Duane (Dewey) Thorbeck, FAIA, FAAR founded Thorbeck Architects, Ltd. in 1970 to provide a collaborative and participatory approach to architecture involving site and building design of the highest design standards.   Employing a small group of talented and dedicated architects committed to the team approach, high standards of architectural design, professional integrity and social purpose, the firm has won a number of regional and national awards for design excellence, and has been published internationally.

The firm believes in high performance design and the need for architecture to provide spaces with a strong relationship and an ecological balance with their natural and built surroundings. Through national selection competitions, the firm has been chosen for some of the most unique design projects in the Upper Midwest, including the new Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota; the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MN; Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO; Fontana Concert Society in Kalamazoo, MI; International Wolf Center in Ely, MN; Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN; and Farm Discovery at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA.

The firm utilizes the integrated design approach and works closely with Clients to arrive at design solutions that truly respond to their vision, budget, site characteristics and programmatic and operational needs. Consultants are selected that share these ideas and operate with the highest professional standards. Sustainability is a key design component on all of the firm’s projects. Thorbeck Architects endeavors to be ecologically sensitive by designing high performance buildings of high quality that are long lasting, energy efficient, with lower maintenance costs, and which provide a healthy environment for users.

Dewey Thorbeck, FAIA, FAAR

After obtaining his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and Master of Architecture from Yale University, Thorbeck won a Rome Prize Fellowship and studied in Italy for two years. The recipient of a number of architectural design awards, he is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and past president of AIA Minnesota. With a special interest in architecture for agriculture he is writing a book on working buildings in the rural landscape with a grant from the Graham Foundation; and has lectured on rural issues and design opportunities for entrepreneurship and rural economic development based on regional assets and community values.

Thorbeck is a full professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota and director of the Center for Rural Design. The Center is sponsored by the College of Design and College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences; and partially funded by the state legislature. The Center brings design as a problem solving process to rural land issues through sponsored research projects.  Currently Thorbeck serves on the UMore Park Management Team that is working to construct a new sustainable 21st Century community for 20-30,000 people on 5,000 acres in Rosemount, MN.