Director's Letter

Director's Letter, Fall 2018
College of Architecture
Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design
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Accreditations are a time of reflection. This year we welcome LAAB, the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, visiting in the spring semester. We look forward to celebrating progress six years after the program’s first accreditation. Please join me in thanking Rod Barnett, Jacqueline Margetts, Eric Ellingsen, and Micah Stanek for their upcoming contributions to this effort. Jesse Vogler is on leave this year, but also contributing afar from Georgia. Receiving over $150,000 in grants and awards in the past three years, the MLA faculty are growing a strong research culture, in part fueled by their collaborations across campus and in the greater St. Louis region. Characteristic of this culture, graduate landscape architecture students—who are also pursuing a dual-degree in architecture—David Eslahi, Micah Macaulay, and Rory Thibault are in the process of starting an academic journal entitled Labour, an annual student-driven research and theory publication exploring the intersections of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The title of the journal plays on the definition of labour. In conversation with Rory, “from Locke and Marx to Bataille, Hardt, and Negri, the term labour carries a loaded message of work, commons, culture, and cooperation. Labour recognizes this multiplicity and directs its energy to critique and situate contemporary initiatives, which intersect with the means and method embodied by these common threads.” For their first edition, the editorial team is calling for submissions on topics of political action and social, cultural, economic, and ecological potentials that contribute to global discourse as defined by division, control, and ruin.

The school recently concluded the National Architectural Accrediting Board accreditation process this past month, receiving the maximum eight-year term with special distinction in the categories of Design Thinking Skills, Investigative Skills, History and Global Culture, Cultural Diversity & Social Equity, and Building Envelope Systems & Assemblies. I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations and thanks to the staff, students, and faculty who made these achievements possible!

Upcoming workshop events

The image on the cover of this booklet was created by Tian Lan in the weekend workshop entitled Misreading Objects through Machine Vision with additional images through the booklet created by Zhao Yang, Wenyu Zhang, Yong Yuan, and Hui Yang. Karel Klein, architect of Ruy Klein, guided students in the potential of AI partners, or machine-learning strategies, where theories of artistic estrangement were explored with AI applications. Two workshops to highlight in this upcoming year: The MUD program will host Jorge Mario Jáuregui based in Rio de Janeiro for the Informal Cities Master Class. Jorge’s work is multidisciplinary, with teams of engineers, sociologists, legal specialists, and cultural and communication consultants working under the guidance of a design team. This methodology is emblematic of the ambitions of the program and university at large. Jáuregui’s work focuses on public interest projects in formal and informal areas of the city. He is best known for upgrading Rio’s favelas as fully integrated within the city on spatial, social, and economic terms in the Favela-Bairro project. His firm received the sixth Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design from Harvard for this work. Notably, this distinction was also presented to Gines Garrido of Burgos & Garrido for their project Madrid Rio. Garrido will be rejoining us this spring in the graduate architecture curriculum. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Jerry Kugler will lead the undergraduate architecture program during the Leslie Laskey Design Charrette this year. Kugler taught lighting design to graduate students at Princeton School of Architecture for many years, with lectures and teaching engagements at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Parsons School of Design. Founder of Kugler Ning Lighting, he is the recipient of numerous IES illumination awards in projects for SONY, Carnegie Hall, and Yale, to name a few. Designing with light embraces the core mission of the Laskey Foundation, eager to encourage experimentation across different modes of making in the spirit of Laskey’s powerful influence on so many students.

Welcome to our new and returning faculty

Sarah Cremin joins the 419 international housing studio from Ireland. A practicing architect, Cremin teaches design, architectural technology, and history of architecture as a design fellow at the School of the University College Dublin. She was project architect with Herzog & de Meuron for seven years, working on several housing projects and cultural works including an urban development designed in conjunction with artist Ai Weiwei. She co-founded and directs CAST architecture practice in Dublin and is recognized for her expertise on contemporary Irish architecture. Lawrence Blough will lead a shared options studio in the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs. He typically coordinates the comprehensive design sequence in the undergraduate program as a professor at Pratt Institute, joining us while on his sabbatical. With extensive experience as an architect and educator, Blough teaches advanced courses in fabrication and history theory. Before founding Graftworks in 1999, Blough worked with Peter Eisenman and Antoine Predock, and was a senior associate in a nonprofit architecture and urbanism research foundation. He received his Master of Science from Columbia University and Bachelor of Architecture from Tulane University. Alfredo Paya joins us as the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor, returning in the graduate architecture options sequence. Paya founded his practice, noname 29 office in 2006 and has received numerous international awards recognizing their architectural, art, and design work. The firm's Alicante University Museum was a finalist for the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 1998. In addition, Alfredo’s work was selected for inclusion in both the Biennial of Spanish Architecture (1999, 2001, and 2013) and the Venice Biennale (2000 and 2002).

Hiring faculty is one of the most important things that we do. Petra Kempf joins us following a search in collaboration with Humanities through the Mellon Foundation Divided Cities Initiative. Kempf is an architect and urban designer with a Master of Science degree from Columbia University and a PhD in architecture and urban design from the Technical University in Karlsruhe. She has received the Architectural League of New York’s Young Architect Award and was a grant recipient from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Kempf has previously taught at Cornell University, Columbia University, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Technical University of Dortmund. She is the founder of Urban Transits, an interdisciplinary research initiative focusing on the transient nature of cities. Returning, but in a new capacity, please congratulate Kelley Van Dyke Murphy and Pablo Moyano for their promotion to Assistant Professor of Architecture. Please also congratulate Mónica Rivera as the new graduate architecture chair. Monica was a visiting professor for the past three years, along with her partner Emiliano López. López will be returning this fall to continue leading the housing curriculum. Please be on the lookout for the new 419 Housing publication that he directed, available to students at the start of the all-school meeting.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to architects Julie Bauer, Emiliano López, Antonio Sanmartin, and Nanako Umemoto, who return to St. Louis this year. Of special note, Umemoto will be teaching in graduate options with a special studio in collaboration with her partner, Jesse Reiser, and his studio at Princeton, as well as students from Tokyo University under the tutelage of Kengo Kuma. We also welcome new lecture faculty members Douglis Beck, Max Bemberg, Aaron Schump, and Gwen Arenberg. Beck joins in our history theory sequence this semester. Beck is a graduate of the MArch program with teaching experience in both architecture and art theory courses. He is also an architect, having practiced with CannonDesign, UIC, and recently opening his practice Documodern. Schump joins us from Kansas City where he was teaching as a visiting assistant professor at Kansas State University for the past six years, following his Master of Science degree from Columbia University where he founded his design practice AS//A. Washington University in St. Louis graduate Max Bemberg recently returned to St. Louis from Seattle where he worked at Hybrid ARC on several housing projects as lead architect. Lastly, Gwen Arenberg, also alum of the school and instructor in design thinking, Gwen practices with Tony Patterson, Eric Hoffman, and Anna Ives at patterhn ives.

Congratulations to faculty, staff, and students

Please join me in congratulating Chandler Ahrens, who received tenure and promotion to associate professor. Chandler’s recent work includes leadership in environmental systems and undergraduate and graduate advanced and fabrication studios, while also guiding the dual-degree construction management students. In addition, Ahrens serves as a mentor in student collaborations with computer science, having notably received a Building Technology Educator Society Emerging Faculty Award. Ahrens maintains an award-winning design practice with his partners, Open Source Architecture.

Our school would not run without the talent, hard work, and kindness of our dedicated staff. I’d like to highlight a few changes you will see in Givens. Ellen Bailey was promoted to Graduate Programs Coordinator. She will be supporting the chairs of urban design, landscape architecture, and graduate architecture, and continue her work in the coordination of graduate international travel. Taking her place in many responsibilities, Mandy Wortmann will be the first point of contact for the architecture school, providing assistance to the faculty and staff and coordinating several special projects. Mandy joins the team with extensive experience in education and human resources. Having received her Master’s degree in education and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Mandy worked several years in counseling and project management. Transitions and new positions require team effort and patience—please extend Mandy a warm welcome and congratulate Ellen!

Two student awards arrived following our awards presentation last spring, congratulations to Suzannah Grasel and Julia Phillips who placed in international competitions with work based in Eric Hoffman’s studio. Grasel received an honorable mention in the highly competitive international ideas competition for the Atalaia Magra Cultural Centre in Portugal and Phillips received an honorable mention in the Montello Foundation Desert Waypoint design competition open to architecture students and architects under 40.

Events and achievements

Eric Mumford co-curated the inaugural exhibition Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture opening this fall semester on the October 12, at the Wrightwood 659 gallery in Chicago. Mumford’s research defined the Le Corbusier content of the exhibition, including his Purist works of the 1920s (paintings and furniture) and his expressive work of the postwar years. The gallery spaces designed by Tadao Ando are intended for exhibitions of architecture and socially engaged art. Just a short drive from St. Louis, both the exhibition and symposium (November 8-9) are open to the public and students are encouraged to attend.

Jonathan Stitelman, who is returning from a semester teaching in New York, taught with artist/architect and former visiting faculty member Amanda Williams. With students from Cornell, they exhibited work from their studio in the Venice Biennale this summer. Entitled Ports and Portals: Finding the Citizen Body, the exhibition examines overlooked spaces in Venice with a critique on belonging. Robert McCarter and students also participated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia with the exhibit Freespace in Place: Four Unrealized Modern Architectural Designs for Venice; Carlo Scarpa’s “Quattro Progetti per Venezia” Revisited, and projects by Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Isamu Noguchi selected by Scarpa for the 1972 Art Biennale. Be on the lookout for McCarter’s new book Grafton Architects, published by Phaidon Press. Curators of the Freespace Biennale, Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, titled the exhibit on the theme of generosity and humanity as a core mission of architecture. Adrian Luchini recently finished construction of Light Blue House in Punta del Este, Uruguay, featured in Architectural Record. Luchini’s use of expressive geometry at the interior sits within a restrained building frame, sensitive to the changing light conditions of the day to further a percipient experience of landscape, much in the spirit of Grafton Architects’ elevation of the human experience.

Hongxi Yin was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant in collaboration with Purdue, Dublin Institute of Technology, and Queens University studying Thermoelectric concrete for energy and human comfort benefits. This work builds on Yin’s experiences with the US Solar Decathlon CRETE House employing ultra-high performance concrete and his most recent project with Solar Decathlon China where the Lotus House was produced with the 3D-printed of reusable surface molds. Also, be on the lookout for Catalina Freixas’ new book with Mark Abbott of Harris-Stowe State University entitled Segregation by Design: Conversations and Calls for Action in St. Louis, emerging from her cumulative work with the Office of Socially Engaged Practice. Catalina’s and Hongxi’s accomplishments are timely as they conclude their tenure track process.

The Steedman fellowship brings in applicants from around the world. Running for 92 years, the fellowship promotes cross-cultural exchange with the current biennial competition asking “how does infrastructure shape our individual and collective environments?” The jury is chaired this year by Andrea Leers, principal and co-founder of Leers Weinzapfel Associates in Boston with additional jury members Marion Weiss, Lisa Iwamoto, Linda Samuels, and Anna Ives. Also supported by Steedman, summer student travel grants were awarded to undergraduate architecture student Francisco Coch and graduate architecture student Kun Yang. Coch traveled to Studio Mumbai (founded by alumnus Bijoy Jain) to explore local and alternative building traditions in India, and Yang traveled to Marrakesh Morocco to study extreme weather conditions in a complex urban environment. Patty Heyda, alumnus Bill Wischmeyer, and CannonDesign Director David Polzin oversee this prestigious fellowship and summer student grants. Thanks to Chandler Ahrens, Kathryn Dean, and Robert McCarter for their lecture series initiatives and Eric Mumford and Igor Marjanović for supporting the DISCUSSIONS series. Highlights of this year’s speakers include Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Winka Dubbeldam, Richard Sennett, and Jorge Jauregu with DISCUSSIONS series lecturers Vladimir Kulić and Barry Bergdoll.

Looking ahead

As we move to the second phase of the Sam Fox School with the introduction of Weil Hall, several priorities come to mind. The strategic intent of the new building was to bring together art and architecture in close proximity while strengthening the disciplinary foundations and creative facilities that enhance each program. Further, the east end transformation brings us closer to the School of Engineering & Applied Science, relevant in our desire to increase experiential learning opportunities between the two schools. Although seemingly contradictory, the year ahead is one of furthering connections to the larger campus while simultaneously strengthening discipline-specific curricula and everyday student life. Undergraduate architecture will be reexamining their curricula to reflect on emerging opportunities in undergraduate education, pedagogical practices engaging broader constituents, and thoughtful consideration of the student experience, while graduate architecture will build on their recent accreditation to further identify pertinent priorities. Landscape architecture will be in the midst of a voluntary system of self-regulated accreditation meant to evaluate and advocate for programs within the framework of their institutions. While this is a time of reflection, invigorating connections between urban design and landscape architecture is an ongoing endeavor.

In a similar vein, the new Africa initiative and Living Earth Collaborative potentially offer further depth in our already existing networks. For instance, urban design students traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa and Kigali, Rwanda this summer in their ultimate studio. As part of their educational experience John Hoal and Ferdinand le Grange established a local lecture series with planners, ecologists, economists, and infrastructural experts alongside designers. To prepare for this travel experience, students participated in an intensive discussion series by Samuel Shearer on Kigali’s urbanism; a place where divergent practices emerge from complex issues related to water, ecology, segregation, and other areas studied through a cultural anthropology lens. This year Shearer concludes his PhD residency at the humanities center to formally join the A&S faculty through the concurrent process that brought Petra Kempf to our school. Through the Mellon Foundation Urban Humanities Initiative, a cohort of faculty and students engage in issues of segregation in local and international environments inclusive of non-western communities.

It is a very exciting time to be in the St. Louis region while also connected to the significant depth of global research trajectories originating at Washington University - welcome back!

Heather Woofter, Director
College of Architecture | Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design