Gay Lorberbaum

For more than 45 years, Gay Lorberbaum has lived a life of passionate learning and service. After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Architecture from Washington University in her native St. Louis, Gay worked for the London Borough of Lambeth and the renowned Finnish architect Reima Pietil ä. Upon her return to St. Louis, she taught and practiced as an architect, and trained in psychology and body theory. Her commitment to both Architecture and Psychology are manifestations of the same fundamental interest: people.

For Gay, teaching is a way to serve her community and learn. During her 34 years at WUSTL, she has led studios within the College of Architecture and initiated interdisciplinary courses linking architecture, engineering and environmental studies. In a parallel practice, Gay has acted as a human development teacher in psychology. In 2003, Gay created the New School – a group workshop that combines psychotherapy with creative process. After refining the New School, and with support from a private grant, she was able to offer it to economically underprivileged adults.

Gay lives to serve and it shows in her passion, her selfless commitment to the St. Louis community, and her sustained effort toward achieving equal opportunity for all through education. Since 2002, she has procured numerous grants allowing her to hold architecture-related 2-D and 3-D problem-solving workshops about lateral thinking for youth attending public schools in St. Louis. With the service-learning “Rediscovering the Child” class, she has brought some of this work to the WUSTL community.

In 2007, Architecture Dean Bruce Lindsey launched the Alberti Program – Architecture for Young People. Every semester and summer the program brings fourth through ninth graders, most from underprivileged backgrounds, to campus for a series of three-hour sessions that introduces them to architecture, sustainable design and the environment. Since the program’s inception, Gay has created the curriculum, recruited the students for the Alberti Program and provided a service-learning practicum for WUSTL architecture students. She has poured her heart into the enterprise, and her close relationship with the students is evident. Former graduate student Cristina Greavu writes, “Through her work she touches the lives of children in the city and of students at the university. She inspires confidence in everyone’s ability to create, to think deeply about the world, to learn. Whether you become an architect or not is secondary to her. I consider her a role model of commitment to people and the value of life.”