Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Architect

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Missouri - St. Louis
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 22-1002-17
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Nicholas J. Nixon, Esq.
Nicholas J. Nixon, Esq.


Washington University in St. Louis has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure an Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Architect.

Position Summary / Essential Job Functions

Reporting to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning & Management, the Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Architect supervises three Project Managers, two Urban Designers, and a Sustainable Design & Construction Project Manager and works closely with the senior academic and administrative leadership. The role carries responsibility for the management of current and new initiatives in long-term campus planning and for the design and development of the Danforth Campus and its surroundings, including important interaction and collaboration with the Medical Center Campus. Responsible for developing capabilities across the spectrum of activities associated with long-term campus planning, space management for the Danforth Campus, project planning, and capital project design and construction. Provides collaboration, communication, innovation, and leadership in support of Washington University’s construction planning function, including capital and non-capital planning, interior design and functionality, landscape architecture and graphic design. Leads project planning programming and design efforts for construction projects as well as hardscape/landscape studies and designs. Key leader involved in achieving the University’s sustainability goals related to the built environment.

For more details about this opportunity, please view the position profile by clicking on the cover image above. 

The Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Architect will play an important role in the following ongoing and upcoming projects, as well as many others.
  • Arts & Sciences building
  • Student Housing comprehensive planning
  • General planning for the potential future development of the University’s North Campus
  • Student Affairs Study
  • Athletics Needs Assessment
  • Central Campus green space improvements
  • Mobility Study
  • Signage standards and wayfinding
  • Historic renovations
This includes past projects in support of offcampus residential needs, such as The Lewis Collaborative, and commercialization of university research, such as the framework planning for the Cortex Innovation Community, as well as engagement to varying degrees in planning other off-campus projects to advance the University’s mission.


  1. Provide direction and support for the development of strategic approaches to the long-term planning and growth of the University, particularly but not only in terms of aesthetics, design standards, program needs, and sustainability. = 20% of time
  2. Provide leadership in the creation of a robust space-planning capability for the Danforth Campus to synthesize short-term needs and long-term programmatic objectives in a flexible process that will guide the development of the campus and of the University’s presence in surrounding neighborhoods. = 15% of time
  3. Participate in the capital projects core team with responsibility for general architectural aesthetics, character, landscape and site design, and integration with campus systems and connective elements. = 15% of time
  4. Develop and manage proactive communication protocols for multi-tiered constituencies, the Capital Projects Committee, the Office of the Provost, and Treasury along with clients, community, and others. = 15% of time
  5. Create project-specific site and architectural guidelines for capital projects and develop and implement facilities design guidelines to raise the quality and consistency of project outcomes. = 15% of time
  6. Maintain positive relationships with the external design and construction community to best facilitate the process of consultant and contractor selection. Provide direction, leadership, and oversight for architect selection processes that maximize quality, control cost of consultants and contractors, and achieve project objectives while encouraging participation of minority and womenowned businesses. = 10% of time
  7. Incorporate life-cycle perspectives in capital program budgeting and decisions through incorporation of a sustainability program and an effective internal review and approvals process. = 5% of time
  8. Other duties as assigned. = 5% of time

About Washington University in St. Louis

Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis is a global leader in higher education that offers student-centered educational excellence within a world-class research-intensive university. Washington University has established distinctive programs in the life sciences; a strong arts and sciences core; a rich collection of professional schools spanning architecture and the arts, business, engineering, law, and social work; innovative, interdisciplinary graduate programs; and a top-ranked, thriving academic medical enterprise.

Over the last two decades, the University has invested significantly in its undergraduate enterprise, constructing new residence halls, academic buildings, and a university center, expanding student services, and maintaining its strong commitment to personalized attention and small class size. The University has just completed a capital campaign that surpassed $3.3 billion and recently launched a strategic vision for the next ten years.


Minimum Qualifications

  • An undergraduate degree in architecture, planning, or a related field, or equivalent education and experience; as well as a professional architect license.
  • A minimum of 12 years of experience including planning and design management and capital-improvement programming; experience with a university and/or academic medical center.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated ability to manage the programming and design of large, complex facilities projects.
  • Demonstrated experience in using physical design to successfully promote collaboration and collegiality.
  • Knowledge of facility operations problems, as well as engineering and architectural systems and applicable codes, standards, and regulations, preferably in a university, hospital, or research laboratory environment.
  • Ability to effectively interact with departmental staff as well as campus and university-wide administrators.
  • Advanced knowledge of GIS and CAD system, principles, and practices.
  • Knowledge of sustainable design principles and practices, including high-performance building design, decarbonization, embodied carbon, and healthy materials. Relevant accreditations, including LEED, WELL AP, Living Future Accreditation, and Passive House.
  • National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification for state reciprocity.
  • Understanding and championing of not only universal design but also equitable design.
  • Excellent client service skills and ability to provide effective communication within and outside of the department.
  • Energy, diplomacy, and excellent communication skills.

Required Licensure / Certifications / Registration

  • Professional Architect License
Washington University in St. Louis is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Read more about the University’s framework for diversity at:
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