Feb 11th 2021

Remembering Robert Krawczyk, College of Architecture Professor and Digital Design Pioneer

Robert “Bob” J. Krawczyk, designer, professor, and associate dean at Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture for 36 years, passed away on January 27.

As a professor at the College of Architecture, Krawczyk focused on digital craftsmanship and design, an area in which he was nationally renowned. Before coming to teach at Illinois Tech, he pioneered digital graphic, architectural, and engineering applications in the office of Murphy/Jahn under design partners Gene Summers and Helmut Jahn during the 1970s. In 1996, Professor Krawczyk also founded BitArtWorks, a studio for digital art.

“Professor Krawczyk was a pioneer in the research and development of computer technology who always explored new territories. His students produced outstanding work,” says Professor Mahjoub Elnimeiri. “He had a strong work ethic, and he pushed his students to appreciate that quality work can only result from sustained effort. He was, by all counts, a very valuable teacher.”

Professor Krawczyk’s research into digital systems in the disciplines of science, mathematics, architecture, art, and technology was published and presented internationally in a body of work spanning more than 120 exhibitions, 70 conference and journal papers, multiple book chapters, and a textbook.

He was also the recipient of a number of notable awards, including the American Institute of Architects Young Architect Award in 1984 and the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010. He was also nominated multiple times to be a United States Artists Fellow.

In addition to his teaching, Professor Krawczyk also served, at various points, as director of the undergraduate program, associate dean, and as adviser to numerous students in the Ph.D. program. He also founded art@IIT, a campus gallery exhibition.

“I always admired Bob’s commitment to supporting the college over the years. He consistently advised over 50 students each semester and was delighted when his former Ph.D. advisees would stop by for a visit with him,” says Cynthia Torres, director of academic affairs.

“Bob had a quick wit and generous spirit, and was a singular personality in the College of Architecture,” says professor and former dean Donna Robertson. “A trusted colleague and wise counselor, he gave success to many, many students.”

As the son of Polish immigrants who came to Chicago after World War II, Professor Krawczyk was the first in his family to pursue a college education, and his long academic career was a deep source of pride for his family. Further, his stepson, James Pierog Sheehan (CHE ’14), and stepdaughter, Catherine Battista (LAW ’05), would go on to complete their degrees at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Professor Krawczyk is survived by his wife, Corinne Pierog; brothers Konrad Krawczyk and wife Evelyn, and Albert Krawczyk and wife Kathleen; daughter Alexis (Krawczyk) Grabel and husband Scott; stepdaughter Catherine Battista and husband Jeff; stepson James Pierog Sheehan and wife Summer; granddaughter Makayla Martel; step-grandchildren Brooklyn, Francesca, and Benedetto Battista; nieces Kimberly Krawczyk, Lauren (Krawczyk) Glazier and husband Ryan, Kristen (Krawczyk) Flaherty and husband Colm; and nephew Matthew Krawczyk. Bob is predeceased by his mother, Wladyslawa “Lottie” Dolega Krawczyk; father, Jan “John” Krawczyk; and stepmother, Irmina Krawczyk. 

Top Image: Faculty headshot of Professor. Krawczyk.
Bottom Image: Family photo of Professor Krawczyk with his wife Corinne Pierog, stepson James Pierog Sheehan, daughter Alexis Grabel, granddaughter Makayla Martel, and son-in-law Scott Grabel. Image courtesy James Pierog Sheehan.