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Thomas Barrie, FAIA, DPACSA

Professor of Architecture, Director of Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative

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AH + SC Initiative

Thomas Barrie Architect

Thomas Barrie FAIA, DPACSA teaches undergraduate and graduate design studios and history-theory seminars. Professor Barrie served as Director of the School of Architecture from 2002 to 2007 and is the recipient of a number of teaching awards including the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor Award and Creative Achievement Award and the ACSA/American Institute of Architecture Students New Teaching Award. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture College of Distinguished Professors, and a member of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Extension and Engagement.

Two parallel interests comprise Professor Barrie’s teaching, scholarship and publication – both of which occupy the common ground of syncretic approaches to meaningful placemaking in the built environment. The first focuses on alternative histories of architecture and, in particular, the interrelationship of a culture’s architecture and its cultural/religious beliefs. Professor Barrie’s scholarship on the symbolism, ritual use, and cultural significance of architecture has brought him to sacred places around the world, and he has published and lectured extensively on this subject area. Professor Barrie is the co-founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum, an international community of scholars. His scholarship has been supported by numerous grants, including two from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts.

Barrie’s second focus is a commitment to broadening the scope and audience of architecture through research, extension and community-based design studios in housing and urban design. His work educates future leaders of the profession while engaging the public in critical issues regarding the built environment. Professor Barrie directs the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative. Its mission is to provide educational resources for government, non-profit and community leaders, students, and the general public, and innovative and applicable solutions to the housing and urban challenges that North Carolina communities face. His work has been recognized by a NCSU Alumni Association Outstanding Extension and Engagement Award (2021) and two NCSU Outstanding Extension Service Awards (2014, 2015).

Professor Barrie’s built works and projects have been recognized by a number of design awards including two from the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Before joining NC State Barrie was Professor of Architecture at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan where he founded The Detroit Studio. He has also taught at the University of Manchester (UK), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. He has been a visiting faculty member at the University of Oregon, University of Illinois Chicago, and the Catholic University of America.

Major Publications

The Architecture of the World’s Major Religions, An Essay on Themes, Differences, and Similarities (Brill 2020)

House and Home: Cultural Contexts, Ontological Roles (Routledge, 2017)

Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality (Barrie, Bermudez, Tabb, eds., Routledge, 2015). 

The Sacred In-Between: The Mediating Roles of Architecture (Routledge, 2010) 

Spiritual Path, Sacred Place: Myth Ritual and Meaning in Architecture (Shambhala, 1996)


Master of Philosophy in Architectural History + Theory University of Manchester, England

Master of Architecture Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

B.A. in English University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Area(s) of Expertise

Architectural Design, history-theory, housing and urban design