Reay, Donald

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To see a list of projects by this architect in an Excel spreadsheet, see the Project Index. For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index. To view the finding aid for this architect's collection, see the Finding Aid at the Online Archive of California. 

Stevenage Town Plan

Donald Reay (1914–2002) &
Sylvia Reay (1916-2006)

A native of Liverpool, England, Donald Reay studied architecture at the University of Liverpool, and was admitted to the Royal Institute of British Architects as an Associate member (later to become elected a Fellow). He studied at Columbia University in New York from 1937 to 1939, where he was one of the first people to receive a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning. During World War II Reay was first head of the Commonwealth Air Training Program and later became Chief Architect for the RCAF, responsible for building flight training schools and installing camouflage for vital services on the East Coast. He designed and supervised construction of Goose Bay Aerodrome. After the war he and his family moved from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the UK, where he joined the Ministry of Town and Country Planning as Regional Planning Officer, involved in preparation of Manuals and legislation setting national planning standards. He was also the technical officer primarily responsible for the initiation, planning, design and construction of New Towns in England and Wales. He later became Chief Architect of the new towns East Kilbride, in Scotland, and Stevenage, England.

In 1955, he moved to Berkeley to teach at the College of Environmental Design, where he became a professor. He combined a private practice with the firm of DeMars & Reay with his university work. In 1966 the DeMars & Reay partnership ended and Don established the separate firm Reay Associates. In 1969, the firm became Reay-Tsuruta Associates with principle Kinya Tsuruta. In 1976 Reay Associates was reestablished where Donald and Sylvia Reay worked in partnership. They were directly involved in numerous projects throughout the United States, Australia, and Mexico. Don Reay also continued to consult with San Francisco-based firms Planning Associates and Del Campo & Maru. The American Institute of Architects elected Don Reay an AIA Fellow in 1985.

Sylvia Shimberg graduated from Barnard College with a degree in mathematics. She went on to earn graduate degrees in architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University. At Columbia School of Architecture she met her future husband Donald P. Reay, a Commonwealth Fellow from England. After marrying in 1942 the couple lived and worked in Canada and the UK, settling in Berkeley in 1955 where Don taught at the University of California. Sylvia earned her California architect's license and embarked on a successful career mostly designing private residences. She was a corporate member of the American Institute of Architects, where she served as Secretary-Treasurer of the East Bay Chapter from 1974-1976. She was also affiliated with the Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals and served on the Board of Directors of Berkeley's Civic Art Foundation for many years. She served three years on the Berkeley Board of Adjuctments and was a 1975 founding member of the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Donald and Sylvia Reay Collection spans the years 1938 to 1999, and includes the Reays’ personal papers, records from private practice and professional careers, and materials generated by the firms DeMars & Reay, Reay Associates, and Reay-Tsuruta Associates. The collection is organized in six series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Faculty Papers, Office Records, Project Records, and Sylvia Reay’s papers. The collection is extensive and contains a wide range of materials documenting primarily Don Reay’s long career as a designer and planner. The Personal Papers series contains his biographical material, personal correspondence, and photographs. The Professional Papers series includes correspondence with other architects, writings and presentation notes, awards, and records related to professional organizations. Research and reference files are extensively represented. The Faculty Papers contain material related to Don Reay’s professorship at the College of Environmental Design. Primarily, this series contains official correspondence with other members of the UC Berkeley Architecture faculty, committee work documentation, and course materials such as syllabi and lecture notes from classes he taught. The Office Records series documents administrative operations, public relations efforts, financial transactions, and correspondence. The majority of the Projects Records series documents DeMars & Reay, and Reay-Tsuruta Associates, and Reay Associates projects spanning the years 1955-1998, and document the firms’ work through drawings, photographs, and administrative files. Projects undertaken by Sylvia Reay solely are noted in the Project Index. The Sylvia Reay series includes biographical records and some of Sylvia Reay’s student work.