Chair's Statement

Hitoshi Abe

Architecture & Urban Design



UCLA Architecture and Urban Design is “one of the best schools in competition with several of the top private institutions in the country. The program is well balanced between research and practice with a focus on planning ten years ahead into the future.”

— NAAB (National Architectural Accreditation Board) April, 2010
Changing global realities are redefining the interaction between culture, politics, economics, and the environment. These changes alter the boundaries between disciplines that will define the conditions for future inquiries into architecture and urban design. At UCLA, we are deeply immersed in a research environment that anticipates change and can move from the realm of ideas to their application, from present situations to emerging realities. Architecture and urban design now faces fundamental issues of practice that will alter these ancient disciplines. Our senior design faculty is among the most progressive in understanding and exemplifying these transformations: Thom Mayne, Greg Lynn, Neil Denari, Craig Hodgetts, and Mark Mack. In analyzing history and theory as they impact architecture and urban design and contribute to the understanding of visual culture, we are further strengthened by the internationally recognized contributions of Sylvia Lavin, Dana Cuff, and Diane Favro.
Redefining architectural education in a major research university, we emphasize interaction among the components of our program, design, technology, and critical studies (history and theory), along with the other Departments in the School of the Arts and Architecture and the larger University. We are especially strong in examining the theory and impact of computerized technology on design, and the latest developments in robotics, and the fabrication of building components. Critical studies at UCLA makes a crucial contribution to the evaluation of new directions in design and issues of contemporary practice, including pressing environmental concerns. We are increasing our interest in cross-cultural studies, exchange programs, and cross industry research. Our undergraduate major allows us to further expand and enrich both our faculty and student body.
Los Angeles is a prototype of the 21st century city embodying the cultural, social, economic, and political issues central to the future of architecture and urbanism. It also represents a new edge between the West and the East, an intersection of increasing importance where diverse cultures transform and generate new opportunities for design. Los Angeles also provides an infinite resource for the study of architecture and urban design, including the innovations from the entertainment and technology industries, and serving as a prime indicator of our global future.
UCLA Architecture and Urban Design is at the forefront of a new kind of city with an intense diversity of culture, the continuing influence of Asia, and a creative milieu influenced by both high technology and entertainment media. We attract designers and thinkers from around the world who come to share their work and ideas through lectures, exhibitions, and teaching. Our city provides a fertile opportunity for cross-industry research and collaboration, the potential of which has yet to be fully mined. In the fall of 2013, our department will launch a new satellite campus, the aim of which is to serve as a platform for industry and non-profit partnership to bring in a new host of design inquiries, including robotics materials research, applied scholarship, and practice that will define the future boundaries of architecture and urban design. Los Angeles and the University, with their constant flows of inexhaustible energy, provide a dynamic platform for the study of architecture and urban design today.

Hitoshi Abe, Chair