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Don O'Keefe  Principal Architect, AIA AIJ

Don O’Keefe is the principal architect of O'Keefe, a design practice in New York City, Tokyo, and Richmond, Virginia. He is a registered architect in New York and Virginia, and a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural Institute of Japan, the American Planning Association, and the U.S. National Book Critics Circle.

Prior to starting his office, O'Keefe worked in design firms in the US and Japan on projects in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. At Kobayashi Maki Design Workshop in Tokyo, he focused on the design, fabrication, and construction of engineered wood buildings. As part of Professor Hiroto Kobayashi’s research lab at Keio University, he contributed to disaster relief architecture projects in Japan, Nepal, and the Philippines. In 2017, he conducted workshops on the applications of prefabrication with wood at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. 

He later practiced with design-build architect Peter Gluck in New York City, contributing to the design and construction of a 300,000 ft² film production studio in Queens, New York, among other projects.

O’Keefe’s writing has been published in venues including the Architectural Review and the Japan Times. He contributed a chapter to the recent book Sharing Tokyo (Actar Press, 2023), and served as the Director of Design Research for the publication. He co-authored a chapter in Digital Wood Design: Innovative Techniques of Representation in Architectural Design published by Springer (2019). He was an associate editor of Adapting Miami, a research report on climate, sea level rise, and housing issues in South Florida, published by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2020). 

From 2021 to 2022, O’Keefe served as an assistant professor at Keio University in Tokyo, helping to launch the Fumihiko Maki Archive, a research center dedicated to the work of a Pritzker Prize-winning architect. In 2021, he was appointed a post-graduate teaching and research associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has served as a guest critic and lecturer at institutions including the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education, Harvard University, Hosei University, Meiji University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Tokyo Women’s Christian University, University of North Carolina, University of Melbourne, Kyoto Institute of Technology, and the Branch Museum of Design. As a consultant, he has advised corporations and government agencies including CoStar Group, Mitsubishi Estate, and the City of Yokohama.


O'Keefe's research on mid-20th century Japanese urban design has been supported by Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Takenaka Corporation, the Keio University Fumihiko Maki Archive, and others. He has contributed to research projects on climate change, migration, and urban development with professors Joan Busquets, Stephen Gray, and Jesse Keenan whose findings have been published by the New York Times, NBC, Newsweek, Reuters, Mother Jones and other venues.


O'Keefe holds a Master in Architecture with distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he was awarded the Gregory S. Baldwin Fellowship. He earned a B.S. magna cum laude from the Department of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was born and raised in Richmond and enjoys walking.

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photo: Ricardo Ruiz 

Curriculum Vitae

CV, work samples, & references provided upon request

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