David L. Niland '52

ChaptEternalPicDavid Niland, Significant Sig, entered the Chapter Eternal on September 24, 2010 at age 80. He was acclaimed as "Cincinnati's most passionate and articulate architectural provocateur."

He led the city’s Urban Design Review Board and the University of Cincinnati’s Architectural Review Committee for decades, forcing every architect who built in the city to work a little harder to produce the best possible scheme. For over 40 years, David taught at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning, directing the sixth-year architecture program that students used to call “the David Niland School of Architecture.”

As the only Cincinnati architect of his generation whose work was published internationally, David Niland was one of the country’s most skillful “white” architects. His crisply detailed, geometrically complex, historically referential but frankly modern buildings were almost always stained or painted white. “I have too much respect for color to use it,” he would say, and indeed the color around and inside his buildings did sing in the whiteness.

David Niland was born April 9, 1930, in Cincinnati. He was a football star in high school and then, at Denison, played under coach and Significant Sig, Woody Hayes '35. After graduation in 1952, he went to Yale to earn bachelors and masters degrees in architecture in 1959 and ‘60. With his wife Mary Krohn Niland, he then spent a year on a Fulbright Fellowship at the Danish Graduate School for Foreign Students before returning to his hometown, where he taught for more than 40 years.

David received numerous awards, including the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture's Distinguished Professor Award for 1991-92. The Fraternity named him a Significant Sig in 2000, and honored him as a Semi-Century Sig in 2004.
He retired in 2001 at age 71 and is survived by his wife, Mary.

All honor to his name.

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