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Gay Lorberbaum

Gay Lorberbaum earned a bachelor of arts degree and a master of architecture degree at Washington University in St. Louis. She worked as an architect and planner for the London borough of Lambeth and taught at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture. She then had the privilege to work in the Helsinki office of Reima Pietila, a famous Finnish architect.

Since returning to St. Louis, Lorberbaum has been an architect with a practice since 1977, when she and her business partner started a design-build practice leading to the design of one of the first sustainable houses in St. Louis.

Lorberbaum has taught at WashU since 1975 and is now a full-time senior lecturer. Her contributions include a thematic inter-disciplinary required architectural design course for architectural students, a new design studio course for engineering, and arts and sciences students about lateral thinking and the creative process, three different service-learning courses for all undergraduates and graduate students, and a course on sustainable design for architecture, engineering, and all arts and sciences students at WashU.

Lorberbaum has also been a human development teacher in psychology since 1979, teaching a composite of psychoanalytic theory, Reichian body theory, and Gestalt theory in her own private practice. She trained with Conrad Sommer, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and former director of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, in addition to training with Charles Kelley (bodywork theory of Wilhelm Reich) and with the Gestalt Institute of St. Louis.

In 2003, Lorbergaum created the New School, which is group work designed to combine creative process work — learning how to synthesize many variables, working in cycles, changing scales, problem solving with 2D and 3D studies — with low-key body work. The goal is to help people unleash ideas and feelings which, when reflected upon, can give them a richer and deeper life experience about their potential to expand past their difficulties. She has New School workshops within her private practice, has given workshops for the Regional Arts Council, and received a private grant to give workshops for economically under-privileged adults.

Lorberbaum created the original curriculum for WashU’s Alberti Program: Architecture for Young People in 2007. In 2012, she started the nonprofit Building Futures for disadvantaged youth to attend a weekly studio workshop to learn how to design and build. As of 2022, over 1500 classes had been taught.