Chair's Alumni Welcom

I am delighted to introduce myself and reconnect with you and the entire AUD Alumni Community. Since my appointment as Chair in Spring 2007, many exciting changes have occurred within the Department. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of the current direction of the school and invite you to stay connected.

Now is an exciting time at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design and the following months will be no exception. Our public lecture series will feature Alumni Frederick Fisher on Monday, January 30 at 6:30pm. This Distinguished Alumni Lecture honors  graduates whose innovation and accomplishments have significantly impacted the fields of architecture and or urban design. Currently, we have 233 students enrolled in five programs. This year we will continue Suprastudio, a new M.Arch. II program led by Professor and AUD Vice Chair Neil Denari.

Six years ago, we began offering Jump-Start, a summer career discovery program from which we've recruited many talented students. The Department is currently supporting three initiatives: cross-cultural studies, design and technology, and critical practice. These areas of study offer the opportunity to merge research and practice. I believe this approach to academic research is most vital as it is informed by pragmatism and directed toward solutions to contemporary problems. The strength of a program is reflected in its graduates. Our students have contributed to our strong record of achievement.

Here is what happened at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design in 2010-2011:

Thom Mayne and an advisory panel of professionals and public figures led 14 exemplary architecture and urban design graduate students towards understanding what culture is today in this years Suprastudio. Culture Now is an immersive investigation between the important relationship of public policy and urban design and of contemporary culture and its spatial manifestations. The study uses demographic, infrastructural and cultural research to explore broader ideas of interdisciplinary participation. The intention is to identify and use existing networks, projects, events and initiatives that promote spatial, economic and ecological transformation as catalysts for addressing urban problems.

Fascinated by the future of bringing robots to the scale of buildings, UCLA graduate students led by world-renowned designer Greg Lynn with Walt Disney Imagineering, explored these possibilities in the new video Suprastudio Greg Lynn. In 2009-2010 the studio researched the history, design, and fabrication technologies of theme parks and resorts — as well as where the future of media rich environments is heading.

For the second year in a row, UCLA’s Future Lab with Peter Ebner has partnered with 3M to provide 3rd-year M.Arch. I students with the opportunity to study in Munich, Germany for the fall quarter. This year’s topic is high-rise living, and between studio meetings with Professors Ebner and Alexander Miller, student enjoy lectures from luminaries in architecture and associated disciplines, including Kazuyo Sejima, Edouard Francios, Manfred Grohmann, Stefan Behnish and Transoloar When not based a the Haus der Gegenwart students investigate the architecture and design industries of German cities like Berlin and Stuttgart, and travel further afield to attend the Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Forty-five students and 27 architectural educators from 22 universities from around the world participated in Studioplex Live an exhibition and symposium at the La Biennale di Venezia, the 12th International Architecture Exhibition in August. Studioplex an innovative forum website, (www.studioplex.org), for contemporary architecture connecting students, faculty, and schools producing provocative architectural design work worldwide.

Jason Payne and his students continue ongoing research for the cross-cultural studio in Brazil focusing on the informal settlements generally known as favela communities. With the generous support and collaboration of the Department’s Cross Cultural Initiative, the Sao Paulo Municipal Housing Secretariat (SEHAB,) and SlumLab (an international network of graduate level studios across multiple universities under the direction of Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, this years studio returned to Eucaliptos to engage the need for new dwelling unites to replace those removed by the municipal housing authority due to risk of flooding and erosion.

The High Museum of Art, along with its co-organizer 306090, Inc. selected cityLab, directed by professor Dana Cuff and adjunct assistant professor Roger Sherman to participate in the exhibition Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice at the U.S. Pavillion at La Biennale di Venezia, the 12th International Architecture Exhibition. The installation, Duck and Cover focused on a proposal to build new community space from the unused parking lots surrounding big-box retail outlets.

The International Architectural Education Summit (IAES) in Tokyo in July 2009 assembled more than 25 architectural education leaders from four continents and boasted more than 1500 visitors to the exhibition and symposium. The conference proceedings were published in IAES volume 01 Tokyo documents, (Flick Studio, 2010.) Jointly organized by UCLA and the University of Tokyo, the conference explored the theme “Negotiating Global Pressures on Professional and Educational Standards in Architecture.” The event brought together internationally respected architects, educators, and scholars to address tensions between local practices and international standards for a globalized architectural profession. The 2011 IAES Summit will take place in Madrid from Jun 24 -26, 2011.

The 2010 site-specific installation, Tablecloth, by Ball-Nogues Studio which served as a temporary environment for music, dance and other performances on the UCLA campus received a 2010 AIA/LA Merit Award. The project researched with UCLA students, explored a “cross-manufacturing strategy: after the structure has served as a set piece, the parts making up the installation will become scale commodities, available as consumer products.