The Robert Paschal Burns Auditorium is a 175-seat auditorium which pays homage to the late Professor Emeritus Robert P. Burns, FAIA, who taught for more than 40 years at the College.
Who is Robert Burns?
In education, Professor Burns’ life is a story of his involvement with the development, evolution, teaching, and study of architecture at the College of Design. He became the stable figure upon which founding Dean Henry Kamphoefner depended. As a leader within the faculty, his contributions established the study of architecture at NC State as the education of design professionals prepared to assume roles of responsibility in society.
Although a talented architect in his own right, Robert Burns chose the path of a teacher. Through his role as an educator his influence is far reaching. The most tangible result of his passion and commitment are generations of individuals who have risen to places of considerable influence as practicing architects, teachers of architecture and academic administrators with national leadership positions. His life in design is best understood as a teacher of teachers, a mentor to architects, and a man who nurtured the best in all who came to know him. Professor Burns will be remembered not for the buildings he designed, but for the people he inspired.
Professor Burns, a native of Roxboro, North Carolina attended Wake Forest College (now University) and North Carolina State College (now University) where he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1957. In that same year he won the 44th Paris Prize in Architecture enabling him to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and to travel in Europe for a year. In 1961 he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received the Master of Architecture degree a year later. After several years practicing as an architect in the office of Eduardo Catalano in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working on such projects as the MIT Student Center and the Julliard School of Music in New York, he returned to Raleigh to join the faculty of the School of Design at NC State University. He was promoted to full professor and served as the head of the Architecture Department from 1967 to 1974 and from 1983 to 1991 (credit quig). When the School of Design became the College of Design in 2000, the Architecture Department was recognized as the School of Architecture. Professor Burns was then appointed as the Director of the School for the 2001-2002 academic year.
He was selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1979 for his achievements in design and education. In 1995 he was chosen as an ACSA Distinguished Professor, a distinction reserved to less than one percent of architecture faculty in North America. In 1996, North Carolina State University awarded him the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest award to a faculty member in recognition of distinguished service. The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi bestowed the 1998 National Artist Award on Professor Burns in recognition of “his genuine interest in contributing to the education of students and to the improvement of architecture.” Most appropriately, given his close relationship to Dean Henry Kamphoefner, Professor Burns was presented the 2003 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit by Preservation North Carolina for his preservation and addition to the Kamphoefner home. The American Institute of Architects North Carolina Chapter awarded Professor Burns the William Henly Dietrick Service Medal in 2004. In the spring of 2004 he was also recognized with the inaugural Isosceles Award of the AIA Triangle Section.
Professor Emeritus Robert P. Burns, Jr., was tragically killed in an automobile accident on October 28, 2005.