Remembering Gert Lempp Kerbis


AIA Chicago is saddened to hear of the death of Gertrude "Gert" Lempp Kerbis, FAIA, on June 14, 2016.

Gert's impact on the architecture community has been felt in Chicago and around the country; her work includes the Seven Continents at O'Hare International Airport, as well as the USAF Academy's Mitchell Dining Hall in Colorado Springs, among others. Additionally, she taught at University of Illinois at Chicago, William Rainey Harper Junior College, and was a visiting professor at Washington University (St. Louis). She served on design juries for AIA national.

Gert was, importantly, a pioneer for women in the profession. The 11th woman to earn AIA Fellowship, Gert was a founding member of Chicago Women in Architecture, AIA Chicago's first female president in 1980 and one of the earliest female members voted into The Cliff Dwellers Club. She served as their first female president in 1988–89.

"Gert was one of the first women architects I ever met," says Carol Ross Barney, FAIA. "I had read about her in the paper, and the first CWA meetings were held in her office. She was truly amazing—a force of nature. Without her, it would have taken a lot longer to make cracks in the ceiling."

AIA Chicago presented Gert with our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Karen Carter produced a film about Gert's life to mark the occasion which can be viewed here.

We extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Those who wish to honor Gert's legacy may do so in August, when a memorial will be held. Details will be announced soon.