with completion and dedication envisioned for fall, 2024.
A nationally recognized leader in advancing the cause of a forest-centered culture and economy, and the cause of a wood-product centered approach to architecture, engineering and construction, MacKeith lectures and presents frequently on these topics, most recently for The Architect’s Newspaper, the Sustainable Forests Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, and the International Living Future Initiative. He has worked with the Arkansas World Trade Center to organize a state trade and industry delegation to Finland in 2021, to advance the state’s interests in environmental and economic development, particularly in its forests, timberlands and wood products industries, and with the production team of the PBS series “America’s Forests” on two episodes devoted to the Arkansas forests and forest communities. In 2021, MacKeith received the AIA-Arkansas Order of Merit.
MacKeith serves as chair of the advisory committee for the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, a regional initiative of the Walton Family Foundation, and is a member of the editorial and management boards of Places Journal for architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism.
From 1999 to 2014, MacKeith was associate dean, professor of architecture and associate curator for architecture and design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. From 1995-1999, MacKeith was the director of the Master of Architecture – International Program at the Helsinki University of Technology Finland, and he held previous academic and administrative appointments at the University of Virginia and Yale University.
MacKeith received his Bachelor of Arts in Literature and International Relations, with distinction, as an Echols Scholar from the University of Virginia (1981) and his Master of Architecture and the Alpha Rho Chi Medal from Yale University (1985).
MacKeith was recognized in 2022 as an ACSA Distinguished Professor. A 2020 Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, MacKeith has been recognized twice by Design Intelligence as a “design educator of the year” (2017 and 2019) and twice by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture with national awards for “creative achievement in design education,” for his design studio teaching and curatorial work. He is the recipient of research and exhibition grants from the US Forest Services Wood Innovations Programs, the Graham Foundation of the Advancement of the Visual Arts, the National Science Foundation, The Museum of Modern Art and The Finnish Cultural Foundation. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, most recently RADICAL PRACTICE: The Work of Marlon Blackwell Architects (with Jonathan Boelkins); Louis I.Kahn: The Nordic Latitudes (authored by Per Olaf Fjeld and Emily Fjeld) and Housing Northwest Arkansas: A Challenge, An Initiative, A Response (together with Stephanie Foster); his first book, The Finland Pavilions: Finland at the Universal Expositions 1900-1992, focused on Finnish identity as expressed in the World’s Fairs of the 20th century. He has served as editor of Perspecta, the Yale Architecture Journal (issue 24, On Materiality) and The SOM Journal, a professional journal of history, theory and criticism (9: Collaboration/Teamwork and 10: Leadership/Authorship).
Since receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to Finland in 1990, MacKeith has worked as a liaison between the architecture, art and design cultures of the United States, Finland and the Nordic region, through educational programs, teaching, exhibitions and publications. He has written and lectured extensively on modern and contemporary Finnish and Nordic architecture. With support from the 2017 Finland 100 Centennial Fund, MacKeith conceived and curated the 2017-2018 exhibition for the Finnish Embassy in Washington, D.C., The Iconic and the Everyday: Creative Finland in the United States. From 2016 to 2019, he was the Centennial Lecturer in Architecture for the Finlandia Foundation. He was curator for Lighthouses: On Nordic Common Ground, the exhibition of The Nordic Pavilion in Venice, Italy, for the 13th Architecture Biennale in 2012, working with The Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Swedish Center for Architecture and Design and the Norwegian Museums of Art and Architecture, bringing together the work of 33 architecture practices from Finland, Sweden and Norway. He has also led the organization of exhibitions and conferences in the United States with the National Building Museum; the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Brookings Institute; the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis; the US Forest Service and the US Endowment for Forests and Communities.
MacKeith served as Honorary Consul for Finland in the state of Missouri from 2012-2014, and serves now as a member of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York Advisory Board, and as a Senior Advisor to the Fulbright-Finland Foundation. In 2014, he was installed as a Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of Finnish culture.
Age: 63 / USA national / Finland permanent resident 1990-1999
Married: Carol S. Weaver (USA national) / Daughter: Ada MacKeith (USA/Finnish national)
Languages: Finnish (very good), Swedish (reading), French (good), Italian (reading)