Dennis Domer is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in the history of American architecture. He has published many important articles in major journals, has written and edited a number of significant books such as his biography of the landscape architect Alfred Caldwell, and now that he has finally retired from KU, he is finishing other books, including his geo-cultural-historical-architectural study of Willow Springs Township, Kansas.
Some of his important contributions center on his 30+ years at KU. The School of Architecture offered a course entitled "Biography of a City," which focused on cities such as Rome and New York. Dennis proposed to teach a course entitled "Biography of a City: Lawrence," which was televised weekly for three hours on Channel 6 and eventuated in the publication of Embattled Lawrence: Conflict and Community, edited by Dennis and Barbara Watkins. Dennis also organized a national conference in Lawrence of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, for which he and his colleague Mike Swan prepared a Field Guide that focused on "Making Urban and Rural Landscapes on the Prairie Plain."
After a seven-year stint at the University of Kentucky, Dennis and Shirley returned to KU in 2007 and to the ranks of Lawrence's historic preservationists. He and a team of co-workers have documented the histories of scores of houses in East Lawrence and Old West Lawrence. Because of their efforts, 12 houses have been added to the local register of historic places. Working with Tom Harper and others, Dennis helped establish an organization known as Lawrence Modern, which studies mid-century modern houses built in the 1950s and 1960s. He also launched an effort known as the New Cities Initiative, which examines the housing needs of baby boomers with a goal to build an intergenerational community in Lawrence. Finally, he helped establish the I-70 Corridor Conference on Interdisciplinary Aging Research, which shares research on the meaning of aging and how it shapes such fields as architecture, law, medicine, sustainability, and senior living. Dennis has done much for KU, Lawrence and LPA and is an obvious choice for our Preservation Achievement award.