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Professor, School of Architecture

Professor Emeritus



Nicholas Chatas was born in Flint, Michigan in May 1931. He attended Flint Central High School. His undergraduate work was completed at Flint Junior College, the University of Washburn, and the University of Michigan, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 1961. He went on to graduate studies at Wayne State University in the School of Planning and Urban Development from 1962 to 1964.

Throughout his career, Mr. Chatas worked for a number of architectural firms including Crane and Gorwic (1961-63); Tarapata, MacMahon and Associates (1963-67); Bruno Leon and Associates (1967-69); Greimeil, Malcombson and Associates (1969-70); and Rossen, Neumann and Associates (1970-72). In 1972, he started his own firm, Chatas Associates.

Mr. Chatas first joined the University of Detroit, School of Architecture, as a part-time teacher in August of 1966. The following year he was hired full-time as an assistant professor. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor in February of 1973 and became a full professor in March of 1981.

In his 29 years at the University of Detroit and the University of Detroit Mercy, Mr. Chatas’s classes covered a broad spectrum for the architectural school: Environmental Studies; Architectural Research; Directions in Energy; Architectural Analysis; third, fourth, and fifth year Design; and more. He also taught in the masters program and served as a thesis advisor. In addition, he served the School of Architecture on committees for teaching evaluation, entrance criteria evaluation, curriculum change, the graduate board, and physical planning, as well as serving on the executive committee and as chairman of the faculty council. Mr. Chatas also found time to dedicate to the university service on committees for rank and tenure, budget planning, career day, and admissions. 

Mr. Chatas made time for community service as well. In 1967 he served as an advisor to the Planning Committee of the Governor’s Special Commission on Urban Planning. He also served on committees for the Royal Oak Board of Education (playground planning); PANNAC (a neighborhood planning group in Detroit); St. Cecilia’s Parish in Detroit; and the Department of Christian Service for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

As a practicing architect, Mr. Chatas worked on projects for every conceivable type of structure: industrial, institutional, medical, office, housing, shopping, recreational, residential, retail, restaurant, and religious. He also worked on broad, long-term urban planning projects for towns, medical centers, and universities.

His many awards include American Institute of Architect Honor Awards for the Campus Center Building at General Motors Institute, 1968; the Men’s Residence Hall at GMI, 1969; the Professional Pavilion Medical Building, Farmington, Michigan, 1975; the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Building, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, 1974; and the Burton Abstract Building, Troy, Michigan, 1975. Mr. Chatas also received a National Education Building Award in 1967 for the Dougherty Elementary School in West Bloomfield, Michigan; and an Award of Excellence from the city of Troy, Michigan for the Kimberly Scott Office Building.

Upon the retirement of Dean Bruno Leon in 1992, Mr. Chatas became acting dean of the School of Architecture for the 1992-93 academic year.

Owing to health issues, Mr. Chatas retired from teaching in November, 1994. On March 13, 1995 Nicholas Chatas was named Professor Emeritus of Architecture by Maureen A. Fay, O.P., Ph.D., President, University of Detroit Mercy.

University of Detroit Mercy

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