Dan Pitera

Dan  Pitera

Dean, School of Architecture & Community Development
Professor of Architecture & Community Development

Dan Pitera
Contact Info:
Campus: McNichols Campus
Building: Loranger Architecture
Room: Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Phone: 313-993-1532
Dan Pitera
Areas of Expertise:
Civic Engagement/Civic Participation
Community Design
Public Interest Design


  • Loeb Fellowship, Harvard University
  • Master of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Bachelor of Science, Georgia Institute of Technology


Dan Pitera, FAIA, is a political and social activist masquerading as an architect. Before his appointment as dean of the Detroit Mercy School of Architecture & Community Development in August 2019, he was the executive director for 20 years at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC). Under his direction, the DCDC received the National AIA’s 2017 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award and was included in the 2017 Curry Stone Design Award’s Social Design Circle. Pitera co-led the civic engagement process for the Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning in 2010. On Jan. 9, 2013, the long term planning team released its decision-making framework titled: Detroit Future City. DCDC’s engagement process was included in the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s exhibition: By The People and the DCDC’s Roaming Table has been added to the Smithsonian Institute’s permanent collection.

Pitera was a 2004-2005 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2010, an honor bestowed to only 3% of all American architects. Under his direction since 2000, the Design Center won the 2011 and 2002 Dedalo Minosse International Prize, Italy, and was included in the US Pavilion of the 2008 and 2012 Venice Biennale for Architecture. The Center was awarded the 2011 SEED Award and the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Design Excellence for the St. Joseph Rebuild Center in New Orleans. The Design Center has also been the recipient of the NCARB Prize in 2002 and 2009 and was included in the international exhibit/conference ArchiLab in 2001 and 2004 in Orleans, France. Pitera is regularly a resource member for Mayor’s Institute for City Design (MICD) and the National League of Cities (NLC). He has co-authored the book, Syncopating the Urban Landscape: More People, More Programs, More Geographies and co-edited the book, Activist Architecture: The Philosophy and Practice of the Community Design Center. He lectured and taught globally.