Skip to main content

About Thomas Fowler IV, FAIA, DPACSA, NOMA

Thomas Fowler IV is a Distinguished Professor of the ACSA and the Director of the Graduate Architecture Program at Cal Poly. He has over 20 years of professional practice experience as an architect and over 30 years of combined teaching experience in both undergraduate architecture design studios and co-teaching (with a structural engineer) in an interdisciplinary graduate building design studio. 

In recognition of Professor Fowler’s innovative teaching and collaborative community design-build work he was elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architect (AIA) in 2019, granted to only 3% of the professional membership; received the prestigious Cal State University (CSU) Wang Teaching Award in 2019, only one award selected annually from all 23 CSU campuses; selected as a distinguished faculty member at the university level along with being recognized at both the college and department levels for his teaching effectiveness. Also, selected twice by Design Intelligence as one of the 25 most admired Educators in the USA, and his students have been recognized for their innovative building design work in a range of national and international design competitions.

Professor Fowler is a partner in a Non Government Organization (NGO) called the Mbesese Initiative for Sustainable Development ( since 2015, and is located in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, Africa in a city called Same (Saa - May). Mbesese is a Pare Tribe word that means spark and fire, and was developed with a primary focus on the ongoing multi-year development of a master plan and building designs for a new Polytechnic Campus. Mbesese is also assisting the community with a range of infrastructure projects that include the design and construction of a steel bridge for local school children to have safe access during the torrential rainy season along with a number of others that are in the design and planning stages.

Professor Fowler is continually creating opportunities to bridge the gap between the profession and education. Ongoing programs include “Internnect,” created with a practitioner / former student to bring underrepresented high school students to Cal Poly to experience college architectural education.

Before coming to Cal Poly he taught part-time at University of California @ Berkeley and Cornell. 

Specialties: Undergraduate and interdisciplinary graduate building design studios, and multi- disciplinary collaborative design + build projects.


December 1995 - Present Professor and Director of Graduate Program, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Present Director, (CIDS) Community Interdisciplinary Design Studio, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Present Director, Graduate Program in Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Present Professor, Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Curriculum Vitae


Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 Elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects
  • 2019 California State University (CSU) Wang Teaching Award, $20,000
  • 2018 Cal Poly Distinguished Teaching Award (one of three faculty selected), $2,000
  • 2015 and 2019 DesignIntelligence, 25 Most Admired Educators
  • 2012 Honorary Member, Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society
  • 2010 ACSA Distinguished Professor Recognition, (one of four selected nationally)
  • 2010 NCARB Prize for the Design Collaboratory, w/ Profs Cabrinha, Doerfler and Dong
  • 2009 ACSA Creative Achievement Award
  • 2008 (April 25) AIA Doer’s Profile (Face of the AIA)
  • 2009 American Institute of Architects Education Award w/ Prof Williams
  • 2008 American Institute of Architects Education Award
  • 2007 Wesley Ward Teaching Award, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, $1,000
  • 2005 Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Architecture
  • 1996-1997 Young Faculty Teaching Award, ACSA/AIAS
  • 1994 Young Architects Award, Progressive Architecture Magazine

Design Studio Articles (7)

Thesis (1)

Interdisciplinary Design Build Collaborations (RTC) (4)

Awards (Selected) (5)

Community Design Projects (CIDS) (4)

Design Studio Work (Selected) (4)