Kirk V. Blunck
Kirk V. Blunck passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2016 in Des Moines at the age of 62.
A lifelong resident of Des Moines, he was born October 27, 1953, the son of Darrel and Pat Blunck of Des Moines. He is survived by his parents; his wife, Doreen M. Blunck; and his children, Ryan S. Blunck of San Francisco, CA, Lauren B. (Andrew) Gulotta of New York, NY, and Kaitlin R. Blunck of Des Moines. He is also survived by his siblings, Karen Blunck (Michael) Caligiuri of Norwalk; Scott (Beverly) Blunck of St. Augustine, FL; and Laura Blunck (Jeff Weiss) of Des Moines.
Kirk graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1972, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1976 with a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Art and Design, and from the University of Oregon in 1978 with a Master of Architecture. At Lincoln High School, he was Class President and Salutatorian. He was later inducted into Lincoln High School's Hall of Fame. At MIT, he served as President of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Through leadership, public advocacy, and tireless energy Kirk made significant contributions to design excellence, to public understanding of architecture, and to the alliance of architecture and arts. He vigorously led a quest for design excellence in work that spanned from the smallest private projects to the most prominent public urban design and art projects.
Kirk, a principal of Knowles Blunck Architecture, was the recipient of 84 awards in architecture. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1995. In 2001, Kirk and his partners at HLKB Architecture received the AIA Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor that the AIA can bestow on an architecture firm. He was personally honored by the AIA with a 2002 National Honor Award for Interior Architecture for Sticks and with a 1999 National Honor Award for Interior Architecture for the M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art. He received awards from Industrial Design, Interiors, Business Week, and Architectural Record magazines.
He is recognized as one of the finest experts of historical preservation in Iowa and has played a leading role in some of Des Moines' most significant institutions, including the Western Gateway Plan, Des Moines Art Center, Salisbury House, and Hoyt Sherman Place.
As Editor of the Iowa Architect, he created an award-winning, nationally prominent magazine covering architecture, art, graphic design, and urban design issues throughout the United States. As Editor of Architecture at Hand, he organized the first comprehensive guidebook of significant regional architecture.
Kirk became involved with the Des Moines Art Center in 1980 and later served on the organization's Board (1989-2008) and as its President (2000-2003). He currently served on its Acquisitions Committee and remains an Honorary Trustee.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Kirk personally developed, renovated and restored the first buildings in the East Village, setting the stage for the vibrant community it is today. Such buildings include the Teachout Building, the Hohberger Building, and the Locust Tap. Kirk is recognized for spearheading the rehabilitation of the neighborhood, as well as redevelopment projects in Stuart and Perry, Iowa.
Kirk always made time for his family and friends, most significantly for his children. He most enjoyed spending summers with his family in Cape Cod and supporting his children at their athletic and extracurricular activities. He was very involved with Roosevelt High School athletics, including soccer and baseball. He designed and led the financing of the Roosevelt Baseball Facility, which he dedicated to his father Darrel H. Blunck.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Iles Funeral Homes - Dunn's Chapel, 2121 Grand Avenue. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Dunn's Chapel.
Memorial donations may be made to the Des Moines Art Center.