Male, born 1920, died 2014-05-10

Associated with the firm network

Architects Collaborative (TAC)

Professional History

Draftsman, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), Cambridge, MA, c. 1950. Seattle architect Keith Kolb (b. 1922), with would later join the UW Department of Architecture Faculty with Thiel, worked at TAC at the same time.

Instructor, Naval Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, 1949-1950; Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design, University of California, Berkeley (UCB), 1954-1960, Professor of Architecture and Design, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), 1961-1991; Instructor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 1976-1978; Instructor, Sapporo School of Arts, 1992-1998.


B.S., Naval Architecture, Webb Institute, Glen Cove, NY, 1943; M.S., Naval Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1948; B.S., Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, 1952.


Thiel was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920 to Philip Thiel and Alma Theone (Meyer). He received BS and MS degrees in naval architecture from the Webb Institute (1943) and U.Michigan (1948) respectively, and a BS in Architecture from MIT (1952). He died at home in Seattle's University District from complications related to cancer of the thymus.

His parents were Philip Thiel and Alma Theone Meyer Thiel. At his death, a sister, Janet Bachman, a resident of FL, survived him.

He married Midori Kono in 1955. He shared his wife's deep interest in Japanese art, architecture and culture. They traveled to Japan together on numerous occasions for research and pleasure.

He and Midori had four children: sons Kenji (who resided in Los Angeles in 2014) and Peter Akira (who died in 1978) and daughters Tomiko (who lived in Munich in 2014) and Kiko (who lived in London, UK).

Thiel wrote three books: Freehand Drawing (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1965), Visual Awareness & Design (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981), People, Paths & Purposes (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997). In 1969, he co-founded of the environmental psychology journal, Environment & Behavior. Thiel had a deep interest in public spaces--squares, piazzas, parks--and the importance that they held for a community.

Associated Locations

  • Brooklyn, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Brooklyn, NY

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  • University District, Seattle, WA (Architect's Death)
    University District, Seattle, WA

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PCAD id: 3435