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Larry Alan Doll

Obituary for Larry Alan Doll

September 1, 1948 - July 21, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 69

Larry Doll of Austin and Marfa


Larry Alan Doll, 69, Associate Professor of Architecture Emeritus at UT Austin, died at home in Austin after suffering a heart attack on July 21, 2018.

Larry was born in Ithaca, New York on September 1, 1948, to Peter B. and Elaine Crispell Doll. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. He received his professional undergraduate degree in architecture from Virginia Tech and his Masters degree from Cornell University.

Larry taught at UT Austin for 42 years, starting in 1975. His courses focused on design, architectural theory and the history of architecture since 1975. He served as Assistant Dean of Architecture from 1983-1993, and he was Founding Director of UT's Summer Academy in Architecture in 1979, a program for high school students of diverse backgrounds to spark interest in studying architecture. Larry also held visiting positions at Virginia Tech, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1985 Larry established the first European study abroad program for UT architecture students. Over 600 students have participated and consistently report – even 30 years later – the life-changing impact of their exposure to modern and historical architecture in an academic context. Each year Larry designed different itineraries through Western Europe to facilitate the study of a wide range of scales and approaches to architecture; he travelled with and taught in the program most years. As someone who had never travelled outside the US until he was in his late 30's, the success and transformative impact of the program was a special source of gratification. In 2009 UT Austin's Center for American Architecture and Design published Drawing on Uncertainty, a collection of sketches Larry completed between September 30 and December 6, 2005, while on the European Study Abroad Program.

Larry's teaching, architectural practice, and life were guided by what he called four positions:
Architecture is a medium of cultural exploration and production.
Architecture penetrates the transparency of our senses, reminding us that we see, we hear, we feel, and we are in the world.
Architecture is both critical and reflective of environmental, social, economic, political, and historical issues.
Architecture uses all of the world's resources with care and must be worthy of the resources it consumes.

Larry also was a Registered Architect in Texas and his architectural practice focused on single-family residences and smaller commercial buildings. He was pleased to have the house he designed for Laura and himself included in Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert, by Helen Thompson with photography by Casey Dunn. Marfa was an emotional anchor and a second home since 2001. He and Laura were grateful for the welcoming attitude of the Marfa community and the strong sense of connection it afforded.

Larry was a two-year survivor of lung cancer who felt deeply indebted to his oncologist, Dr. Carlos Rubin de Celis, whose mission to "treat the patient and not the disease" left Larry feeling buoyed after every discussion. His compassionate, attentive regard of both Larry and Laura always allayed their fears.

Larry is survived by his wife of 47 years, Laura Ring Doll. They met as undergraduates at Virginia Tech in 1969. His brother, Michael Doll, of Chambersburg, VA, and a nephew, Peter Benjamin Doll, of San Jose, CA, also survive him. His broader family includes brother in law, Dan Ring of Atlanta, and sisters in law Dot Nesbitt and Cynthia Foster of Alaska and California respectively, as well as nieces and nephews in ever-changing locations. Larry also wished to acknowledge his love and gratitude for the deep, decades-long connection he and Laura shared for the last 20 years with the Saucedo family of Austin: Juan, Veronica, Victor, Petra and their children.

One of Larry's final architectural projects was a small addition to the Marfa Public Library, designed jointly with Peter Stanley of Marfa. The project is nearing completion but needs additional funds. You may support the remaining work by making a charitable contribution at
Grand Companions in Ft. Davis is another of Larry's favorite non-profit organizations, having rescued his beloved Murphy, a constant source of comfort and joy throughout the last 2 years
And of course, the UT School of Architecture is the basis of Larry's career and the institution that he was determined to make one of the top architectural education programs anywhere:

A memorial mass will be held at Saint Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin on August 18 at 9:30 a.m.

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