Quad Spring 2017

Page 1

E D I TO R I A L Editor/Writer

Angela Harwood, Communications Manager

A R T— G R A P H I C D E S I G N STUDENT OFFICE Faculty Advisor

Courtney Barr, Associate Professor

Art Director

Luisa Restrepo Perez, Instructor, MFA 2015

Design & Illustration

Gabe Hilliard, BFA candidate Hayden Nagin, BFA candidate Tory Cunningham, BFA candidate



George Castillo, BFA candidate Hayden Nagin, BFA candidate Eddy Perez, LSU photographer




Illustration by Tory Cunningham, GDSO

To share feedback, contact Angela Harwood aharwood@lsu.edu 225-578-9041


Contents F E AT U R E S

06 A Flood of Knowledge

The Roles of Artists and Designers in Times of Disaster


26 Talking Circles

Reveling in the Remarkable Unknown Works of Frank Lloyd Wright


02 Letter from the Dean Fluctuat nec Mergitur


03 Did You Know?

Reading the Landscape with Prof. Cathy Marshall

04 Four Minutes on . . . Biophilic Design A Basic Human Need, with Judith Heerwagen


Where in the World?


From PIXAR to Playgrounds to the Galaxy and Beyond

29 Is There a Doctor of Design in the House? New Doctor of Design in Cultural Preservation

30 Attack of the Clones! First Year, First Day, First Project


32 Class Notes

Alumni News and Updates

36 Equipped

Christina Velasquez Conquers Ceramics



Letter from the Dean Fluctuat nec Mergitur

This has been an eventful summer and fall. The aftermath of both natural and man-made catastrophes will continue to affect Louisiana and LSU for many years to come. And yet a few months later we keep going full sail in the spirit of the Cajun Navy: the faith that with a combination of courage and perseverance, resilience, creativity, skill, and by working together, we will “let the good times roll” again.

The emergence of our community out of these storms brings to mind the motto of the city of Paris: fluctuat nec mergitur—a Latin phrase meaning tossed but not sunk. The maxim originated over 600 years ago with another French navy, the boatmen of the River Seine, the backbone of commerce and economic life who dealt with similarly choppy waters in the City of Light. How fitting is this motto for LSU in 2016, Louisiana’s flagship university and home to the state’s largest programs in art and design? The lives and professional trajectories of our alumni are the best proof that we give our students the skills to not only navigate change without sinking but to also affect the kinds of changes that make the world a better and more “unsinkable” place. We share some of these alumni stories in the pages ahead, where you’ll read about alumni working in affordable housing, historic preservation, conservation, and international aid. This issue is dedicated to the artists, designers, students, and faculty who make our world a better place, who show up in times of disaster and chaos and work to provide thoughtful solutions to restore and revitalize post-disaster sites; to those who help preserve and conserve our history and culture and who see opportunity in disaster for teaching and learning. Elle est agitée par les vagues, et ne sombre pas. She is tossed by the waves but does not sink.

—Dean Alkis Tsolakis Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques*

*Dean Alkis Tsolakis was selected for induction into the French Republic’s prestigious Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Order of the French Academic Palms) at the grade of officier (officer). The Palmes académiques was founded by Napolean in 1808 to honor educators and is the oldest non-military French decoration. Today, it recognizes the significant contributions of those who have demonstrated outstanding devotion to the French language and culture through their teaching, scholarship, and leadership. (Next up, Dean Tsolakis aims to be named an honorary member of the Cajun Navy.)


Did You Know? with Cathy Marshall

Q: How does drawing landscape

experience help us understand place?


The act of drawing is an irreplaceable method we can use to better understand our environment. Reading the landscape through drawing gives us the ability to design living landscapes that provide both unity and variety. For landscape architects, the most important step is to perceive and build upon the overall character of a site and to recognize that each element, every detail of the design, should reflect the phenomena of experiences that shape the place. There are several ways to begin drawing and engaging the landscape. Walking from point to point, biking through the rightof-way, sitting still, listening, touching and tasting the humidity or salinity, and feeling exposure, one begins to see the landscape as it is and understand that an environment is different with each visit. In my seminars, students visit and draw a remote landscape repeatedly over the semester. Locations have included large cultural landscapes such as the Atchafalaya River Basin, Cameron Prairie, Bayou Teche, and River Road; agricultural and industrial landscapes; and urban sites. As the students engage the landscape through sight, tactile senses, and memory, they develop perceptual awareness and the ability to look closely and attune design sensibilities to what is already there. Recent technological advances have hindered the illustration of perceptual experiences of place as we spend less time outside and more screen-time rendering generic design images. Yet the same advances have allowed cross-disciplinary tools to be used when recording the personal and environmental phenomena of place. The traditional pencil and sketchbook catalogs, the camera and video lenses capture fleeting moments; GPS coordinates mark points and scribe lines between positions; and heart-rate monitors track the body’s physical excursion in the landscape. Drawing landscape experience is a hybridization of media, combining photography, hand-drawn sketches, and data into complex drawings that tell a story about the particular landscape features that contribute to the spatial experience of place. Cathy Marshall, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture


Four Minutes on...

Biophilic Design: A Basic Human Need with Judith Heerwagen

Is the desire for connection with nature a desire born of urban living, or is there a deeper value, one that unfolded throughout the course of human evolution? If there is a genetic basis for biophilia (as argued by E.O. Wilson in his 1986 book, Biophilia), then contact with nature is a basic human need, not an aspect of human life that can be provided or denied at will. We have intuitively recognized this in built structures across time. We fill our buildings with daylight. We site them with views to the outside in mind—particularly views of large trees, water, mountains, and vistas—and we are willing to pay large amounts of money to have these amenities. We have incorporated gardens and murals into dwellings from the earliest of times. We use fire for warmth, pleasure, and atmosphere, and we even mimic the attributes of fire in lighting design. When out of sorts or feeling the need for escape from too much activity, we seek out small personal spaces to enhance our sense of well-being. We fill our gardens and houses with flowers. We find peace and fascination in water features

The interior atrium in Federal Center South in Seattle, the regional headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers, has vegetation, daylight, views to the Duwamish River, and natural materials throughout the space to enhance employee experience and well-being. Photos courtesy of Judith Heerwagen


of all types. And we city dwellers return to the countryside to rejuvenate, enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. We relish foraging in the urban farmers market. In other words, we intuitively seek out nature experiences. Yet we don’t always design as if we know this simple fact—too many of us live, go to school, and work in environments devoid of nature, with serious consequences to our health and well-being.


Extensive research on nature experience shows that connection to daylight, views, green plants, outdoor green space, large trees, and water enhance physical, social, emotional, and cognitive well-being (for an extensive summary of research, see Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, edited by Kellert, Heerwagen, and Mador). Key benefits of nature contact, supported by hundreds of research projects, include: reduced physiological stress associated with nature images, window views of nature, as well as being in an outdoor environment, especially one with large trees; improved cognitive functioning associated with attentional restoration resulting from an intuitive positive response to non-threatening nature; reduced rumination and worry linked to walking in a natural environment versus an urban area with little or no nature; enhanced mood and relaxation, especially associated with sunlight, water, plants, and flowering vegetation; and improved physiological health (including respiratory, circadian, and ambulatory functioning) from indoor plants, well-designed daylight, and circulation systems that encourage climbing stairs and movement between spaces.


The design palette for biophilic environments is rich and varied, with many options for enhancing human experience. The following design principles provide an evidence-based guide for creating environments that enhance human health and well-being. 1. Incorporate nature and natural processes into design from the beginning—features and elements known to have positive benefits, such as large trees, flowers, variety of local vegetation, fish tanks, sunlight, and water. 2. Design for geographically relevant biodiversity. In garden and outdoor spaces, create biologically diverse plant communities using geographically and climatically relevant species, especially those that restore local habitats. 3. Design for all the senses. Humans experience the environment in multisensory modes, including touch, smell, hearing, vision, and taste, as well as color. Built spaces should aim to incorporate features and attributes that contribute to sensory richness and variability. 4. Integrate nature and natural processes throughout building spaces, not just at the entrance or window wall. Important natural features and elements that should be widely available to all include daylight, sunlight patches, sensory transitions, breezes, views of the outdoors, and interior vegetation. 5. Use natural forms to reinforce sense of connection to the natural world at multiple levels of awareness. Fractal patterning, naturalistic spatial variability, and natural materials can all be used to “naturalize” building spaces at many levels of abstraction and awareness.

A study of the Herman Miller Greenhouse in Holland, Michigan, found significant positive impacts of biophilic design on employee well-being.

6. Create permeable boundaries and a multiplicity of connections between the interior and exterior of buildings. Permeability can occur through operable windows, doorways, connections to outdoor plazas and gardens, and terraces, as well as through glazing. 7. Provide an integrated and meaningful pattern of prospect and refuge. The ability to see into spaces and to the outdoors (prospect) supports mental rest and situation awareness, while places for withdrawal (refuge) support privacy and mental rest. The patterns of prospect and refuge are foundational and form the geography of space.

Judith Heerwagen, a research psychologist with the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, co-edited Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Workspaces in Federal Center South have views to daylight, vegetation, and indoor plants nestled between the workstations that overlook the atrium.

Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. Heerwagen presented a Paula G. Manship endowed lecture at the LSU College of Art & Design in November 2016.



A FLOOD OF KNOWLEDGE The Roles of Artists and Designers in Times of Disaster

It didn’t have a catchy name. It wasn’t a hurricane or a superstorm. It was just . . . rain.

Left: Jolinda Webb’s photograph highlights the juxtaposition of a gutted house and a homey, family kitchen. Top: Note the water line along the statue of Mary on the porch of a private residence in Lafayette in Emily Hargis’s photo, Mother Mary.



etween August 8 and 14, a seven-trillion-gallon deluge pummeled Louisiana, inundating 20 parishes with enough water to fill 10.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Baton Rouge was pounded with more than 19 inches of rain; Livingston Parish received more than 2½ feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Officials reported 30,000 people were rescued and 11,000 sought refuge in shelters. The number of homes, businesses, and buildings damaged? We’re still counting—but in Ascension, Livingston, and East Baton Rouge parishes alone, approximately 92,750 structures were damaged by the flood, resulting in at least 4.8 million cubic yards of debris.

LSU classes commenced days later, amid a state in chaos, reeling from the effect of the historic flooding event. Enrollment was down. Local schools were closed. Affected students, faculty, and staff needed time to recover. Anyone who wasn’t directly affected by the flood most likely had at least one friend or family member who was. Many chose to volunteer at shelters, churches, or aid organizations. At the LSU College of Art & Design, we saw opportunity through the upheaval—the opportunity for research, learning, documentation, outreach and communication, even commemoration.


Students in Professor Jeremiah Ariaz’s intermediate photography course began the semester with a project designed to both document and bring attention to the flooding in Louisiana. “There was considerable criticism to the lack of attention from the national media around the flooding,” noted Ariaz. “I wanted the students’

The Rising Water installation created in Kean’s components course commemorated the flooding event in Louisiana. Photo by George Castillo


first project to help in some way—to begin a conversation about representation and how photography can fill the gap between reality and the lack of media attention.” The students were instructed to document the effects of the recent flooding, keeping in mind their roles as image-makers.

“The assignment made me actually see what people were going through.”

Third-year digital art student Emily Hargis photographed her hometown of Lafayette. “Instead of focusing on the actual flood, my photographs were more about giving a visual to peoples’ emotions,” shared Emily. “We all saw the flood images, but not as many see the aftermath.” Emily’s photographs document the damage to a park along Vermilion River, the gutting and rebuilding of flood victims’ homes, and ruined personal objects and childhood toys. “The assignment made me actually see what people were going through.” Photography major Jolinda Webb’s family and friends were victims of the flooding in Denham Springs. Many of her photographs depict family members debating what to do and how to move on. “I gravitated toward the random piles of debris and tried to capture what peoples’ lives had become in the aftermath,” said Jolinda. “The project was therapeutic and helped me deal with what my family and friends were going through.” Professor Ariaz was pleased with the results. “The students learned to make photographs with empathy and to direct viewers’ attention to what they might not otherwise see.”


To commemorate the flooding in Louisiana, architecture and interior design students in Professional-in-Residence Lee Kean’s components course created a large-scale installation for exhibit in the LSU Design Building Atrium. The project was focused on the potential for components to exponentially create structures,

Alumnus Kinder Baumgardner works with fifth-year students in Professor Cathy Marshall’s Disaster Autopsy Studio. Photo by Hayden Nagin

systems, and environments. Students began by recording the dynamic exchange of water and land. Their photographic observations of rising and moving water and dark and light reflections on the water’s surface informed their work. The students scanned their photographs for use in propagation-based parametric modeling, producing digital and physical models. The class selected one digital model to translate and cut at full scale with the CNC (computer numerical control) router. The full-scale, milled component shapes were sequenced and structured to produce the installation, Rising Water, which was mounted on the atrium wall. “The installation contextualized processes in nature to create a new spatial experience,” said Kean, “potentially establishing links in viewers’ perception and experience.” To George Castillo, a graphic design and photography student who volunteered to photograph the exhibition, the installation represented “the rise and fall of people’s experience in our community.” “For me, it represents the power of water,” added interior design student Emily Phillips. “Even though the devastation is not visible, [Rising Water]


Students compiled research on Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, sea-level rise, and storm surges, as well as the causes and effects of the recent “cloudburst phenomena” (how Kinder refers to these 1000-year flooding events) in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. They compiled an informational video, “Deluge Baton Rouge,” on their research, which Kinder presented at the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in New Orleans last October.

The majority of Baton Rouge’s metropolitan area remained free of disaster as water was diverted away from the city. Areas adjacent to the watershed’s tributaries and canals were overloaded and suffered the worst during the flooding. Image courtesy of Disaster Autopsy Studio

shows on a large scale how influential the impact of water can be. The installation helps me remember our vulnerability.”


For alumnus Kinder Baumgardner, the flooding in Louisiana hit close to home—literally. His parents lost everything they had in the flood, including their home off O’Neal Lane in Baton Rouge where Kinder grew up. As president of SWA and principal at SWA’s Houston office, the disaster interested him professionally, as well—managing water, both the abundance and lack thereof, is a topical subject for landscape architects, especially for a firm with such heavy involvement with flooding events in Houston. Flooding and community resilience is at the forefront of landscape architects’ professional discussion, so much so that many of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2016 Honor Awards went to projects that deal with these issues, including SWA’s Bayou Greenways master plan. His professional interest in flooding and resilience and personal ties to his hometown and alma mater led Kinder to offer to teach a studio on the topic at the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. He and his team—Principal Natalia Beard and Associates Matt Baumgarten and Michael Robinson—traveled from Houston to Baton Rouge once a week throughout the fall semester to co-teach fifth-year landscape architecture students in Professor Cathy Marshall’s “Disaster Autopsy” studio. Much of the work completed in the studio focused on research, “confirming things we thought were happening, how often these 1,000-year events are occurring,” said Kinder. “These ‘cloudburst phenomena’ are happening too often.”


The video identified the complex relationships among Louisiana’s natural landscape, urban infrastructure, outdated policies, and the ever-changing climate, ending with, “Where should we go from here? Do we design to prevent future flooding, design to live with flooding, or pack up and leave?” Kinder directed the students to explore the flood from all angles, look at the problem broadly, and question how to recalibrate the role of designers and landscape architects in exploring these larger issues and serving as communicators to the public. Studio work focused on three areas: community design (awareness and communication); immediate impact (How does a community come back? What’s appropriate to rebuild?); and long-term impact and the disaster economy (diversion canals, large infrastructural moves, resource allocation—Where do you draw the line between personal versus government responsibility?). Students were divided into groups to focus on different design responses based on their research, keeping in mind infrastructural and cultural complications. In the end, the students proposed a series of broad solutions that, ideally, could serve as models for creating templates that could apply to other Gulf Coast states. Kinder and his team shared with the students SWA’s work in other cities, such as in Houston, where one of their projects dealing with the complex interplay between water management and community activity has received national and international acclaim. The Bayou Greenways master plan calls for a new 300-mile-long linear park system connecting over 1.9 million

Top: Buffalo Bayou Promenade is one more accomplishment in SWA’s goal to turn Houston from a city of roadways into a city of riverways. © SWA. Photo by William Tatham. Left: SWA’s Buffalo Bayou Promenade includes lunar lighting that can withstand flooding. © SWA. Photo by Tom Fox. Right: Buffalo Bayou Promenade. Today, the formerly trash-strewn waterway teems with wildlife and pedestrians. © SWA. Photo by Tom Fox.


Professor Traci Birch’s students proposed designs for a waterfront park to West Lakes’ mayor. Rendering by BFA candidate Emily Bourdon

citizens along Harris County’s 10 major waterways. Four years ago, voters approved $100 million in public funding, with a private match of $105 million, for the 150-mile-long first phase of the project. With a multitude of economic, environmental, physical, and social benefits, the annual benefits of this project are estimated to be in excess of $117 million. Kinder attributes much of the project’s success in converting Houston from “a city of freeways to a city of riverways” to communication— raising public awareness of the huge public benefits of the proposed plan. That outreach helped the project push through Houston’s largest ever parks bond package, ensuring public funding. “We advocated tirelessly for decades to create that change in thinking,” explained Kinder. “It all comes back to a very well executed site design.” The first leg of Buffalo Bayou Park, the Sabine Promenade, served as a pilot project. The public experienced the improvements—which then led to an additional two miles of hiking and biking trails, canoe and kayak launches, lunar lighting, public art, and pedestrian bridges—and learned they could have these special recreational spaces that embrace the natural ebb and flow of culturally significant waterways. The design enhances the bayou’s


natural meanders and offers increased resiliency against floodwaters. All lighting, plantings, and walkways are designed to withstand periodic flooding, and the Corps of Engineers existing Hydrolic Engineering Center model was used to ensure floodwater conveyance would not be compromised by the improvements. Today, the formerly trash-strewn waterway teems with wildlife and pedestrians. “In every disaster there is an opportunity,” Kinder avowed. “For too long, the approach has been one-dimensional, solely focused on infrastructure. When design informs development, you can address important infrastructural needs while also creating recreational opportunities that improve a city’s overall quality of life.” By sharing his former projects and experiences, Kinder encouraged LSU’s landscape architecture students to consider what opportunities might exist for Baton Rouge at this particular time, as we once again confront disaster. “How do we improve our city and our quality of life? What is lacking? We can use this momentous time to look at what we can do in Baton Rouge.”


The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) also plays a major role in educating the public on the benefits of embracing creative strategies to strengthen community development in ways that improve resiliency and quality of life. CSS brings together designers, scientists, engineers, and planners in the College of Art & Design, College of Engineering, and School of the Coast & Environment to respond to critical issues in sensitive coastal regions. Last April, CSS engaged a group of mayors from six of Louisiana’s disaster-impacted coastal communities whose development projects incorporate resilience within their districts. CSS and resource team members are working with these mayors to coordinate strategic partner-

“In every disaster there is an opportunity.” ships, seek financial support, and provide additional research through project support or design studios—which create learning opportunities for students. For example, Traci Birch, an urban planner and assistant research professor with CSS, engaged two classes in an exploratory planning project for Mayor Bob Hardy of West Lake, a bedroom community of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Located along the Calcasieu River, West Lake is prone to flooding from frequent storm surges, is surrounded by petrochemical plants, and has seen its downtown deteriorate due to disinvestment. As the small town currently has no master plan, Birch saw an opportunity to provide students with real-life experience while showing West Lake a number of creative strategies for revitalizing their town. As a semester-long project, Birch’s third-year landscape architecture studio focused on redeveloping a 108-acre site along the river into a waterfront park, and her fourth-year architecture studio worked on a main street project for the town’s historic Miller Avenue. “Getting involved with a community that has a real-life problem to solve is a great opportunity for students,” shared Birch. “Engaging a mayor in this way raises expectations, and the students respond with really fantastic ideas that help the mayors think outside the box and create public excitement and interest.” The landscape architecture students addressed the bulk of the work, designing a large-scale site plan for redeveloping the small community. The site plans incorporated housing and commercial spaces, included a waterfront park with multiple features to create community cohesion, redeveloped derelict land, and helped with storm surges and runoff. They had to consider amenities for the city’s current residents while also imagining what the city could become. Opening their minds to possibilities, Birch took the students to New York and Boston to visit Brooklyn Bridge Park and parks built since Superstorm Sandy and to experience installations like the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Birch’s architecture students looked at Miller Avenue, West Lake’s historic main drag. Considering the street’s historic uses and maintaining access to the waterfront, they created more of an architectural-focused plan that considered how to mass residential and commercial properties. Both studios presented their work to Mayor Hardy at the end of the semester. Birch compiled the students’ work into a book that can be used to identify common threads and key components for consideration when the mayor begins redevelopment.


Going forward, one of the biggest challenges for our neighborhoods, communities, and cities is what to do with existing, outdated infrastructure. As we learned in the recent events, there are areas of Baton Rouge where existing communities exist at or below the floodplain. As new floodplain maps are drawn, they can threaten future development in existing vibrant communities, like Tiger Town, where present houses, roads, and infrastructure that may never have flooded are now below the floodplain. New developments must embrace

The Lofts at Ivanhoe in Tiger Land meets new code requirements; all living spaces are located well above the risk of water damage. © WHLC Architecture


Micah Morgan designed an exclusive luxury condominium, Costa Blanca, to withstand scouring from potential storm events. © WHLC Architecture

these design challenges and adapt existing architectural strategies found in coastal construction, such as raised-level homes found in camps in South Louisiana, into solutions more appropriate for established neighborhoods. Driven by a desire to preserve the history and character of Tiger Town—one of the true, walkable areas of Baton Rouge, a vibrant community of retail shops, restaurants, bookstores, and nightlife with residential homes, apartments, and condominiums, all steps from LSU’s North Gate—WHLC Architecture embraced these new design challenges.


“Designers have an opportunity to help find solutions that enable our communities to remain vibrant and flourishing in the face of a changing environment,” said Micah Morgan, a project architect at WHLC Architecture’s Baton Rouge office. Micah, an alumnus of the LSU School of Architecture, and WHLC President Russell Washer designed the Lofts at Ivanhoe, a boutique infill development in the historic Tiger Town neighborhood. “We were the first that I know of to propose a new solution for development in Tiger Town since the floodplain was changed,” shared Micah. “We were able to meet the code requirements and keep the units out of the floodplain, while staying true to the character of the neighborhood.” The entire first floor of the condominiums serves as gated garage parking for residents; all living spaces are located well above the risk of water damage.

Micah has extensive knowledge of zoning and development regulations and an expert understanding of design technology. He received his Master of Architecture from Rice University, where he wrote his thesis on the surface parking lot population of Houston, proposing a design schematic that would promote a more symbiotic integration between the surface parking lot and other environmental systems within the city. He argued that we are often, “changing the micro-climate of the area due to the way we develop.” For example, impermeable surfaces like concrete and asphalt parking lots and transportation corridors exacerbate flooding.

After the flooding event in Louisiana, Micah noted how, “the first areas to flood in Baton Rouge were the streets—the streets became the pathways, trapping people in their homes. Water drains onto the streets and then into catch basins, but as we develop in these outlying, low-lying areas, we decrease the ability of the land to absorb the water.” Micah recalled a recent development where WHLC used pervious concrete to save a tree. “There is a lot of potential in exploring the use of innovative new materials in floodplains that could help reduce imper-

“There is a lot of potential in exploring the use of innovative new materials.” 15

vious areas so that our infrastructure works in both flood and non-flood stages,” he concluded. “We deal with these small issues of saving the tree and developing in Tiger Town, but they all play into the bigger picture of what’s going on.” Micah pointed out that Miami has a similar but inverted problem of Tiger Town. Miami Beach is concerned, like several communities around the world, with subsiding as sea levels rise. “They’ve instituted a program to raise the streets, but now all the houses are four-to-five-feet below grade. This is another opportunity, similar to development in Tiger Town, where designers are needed to help solve these problems.” Micah is also working on an exclusive luxury condominium, Costa Blanca, located right on the water in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where he has to design around the eventuality that a major storm event might scour away the beach itself. “After storms like Katrina, buildings were uprooted, basically they were under-washed, the foundation disintegrated,” he explained. “We have to design the foundations low enough to account for these possibilities. It seems counter-intuitive to start our foundations

eight feet below grade, but we’ve all seen the power and magnitude of what’s happened. We forget the swings that are possible. As engineers, as architects, we have to condition ourselves to see not just what exists today but what future environmental conditions may bring, in order to design for the truly worstcase scenarios. “The solutions will come on a community-bycommunity basis; action takes place project by project, and the codes should adapt to allow for new design innovations. What we saw in the flooding wasn’t the result of the newer policies in place, but of the older, outdated ones,” ended Micah. “The flood brings these issues to the forefront of everyone’s minds, which helps us address these concerns.”

Clay for Louisiana When Jodie Masterman, Naomi Clement, Joelle Ferrara, and Catherine Velasquez, all members of the LSU Ceramic Art Student Association (CASA), became aware that not only were several classmates affected by the historic flooding events of August 2016 but that their local ceramic supplier, Southern Pottery/ Alligator Clay, sustained massive damage in the flood—they mobilized. “We found a way to give back by donating our work, while also raising awareness for ongoing recovery efforts,” shared Naomi, a graduate student in the LSU School of Art.

students who lost their homes and belongings, 20 percent to Southern Pottery/ Alligator Clay; and 50 percent to the LSU Employee Assistance fund. “We were overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity,” concluded Naomi. “It was a great experience for the undergraduate members to get involved with the community.”

The student organization raised almost $5,000 by launching “Clay for Louisiana,” an online store where they sold donated works from LSU students, faculty, alumni, friends, and past visiting artists, including Ayumi Horie, Kristen Kieffer, Jen Allen, Kensuke Yamada, and Ron Geibel. Alumna Margaret Bohls, who now teaches at the University of Nebraska, donated close to $1,000 worth of pottery. People from all over the U.S.—as well as Canada, Australia, and the U.K.—bought work. CASA based the model on “Potters for Pulse,” a similar fundraiser for victims of the Orlando night club shooting. The students donated 100 percent of the raised funds directly to those affected by the flood: 30 percent to ceramic undergraduate


Past visiting artist Ayumi Horie donated works to the Clay for Louisiana fundraiser.

Where in the World? Alumni Across the U.S. and Abroad

From San Francisco to Nairobi, our alumni work all over the world, serving as role models for future generations of artists and designers. Many are nationally renowned professionals in their respective fields, while others followed a less traditional path.

Remarkable alumni are pushing the boundaries of art and design. We’ve watched them go from interior design to PIXAR, refugee to architecture major to lawyer, graphic design to VP of marketing for one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Venezuela to landscape architecture to American business owner, physics to art history to art consultant in Paris, and international aid to landscape architecture to playground design in war-torn and conflict countries. In the pages ahead, we share the stories of these extraordinary alumni who didn’t just learn it; they’re living it.



Meredith Hom’s interest in interior design started with her love of Disney. “Disney World was practically a second home for me growing up. As soon as I was old enough to understand there was a group of people responsible for creating, designing, and building these parks, I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be an ‘imagineer’ and design spaces that could transport people into other worlds.” Meredith earned her degree in interior design from LSU and interned at HKS, but she sought more opportunities to hone her skills using design. She thought production design might be a better route. Seeking advice on how to get into the field, she wrote letters to more than 100 production designers. Several wrote back and agreed to meet with her, and one helped her get a job in Atlanta as a production assistant in the art department of the Footloose remake. She loved working on the movie and decided to look further into a career in film. A colleague suggested she apply for the PIXAR production internship. She got into the program and worked in the art department on the Cars and Toy Story cartoons. Her internship set her on the production management track. Meredith has worked in the art, editorial, characters (model, rigging, and shading), and lighting departments at PIXAR. To date, she has been involved in the production of seven shorts, one TV special (The Toy Story that Time Forgot), and two feature animations, Finding Dory and Coco,

PIXAR’s new, “Day of the Dead” themed 3D animation to be released later this year. “My interior design degree has been helpful as I work with artists and technical directors,” shared Meredith. “Because of my time in the LSU interior design program, I have a solid understanding of the design language.” Looking to the future, Meredith says she tries not to plan too far ahead. “Life has a way of taking you in directions you didn’t plan. When I attended LSU and got into the interior design selective admissions program, I would have never thought that 10 years later I’d be working as a department manager at PIXAR—my dream company.”

Meredith Hom is a department manager at PIXAR, where she is currently working on their new 3D animation, Coco. © Disney • PIXAR. All rights reserved.


Gracia Maria Shiffrin led the entire All Saints Residence project, a 42-unit elderly residence in West Pullman, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. Urban Works, architect of record. Photo by Anthony May


GRACIA MARIA SHIFFRIN, BArch 1984 Gracia Maria Shiffrin, FAIA, architect and lawyer, is currently an asset resolution specialist for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development for the Greater Chicago Area. Over the past two decades, as a nonprofit developer, housing provider, and municipal funder, she helped provide housing for seniors, the homeless, veterans, and the disabled. While deputy chief of staff for the Office of Mayor Richard M. Daley, she led a multi-departmental effort for the protection of historic water tanks and guided collaborations with important civic institutional partners. As assistant commissioner for the Chicago Landmarks Commission, she leveraged more than $315 million to further various historic preservation projects. As city attorney, she provided legal counsel for the financial transactions of several city departments, such as Housing, Planning & Development, Human Services, and Budget.

Chicago, Gracia embarked on a new career, earning her law degree and interning with the City of Chicago, which opened the door for her future role in the city she, her husband, and their two daughters so dearly love. “I’ve had so many opportunities in my life. Even though I followed a non-traditional path, being an architect has been essential to our lives. My work has been extremely rewarding. At the end of the day, I’m using all my skills to impact others in a positive way and to give back to this country.”

As a 17-year-old refugee fleeing civil war, Gracia never imagined she would achieve so much. When her family left El Salvador, her father was the head of the nation’s social trust for housing. “It all circles back to my dad,” noted Gracia. “As a teenager, we would visit construction sites and go to ribbon cuttings for new housing developments. That’s what motivated me to be an architect.” After graduating from LSU, Gracia moved to San Francisco, where she worked as an architect for seven years. Upon marrying and relocating to

Photo by Anita Healy Photography



Jeremy Tucker takes on the galaxy with Nissan’s ad campaign for the new Rogue. The newly revised 2017 Nissan Rogue compact SUV is the centerpiece of the fully integrated campaign that features Star Wars–themed TV ads, social, and experiential content.


JEREMY TUCKER, BFA & BS 1999 As vice president of marketing communications and media for Nissan North America, Jeremy Tucker is responsible for marketing the Nissan brand and the company’s vast product lineup. And he’s great at it. He was named a 2015 Rising Star by Automotive News and one of AdAge’s 2016 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Jeremy led the brand’s biggest and most successful campaign: a cross-promotional tie-in with the blockbuster hit Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “The Nissan Rogue and the first Star Wars standalone movie share more than just a name,” said Jeremy. “The Star Wars film franchise has pushed the boundaries of technology since the debut of the original episode nearly 40 years ago. Nissan is doing the same with its industry-leading cars, trucks, and SUVs like the new Rogue—our most advanced Rogue to date—so it’s natural that the two join forces.” Jeremy hasn’t always been a car guy. He joined Nissan from The Walt Disney Company’s Consumer Products division, where he led a multi-franchise-focused strategic marketing organization—from Disney Princess to Mickey Mouse to Marvel—spanning diverse business units like toys, clothing, and home goods. In this role he led his team to collaborate across the entire Walt Disney Company to ensure consistency


with content creators. Prior to his role with Disney, he was senior director of marketing and national brand innovation for Frito-Lay, and he launched his career as an advertising account executive for Procter & Gamble. And it all started at LSU, where Jeremy was an LSU Ambassador, played tuba for the Golden Band from Tiger Land, and was one of the first student members of the Graphic Design Student Office in the School of Art. Jeremy holds dual bachelor’s degrees in fine arts (with a focus in graphic design) and marketing from LSU and an MBA from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. Last year, Jeremy and his team made history by signing the largest deal in the history of college athletics with the Nissan College 100 program, which supports 100 colleges and universities and 22 sports for both men’s and women’s athletics. LSU is one of 100 schools supported by Nissan on game days and all year long. Photos courtesy of Nissan North America



Lewis Aqüi was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. After graduating high school, he left his native country to pursue his dream of studying architecture in the U.S. At only 16 years old, all alone, and speaking only Spanish, he arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to begin studies at LSU. Upon mastering his second language and completing his core curriculum, Lewis’s interests shifted more toward subjects related to nature and the environment. He changed his major to landscape architecture after attending a lecture by world-famous Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. After receiving his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with honors, Lewis relocated

to South Florida, a climate and atmosphere that reminded him of his childhood in Northwest Venezuela. As a young designer, he worked with Raymond Jungles, a close friend of Roberto Burle Marx. He would often have coffee and discuss landscape architecture with Marx and Jungles. “Marx was a remote mentor for me,” Lewis recalled. “He and Jungles were major influences in my career.” Lewis became a partner in the firm Hall Bell Aqüi in 2001, which evolved into Bell + Aqüi Landscape Architecture in 2008. He worked on projects for NASA’s Florida space center, theme park, and headquarters before establishing his own firm, Lewis Aqüi Landscape + Architectural Design, in Miami in 2012. The firm specializes in the creation and renovation of residential estates and boutique hotels and resorts throughout Florida and the Caribbean. Lewis has stayed involved with the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture by always being in touch with faculty. “The more I am exposed to others in the profession, the more proud I am of the program at LSU,” shared Lewis. “The knowledge coming from LSU RRSLA is very solid compared to similar degrees. For the value, no other school or program can compare.”

Upon arrival to this residence designed by Lewis Aqüi, guests are greeted by a striking courtyard with water feature and sculptural accent plants. The very simplicity of the monochromatic planting palette highlights each impactful splash of color throughout the garden.



CHRISTINA HEFLIN, BA 2009 Born in Miami and raised in South Florida, Christina Heflin currently divides her time between Paris and London, where she is a PhD candidate studying avant-garde art and cinema at the University of London. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in physics at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., Christina took art history as an elective. She said everything clicked one day when they were learning about Dada artist Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass. “The story behind the physical work of art made it that much more fascinating, and I felt myself being pulled more and more toward museums, exhibitions, and the history of art.” Christina transferred to the art history program at LSU, where she found a tight-knit group of professors eager to support her. She volunteered at the LSU Museum of Art and experienced living outside the U.S. for the first time during her study abroad year in Paris. After graduation, she eagerly returned to the City of Light to study art history at La Sorbonne, earning her master’s in art history with a concentration in conservation in 2013. She remained in Paris as a consultant for art collectors, authenticating artworks and conducting provenance research. “Getting a job in the arts is challenging, but it is possible,” Christina avowed. “I have always loved research, so I was lucky to find the consulting gig, as it required many hours in archives and libraries. My fluency in both English and French gave me an advantage, especially with American clients needing research done in France.”

Christina Heflin consults with her clients all over the world, including Bangkok, where she tried a durian fruit for the first time.

She traveled constantly to consult with her clients located all over the world. “From Bangkok to Dubai to The Hague, I racked up a lot of miles! Now with my PhD program in London, I am in the U.K. at least once a month. My research is based in Paris, so for at least the next year or two I will stay here.” Christina said she has been quite happy with her decision to change her major to art history. “I knew that modern art was to become a lifelong passion of mine. I am very grateful for the experiences and opportunities that were made available to me at LSU.”




KARLA CHRISTENSEN, MLA 1994 Somalia. Colombia. Indonesia. Sri Lanka. Albania. Bosnia-Herzegovina. Karla Christensen’s 12 years of international experience managing programs in education, youth development, sports and recreation, community-based conflict prevention, reconstruction, and rehabilitation spreads across numerous post-disaster and conflict countries. Inspired by her father, an original 1961 Peace Corps volunteer, Karla always knew she wanted to work in international aid. After she received her BA in International Relations from Tulane, she joined the Peace Corps and spent two years volunteering in Costa Rica. Enjoying her work facilitating community-built projects such as public parks and playgrounds, she was advised to pursue a master’s in landscape architecture. She chose LSU because of the program’s high national ranking. After graduating from LSU, she spent a year in Malta as a Fulbright Scholar and landscape designer for the Government of Malta’s Department of Tourism, and she designed and constructed family “edutainment” centers and children’s play gardens for parks, schools, and child-care facilities in Kansas City. But she missed working abroad. By networking at a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Conference, she landed a position with the American Refugee Committee. Three weeks later she was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she helped build almost 250 playgrounds and sports fields in little more than a year.

Following her husband, who works for the UN, she has traveled to Sri Lanka and Colombia where she worked as a free-lance designer on two large projects in Vietnam and Egypt. She is currently in Kenya, where she helps with public outreach materials for the USAID Somalia Field Office. Karla is often the first to learn about what her colleagues in international aid are doing, and she frequently volunteers to help design new projects. She is currently working on a park located in Kismayo, Somalia, a region recently liberated from the terrorist group al-Shabaab. Along with other infrastructure projects, this park will serve the thousands of refugees returning to Somalia from Kenya. Clearly, Karla is a passionate advocate for her work. “You have the opportunity to make a difference when you’re in this field,” she said. “There is so much desperate need around the world. Knowing that we can have such a positive impact on the lives of so many is incredibly rewarding.”

Karla continued working in war-torn and conflict countries for several non-profits. She managed a $1.6 million grant funded by USAID and Catholic Relief Services in Tirana, Albania, following the Kosovo conflict, completing the reconstruction of 21 schools, sports fields, and playgrounds with full community participation. Post-tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, she managed a $5 million grant funded by the American Red Cross and Mercy Corps, completing the rehabilitation and construction of community-based projects including schools, roads, bridges, parks, and playgrounds.

Karla Christensen is a certified playground inspector and often introduces U.S. playground safety standards and new technologies in her projects.

Left: Using local materials and resources, Karla’s playground in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, includes a six-meter-long fiberglass slide, boulder caves, and a concrete monitor lizard.


Talking Circles

Reveling in the Remarkable Unknown Works of Frank Lloyd Wright by Michael Desmond My participation in the upcoming exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive at the New York Museum of Modern Art is a result of the many years I’ve spent studying this fascinating architect. After graduating from LSU in 1979, obtaining professional licensure, and a few years of practice in New York and Louisiana, I went back to graduate school to broaden my understanding of the role of architecture in the making of place and of our critical frameworks for evaluating this dimension—at the time not suspecting that it would lead to a parallel career in academia. My fascination with architecture is based on the study of ways in which the built environment mediates between our most intimate experience of self and our culture’s broadest conceptions of nature (order) and society. This interest developed during my years at Harvard and MIT from the study of American architecture and urbanism, from the study of American literature and its more than 300-year struggle to find meaning in the confrontations and opportunities found in the New World, and from the study of cultural patterns picked up in earlier post-graduate studies in anthropology at LSU. My doctoral dissertation at MIT was an exploration of Wright’s view of community as expressed in a range of partially built subdivision scale projects in the 1930s and 1940s, projects that I approached in terms established by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson has been seen as a transformative figure in American culture, someone who translated the rich traditions of the struggle to survive and prosper in the New World into the terms of European (German) romanticism, providing an example of a “modern” American identity. This identity was quickly picked up by a host of American

authors, some of the best known being, of course, Thoreau, Whitman, and Melville, but there are many others. Emerson was also a big influence on Louis Sullivan, on Wright, and through them, on formative conceptions of modern architecture in the United States and abroad. It’s not the frequently mentioned transcendentalist dimension of Emerson’s work that interests me, however; it is his pragmatic, or instrumentalist, methodology. His ability to foreground the mind’s processes of cognition in the development of understanding and meaning, to constantly alter what we think he is saying, or about to say, as his text moves along, to provide continuing opportunities for a reader to see through or beyond the page to other conceptions of the apparent subject at hand. Over the last decade, I have found the work of Wright’s contemporary, John Dewey, very helpful in this context as well, especially as both Wright and Dewey deal with the impact of Darwin on contemporary conceptions of our relationships to the order of the natural world. It is this ability to use language across simultaneous layers of representation and engagement that drives my interest in Frank Lloyd Wright, especially the ways in which he integrates natural form into his conception of the architectonics of his buildings and their relations to the landscape. Architectonics is the study of the role, shape, and character

Perspective rendering of the first design for the unbuilt V.C. Morris house for the Golden Gate in San Francisco


Aerial rendering of the unbuilt Boulder house designed by Wright for Lillian and Edgar Kaufman for a site in Palm Springs, California

of the pieces of buildings and their relations to the whole. For me, architectonics reflects an interest in the specifics of architectural form in terms of empathy and symbolic associations. Wright’s engagement with this dimension is one of the key aspects of the study of abstraction in 20th-century art. He spoke about it as a kind of cultural project he labeled “reintegration” in his London lectures of 1939, saying, “We are talking about the countryside itself developing into a type of building in which will lie naturally building becoming part of the countryside, building belonging there naturally with grace. Such buildings will exist. There are already a few of them . . . The more of such buildings we have in the country the more beautiful community life will become and the less you will be aware of the fact that buildings are there at all as an intrusion.” One of the characteristic features of Wright’s community scale projects of the 1930s and ’40s is his increasing use of circles and circular

arcs to create impressions of movement and dynamic formal relationships. These reflect, among other things, the influence of the automobile across this period on perceptions of place and landscape; on conceptions of time, availability, and allegiance; on conceptions of identity. More recently, this interest has led me to similar formal experiments in Wright’s residential design across the same period and its relation to perception of landscapes and our place in them. Beginning in the late 1930s, his use of circular arcs also increased dramatically in house designs from New England to California and Central America. In working on a book on these aspects of Wright’s late work, I have researched some 20 to 30 unbuilt residential designs, many of which are not very well known, if known at all. In each case a crucial part of the discovery process has involved locating the precise site the designs were intended to occupy. Just one example would be the several unbuilt designs Wright made in the 1950s for Calvin Stillman. Wright’s designs explore the use of circular arcs of space that reciprocate the sweeping views available from a spectacular building site 800 feet up the north face of Storm King Mountain above Cornwall-on-Hudson in New York. In an effort to understand Wright’s intentions closely, last year


Wright’s second plan for the unbuilt Calvin Stillman house on Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River just north of New York City

New York architect and LSU classmate Skip Boling (BArch 1979) and I made the climb up this northwestern flank of the Appalachians to locate the specific site just above West Point in the heart of the Hudson Highlands. With its views due north up the Hudson River framed by thousands of acres of state parks and forest preserves, this design is just one of many of Wright’s unbuilt, and as yet unstudied, projects. Here, a climb up the mountain road to a small level shelf partially defined by an existing cleft in the rock face provides a setting for his careful unfolding of the panoramic vista across the northern sky from west to east. The ways in which the various parts of the residence are related to specific aspects of the views, the sequence or narrative of discovery, the dynamic topography, and the changing light of the day, each giving way to another while always placing you in the larger context, is something I find remarkable about these later works of Wright. As very few of these residential designs were built, they remain largely unknown. The recent transferal of the 30,000-plus drawings from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive at Taliesin West outside Phoenix to Columbia University’s Avery Archive has made these materials much more accessible. The upcoming exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art celebrates this accessibility and its potential impact on Wright studies.

Michael Desmond, professor of architecture at LSU, is one of 12 guest curators for the upcoming exhibition on Frank Lloyd Wright at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, will be on display at MoMA June 12–October 1, 2017. Visit moma.org for more information about the exhibition. Images courtesy of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Wright’s first unbuilt design for the Galesburg Country Homes project known as “The Acres,” located outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan


Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York) © 2016 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. All rights reserved.

Is There a Doctor of Design in the House? LSU will soon be one of the few public universities in the country, and the only institution among its region of peers, to offer an affordable doctoral design degree. The LSU College of Art & Design will launch its first advanced academic degree in fall 2017: the Doctor of Design in Cultural Preservation. The multidisciplinary degree will give practicing design professionals an opportunity to blend interests in design and the studio arts with scholarship—either to gain further expertise in aspects of their fields of practice or to expand their professional capacities into new, emerging, and related fields. Figures from the 2013 economic report from Louisiana’s Lt. Governor’s Office show there are more than 170,000 jobs in the cultural and creative industries in the state. Taking into account the indirect impacts of these jobs, the cultural and creative industries represent an impact of more than $14 billion in revenues for the state’s economy—and that’s only in Louisiana! The college aims to generate graduates prepared to fill leadership positions in the numerous professional and academic fields related to the cultural economy and, thereby, make significant contributions to the advancement of cultural preservation in Louisiana and throughout the country. Graduates will find work in the increasingly interrelated array of professional fields, governmental agencies, businesses, and academic disciplines. The new advanced degree serves a market of interdisciplinary professionals by building on the strengths of existing faculty in the College of Art & Design and across the university, integrating expertise

to address contemporary issues in four areas of specialization: (1) history and theory of material culture, (2) environmental policy, (3) fabricative materials and technology, and (4) museum studies. The 60-credit-hour program encompasses six semesters of study and 45 hours of new course offerings specific to the curriculum and its advanced nature, mostly devoted to individual, supervised research, requiring students to work one-on-one with faculty. Students will share a common core of seminars on cultural preservation and research methods while the curriculum for each specialization includes allied subjects and special requirements to ensure robust cross-disciplinary study.

Landscape architecture alumnus Matty Williams demonstrates the use of a handheld 3D scanner. Photo by Eddy Perez

“The Doctor of Design in Cultural Preservation is a landmark in the history of the College of Art & Design,” commented Dean Alkis Tsolakis. “The program’s support from the LSU Office of Academic Affairs and approval by the Board of Regents show recognition for the unique importance of Louisiana’s culture and the role of our college in the stewardship and preservation of the state’s unique heritage.” Visit design.lsu.edu for more information about the program.


Attack of the Clones!

by Kris Palagi Ninety minutes into day one, freshman architecture students gather for the first review of their work. The shotgun start to the project—1:1 scale “self” clones made from recycled cardboard—immediately challenges the students to build an analytical model of their own hands and forearms. En masse, the students begin to discern and group similar strategies. Using the rough limbs to identify the difference between sculptural interpretation and analytical study, we are able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these first attempts. Students return to their desks to try again. This process is repeated two more times before the conclusion of the first studio class. Prior to even being handed a syllabus, students face the responsibility of their design decisions through making, gain an understanding of design as a process of exploration and refinement, and experience both giving and receiving peer reviews. High expectations


have been established for in-class production, discussion, and revision. A site survey assignment in disguise, we identify cross-sections as the chosen method to analyze the form. Exposed to cardboard’s weakness as a sheet material, students establish a method of construction utilizing x, y, and z shear planes. Once supported, they assemble the cross-sections to imply the form rather than producing an artistic interpretation of the surface. What sets off as a seemingly mundane assembly begins to develop complexity and

“Every piece mattered or your body would basically fall apart.” —CORNISHA LYONS

identity as each student acknowledges the design decisions they are left to make: Where should cross-sections be present? How accurate should they execute details in each cross section? How do they solve problems (intersections) with the assembly system resulting from the position of their appendages? The use of recycled cardboard has a less altruistic purpose than you might think. The freedom, or loss of inhibition thanks to the abundance of free material, allows for ripping apart and rebuilding with reckless abandon.

By the time we gather for the last time on this first day, students acknowledge a marked improvement due to conscious design decisions and the exponential improvement of craftsmanship. Already they can see the impact that each revision has on the quality of their work. During each peer review, a strict narrative is given to the students to use when playing the critic. “What is the strength of this work?” and “What takes away from that strength?” These questions volley the role of the critic back to the author, establishing a foundation of reflective self-critique. Kris Palagi is an assistant professor of architecture at LSU. His scholarship focuses on beginning design pedagogy, specifically exploring the poetics and environmental impact of materials by challenging the logic of assembly.


Class Notes

Keeping up with Art & Design Alumni

1970s Lake Douglas, BLA 1972, was elevated to Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects at the annual meeting in New Orleans, 2016. He edits the Reading the American Landscape series for LSU Press and is Associate Dean of Research & Development at the LSU College of Art & Design. With the merger of VOA Associates into Stantec, Percy “Rebel” Roberts, BArch 1976, was named practice leader for design. He works with other leaders in this global design firm to advance its robust design practice within the Buildings Group, a 5,000 person team that is diversified in disciplines, markets, and geography. The firm is one of the leading integrated design practices in the world. Kevin Harris, BArch 1977, principal of Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, was named the charter president of the newly formed Louisiana Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. ICAA is the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to


advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts. ICAA Louisiana celebrated its launch with a lecture and drawing workshop. The LSU College of Art & Design partnered with ICAA to provide workshop space and scholarships for interested students.


Linda Barfield, BLA 1984, is an urban forester II for the County of Fairfax Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Urban Forest Management Division in

Fairfax, Virginia. Linda has been active in the field of urban forest management since becoming an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist in 1994. She is a registered landscape architect in Maryland and Puerto Rico. She recently completed coursework to become a Master Watershed Steward in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. As executive vice president and global director of health at HKS, Jeffrey Stouffer, BArch 1984, travels to many of the 24 offices globally, working with office leadership to optimize the teams and support the delivery of projects for clients in health, hospitality, sports, mixed-use, and corporate projects. Jeff was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in July 2016 at the national convention in Philadelphia. His fellowship submittal focused on the design and integration of children’s hospital environments and lean design and delivery tenants and the improved outcomes that follow as they are constantly integrated. Jeff has been married to Gayle Lawson Stouffer for 26 years and

has two adult children, Kyle and Kathryn.

Ken Thrasher, BArch 1984, is president of Sy Richards, Architect Inc., where he has worked since November of 1986. He became a stockholder and officer for the company in 1993 and the sole stockholder in 2009 at the retirement of Richards. Ken’s work has included the design and creation of construction documents for institutional projects with a focus on educational assignments. Associate Professor Judy Byrd Brittenum, MLA 1986, retired from the University of Arkansas on June 1, 2016.


Ken Zito, BArch 1991, is an associate at Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects in New Orleans. His

101 Sketchbooks Marcus McAllister, BFA 1991, of Little Rock, Arkansas, started his first sketchbook as a painting and drawing student at LSU. Now on his 101st sketchbook, he has dual French–American citizenship and is a full-time professional artist who has lived in Paris for more than two decades. His artist’s practice is centered on his sketchbooks. For more than 20 years, he has carried a sketchbook with him wherever he goes, using it as a tool for pulling order from chaos. The sketchbooks help him organize random information, digest experiences and memories, ideas and imaginings. “The process secretes meaning,” Marcus noted. “I use the individual pages as a template for paintings on canvas. My idea is not to copy the pre-existing drawing, but to use it as a map for exploring formal possibilities of scale and matter.” Marcus’s acrylic paintings are developments and expansions of the sketchbook-generated ideas. His paintings present dreamlike depictions of figures, characters, animals, and cities. Sometimes there are recognizable forms and places painted from life or memory; other times the depictions are more symbolic and abstract. Marcus’s characteristic style combines fine art, illustration, and mysticism—qualities that transcend time and setting.

Wisdom and power, 2016

A passage, a bridge, 2016

Marcus had two exhibitions in Paris last fall: Traverser les rêves, trouver les ponts at the Galerie de Buci showed his recent large paintings, telling stories of men transforming into birds and back again; Galerie Polysémie exhibited Marcus’s 7600 Drawings, focused on his recently finished 100th sketchbook. Marcus’s work will be shown at the Baton Rouge Gallery March 1-31, 2017, in an exhibition titled, Spontaneous Order.

Complicated emotions, 2016


key area of expertise lies in detailing and product specifications. His recent projects include the LA DOTD Traffic Management Center & Regional Planning Commissions headquarters building, Tulane University’s Turchin Baseball Stadium, and St. Charles Parish School’s recreation facilities. Ken also heads the firm’s Intern Development Program. Karla Christensen, MLA 1994, was named the development, outreach, and communications specialist for USAID’s Somalia Field Office in Nairobi, Kenya, where she produces and disseminates public information about the U.S. Mission to Somalia’s foreign assistance activities that range from education, stabilization, democracy and governance, and economic growth.

Stephen McLaughlin, BLA 1994, landscape architect for the U.S. Department of State, is engaged in reviewing the designs of more than 20 State


Department projects in five geographic regions, including three new embassy compounds, two existing embassy expansions, two new consulates, two Chief of Mission residencies, and seven Marine Security Guard residencies.


In October 2016, Peter Spera III, BArch 2000, realized his lifelong dream of starting an architecture firm by cofounding GOATstudio, a New Orleans based, interdisciplinary design office offering clients consulting and design services in architecture, interiors, and branding. Peter was formerly a senior associate at Manning Architects in New Orleans.

Rebecca Barber Bradley, BLA 2001, cofounder and principal of Cadence, was one of 13 new directors to join the 2016–17 Landscape Architecture Foundation board. ASLA immediate past president Chad

Danos, BLA 1990, is serving as the board’s ASLA representative. Kathleen Stites, MLA 2001, is trail planner/ landscape architect II at the Recreation and Park Commission for East Baton Rouge Parish, BREC.

In January 2017, Michael Percy, BLA 2002, joined the CARBO team as a senior associate in their new Baton Rouge headquarters. This latest move brings him home to Louisiana after practicing in Texas for nearly 15 years. Michael began his career working as CARBO’s first intern in 1997 and looks forward to contributing to the continued growth of the firm. Tracey Bellina, BFA 2004, married Jack Milazzo, BS 2003/MLA 2009, in New Orleans City Park in March 2015. Tracey recently accepted the position of creative coordinator for Jesuit High School in the Office of Institutional Advancement. She previously worked as a

graphic designer for Tulane University’s Editorial & Creative Services, where she had been since 2007. Jack is a licensed landscape architect and project manager with Torre Design Consortium. He has also taught as an assistant professor at LSU. The couple resides in New Orleans with their two dogs.

Ross Knazs, BLA 2005, is the co-owner and lead landscape architect of L&L Landscaping. He began his career as a designer and project manager for a landscape architecture and planning firm in southern California after serving his country honorably for seven years of active duty in the United States Navy. He has managed and collaborated with team members on over 100 projects including sports complexes, urban parks, dog parks, private residences, apartments and condos, commercial properties, streetscapes and medians, campus master plans, golf courses, and wetland mitigation and rehabilitation projects.

Adam McGovern, BLA 2005, is a project manager at EHAR, Inc., in Houston, Texas and a registered landscape architect in Texas and Louisiana. As project manager with the firm, Adam is responsible for managing landscape architecture projects from conceptual design through construction observation. He works closely with the multiple disciplines at EHRA, including public infrastructure, transportation, hydraulics and hydrology, land planning and development, surveying, and construction phase services to serve city, county, state, and other governmental agencies along with private single-family, retail, and commercial development clients.

After three years working at the VA, Jennifer Harris Mitchell, BID 2006, returned to Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects as their director of interior design. In her new position she enjoys expressing her creativity on STBA’s wide array of projects, as well as growing the interior

design department through marketing and business development.

Henry David Louth, BArch 2007, is a computational designer at Zaha Hadid Architects, London, as part of the Computation and Design (co|de) Research Group. Since 2007, he has worked professionally on various project types, installations, and exhibitions across the U.S. and Europe. Henry’s research speculates on curved crease folding construction applications, ruled and developable constraint based solving, and intuitive approaches to material optimization. Currently, he is a project team member on the London Science Museum Mathematics Gallery and the Volu Dining Pavilion, unveiled at Design Miami 2015.

Rebecca Mock Hargrove, BFA 2008, was recently hired to provide commercial interior design services at Somdal Associates in Shreveport, Louisiana, along with fellow LSU College of Art & Design alumnus, Billy Hargrove, BArch 2009. Rebecca also owns a stationery and branding business/home studio in Shreveport. Billy, principal of Somdal Associates, has over 10 year of professional experience, including healthcare and athletic facilities, residential and commercial projects. One of the younger healthcare designers in Louisiana, Billy has worked with health and wellness administrations to define their programs and help them create more efficient facilities and campuses. After working in Baton Rouge and New Orleans right out of school, he received his professional licensure and moved back to his hometown of Shreveport.

Logan Ledford, BID 2009, has been commissioned for paintings this year from New York to Los Angeles. She showcased a piece at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art for their Magnolia Ball. She was featured in Garden & Gun, the New Orleans Advocate’s Adore magazine, and the English Room blog. She participated in collaborations with Colleen Waguespack’s, BID 1997, company, Fig & Dove, as well as the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans. She recently moved her studio into the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans.

Stay in touch!

design.lsu.edu/alumni design.lsu.edu/give



Catherine Velasquez, BFA 2016, Studio Arts 1. Sketchbooks. I rarely go anywhere without my sketchbook. Into it goes all my written and sketched ideas. 2. Rolling pin. I always feel like a baker when using this tool to evenly compress and rollout slabs of clay for hand-building mugs and tiles. 3. Stamps. Charming and super handy, these letter stamps help keep test tiles organized.

4. Ribs, sponge, and chamois cloth. Ribs are some of the most useful tools for anyone who plays with clay. Always close at hand and definitely a favorite, they are useful for compression and scoring. Chamois cloth helps smooth edges when forming vessels—keeping the intimacy of the rim in mind. 5. Wire tool. A basic for any ceramicist, wire easily slices through clay. 6. Turkey baster. Not one you’d expect to see in a ceramic studio, a turkey baster is extremely helpful in siphoning out terra sigillata,

Photos by Hayden Nagin and Eddy Perez


2 5 6






7 12



my preferred method of surface treatment, once it has separated into its finer particles. 7. Stains. Lovely colors can be put into any clay, slip, stain, and terra sig for added vibrancy. 8. Measuring cups. Basic cooking items are extremely helpful (especially since math is not my forte) in finding the right measurement of mason stain to add to slip and terra sigillata. 9. Brushes. This is the start of what I hope becomes quite an expansive collection.


10. Knives and trimming tools. The fettling knife has many uses from trimming edges to using the handle to compress hard-to-reach seams. Trimming tools are used to carve away excess clay to create “feet� on thrown vessels, as well as for the basic removal of clay. 11. Thread. A different approach to adding pops of color throughout sketches and paintings. 12. Green tool. A small but effective (and perfectly colored) tool to clean up edges. 13. Watercolors. These beauties are used to capture soft pockets of light and changing plane in my sketches. It helps grant me a better idea of what I am looking for in the surface of my work.


Visit design.lsu.edu/lectures for an up-to-date schedule.





Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.