Terry Shook, FAIA

Founding Partner and Principal of Shook Kelley, Charlotte, NC and Annual Lecturer at Harvard University

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, UNC Charlotte (1976)

Hometown: Gastonia, NC

Terry Shook FAIA, is a founding partner of Shook Kelley, a strategic branding, design, and urban planning firm that focuses on how places and spaces convene humans in meaningful ways. As principal-in-charge, Shook runs a New Urban planning and design group with an emphasis upon the creation of new communities in both the suburbs and within urban cores. 

Through its offices in Charlotte and Los Angeles, the firm provides strategic consulting and design services for the retail industry, the real estate community and governmental entities. At its core, Shook Kelley is focused upon the creation of new communities and urban infill projects that reflect timeless patterns of placemaking while responding to modern aspirations for a better life. As a result of behavioral research, the places and communities that emerge from Shook Kelley are reflective of the dynamics that govern human behavior and underpin society, all while being grounded in the practicality of the marketplace. They are places that become beloved centers of life in the communities where they are created.

His education at UNC Charlotte shaped him into the architect that he is today.

“The College of Architecture (now School of Architecture) was a hotbed of independent thinkers—Ron Morgan, Michael Gallis and Mete Turan among them. Reflecting in many ways the underlying concerns that led to the civil disobedience of the ’60’s, they and others encouraged students to consider society, culture, and community equally among formal design considerations. We were also given the latitude to define our own educational path, and to seek out genuine community experiences — “clients”, so to speak — with hope that we would gain perspective and find meaning as we defined our own professional path.”

His passion for advocacy and community involvement during his education at UNC Charlotte left an impact on the city itself. During his education he was instrumental in saving “Charlotte's former First Baptist Church from the wrecking ball, and conducting the first arts programming for what would become Spirit Square.” He, along with other classmates, convinced Belmont Abbey College to restore historic St. Leo’s Hall. He was also part of the group of students that prepared the vision plan that convinced city leaders to place Charlotte’s new children’s museum in the city instead of the suburbs. He says, “Today, Discovery Place sits on the very site that we recommended.”

Even though a lot has changed since his graduation, he says, “ COA/A retains the spirit of inquisitiveness for an architecture of and for society, along with a healthy disrespect for normative, formal, and/or reckless design responses to the challenges associated with contemporary life. If you care about the world and its unfolding into a better future, go here.”

In 2008 Shook Kelley was awarded the AIA NC Firm Of The Year by AIA North Carolina. In 2014, the firm received a Center City Partners Vision Award for its work in Historic South End. The firm sponsors the Shook Kelley Design Scholarship in the School of Architecture each year.

In 2009, Terry was named to the College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects. He is the recipient of the School of Architecture 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.