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Kleinschmidt, Robert D.

Dates of Interview:

October 2011

Location of Interview:

Kleinschmidt's apartment in Chicago


Betty J. Blum

Length of Transcript:

462 pages
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Robert D. Kleinschmidt (left) and Donald D. Powell (right)
Photo: Jim Hedrich. © Hedrich-Blessing.

Biographical Summary

Robert D. Kleinschmidt was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 29, 1939. Kleinschmidt attended the University of Illinois from 1957–63, from which he received a Bachelor of Architecture. From 1963 to 1964, Kleinschmidt pursued a graduate degree of Architecture and Landscape Design at Columbia University in New York City. Like his future business partner, Kleinschmidt began his professional career at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in 1964. Following the dissolution of Powell/Kleinschmidt in 2009, Kleinschmidt founded RDK Design Ltd., where he currently remains. Kleinschmidt has been widely honored during his career, including the William Kinney Fellows Traveling Fellowship (1964); induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame (1989); and Outstanding Leadership in the Interior Design field, International Interior Design Association (2007).


Private Residence, Highland Park, IL. Photo: Chris Barrett © Hedrich Blessing.

Powell/Kleinschmidt also won the AIA's Distinguished Firm Award (1990) and was cited by Contract Design magazine as one of the Top 20 interior design firms of the last quarter-century (2000). Significant and award-winning Powell/Kleinschmidt commissions include the Gretchen Bellinger Executive Office and Warehouse (1983); Mayer, Brown & Platt Law Offices (1988); 880 Lake Shore Drive Residence, Chicago, Illinois (1989); Paul Stuart Men's Store (1995); Briarwood Country Club (2000); and the 200 West Madison Atrium, Chicago, Illinois (2006).


Donald Powell Residence at 880 Lake Shore Drive. Photo: Jon Miller © Hedrich Blessing.


Donald Powell Residence at 880 Lake Shore Drive. Photo: Jon Miller © Hedrich Blessing.

Additional Resources

Finding Aid to Powell/Kleinschmidt Records, 1969-1993
Robert D. Kleinschmidt images in the R&B Archives
Related archival materials in the R&B Archives