Ricker Report: Special Edition Spring 2020

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S I N C E 1 9 5 3 VOL II · SPRING 2020




Ricker Notes was originally a periodical for the School of Architecture, edited and published by students, who included feature articles, news, poetry, drawings, and book reviews. The title “Ricker�, refers to Nathan Clifford Ricker, the first graduate of an architecture program in the United States in March of 1873. In 2018, Ricker Notes was brought back in the form of Ricker Report. The goal of Ricker Report is to connect architecture, engineering, and other disciplines while featuring students, alumni, and other talented professionals. Ricker Report is dedicated in the honor of Emeritus Professor, James Warfield and Architecture Ricker Librarian, Chris Quinn. Their passion and loyalty to the Illinois School of Architecture, Ricker Library, and the University of Illinois continues to inspire students each day.


Matt Ehlers | Founder and 2018 - 2020 Editor-In-Chief Shravan Arun | 2020 - 2023 Editor-In Chief Mila Lipinski | Director of Operations TJ Bayowa | Director of Outreach Diego Huacuja Bucay | Lead Editor Hannah Galkin | Lead Editor Kriti Chaudry | Contributor Zach Michaliska | Contributor Joshua Downes | Contributor Andrew Cross | Contributor Jonathan Levitske | Contributor Adam Czapla | Contributor Jerry Rodriguez | Contributor


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -Martin Luther King Jr. It has been my pleasure to lead Ricker Report for the last two years. It began as a discussion with former Interim Director Jeffery Poss. Now, as I plan to graduate this summer, I pass down Ricker Report to the next generation of students who share the same spirit, work ethic, and enthusiasm I aspired to bring to the University and the publication. I would like to thank the Ricker Report Team for their hard work and effort as we were dispersed among several continents in recent months. An additional congratulations to Shravan Arun, who will be taking lead of Ricker Report as the new Editor-in-Chief. Speaking of change, I would not have predicted – while in the midst of lectures in late February – that I would be taking

finals via Zoom by May. Nor did I imagine that students, colleagues, friends, and family would be separated by thousands of miles due to precautionary quarantines as an outcome of COVID-19. However, as the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. states, we must not let ourselves be dragged down by disappointment. We must be uplifted by the thought of hope and continue to be resilient in order to endure these difficult times. We must care for others, especially those who are unable to care for themselves. And finally, we must uphold the morals and values of our society. Like all change, we will eventually be in a ‘new normal’. For those graduating into this ‘new normal’, I want to congratulate you. You have all worked long hours and many sleepless nights. We now enter the professional world with insight, knowledge, and confidence that our fellow faculty and colleagues offered to us over these past years. As we enter this new world, I wish everyone the best of luck and success in their future endeavors. We must continue to believe that tomorrow will bring a better day. Life cannot always be good. However, it is not always bad, either. We will find a balance and light in this ‘new normal’.

Editor in Chief | M.Arch + M.S.A.S. Candidate 2020








Leading Off

Leading Off / Faculty & Students’ News, Awards, and Recognitions


Around the School


Meet the Ricker Team


What Does Architecture Need?

Winter and Spring of 2019 - 2020

Introducing the Ricker Report Team

with Notable Alumna, Trina Sandschafer, AIA, LEED AP, Design Principal and Vice President of Kahler Slater


Introducing the New Director with Director of the Illinois School of Architecture, Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez


Special Feature: 2020 Graduation Celebrating Students Graduating in Spring and Summer of 2020



@uiuc_ricker_report Illinois MakerLab 3D Fabricating COVID-19 Masks as Part of Campus-Wide Inniative

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Makerlab has started producing 3D-printed masks. This campuswide initiative, which has had students from the School of Architecture at the forefront, have been using the MakerLab’s 3D printers to produce M95 masks and face shields. In particular there are four projects: two different reusable M95 mask types, a face shield, and a reusable make-your-own mask. The initiative is partnered with ARCO-Murray, a Chicago-based general contractor that primarily works in senior living facilities. 30 M95 masks were shipped to ARCO-Murray May 6th, while prototypes for other types of masks are still being tested. Source: https://makerlab.illinois.edu/covid19-response



@uiuc_ricker_report Illinois School of Architecture Alum, Vladimir Radutny Featured in Design Vanguard

University of Illinois Alumni Vladimir Radutny, of Vladimir Radutny Architects, has been showcased in Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard for the year 2020. Vladimir Radutny Architects has many connections to the Illinois School of Architecture. Ryan Sarros, NCARB (B.S.A.S. 2006, M.Arch 2009) is a Project Architect for the firm and University of Versailles alumna, Fanny Hothan is an Associate Architect. Fanny Hothan also attended the University of Illinois as a part of the Versailles Study Abroad Program in 2006-2007. Radutny, whose focus is on “innovative design solutions that challenge the conventional interpretations of space, function, and material use”, earned a Bachelor’s (B.S.A.S) at the University of Illinois in 2000 and a Master’s in Architecture (M.Arch) in 2002. His firm also focuses on pragmatism, prioritizing economic efficiency when working for clients. Currently working in Chicago, Radutny’s projects include three notable housing projects: 2016 West Rice, the Michigan Loft (pictured right), and Unit 2808, all having been completed within the last two years. Source: Vladimir Radutny, W. R. (2020, May 04). Design Vanguard 2020: Vladimir Radutny Architects. Retrieved from Architectural Record: https:// www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/14608-design-vanguard-2020-vladimirradutny-architects?fbclid=IwAR36e7nBWuC3Qqh7Vl8E3boxlrw0lshyC7h9e1cFntC BvlU0WUoUdDXfaQw Photo Provided by: Mike Schwartz (from https://www.radutny.com/index.php/ work/view/unit-2808#images-14)


@uiuc_ricker_report University of Illinois Men’s Basketball Team Places Fourth in Big Ten

Prior to the Division I Men’s College Basketball Season ending abruptly due to COVID-19, the Illinois Men’s team had one of their best seasons in decades. Powered by the incredible performances by Alan Griffin, Andres Feliz (pictured right), Ayo Dosunmu, and Big Ten Freshman Player of the Year, Kofi Cockburn. The team sold out home games consecutively for the first time in years. The pictured image comes from the 71-59 Illini win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on February 24, 2020. The Illini would go on to win five of their last six games to finish off the abbreviated season. Photos Provided by: Nathan Cualoping, Illinois Athletics

Faculty News, Awards, and Recognition

Building, 1965-1986,” examines the reasons why a Paul Rudolph-designed building in Champaign, Illinois, was demolished after only 20 years. Archival research indicates that fateful decisions made during the design phase about façade construction likely contributed to the eventual untimely loss of this unique building.

In Press: Essays by Lecturer Tait Johnson and Associate Professor Scott Murray in New Book on Building Enclosures Essays by two faculty members are in press and will be published this summer in the edited volume, Constructing Building Enclosures: Architectural History, Technology and Poetics in the Postwar Era, ed. Clifton Fordham (Routledge, 2020). Lecturer Tait Johnson’s essay, “The Decorative Modernism of Aluminium Cladding: Architecture and Industry,” examines mid-century works such as Minoru Yamasaki’s Reynolds Metals Regional Sales Office in Detroit (1959) with its shimmering screen of gold-anodized aluminum. This essay shows that modernist architects working with aluminum, rather than rejecting decoration, promoted it as the appropriate response to the landscape of postwar consumerism in the United States. Associate Professor Scott Murray’s essay, “The Concrete Facades of Paul Rudolph’s Christian Science



Lecturer AnnaMarie Bliss, Ph.D., Publishes Edited Volume on Place, Meaning, and Attachment with Routledge Revolutions have gripped many countries, leading to the destruction of buildings, places, and artifacts; climate change is threatening the ancestral homes of many, the increasingly uneven distribution of resources has made the poor vulnerable to the coercive efforts by the rich, and social uncertainty has led to the romanticizing of the past. Humanity is resilient, but we have a fundamental need for attachment to places, buildings, and objects.

This edited volume will explore the different meanings and forms of place attachment and meaning based on our histories and conceptualization of material artifacts. Each chapter examines a varied relationship between a given society and the meaning formed through myth, symbols, and ideologies manifested through diverse forms of material artifacts. Topics of consideration examine place attachment at many scales including at the level of the artifact, human being, building, urban context, and region. We need a better understanding of human relationships to the past, our attachments to the events and places, and to the external influences on our attachments. This understanding will allow for better preservation methods pertaining to important places and buildings and enhanced social wellbeing for all groups of people. Covering a broad range of international perspectives on place meaning from the United States to Europe, Asia to Russia, and Africa to Australia, this book is an essential read for students, academics, and professionals alike. Assistant Professor Aaron Brakke is Presenting at the 2020 EDRA Conference Assistant Professor Aaron Brakke is presenting “Transformation of Public Space with Displaced Citizens” at the 51st Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) that is themed “TRANSFORM: SOCIALLY EMBEDDED COLLABORATION”. Due to the current state of the COVID-19 crisis, the event will not take place in Tempe as originally planned, but will be held online for the first time in the organization’s history. Assistant Professor Christina Bollo Receives Research Grant from AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community Assistant Professor Bollo recently received a grant from AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD KC) to investigate how architects measure the social and economic success of their projects. She is interviewing and

surveying architects and developers to uncover the most common methods and metrics such as awards, repeat clients, one-year warranty walk-throughs, formal or informal post-occupancy evaluation, etc.., and will present the findings from this research at the next AIA Convention and a webinar hosted by HCD KC in early 2021. Architecture Professor Randy Deutsch Named AIA Fellow, FAIA Congratulations to Illinois School of Architecture Clinical Associate Professor Randy Deutsch on being named to the 2020 College of Fellows! The fellowship program was developed to elevate architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Professor Emeritus Mir Ali, Ph.D., Publishes Memoir Dr. Mir M. Ali PhD, professional structural engineer and professor emeritus at the Illinois School of Architecture wrote a book that has just been published titled, “The Bridge: Joining East-West Nations and Cultures While Treading Life’s Difficult Path”. Barcelona Program Collaborator Josep M. de Llobet Presents “Blank” Josep Maria de Llobet, a member of the Barcelona teaching team since 2016, presented “Blank,” a limited edition book recently published by Ediciones Posibles, an editorial initiative that he co-founded. “Blank” was presented this past Wednesday (February 19) at the Auditorium of the Biblioteca Agusti Centelles (Barcelona). It is a photographic reportage that exposes the crude reality of the real estate bubble and its crisis that peaked in 2013. The book received immediate recognition and was compared to Picasso’s masterpiece “Guernica” (see “El ‘Guernica’ de la guerra civil inmobiliaria > https:// www.elperiodico.com/es/barcelona/20200221/elguernica-de-la-guerra-civil-inmobiliaria-7856809). Anticipating the importance of this unusual book of



photographs, University of Illinois Library acquired a copy of “Blank” as soon as it was published in the Fall 2019. Josep Maria de Llobet is a professional photographer based in Barcelona. He has collaborated with architecture and design studios, creative agencies, museums, and public and private organizations. His photographic work deals with the urban territory and it has been exhibited in Spain and France. He collaborates with the IASAP-BV (Illinois Architecture Study Abroad Program at Barcelona-El Vallès) since 2016, offering an Architectural Photography Workshop that is an integral part of the Fall semester “Overseas Architectural Studies” course. Lecturer AnnaMarie Dissertation Award





Each year the Board of Directors of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) announces annual awards in support of recognizing and advancing state-of-the-art research in architecture and related design fields. Based on the rigor of her research methods and promise to shape contemporary discourse in cultural heritage preservation and tourism, the ARCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 ARCC Dissertation Award is AnnaMarie Bliss!

argue that while erasure is a common theme of urban heritage discourse, appearance necessarily accompanies erasure as particular aspects of urban heritage-scapes are valorized and de-valorized by urban heritage management regimes. The chapter is dedicated to our late colleague Jim Warfield who graciously contributed a photo to the chapter.

Student News, Awards, and Recognition Critical Mass Student Choice Award Winners from Fall 2019 Undergraduate: - Rebecca Torres - Michelle Mo - Jonathan Levitske Graduate: - Green Pointe - Ashish Dandekar / Marilia Gomes de Sa Ribeiro / Ramya P. Vasudevan / Michael T. Kurek - Makaan Winners of the Fall 2019 Earl Prize & Graduate

Professor John Stallmeyer and Lynne Dearborn Publish Chapter in the Routledge Handbook on Historic Landscapes in the Asia-Pacific Associate Professors’ Stallmeyer and Dearborn contributed a chapter to the recently published Routledge Handbook on Historic Landscapes in the Asia-Pacific edited by Kapila D. Silva. Stallmeyer and Dearborn’s chapter, entitled Erasure and Appearance: a critical view on urban heritage management practices in China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam explores the processes of erasures and appearances that occur as a consequence of urban heritage designation. Viewing the two processes as inextricably linked, Stallmeyer and Dearborn



Studio Design Awards Announced! Earl Prize / Graduate Studio Design Excellence The Illinois School of Architecture is pleased to announce the winners of the Earl Prize in Design (undergraduate) and the Graduate Awards for Design Excellence (graduate) for the Fall 2019 semester. These awards recognize the outstanding student work at the sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate levels of our curriculum. The Earl Prizes are funded with income from an endowment bequeathed by Edward C. Earl and are awarded for excellence in undergraduate design studios.

EARL PRIZE WINNERS ARCH 371 1st Place – Michelle Mo (Chasco) 2nd Place – Mike Rivera (Swiatek) 3rd Place – Zach Michaliska (Stallmeyer) Honorable Mention – Hailey Collum (Stallmeyer) Honorable Mention – Jon Gutello (Bognar) Honorable Mention – Adam Czapla (Swiatek) ARCH 475 1st Place – Jackson Bochat (Hammann) 2nd Place – Qingqing Deng (Kang) 3rd Place – Jonathan Levitske (Hammann) Honorable Mention – Max Posen (Deutsch) Honorable Mention – Errol Pasia (Deutsch)

GRADUATE STUDIO EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS ARCH 471 1st Place – Andrew Chn-Un Wei (Lewis) ARCH 57x 1st Place – Mu-Yen Lee, Teng Long, Ji Young Song (Armstrong) 2nd Place – Riad Wehbi (Erickson/Reddy) 3rd Place – Anish Dandekar, Marialia Gomes de sa Ribeiro, Michael Kurek, Ramya Pattanur Vasudevan (Kim) Honorable Mention – Ishan Rakshit (Taylor) Honorable





Gharpure, Kriti Chaudhry (Bliss) Honorable Mention – Imani Jackson (Lewis) Honorable Mention – Zachary Campbell (Kapp)












7 1. ARCH 536 - Deployable Structures Project 2. ARCH 372 Exhibit - Dispositions 3. Plym Studio Visit to Chicago 4. Graduate Students at the Women’s Reunion & Symposium


5. Habitat for Humanity Volleyball Tournament - Alpha Rho Chi Team 6. Illinois School of Architecture Director’s Visit to Barcelona 7. Plym Studio Final Reviews 8. Architecture Student Advisory Council AROUND THE SCHOOL


1. Returning Barcelona Students with Alejandro Lapunzina, Director of Barcelona Program 2. Women’s Reunion & Symposium 3. Current Senior Barcelona Students 4. Riad Webhi’s Plym Studio Project 5. Zoom Reviews for Scott Murray 6. TBH Atrium during Midreviews











Matt Ehlers

Shravan Arun

Founder + 2018 - 2020 Editor-in-Chief

2020 - 2023 Editor-in-Chief

Matt Ehlers is a graduate student, currently enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduating in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, he is now pursuing dual graduate degrees in Architecture (M.Arch) and Structures (M.S.A.S.). He will graduate in August of 2020.

Shravan Arun is a freshman majoring in Architectural Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After growing up in Aurora, Illinois and attending Discover Architecture in 2018, his passion for architecture has stemmed from the roots of Illinois itself. As a Stamps Scholar, Chancellor’s Scholar, and James Scholar, he not only strives for academic excellence but also stands for leadership, involvement, and community service. From dwelling in a cardboard box for 24 hours to living in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he also continually pursues experiences that expand his perception of the world. His love for reading and writing

His interests are focused on interdisciplinary work in structural engineering, architecture, sustainability, and computer programming and integration. He aspires to bridge the gap between structural engineering, sustainability, and architectural design.



has allowed him to further these experiences through books including the imaginings of Peter Zumthor and the short stories of Stuart Dybek. In 2020, Shravan’s work has been featured in the International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence as the best in the United States and top ten internationally. Alongside his passion for the written word, he is also interested in community-driven design, sustainability, and the role of architecture in social equity. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he hopes to pursue a Masters in Architecture.

As archival ink is laid down letters at a time, pages begin to breathe. Letters have turned into words, words into paragraphs. Margins are filled to the brim with oceans of obsidian, soulless yet full of life. Ink flows over the pages and down into the canals of time, the documentation of the world transforms at every bend. Bodies of text are now cut from paper and pasted besides the blinking cursor of the unwritten future. Renders and images are now sewn into the same digital fabric, permanent yet untouchable. The power of the written word is no longer found in what it defines, but rather in what it redefines. It has allowed people to transcribe the unfathomable and portray the inevitable. It has allowed creators to share their design interventions with reality, but also with realities yet to come. Every word that humanity writes has the potential to change the way we understand the world. It is only a matter of time. My name is Shravan Arun and it is my honor to be the next Editor-in-Chief of Ricker Report. Our time is now. Shravan Arun, 2020 - 2023 Editor-In-Chief Manifesto



Mila Lipinski

Diego Huacuja Bucay

Hannah Galkin

Mila Lipinski is a junior (Class of 2021) pursuing her Bachelor’s of Science in Architectural Studies. Her experience with architecture ranges from collegiate design camps to summer internships at Looney Ricks Kiss (Memphis, Tennessee) and Rowland Design (Indianapolis, Indiana). She was a member of the production team for the Illinois Women’s Reunion and Symposium exhibit, “Revealing Presence” at the Krannert Art Museum in Fall 2019. She also participated in the 2017 Exhibit Columbus inaugural exhibition and returned as a speaker for the 2018 Exhibit Columbus Symposium.

Originally from Mexico City, Diego graduated with a B.S in Civil Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana (Ibero). He is pursuing a graduate degree in Architecture (M.Arch) and in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.E) - Structures. His interests focus on generative design, structural engineering, and phenomenology in Architecture.

Hannah is a second-year graduate student at the University of Illinois. Hannah graduated in May 2018 from the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with minor concentrations in Urban Studies, and History. She is currently working towards her joint Master’s in Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning.

She has served as a co-president of the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign’s Women in Architecture organization and as the President of Circle K International, a service organization. Her goal is to design at the intersection of architecture and human experience. She brings her enthusiasm and organization to the Ricker Report team as the Director of Operations. She enjoys working with the wide variety of people, from the team to the faculty and professionals she has met through Ricker Report.

His favorite architect is Alvaro Siza.

Director of Operations



Lead Editor

He enjoys sports, particularly martial arts, which he has practiced since early childhood. Additionally, he works as a BIM consultant for PRODEMEX for the expansion of the 12th subway line of Mexico City.

Lead Editor

Originally from the Chicagoland Area, she was inspired to become an architect when she was 14 after taking classes in architecture at her high school. During her undergraduate studies she began taking urban planning classes and discovered her interest between the intersection of architecture and the urban environment. She plans to pursue urban-oriented design and architecture projects with the intent to work towards creating more equitable, beautiful, and efficient city landscapes.

TJ Bayowa

Zach Michaliska

Jerry Rodriguez

Originally from Nigeria, TJ moved to the United States and attended High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. TJ is currently a Junior and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Architectural studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. He joined the Ricker team as a sophomore and has been a contributor to the Artist Spotlight segment. Alongside Matt, they created the Artist Spotlight segment as a stage to showcase and connect to the creative students and faculty in and around the campus. ChampaignUrbana is a union of diverse students and residents, and through his work with Ricker Report, TJ’s goal is to provide a platform for the important work which takes place in the area.

Zach is a design thinker, motivated by using architecture to ignite the human experience. He believes architecture is the hybrid between dreams and the practical world. It is the catalyst that defies all the limits people set on reality. It’s through his desire to dive into all facets of design that helps him see how to reinvent the way people inhabit their everyday lives.

Jerry Rodriguez is a sophomore whose vision is to inspire the youth through architecture, fashion, and Hip-Hop culture. Being a first-generation college student has motivated him to make the most of the opportunities presented. On top of his schoolwork, he works at the school’s fabrication lab and wood shop. He is also a part of the Architecture Ambassadors, along with joining the Ricker Report team last semester. Outside of architecture, Jerry stays active by working out, running, and training with the Illini Boxing Club.

Director of Outreach

Outside his work at Ricker, he is a staff member at the Illinois School of Architecture fabrication lab. He has worked at the fabrication lab since his freshman year and he enjoys helping students complete their projects, as well as working with the school and faculty on independent research and projects. TJ is interested in the political power of architecture and its ability to be a form of mutual aid and a communal resource for equality and democratic participation.


Zach is a Graphic Design Assistant at the Illinois School of Architecture. He is a Junior, currently fulfilling a Bachelors in Science and Arts Degree at the University of Illinois and has plans of practicing architecture on the east coast after graduation.


On the weekends, he co-hosts a radio show called “ASTROSOUND RADIO” where they play the ‘sounds of the new generation’ and promote a positive message that resolves around positivity, hard work, and striving to succeed. Nevertheless, Jerry’s determination to prosper goes beyond architecture. He has been designing a clothing line called “Vi$iON” based on the concept of having ‘20/20 vision all 2020’ which focuses on the ability to look into the future and address the issues society faces in order to create the change necessary in order to see a better tomorrow.



Josh Downes

Andrew Cross

Kriti Chaudhry

Josh Downes’ interests are focused in the perception of space, especially how architects can design spaces that are more soothing to the psyche of the viewer. If the house is to be a “machine for living”, he would define living as the means to have a peace of mind.

Originally from Wheaton, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago – Andrew Cross came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a major in Architecture and a minor in Landscape Architecture. He is interested in human-centric approaches to sustainable design and the role that architecture plays in the health and wellbeing of the occupants.

Kriti Chaudhry is a first-year graduate student at the Illinois School of Architecture. Born and brought up in India, she moved to the United States of America to pursue architecture. Her background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and two years of work experience. She joined the Ricker Report team to be able to contribute in bringing forth the stories of the talented people in architecture and associated disciplines. All her personal design process is based upon research and its impact on the user.


He also has a particular interest in history, and how architects can reuse old or historical buildings for the current needs of society, incorporating the aesthetic beauty of contrasting styles and materials. Josh takes his inspirations from Moshe Safdie, Alvar Aalto, and Peter Zumthor. He will be graduating in May of 2020.


He is passionate about writing in both professional and casual applications. Beyond his editing work for Ricker Report, he has written a variety of musicals and plays, a handful of short stories, and a memoir. In addition to Ricker Report, he is currently active in Alpha Rho Chi as the Worthy Associate Architect, Architecture Student Advisory Council as the Vice President and Junior Representative, and Architecture Ambassadors as an Ambassador.




She is also passionate about sustainability and is part of the Illinois Solar Decathlon Design team. With a belief in giving back to the community, she has actively been volunteering at various non-profit organizations over the years. Bitten by the travel bug, she loves to take up any opportunity to travel and was part of a twomonth long travel semester through Europe during her senior year at UC. The trip concentrated on wood and stone architectural designs and construction techniques, especially the work of Carlo Scarpa and Peter Zumthor. In her free time, you can find her dancing with UIUC Zindaa, a Bollywood-fusion dance team.

Jonathan Levitske

Adam Czapla

Jonathan Levitske, contributing author, will be graduating in May 2020 from the University of Illinois School of Architecture (IOSA). He has achieved award-winning architecture studio projects as well as scholarships for academic excellence, good character, and environmental sensitivity. He has held leadership positions in student professional Architecture organizations.

Adam Czapla is a third-year architecture student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His focus is on human health and wellbeing and how the buildings we occupy effect our physical and mental health. The key concepts of natural lighting, biophilia, and positive social interactions are the core aspects of all his studio projects. In addition, he has a passion for the use of advanced fabrication techniques and experimenting with materials to help prototype and develop design solutions.


In addition, Jonathan created geographic information system maps for the Neighborhood Resilience Project for the City of New Orleans and surveyed eligible historic homes for the Hinsdale Architecture Center for enrollment in the National Historic Homes Registry. He is currently a graduate student in the Master of Architecture degree program at the University of Michigan and focusing on how architecture is intertwined with sustainable technology, digital fabrication, society, and the environment.


In his spare time outside of his classes, he works at Blackline Supply, the oncampus architectural supply store. Here he can experiment and work with a plethora of materials which helps him not only gain personal experience but allows him to best advise his peers on material choice and application. To further this study, he has built his own 3D printer to continue his research into material texture, form, and mass. His plans are to utilize his experience in detailed fabrication to positively impact the health of the users occupying his structures.


W I T H N OTA B L E A L U M N A , T R I N A S A N D S C H A F E R , A I A , L E E D A P

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P A R T 0 4 / W H AT D O E S A R C H I T E C T U R E N E E D ?



ABOUT TRINA Trina Sandschafer, AIA, LEED AP, leads all projects with a client-focused approach, resulting in clear conceptual analysis and engaging results. As a critical thinker, she excels at bringing clarity to complex programs. Trina’s extensive experience in residential, hospitality, and master-planning spans a wide range of scales – from multi-phase master plans to high-end custom residential – creating opportunities for diverse clients. As an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Trina continually returns to campus as a reviewer, critic, and speaker. She is actively involved with the UIUC School of Architecture Chicago Studio as a mentor, professional practice liaison, and design critic, working with students to address critical architectural design issues in today’s cities. Passionate about promoting STEAM based education, Trina is a member of the Architectural Alumni Advisory Board at UIUC. Trina was honored to deliver the School of Architecture Convocation Address in 2019.

FOREWARD Trina ascertains she was born to be an architect. From a young age, she was tuned into the built environment, noticing scale and proportion, watching the pattern of sun and shadow – having visceral reactions to space. She was often entertained by sketching, drawing, building, and creating at all scales. Her passion for art and design, storytelling, creating, and relationship building manifested in the blend of arts and sciences in architecture. She can still be found watching the sun move across a building. 13 years after her own Graduate Convocation from ISoA, Trina was asked to give the Convocation Address. Students often visited her studio in Chicago. Following those visits, they would ask their professors, “How can I do that?” The school asked her how to address that question. How did she do that? What was that? That was Design Principal at Chicago’s prestigious Booth Hansen. Member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She held these positions as the first woman and youngest appointee to both of these roles. The school asked how can an emerging architect today build a life that “has it all?” She was asked to be relatable to students and tell them what they really needed to know to launch their careers. Her words follow. In the time since her convocation address, Trina has moved forward in her career in a big way. She closed the chapter with Booth Hansen - the firm she grew up in, the one that carried her fingerprint on much of the ethos and work. She has embarked on her next chapter as Design Principal and Vice President at Kahler Slater. With Kahler Slater, Trina is leading the firm’s new Chicago Studio and has a firm wide role to advance design and design thinking.



Part 01

/ 2019 C on vocati on A ddress at U IU C Hello! Thank you to the Dean, the faculty, and the School of Architecture for inviting me here today – what an honor it is for me. And, congratulations to the class of 2019! I know how you feel – I was in your seat not that long ago. It is such a feeling of pride, accomplishment, relief, nerves, and so much excitement. Your whole future is ahead of you! I stand before you today 13 years after my own graduate school convocation. I stand as a Design Principal and as a member of our firm’s Executive Committee. I hold both of these positions as the first woman and youngest appointee to these roles in the nearly 40 year history of our firm. I stand before you on Mother’s Day as a wife and mother. On this day, I want to acknowledge all parents here - because none of these graduates got here without your support. Thank you for that. I stand before you carrying this story – my own mother wanted to take drafting class in high school and was told she couldn’t – because drafting wasn’t for girls. 25 years later, I won the drafting award in that same high school. And today, I stand before you. How did that happen? I won’t tell you it happened because of great design or technical expertise. Yes, those were important, but you’ve learned about those things in school – you will continue to learn about them in your career. I’ll tell you what they don’t tell you in school. I advanced in my career because of three things: making a plan, recognizing opportunities, and understanding people. -----


In early 2006, I took my UIUC thesis project portfolio to my interview at Booth Hansen. Booth Hansen had just been awarded a commission for a 37 acre urban residential master plan. This perfectly aligned with my thesis: a large master plan and residential development. I was hired on the spot. (Thank you, UIUC). I started on June 1. Enthusiastic, I arrived for my first day and got my seat assignment – the last seat available – way in the back - right next to the bathroom. I set a goal to become licensed as quickly as I could. That was my own personal goal - it was also a requirement for promotion. At that time, you had to work approximately 3 years before you could sit for your first ARE. As soon as I was eligible, I took the first one. I took all 7 exams in 9 months. I was so nervous opening the final letter… I passed! The feeling was elation and relief – I did it! I could get on with my life! The year was 2010. I was licensed, contributing to projects and firm wide efforts, and I wanted to be promoted. The only problem was that there wasn’t a title level at our office between staff and Associate Principal. We discussed that in my review – after which, I was promoted to Associate Architect, a newly created title and role. Take your reviews seriously. Be your own advocate. Do not make your supervisors guess. They don’t know you want a promotion and more responsibility unless you tell them. State your intention. Plan for it. Earn it. After that, I was promoted 3 times in 6 years - Associate Principal, Principal, and then, Design Principal. This did not happen by chance. Set a goal. Make a plan, and get to work. ----Your career will have opportunities and challenges. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell them apart. Recognizing these moments and how you respond to them will be critical to your success.

Do you recall my first design project – the 37 acre master plan? It was exciting and engaging. It was filled with huge physical models, presentation boards, and many large meetings. The meetings usually had over 20 people in them, representing different community groups, developers, funding partners, architects, non-architects, and government leaders. They were held at the alderman’s office. I went along because someone needed to help carry the models and boards. That meant I got to sit in the meeting and take notes. The first meeting I sat diligently making notes while my colleagues presented. I remember making a sketch on the notepaper of the huge ring of tables and everyone dotted around it, which entity the represented, and their comments. With so many opinions, the meeting was difficult and didn’t go particularly well. There was no consensus. When we got back to the office, I showed my colleagues the diagram I made. I shared with them that people tuned out when they used words like “fenestration” and “façade.” I pointed out that most of the people in the room would side with 1 of 3 people when pressed to make a yes/no vote. My colleagues were intrigued with my observations. The next meeting, they asked me to help make part of the presentation. It went much better. From that point on, I helped give the presentations. Me – only a few months out of graduate school. Here is why that is important. I took a seemingly mundane task, and turned it into an opportunity. I learned that the reactions of the people in the room and the group dynamic was as important as what was being said and that you need to speak to people in a way that relates to your audience. Opportunity may present as a challenge. When the economy crashed in 2009, our firm, like so many, had to reduce our staff, including our marketing team. It is easy to see that not having a full marketing team would negatively impact a firm that needed more work. So, I volunteered.



I spent half my time on architecture - and half on marketing. This wasn’t something I had planned. But, it was fundamental in my development. I gained an understanding of how our firm operates, how to bring in work, and how to tell our story.

building to them – to our cities and towns – to enjoy.

This opened a door for me that would have otherwise been years away. I developed a direct line of communication with the leaders of our firm. I became a trusted resource and valued colleague. I learned that I could learn and do what needed to be done when times were tough. I’m quite sure I owe much of my success to this challenge. I now see all challenges in my career as opportunities for growth. I encourage you to keep that view.

Early in my career, I had a client call me very upset about something that happened on site. She left me an urgent phone message. I called her back right away – we talked about her concern and how the team could address it. Ultimately, the project was successfully completed. At the photo shoot, she told me that the day I called her back right away was the day that cemented her trust and confidence in me. We remain friends to this day.


In my career so far, I have designed and built many buildings that I am proud of. It is fulfilling to walk around Chicago and know that my firm and I have had a lasting impact on our city.

I want to let you in on a new way of thinking that will likely be a fundamental shift for you. For the last several years you have been working diligently on “your buildings.” You have been making every design decision, you have defended each decision. You might have referred to “the building” as “my building.” That’s not the case in the profession. The buildings belong to the clients. The building is “their building.” To design the best building for them is to know what matters to them. It is your job to pull that information out of your client. That means your best tool is not your computer, your model, your rendering, or even your pitch. It means your best tool is really your ears. Listen to your client. Why are they building this project? What do they hope this project becomes? Find out how they respond to scale and proportion. Find out how they like to communicate. Give them time to respond and listen intently to what they say, how they say it, and what they don’t say. That is the secret to delivering a building that matters to them. It may take you years of working together, and in the end, the ideas come out of your dialog, your focus, your collaboration as a team - but you give the



Be an advocate for your client. Be the person in their corner when something doesn’t go according to plan. Be someone they trust.

Of all that I have built, what I am most proud of isn’t a building. What I have built with my clients is a relationship. The result of this relationship is in my second file drawer. I have a stack of thank you notes from happy clients. One of my favorites says “As much as we love the work of art you created for us to experience daily, what we remember most is how well you listened to us – truly listened.” Similarly, once I was riding in the car with a client on the way back from a site visit. He said to me, “I see how hard you work on our project and I thank you sincerely for that. I also know you are mother, and I know that you must put in even more effort for that. I sincerely thank you for that as well. You are doing such important work on both fronts.” It was a conversation I will never forget. This person was extremely successful in business - he knew how important people are - he valued his team – perhaps that is why he was so successful. We delivered his fast-track project faster than any project in our office

because that is what mattered to him. ----There will be moments in your life that blur the lines between personal and professional, moments that push you forward on both fronts. When I sat in your seat, I assumed someday I would have a family and someday I would run a successful architecture firm. I just had no idea what that would look like or how long it would take to get there. I became a parent in 2013 and again in 2014. I also got promoted each of those years. Little did I know, but late nights in architecture studio are great training for parenting. There were years where I felt like I was running solely on caffeine, Visine, and industrial strength under eye concealer. This was an intense time for our family and my career. I am married to a man who is an equal partner in raising our children. We are a team in all things family and career. The week I became Design Principal, he became a Director at his company. Our oldest child started Kindergarten that same month. We wanted great careers AND we wanted a great family. Those were not mutually exclusive things. What this time in my career solidified for me is how to prioritize, the discipline of time management, and how to delegate. It also reinforced to me the importance of those around you. The people you let into your life will help shape your career. Remember this for significant others, coworkers, and friends. Surround yourself with the people who will support you, cheer you on, and encourage you should you lose sight of your goals. Some of those people are probably in this room with you today. Consider the importance of letting mentors into your life. I’m a firm believer that everyone can benefit from mentorship, no matter their age or seniority level.

In your career, you will benefit from the right mentors at the right time. Seek them out. And, when you find that you have reached a place where people look to you to show them the way, do not forget to be a mentor. ----Graduation Day 2019. What is my advice to you? Make a plan. Get to work. But, remember - no matter how good the plan, and how hard you work – you need rest. People always ask where the big ideas come from. They come from rest. They come from a walk on the way home. They come in the middle of the night when your brain relaxes. The practice of architecture is intense, but the best ideas will always come when you rest. Do BIG things. It is going to take guts. Big things are a little bit scary. You might be nervous. That’s why they are BIG opportunities. Moving for a new job? Making your first presentation? The day construction starts on your first set of working drawings? That’s BIG. Big moments propel your career and your life forward. Cultivate your relationships. Your personal and professional relationships will have a larger impact on your career than you can imagine. Grow your network. Get to know your clients. Spend as much time advancing your understanding of people as you do learning the latest software or design thinking. People will make the difference. ----As architects we are makers of space. We shape the buildings and cities where people live, work, and play. That is a gift - and a responsibility. On behalf of all School of Architecture alumni, and architects everywhere, I say to the class of 2019 – welcome, we are so glad you could join us!



Part 02

/ Desi gn P ri n ci pal at Booth Han sen

Conversation between Ricker Report (RR) Team member and Trina Sandschafer (TS) of [previously] Booth Hansen. RR: What did you think of being asked to speak at the commencement? TS: I got the email from Jeff Poss. I read it, and I read it again. I was so honored. I was really excited to be asked to do something so prestigious at the University. I knew I wanted to do a really good job at it. I happily accepted and prepared a lot for giving the address, few people have done it more than once, but generally it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am very honored to be a part of that. I felt much calmer the day I gave the address than the day of my own graduation, because a few years under your belt gives a different perspective on things. The whole day was great. It was a wonderful experience. RR: How has the University’s alumni network been in reaching out/staying connected with you? TS: I have been connected to school since I left. I think in a way that is part of my personality. I like to build relationships. I was a teaching assistant in graduate school for Professor Kevin Hinders, and Professor Lynne Dearborn was my thesis advisor. They asked me to come back and be a guest critic right after I graduated. Then they asked me to give a presentation about the CHA Plan for Transformation in public housing. What

did that look like? What was that process like? And they kept inviting me to come back. I enjoyed that and so I did that. Luckily, our office values the education process. So many people here have been a teaching assistant or an educational research assistant, or something similar in their time at school. We have people on staff who are faculty at a university. The company finds importance in that. It speaks to our studio culture about this idea generation. And we are always learning. You do not stop learning when you finish school. We have visiting students from other schools and we are so pleased that Illinois is our downstairs neighbor now in Chicago Fall Studio 2019. I helped get that sorted out, it was a natural fit for me and for my workplace. I probably did not tap into alumni networks as much as I could have initially. Now, I am finding it to be more valuable than early on in my career. Perhaps it is because it was not originally on my radar. However, at the Women’s Reunion & Symposium, I was very excited that we were getting a collection of women who are up to something. And we are going to work on this network that we talked about at the symposium. As you advance in your career, you feel more comfortable calling someone you do not know and saying: ‘Hey, we have this in common. Let’s meet for coffee, I would like a few minutes of your time.’ Versus when you are just graduating. I think the alumni network is strong and deep, so I look forward to making



more of those connections at a more senior level. Overall, I have been involved with the school for a long time. RR: You mentioned that you took on another role of marketing and business within your responsibilities at Booth Hansen. When you approached the firm about taking on this new role, how did you convince them that you had the ability? Was there any pushback about taking a different direction in this role? TS: No, there was not pushback. The climate in 2008 and 2009 was scary to say the least. People at a lot of firms were downsizing. While I had the great fortune to stay on, I recognize that there were things that the firm needed, and my architectural responsibilities were not such that I was fully devoted to my hours. I said I have time available and I would like to do this. I just walked to the end of the row and talked to the leadership. It is a very open office. You do not have to go to a different floor, knock on someone’s door and say: ‘Hey, I have an idea, I think I would like to contribute to this. What do you think?’ They were all over it. I think that goes back to when you are trying to find a place that fits with the type of person you are. The culture of our office is an open office. It is the belief that good ideas can come from anyone right out of school or at more senior levels. A good idea is a good idea. I think our office mentality is also an office of doers. People jump in; they get their feet wet. They put you in projects or roles in any way that they can. I said: ‘I’ll learn whatever I need to learn.’ I learned basic C++, and quickly learned enough to know that we did not want to use that anymore. So, we switched our platform, which was a big decision. A decision that was fully supported by the office. My responsibility was editing the content of the website and figuring out what was necessary to include and work on. What kind of story do we want to tell? During this time, responses to RFP and RFQ’s still had to go out. In fact, it was even more challenging because the economic market meant that it was triple the number of responses. So, when we talked to prospective clients at that time, if it was an institutional client who expected ‘x’ number

of responses. Generally, they were getting three times that because everyone was so hungry for the work. I dove in, and with the open atmosphere and collaboration people were glad to have my help. I was glad to contribute, and I learned so much in that time period. I think this contribution really changed my trajectory here because I became a trusted advisor to the leadership of the firm. Everyone 10 years older than me and everyone younger than me was no longer with the firm. So, when we were trying to grow, I knew at our core of all our values the story we were trying to tell. I knew about our contracts and was helping with cover letters. I love that side of it; I love understanding business development and what that means for a firm. These are all things that you do not really learn about in school. Schools really focus on design and technical aspects. There is a whole big part of management and business development that you scratch the surface in school, but there is a lot more to it. I absorbed all that information. RR: Using your ears – listening – and knowing the clientele is one of the most important facets of any profession. It is something that you learn the moment you step into the professional world. Are there ways that you think listening and client-based work should be better implemented into collegiate architecture programs? TS: I think there are a lot of ways that it could be implemented. The first is the minute you step out of school and into a professional situation: it is not your building anymore. I think that it is a big mind leap for people. It is not your building. Yes, you feel proud of it, and you want to know all the details of it; but it is not yours. It belongs to somebody else. You must try and figure out what is best for the client. How can we get that more incorporated in school? I would like to see more emphasis on client and user needs. Perhaps some introductory psychology classes because your clients are going to run the gamut of personalities. At a firm like ours, we have multiple sectors. Some firms serve only K-12 schools. Even within K-12, there would be Boards of Directors and the kind of people that would make decisions are going to vary in types of personalities. We have single family, multi-family,

(Left) New Buffalo Residence Image Provided by: Steve Hall WHAT DOES ARCHITECTURE NEED?


New Buffalo Residence Image Provided by: Steve Hall

commercial, civic, institutional project types. Thus, the clients are different in each sector, and within that there are different personalities. I have clients who are quick decision makers and very instinctual. They will give you feedback in a meeting right away. I also have people who want to think things over for a while. They cannot give you a response right away. Some people can read plans. Some people cannot. There is a lot of variation. When you add the dynamics of a group – are you dealing with a single decision maker – or are you dealing with a team, or a pair? Are they equal? Is there is the board or a collective group that decides these things? In a board, they look out for one entity. Often times, there can be decision makers from government, finance, and all kinds of different people. Everyone is looking out for their part. Figuring out how are we going to get 25 people to agree on something, I think would be an excellent way to understand personalities. This idea would also be an excellent thing to learn in school, or at least to be aware of group thinking in dynamic decision making. In my speech, I talked about how I went to a large plan for transformation and interviewed for a project within my first year of working at Booth Hansen. There were 25 people in the room, and they were not agreeing. There were a lot of different ideas. Eventually, we found that there were key decision makers. There were three leaders in the room, and they represented different entities. People looked to those people and respected those people. If they gave it the nod, there would still be questions, but generally things went in that direction. Even as you are interviewing, there could be five or six people and they are all decision makers. But, there also may be one or two key decision makers. How do you identify who that person is? Or if there is someone who is being quiet – acknowledge that person – and ask for their feedback. I think it is more about reading the room. When you are talking to your client, some clients are very straightforward, some are very guarded. I think understanding what people say and what they do not say, and how they


say it, are all vastly important. We spend a lot of time teaching presentation skills. However, we do not teach listening skills, which I think would be a real benefit. One thing I have challenged myself to do is – listen more than I talk – especially in initial meetings with clients. Let others say what they are thinking. RR: As we begin our careers, new professionals can be prone to making mistakes as a part of the learning process. How does your firm work to teach new professionals? TS: We like to have our more junior employees in meetings with us so they can learn by watching and listening and taking notes. For example, taking meeting minutes might seem like a really mundane task. But that is what I was doing at that meeting where I was drawing a picture of 25 people and circling the people that were paying attention and leading the conversation. So, they learn by watching us. We also like to bring our younger staff in and have them explain issues and ideas when there is a part that they can speak to well. We like to have junior employees speak because it is good practice. You have to practice. You have to learn how to talk to people, and how to share your ideas, so that you understand what to do in varying circumstances. We also try to get them to go to different types of – what I call low pressure networking situations – where they can practice their networking in the office or out of the office. We have a number of ways during our Tuesday announcements, or our Friday gathering times, where people present a project to the office. We try to always have the most junior person give the presentation so that they can practice that skill. Presenting is a skill, just like anything else, you have to practice it if you want to get better. RR: Thinking about new professionals and learning at a professional capacity, there can be some differences in how people might behave in offices, such as not asking for price negotiations on their salaries. What advice would you give someone who is having a hard time discussing, negotiating or being respected in that environment?

(Right) Goethe Residence Image Provided by: Booth Hansen TRINA SANDSCHAFER

(Right) 61 East Banks Image Provided by: Booth Hansen

TS: I do not subscribe to that. I think that is a construct, that you do not feel comfortable. Why shouldn’t you feel comfortable? I know that my personality is such that I am frank, and I just say things head on. Fair and firm, that is what I always tell people. You need to be fair and you need to be firm. That frankness has gotten me far. As I said before, you are your best advocate. If you do not stand up for yourself, no one else is going to. You are the architect of your career. You are the architect of your life. Carry that with you as you are going through life. If you are in a position where you feel like your voice is not being heard, get yourself in a new position. Not every place is a good fit for people. I think you have to really evaluate your values and your beliefs on how you want to contribute in a given environment. If it is not where you are now, do not waste your time somewhere where people are not seeing and recognizing your talents.



Enr i c h in g Li f e . A c hi e v in g Powe r f u l Re s ul t s .

Part 03

/ Vi ce P res i den t at Kah l er Sl ater

Conversation between Ricker Report (RR) Team member and Trina Sandschafer (TS) of Kahler Slater. RR: Can you tell us a bit about Kahler Slater? TS: Kahler Slater is headquartered in Milwaukee. We also have offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Richmond, Virginia. We are opening a Chicago Office. The idea of the company’s growth is to continue serving our clients nationally out of our design and production hubs that are in those locations. We will be looking to continue to expand our footprint in Chicago just as we have in Milwaukee, Madison, and Richmond. All of our offices will be serving clients locally and nationally. RR: Enriching life. Achieving powerful results. This is the motto of the company. How does this concept serve as a testament to the company and the success Kahler Slater has seen? TS: Kahler Slater is committed to enriching life and achieving powerful results. This comes across in all of our project types. It comes across in health care, higher education, and different residential and housing projects. I think it is about identifying what we are designing for and discovering how to measure that success. We also need to discover what is considered data metrics – things that we can design for and measure to test ourselves and our clients versus something that is intangible. But can we put a tangible result to an intangible? Is it employee

retention? Could this solution be better access to light and air? Is it a better sense of pride to the built environment? Enriching life should be what architecture does. Everyone interacts with architecture daily, either actively or passively. It is our duty and opportunity to make that interaction better. For our clients, for the people that our clients serve, and for the people who live in our residences. A big part of how we are going to push that forward is through thought leadership. Thought leadership and research are important components of Kahler Slater’s history and core values. In Chicago, we are going to think and discuss many ways that we can advance the firm. We will focus on five key design areas: community, wellness, sustainability, innovation, and storytelling. I think it is really interesting that we included storytelling. Storytelling is about telling what we are doing as a firm, but also helping our clients tell their stories. Through media, through research, through white papers, we can use those ideas to have broader thoughts and conversations about what Kahler Slater needs. We can also figure out what the industry needs. RR: How does the environmental and research perspective allow you to further your own design ideas for the benefit of the client or service? TS: Often, we do client surveys prior to design. We set measurable goals throughout the design and plan how to achieve them. We then follow-up after design when the building is done. An example of this was a health care related project where we measured the number of steps nurses took every day. The staff desired to spend more time with patients and avoid steps that did not add value. We had the nurses wear step counters and tracked them pre-design and post-design. The result was substantially better. I think that listening to your client and figuring out what the problems are and how they can be solved by design is crucial. There is a reason you need and want a new building. Architecture should be uplifting but should also make everyday situations better. Every single person comes into contact with the



Milwaukee Art Museum - Calatrava Addition Image Provided by: Kahler Slater

built environment. Every single day. So all of those seemingly everyday interactions are opportunities to have a more elevated experience. If we listen to our clients, we can make those interactions elevated which ties directly back to enriching life. RR: The ideas of quantification, data, and storytelling together seem to be very important to Kahler Slater. Having discussed the role client-based surveys and project-based goals have in a project, I was curious how these surveys and goals benefit the work of Kahler Slater? TS: We have people on staff who’s entire job is data analytics. This is helpful because - it is one thing to say you can do something - but it is another thing to measure and prove that you can do something. It is a matter of accountability. We need to hold ourselves accountable and hold our clients accountable in order to push ourselves forward. -----RR: How do you build a team from scratch? TS: I am coming into a team that is established in Milwaukee, Madison, and Richmond. One of the first things I wanted to tell the team here, before preparing for the team in Chicago, is that the type of leader I aspire to be is authentic and accountable. So if we can have authenticity amongst each other - and if colleagues come with their whole selves each day and passions and what they are inspired to do - things will work well. If we can be accountable to one another, then we can build trust. In turn, trust builds teams. So, how do we build a team in Chicago? We collaborate with the team in Milwaukee, Madison and Richmond. We find ways to add complementary and thoughtful staff in Chicago to the team we have. We think critically about each position and what each person brings to the table. I think architecture is about inspiring people and finding out what they are passionate about. It is important to give professionals a way – in their daily work – to pursue their own passions because – when you bring out that passion – they will be authentic. I

think that is my biggest role, to inspire and ensure others do their best and most authentic work. It is not something I will do alone. Passion is a core value for Kahler Slater. We are very much aligned. This is not a top down strategy. It will be implemented in all directions. RR: Inspiring someone to do their most authentic work is what you strive for in the professional world. That is a pretty incredible sentiment. TS: Yes, that is it. That is what I hope to do. Going back a bit, being asked to give the convocation address was a huge honor for me. It allowed me to think back and reflect on my career. I was about thirteen years in at that point. Someone pointed out you can divide your career in thirds – and that another thirteen years, and another thirteen after that – I would be nearing retirement. I have always been a person who makes plans and sets goals for myself. Being able to look back at the first third of my career was really important to me. I felt like that chapter was starting to close. I was feeling this pivotal shift in me and what I wanted to do. I began to realize the first third of your career is about learning and trying as much as you can. The middle third should be when you try something ‘really big’. Then I met Kahler Slater, and they were asking me to do something ‘really big’. We totally aligned. In that ‘big-ness’ is where you inspire people. In that final third of your career, it is about your legacy and that ‘big thing’ that you built. How can that keep going? How can you mentor? How can you inspire? How can you help the next generation of architects at your firm or alumni network? I am starting the middle third, and I feel really good about that. RR: While you are starting the second third of your career, you are already at a higher level than most professionals even in their third portion of their career. This is something that seems to be very exciting. You have the ability to connect with recent college alumni, interns, and professionals. What are your thoughts on this? TS: It is really exciting for me. To have a team here




life should be what architecture

does. Everyone interacts with architecture daily, either actively or passively. It is our duty and opportunity to make that interaction better.”

that is quite large and to be able to play a mentorship role to them is important. I have had very strong mentors. I do not think anybody gets to where they are without strong mentors. I am still learning. But I think it is really important to be a mentor to your staff and your colleagues during the last two thirds of your career. ----RR: Finally, going back to planning and mentoring as you start the Chicago office, how do you plan ahead and make that plan work? TS: I have had a lot of people who ask me how I will get all of my goals completed. The answer is you get it done by doing a little bit every single day. It is a big opportunity. Really big. And I am excited by how big


the opportunity is. But we have prioritized. We have set goals. Every single day, I feel like we are making progress towards those goals. That is how you do it, by being productive every single day. This also directly relates back to my convocation address. My three concepts included – one – making a plan and getting it to work – two – challenges and opportunities in your career. Sometimes, opportunities might look like challenges. I think that is something people should be prepared for in your professional endeavors. Working at Kahler Slater is an incredible opportunity. There will be challenges along the way. But we all grow from that. The third part of this is about who you let into your life. Mentors, colleagues, and your coworkers. I am certainly very excited about the group I am joining here. There is a lot of good energy here and a lot of talent. (Right) 833 East Michigan Image Provided by: Peter McCullough


Bradley Symphony Center Image Provided by: Kahler Slater


Part 04

Here are some questions I’ve been thinking about:

/ Wh at Does A rch i tectu re Need?

Community – In a world that is more connected than ever, we have also become disconnected. How can architecture promote community? In a residential building? In a school? In an office? In an institution? In a neighborhood? How does physical space influence connection to place at various scales? Wellness – Human beings spend almost 90% of their time indoors – in buildings and spaces we create. It is our responsibility to make that space in sync with what human bodies need to thrive. Biorhythms, Biomechanics, Light, Air, Connection are all critical. Sustainability – Beautiful buildings are no longer enough. We must do more. We are running out of time and resources to make a difference. Buildings are one of the largest users of energy and producers of greenhouse gasses on the planet. The time to act is now. How can we lead by example? Innovation – How can we foster innovation? How can we use VR to change the design process? How do we put our clients in the driver’s seat of design? How can we use technology innovation to create drawings sets faster? How can we work with our construction partners to adapt and evolve construction?

When I accepted this position to lead Kahler Slater’s Chicago Studio and guide our firm’s design thinking, I was challenged by my colleagues to think critically about what our firm needs to move forward into the next decade and beyond, but also what we as an industry need to boldly move forward.

Storytelling –

You do not move forward by doing what you have always done. As an industry, we are at a moment of pivotal change. Can we move forward? I think we can.

How do we do all of this?

We can harness the power of positive disruption to make a difference.



Storytelling is in our DNA. It is part of what makes us human. How can architects support this? Yes, we want to tell our own stories, but most importantly, how do we use design to help our clients tell their stories?

We make a plan and get to work. We recognize that opportunities lie in challenges. We know that people will make the difference.

Ministry of Health - National Cancer Centre Image Provided by: Kahler Slater

Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez Director of the Illinois School of Architecture

ARCHITECTURE n. ar·​chi·​tec·​ture | \ ˈär-kə-ˌtek-chər 1. the art or science of building specificially: the art or practice of designing and building structures and especially habitable ones 2. formation or construction resulting from or as if from a conscious act / a unifying or coherent form or structure architectural product or work / a method 3. or style of building Architecture1 as defined from https://www.merriam-webster.com/



Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez, FAIA, ACSADP, CAAPPR Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez, FAIA is the Clayton T. Miers Professor in Architecture and Director of the Illinois School of Architecture. Prof. Rodríguez-Suárez studied architecture at Georgia Tech, Paris and Harvard GSD, where he earned a Master of Architecture with Distinction winning the American Institute of Architects Medal, the Portfolio Award and a Fulbright Fellowship. For nine years, he served as Dean of the Universidad de Puerto Rico School of Architecture and has taught and lectured at various universities in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the United States. He has been invited by the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar and by many prestigious universities as Visiting Critic, including the AA, MIT, Harvard, Penn, Cornell, Barcelona, Seville, Toronto, Madrid, Barcelona, the Glasgow School of Arts, Tulane, Rice, the Istanbul Technological University and the University of Johannesburg. Prof. Rodríguez-Suárez served as the director of (in)forma, an award-winning academic journal, and has edited five books including Alma Mater, Aula Magna, Chronologies of an Architectural Pedagogy, De Buena Tinta, and Contemporary Architecture in Puerto Rico 1992-2010, a joint effort with the AIA. His practice has earned over 10 AIA-PR Awards and Citations and several Biennale awards in seven different categories. Mr. Rodríguez-Suárez is a Fellow of the AIA and was selected by El Nuevo Día newspaper as one of the ten most influential pioneers in Puerto Rico for the year 2008, when he collaborated with artist Ai Wei Wei on the Ordos 100 project in China. He recently finished his term as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), an organization that had previously recognized him as Distinguished Professor.



“ I was enamored both by its remarkable history

and its incredible potential. I was also intrigued by the possibility of designing a unifying paradigm between memory and desire as we move forward to draw the next few lines in the collective canvas of our imagination. ”

UIUC: Why did you choose to come to the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois?

UIUC: What do you feel is the school’s greatest strength and/or greatest challenge?

Francisco Javier Rodriguez-Suarez: I was enamored both by its remarkable history and its incredible potential. I was also intrigued by the possibility of designing a unifying paradigm between memory and desire as we move forward to draw the next few lines in the collective canvas of our imagination. During the past decade I have served as both the Dean of a School of Architecture and the President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. My own research has gravitated around a series of symposia, interviews, and visits of over 100 architecture schools in five continents resulting in a book titled: Chronologies of an Architectural Pedagogy.

FR: The School is part of a major research university that was just ranked by Forbes as one of the Top 50 in the World, boasting a stellar academic community of students and professors that can compete with the very best both nationally and internationally. On the other hand, being part of a large major research public university also limits the possibility of moving at the speed of innovation and changes posed by the new millennium. We have to design a way to remain flexible and relevant, or we will be condemned to the role of observers.

UIUC: What are your goals/vision for the school? FR: I look forward to leading the Illinois School of Architecture into the twenty-first century as an epicenter of design, research, and innovation aimed at the challenges posed by the new millennium.



UIUC: In your first year as director, what do you hope to accomplish? FR: I am committed to repositioning the School at the forefront of the academic and professional discourse, expanding our international footprint and relevance. I would also like to find effective avenues to communicate what is ostensibly the beautiful and










exciting story of the Illinois School of Architecture. UIUC: Can you describe your approach or philosophy for education in architecture? FR: My ideas about architectural education tend to stem from the perspective of a practitioner; therefore, I will inevitably extend any disciplinary reflections into the realm of practice, and the search within my own experience of a unifying paradigm between the theory and practice. It is not the only duality I will address as a Director. In this academic institution, as in most, we offer degrees that revolve strictly around the arts and others around the sciences, but as architects within this millenarian



tradition called university, or universe of knowledge, I believe we are privileged to engage a discipline that is as much about one, as it is about the other: architecture--ar or archos and techne. Granted, in some places the pendulum may be somewhat inclined to the humanities and in others, such as our own experience, it may gravitate to a more technological pursuit; nevertheless, architecture, as a unique and remarkable discipline, inhabits a special place that is rather eloquent in sometimes contradictory worlds. UIUC: How do your personal experiences and research relate to your role at Illinois?


8 FR: Because of the fact that I originally arrived in academia as a practicing architect teaching design, I gravitated to inquire and acquaint myself on the origins of the university: Plato and the Academy, Aristotle and the Lyceum, Cassidorius and the liberal arts curriculum of the trivium and the quadrivium in a monastery in his hometown of Vivarium, the predecessor of the monastic schools that eventually evolved into the first universities in Bologna, Paris and Salamanca. A thousand years later, we are still speculating about our place within this complex, and yes, sometimes contradictory, interlocking scaffolding of degrees, credits, requirements and accreditations that we

10 sometimes take for granted. Our schools have been the epicenters of innovation and change, and yet, innovation, on this day and age, occurs faster than our own institutional ability to digest it in our academic circles, which are mostly well-meaning but rather slow and bureaucratic. Change is taking place in spite of our best intentions. We need to sit down as an academic community and have a thoughtful conversation about our continued relevance as a discipline and about the shared and diverse platforms that our students will inherit from our generation. Hopefully, future students will fall in love with the process the same way we did sometime during the waning years of the previous century.





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1. Director Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez in front of the historic Erlanger House, designed by Jack Baker for Margaret Erlanger, in Urbana, IL. 2. The Illinois School of Architecture Alumni Council 3. Director Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez and Professor and Director of the Barcelona Program, Alejandro Lapunzina. 4. House in Tintillo Hills, Puerto Rico (designed by rsvp architects) 5. Director Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez presenting to a class of students. 6. A part of the Ricker Report Team collaborating with the Director and networking at the 2020 Career XPO. 7. Student work from Spring 2020. 8. Entrance in Luna St., Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (designed by rsvp architects) 9. Barcelona students working on building models. 10. Midterm reviews for Professor Benjamin Bross’ Graduate Studio. 11. Diego Huacuja-Bucay and Ben Johnston collaborating and delivering face PPE and shields fabricated by members of the Architecture Program with the help of Illinois MakerLab. 12. Director Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez 13. Faculty and Spring 2020 midterm reviewers attending a dinner celebrating the end of mid-reviews. 14. Director Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez pictured with students, faculty, and alumni. 15. House in San Francisco, Puerto Rico (designed by rsvp architects)






Congratulations to the graduating Architecture, Urban Planning, and Landscape Architecture students of the class of 2020! We are proud of the hard work, motivation, and initiative you all have demonstrated. This is a celebration of you -- of the moments that make you cherish your time at the University of Illinois, the ever-renewing passion and respect for your studies, and the knowledge that you belong amongst the ranks of the architects, planners, landscape architects, and designers of tomorrow. We are proud of how you have come together as a community during this time of social distancing and remote virtual classes. For all of us, the University of Illinois has been a family as much as it has been a home, and your commitment to maintaining those values during such turbulent times cannot be overappreciated. Your time as a student at the University of Illinois has now passed, but we encourage you to look at commencement not as an end, but as a beginning. You have had a strong four years, and despite this sudden and unprecedented situation, you have finished your time at the University of Illinois with the dedication and pride that you have come to expect of yourselves. We are confident that these traits will guide you forward in your professional careers and influence you to make the world a better place through architecture, planning, and design. In a time of great uncertainty, we can take comfort in our belief that the future will be bright as it reflects the hard work and positive influences that our graduates contribute to the world. Wherever your path takes you, remember always that the University of Illinois is proud to call you alumni. I-L-L - Ricker Report Team -



RR: Why did you choose Illinois? What do you love about the school? “I chose Illinois because of the opportunities available for me here. Illinois has a vast variety of majors to choose from, extracurriculars to participate in, and professional development experiences to prepare for the future. I love Illinois because of the mixture of backgrounds and ideas that have fed into my rich curriculum allowing me to have the best college experience possible.” (Molly Blanke, BSAS) “I came to UIUC because it is close to home, and is a special part of my family. My older sister graduated from UIUC in 2016. I visited her a lot, and the campus grew on me pretty quickly. My favorite part about UIUC is the diverse student population; learning about other people and their backgrounds has been very fulfilling and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people along the way.” (Molly Zupan, MUP) “After starting a small design firm in Ecuador, I discovered the need to learn more about the integrative design of buildings like skyscrapers. However, upon my arrival at the Graduate School of Architecture, classes like Planning and Design of Structural Systems and Theory pushed my thinking of architecture beyond my limits. In addition to this, I love our campus surrounded by farmland. It is a perfect place to focus on your studies while discovering yourself. As an international student, I was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of resources available to students to empower and improve their education. In fact, one of the things I like most about our school is the openness to new ideas and especially creative thinking. I always felt supported and encouraged to try something new.” (Felipe Flores, M.Arch) “I chose Illinois because of all the great things I initially heard about the school and its rigorous programs. I never thought I would become so infatuated with the people and the incredible memories I developed over the years both inside and outside of the studio/ classroom.” (David Perez, BSAS)



“I grew up bleeding Orange and Blue. My dad, uncle, and sister all attended UIUC and I remember making frequent trips to Champaign for football games well before my sister even started school there. For the longest time I had that connection and even though I looked at other schools, I was pretty set on UIUC one way or another. Thankfully,I got in on the first go around. I remember being so astonished that I had to read the acceptance letter a couple times to fully understand that I made it.” (John Dohse, M.Arch) “As an international student, studying in the United States was an opportunity as well as an investment in my future, and Illinois gave me a chance to prove myself. When I started my studies, I was both proud and in disbelief that I was attending an institution that had great recognition in my selected field of study. While the change of scenery from tropical Panama to small-town-Midwest-USA was initially shocking, it was a welcoming change of pace. This school opened my mind to so much new knowledge and experiences both academic and professional, as well as many social opportunities to grow as a person. It is a place of many firsts for me, definitely a treasured place.” (David Rios, BAUSP) “I loved the campus and felt that the architecture program at Illinois would be the best fit for me. I love the historic buildings, friendly atmosphere and all the people that I have met in my four years.” (Miguel Perez, BSAS) “Illinois has a diverse and challenging program with a lot of opportunities for active learning. I really appreciate the range of professors who all specialize in unique areas of architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture. It has led to a holistic educational experience.” (Nesma Hamouda, M.Arch) “Architecture is one of the professions that utilizes creativity to its full potential combining both the arts and applied mathematics. That is what I enjoy most about architecture, the endless possibilities of design and initial phases within a project. The idea of creating, not just the building itself but also accentuating moments and spaces that can occur, is


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something that interests me and something I’d like to take part in.” (Xavier Perez, BSAS)

RR: What were your most memorable experiences at Illinois?

“I chose Illinois because it offers an exchange program to Barcelona for an entire year. Moreover, Illinois is considered a more technical school which aligns with my pursuit. I personally want to put my hands on in every aspect of architecture, not merely concept design, but also HVAC, structure, history, etc. Illinois has offered a well-balanced program to allow one to become a wellrounded designer. I continued to choose Illinois for grad school, also because it offers another exchange program to Munich and Chicago studio. Even though I did not end up attending Chicago studio, the studio selections on campus were extremely compelling to me! I love how we are given the opportunity to choose what area or aspect of design we would like to work or experiment on it.” (Snow Lee, M.Arch)

“My favorite memory was probably a field trip that my seminar took in Spring of 2019, “Small Structures Big Ideas”, taught by Professor Brakke. First, we visited Wrightwood 659 by Tadao Ando in Chicago. Ando is one of my favorite architects and I had an awesome time seeing his work in person. The semester prior, I had seen the Pulitzer Arts Foundation by Ando and it felt very rewarding to see his same “language” carried from one project to the next. Afterwards, we took a trip to the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois by Mies van der Rohe, which was another excellent experience. All in all, it is very rare to see projects such as these in person, but doing so was absolutely worth it as pictures can only do them so much justice.” (John Dohse, M.Arch)



“The studio culture which is so unique to studying architecture is an experience that I have enjoyed the most. The people that I have met in studio and have pulled all nighters with are great to bounce ideas off of and I couldn’t have asked for a better batch of studio buds. Participating in the Herman Miller and the Illinois Sesquicentennial design competitions were also great experiences to apply studio tools and thinking to greater problems and design real life solutions that would actually come to fruition.” (Harjot Sidhu, BSAS) “My most memorable experience at Illinois was living in an LLC my freshman year. Though more significant events have happened since, I feel like this quintessential freshman experience gave me my closest college friends that I still chat on the phone with every week. Without meeting them, I would’ve felt far less grounded than I am today.” (Valeria Yi, BAUSP)

“My favorite memories actually are from some of the most stressful times, pulling all nighters working on our studio projects in the architecture buildings. I gained some of my closest friends while working on these projects. The “we are all in this together” mentality made these moments a lot easier to handle and brought some enjoyment to what would be a stressful time.” (Genievieve Jones, BSAS) “Home. U of I is another home for us who have traveled so long from other countries. I still remember the day I just arrived at this campus, it was such a sunny day but for me it was all sadness and loneliness. But soon I found friends all over the world and later on I found my love of my life. It’s a magical place if you truly put your heart into it and it will give you back what you expected.” (Ruiqing Zhou, M. Arch)

“The most memorable moments have always been on the battlefield, from traveling to Asia for the first time at Plym Studio to working on an urban research project in the slums of Bogotá, Colombia. All experiences have helped me grow as an individual. One of those experiences that shaped my future journey as an architect was working on the restoration of a research station with a new material developed by my professor. It was a hands-on project on our university’s energy farm where my professor became my friend and together we rebuilt the ruins block by block.” (Felipe Flores, M.Arch) RR: Why did you pursue your major? “I originally planned on attending Indiana University with my twin brother, Zach, to study business. Following a visit to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for Discover Architecture in 2013, I changed my mind. I ended up applying to the Illinois School of Architecture. Six years later, and I haven’t regretted my decision once. The instructors included Professor Tait Johnson, Ph.D. and Associate Professor Kevin Erickson.” (Matthew Ehlers, BSAS, M.Arch, M.S.A.S.)



“I came to the U of I knowing full well from lived experience about race and wealth disparities within a city, whether it’s Champaign, Chicago, or my hometown San Diego. I settled on Urban Planning as my major and Latina/o Studies as my minor to get a better understanding about what it is that causes and reinforces these inequalities in housing, transportation, environmental health, access to opportunity, safety and security, education, etc. In my four years here, I have transitioned from asking why these urban inequalities exist to asking myself how we can address them.” (Christopher Ackerman, MUP) “Architecture is the opportunity to create an experience. Whether you will experience that space for the rest of your life or just a moment, this experience has the potential to change your life. I’m fascinated by the complexity of the problems architects face every day to create environments that can be enjoyed by any living being. I am specifically interested in the possibilities of the balance between nature and modern technology to create spaces that reduce the human impact on the environment while bringing them closer to one another in a new way.” (Jackson Bochat, BSAS)



“I actually found architecture by accident! My high school guidance counselor accidentally enrolled me in a hand drafting course - I decided to stick with it, and ended up taking three years of drafting. Even though it seems like an accident, looking back, I think deep down I always knew I loved architecture. I moved around a lot during my childhood and was always fascinated by buildings, and often found myself designing my “dream home” and imaginary cities from a very early age.” (Rebecca Palmer, M.Arch, M.B.A.) “I’m the youngest of six children to immigrant parents. Everyone had some skills, and as a child, I was always interested in art, sports, and working with my hands. Living in DC, I was surrounded by both classical and modern architecture. I have had the chance to watch the city expand into its current contemporary style. So when the decision came to go for school, architecture played to all my interest and knowing as designer or architect that our buildings can have a significant impact in both our communities and users, Its a powerful feeling and job, that I wouldn’t want to pass up You could also say Legos played a factor as well.” (Aaron Deroux, M.Arch)





analytical thinker and to appreciate how architecture has evolved into what it is today.” (Nesma Hamouda, M.Arch) “Overseas Architectural Studies was a class I took during my study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain. This class helped enrich my artistic skills such as sketching, photography, and architectural videography. I also had the opportunity to travel to Venice, Italy and London, England to study influential architectural works. This class allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and refine skills that will be useful throughout my career.” (Molly Blanke, BSAS) “Professor Stallmeyer’s passion, knowledge, and excitement for architecture made me even more motivated to understand the designs that have helped shape the world we live in today. Architectural Theory was a challenging course in many ways, but pushed me to think critically about architecture and be able to speak about it in a much more educated and appreciative way.” (Rebecca Palmer, M.Arch, M.B.A.)

RR: What were some courses you have enjoyed and why? “I would have to say that the classes I have enjoyed the most were my studio design courses throughout the curriculum. With the different types of projects we were assigned, I was challenged every time for me to push myself to understand the concept of the design process and eventually develop my own design process. However, the best thing for me that came from these design studios were the friends I made throughout my years here. With the network of friends and with the proper education of structures, design process, building performance, and more, I feel that I am very well prepared for the future in the architecture field.” (Curtis Howard, BSAS) “History courses have allowed me to grow as an

“ARCH 476, the residential studio with Professor Tom Loew. I took this class because in undergrad I have only been offered studios with commercial-based projects, so I wanted to try something new and see if I liked it. I already felt more drawn to single-family homes, so I really enjoyed the experience. In single-family residences you get a unique opportunity to design for the client in much more detail than the average project, which helped me design more creatively.” (Dylan Young, BSAS) “Taking courses with Professor Marci Uihlein, Sudarshan Krishnan, and Abbas Aminmansour were the highlights of my college experience. These courses acted as a catalyst for me to pursue the M.Arch and M.S.A.S. Structures Joint Degree. I took a plethora of courses with each faculty member. My individual favorites included ARCH 595 (Seismic Analysis & Design) with Professor Uihlein, ARCH 560



(Advanced Structural Analysis) with Professor Krishnan, and ARCH 451 (Design for Steel & Timber) with Professor Aminmansour. I would end up being the Graduate Teaching Assistant for the last two years of ARCH 451 and ARCH 452 with Professor Aminmansour. Without sounding like a broken record, I think it is important to note I have enjoyed every course and studio I have taken in my college years. Additional favorite courses included ARCH 519 (Conservation of Building Materials) with Professor Paul Kapp, ARCH 501 (Professional Practice) with Randy Deutsch, ARCH 573 (Studio) with Professor David Chasco and ARCH 476 and 571 (Studio) with Professor Tom Loew. Clearly, I have trouble deciding which are my favorites. I like to think it is a testament to my time at the University of Illinois School of Architecture. I have also been lucky enough to know most faculty members outside of coursework and studio via my work with Ricker Report. We have a very strong and passionate faculty and team at the Illinois School of Architecture. I wish students would take more time to get to know the faculty they might not directly have for courses. We have such a diversity of faculty that are skilled in interdisciplinary focuses and have experience with solving multivariate problems in architecture, design, and engineering.” (Matthew Ehlers, BSAS, M.Arch, M.S.A.S.) “The seminar I took in my last semester –Design, Building, Technology with Professor Randy Deutsch. His content was up-to-date to literally having events that happened on the day of the seminar shared with us as material for class discussion. His perception of technology really opened my eyes to the possibilities that the architecture industry has to offer and inspired me to find new ways to explore my potential in the field. Coupled with that are his extensive contacts and constant references to useful books, practitioners in the industry of architecture, engineering, and software that we would be exposed to, in order to understand the kind of people who are making a difference out there in the real world. It truly was an academic course that weighed in heavily on practical aspects.” (Ashish Dandekar, M.Arch)



RR: Who are some Professor(s) you have enjoyed courses with and why? “I had Professor Aneesha Dharwadker for my Junior year fall studio and she changed the way I approach projects. She also helped me get over the feeling of dreading to do pin-ups/reviews. She goes above and beyond for her students!” (Sydney Serwatt, BSAS) “Professor Dede Ruggles has seen my face for too many semesters. It got to a point where I wouldn’t even read the description of the class she was offering. I would just register for it. She is wonderful. Her ability to get her students to think critically is something I have benefitted from greatly. It got to a point where I was sitting in a class filled with PhD students discussing visual theory and landscape architecture lost like none other. It was a blast.” (Riad Wehbi, M.Arch) “Professor Tom Loew has shown patience, understanding, and personability throughout my last semester at Illinois. He has made me see design in new ways and pushed me to create spaces that were unique.” (Karen Ramos, BSAS) “Professor Kevin Hinders is dedicated to providing a holistic experience for his students including interaction with firms, connecting students with professionals, and encouraging them to go beyond the traditional forms of learning.” (Nesma Hamouda, M.Arch) “During my time in Professor Christian Pepper’s class, I was able to stretch my artistic abilities to new levels through my architectural design. He was not only a great professor, but a great mentor.” (Molly Blanke, BSAS) “During my sophomore year, I took Rebecca Ginsburg’s course on the history of the prison system. Simply put, Rebecca ignited a new interest for me, and offered me very valuable perspectives on mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex. I’m happy to say that I’ve been an intern



with a non-profit that Rebecca is the director of, called the Education Justice Project, which has been such a valuable experience.” (Molly Zupan, MUP) “Professor Abbas Aminmansour because he makes his classes feel personable. He always brings light to his courses by being interactive and making jokes to ease the mood of strenuous studies.” (Faith Nolan, BSAS) “Professor T.F. Tierney emphasized my creativeness and helped me break out of my shell to bring out designs that I had been too timid to try before. Professor Scott Murray helped my development of comprehensive design and showed how to find the technical resources needed to complete a project. Professor Tait Johnson brought an enthusiasm to history that made it relevant today, as well as being a huge support in answering many of my construction related questions. I am grateful to all my professors for helping me become who I am today.” (Kevin Bergbauer, BSAS) “Not only did Professor Mary Edwards teach some of my most interesting and dynamic urban planning classes, she was also a great mentor. Whether I was learning from her as one of her urban planning students, or as one of her teaching aides in FAA 101, she taught me how to be an able leader, a compassionate teacher, and a strong woman in a post-modern world.” (Valeria Yi, BAUSP) “UIUC has plenty of excellent professors. The best are the ones that have a (strangely) almost perfect understanding of my limits (and everyone else’s). Not only that, but knowing exactly just how to push me so that I can surpass those limits and grow, but not to a point that breaks me or seems unattainable. While I have had the fortune to learn from numerous professors with this skill, there is one who stands out in my mind. Ever since taking history in Spring of 2019 and studio this past semester with Professor Bross, I cannot look at the world around me without thinking about what I have learned over the years

from him and all my professors. The architectural lens that I gained from him is one of the most valuable skills that I picked up during my time here, and that could not have been done without a professor who has such attention to detail on a variety of scales and care for the growth of his students. Thank you Professor Bross.” (John Dohse, M.Arch) “This is a tough one because there were two that were fundamental to my education. The first one was Professor Christina Bollo. She was my studio professor junior year and she pushed me to construct one of my favorite projects. She helped me to focus on the details of a project and the consequences (both good and bad) of every decision that I made in my project. She was always constructive and open to allowing her students to explore and fully develop their ideas. Another one of my favorite professors was Professor Abbas Aminmansour. He was always kind and open and helped me to understand the structural possibilities of my second semester junior year project. He was always fair and made sure all of his students understood the material. He ignited my passion for designing effective and beautiful structures for a building.” (Jessica Duschean, BSAS) “Professor Tait Johnson because he always taught us that architecture isn’t just about designing a building or structure. Architecture is more than that, it tells alot about the people who design it, how they live, how they interact with one another, how it connects with social, political, etc. He always wanted to push us to think of these works of architecture as something more.” (Fernando Galvan, BSAS). “I have completed both the courses that Dr.Michael Kyong-il Kim offers at Graduate level: Arch 544 and the Integrated Tall Building Design Studio. He is a professor that breaks down even the most complex of topics into very simple explanation. Even someone who does not have any formal background education in the pertaining field can easily understand his teaching very easily. In addition, Professor Scott Murray is one of the most resourceful persons there is. I had the opportunity to complete the Experimental



Envelopes Seminar with him, in addition to an independent study, all in the same semester. He is very patient and is an amazing teacher.” (Prathiksha Chandra Moran, M.Arch) “Núria Sabaté Giner was my studio professor for my first semester in the program and she pushed me in ways no professor had done before. Her focus on the minute details in our drawings taught me how to visualize my project in many different scales. She taught architecture through a new lens that I had not previously looked through before and I believe I grew as a student after having her as my professor.” (Genievieve Jones, BSAS) “This one is too hard to answer. I had so many professors who truly shaped my time here at the ISoA. I would have to say it is a three-way tie between Professor Christina Bollo, Dr. AnnaMarie Bliss, and Professor Tom Loew. Each of these professors had a profound impact on my design abilities, my confidence, and who I am today. They have all been generous with their time and advice, and have helped



me have much more clarity on the path that I want to go. I have never met such selfless and humble people as them.” (Rebecca Palmer, M.Arch + M.B.A.) RR: Which major related event(s) will you miss the most that you attended at Illinois? “The Women’s Symposium. It was an inspirational exposure to what female architects who have graduated from the same program as us have accomplished. It was also great to have students interacting with alumni.” (Nesma Hamouda, M.Arch) “The NOMAS Symposium was one of my favorite architectural events. It was inspiring and motivating to see people from all walks of life take on the goal of becoming licenced architects and how everyone’s journey looked so different while working towards the same goal.” (Harjot Sidhu, BSAS) “Some of my fondest architectural events are simply the times when our studios would display our final



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projects in the atrium. Seeing all the hard work from the semester completed and all the different paths that each student took would show that there truly is no right or wrong answer in architecture. There would also be the feeling of accomplishment and relief that comes with finishing a long project.” (Kevin Bergbauer, BSAS) “I enjoyed Fall 2019’s Critical Mass, because my work from last semester was up for nomination, and I also enjoyed seeing all of my classmates gather in the atrium and enjoy the delicious food from Olive Garden. I definitely enjoyed all the times the entire college would get together in the atrium; the chaos of conversations is surely a sense of liveliness that I will miss the most.” (Ashish Dandekar, M.Arch) “During Fall 2018, the Student Planning Organization



put together a complete and professional day-long event called Networking Day, which brought to campus several professionals working in planning and related fields all into under one roof. The invited professionals hosted distinct panels on immigration, transportation, and community development topics. The event offered my first opportunity for professional development and networking without having to leave the campus community.” (David Rios, BAUSP) “I think my favorite architecture event I have attended would be the Career XPO. Although every student attends the event with jobs or interviews lined up, it teaches us just as much and helps us learn how to network and talk to professionals, which is a skill we will always use throughout our career.” (Xavier Perez, BSAS)

work so hard to get nominated, to be able to see your work there and show professors and classmates is an fulfilling experience.” (Riad Wehbi M. Arch) “I have always enjoyed attending the lecture series organized by SBMA after studio. One in particular that I found very informative was the “Cities Alive : Green Building Envelopes” by Rudi Scheuermann of ARUP. The lecture provided an insight into sustainability through building facades.” (Prathiksha Chandra Mohan, M. Arch) “I think planners are always most excited for Parking Day it’s our yearly event where we take over a bunch of parking spots and we show people what we could do without cars and without parking lots. In reality, we can do so much. In my 4 years of going to Parking Day, I’ve seen dog parks, planting stations, Dance Dance Revolution stations, concert stages, giant Jenga, and bike repair shops. It’s always in the beginning of the year and it’s a great way for new planning students to get to know each other.” (Christopher Ackerman, BAUP) RR: What are your plans for the future?

“I’ve always enjoyed attending the lecture series. It was nice to go to seperate lectures outside of the studio and other classes. Listening to professional architects design approaches, projects, and experiences, helped me understand more what it’s like once you get into the real world of working as an architect.” (Alicia Gomez, BSAS) “The lectures are phenomenal. They are an aspect of the School of Architecture that makes the experience so unique. Seeing other students, professors and as a TA, seeing my own students there is absolutely inspiring. Busy or not I would be at every lecture. The receptions were wonderful as well. It brings us together as a school on a weekly basis and is wonderful. Critical mass is also a great event. Being able to see the Earl Prize nomination is a great experience. For those who

“I will be joining an architecture firm in South Bend, Indiana, Epoch, a division of Shive Hattery - as a Graduate Architect. I look forward to pursuing my license shortly after graduation, and building my relationships in the community. I am also getting married in November to my best friend, Cody Ward!” (Rebecca Palmer, M.Arch) “After graduation I plan on taking a year off from school and work in an architecture firm. Following that I plan on attending grad school to pursue my master’s in architecture. In five years I hope to have graduated from a graduate program and entering into a position as an intern designer at an architecture firm.” (Genievieve Jones, BSAS) “After graduation I plan on attending UIUC to get a Masters in Architecture with a specialization in Sustainable Technologies to be able to further explore the possibilities of nature in harmony with modern



design to create architecture unlike anyother. I aim to practice in my hometown of Chicago and bridge my understanding of other culture’s knowledge to design new environments that transform the way we experience the city.” (Jackson Bochat, BSAS) “I’m staying for the 4+1 accelerated master’s track but fortunately I don’t have to wait to start enacting my plans. Today, next year, and 5 years from now, I’ll be doing my part to getting more women of color to participate in electoral and grassroots politics. I’ll be starting with the Illinois Student Government by making sure as many progressive women, people of color, and other marginalized groups of the student body are at the table to make decisions to improve their experience on campus. Five years from now, I want to be doing the same thing but in communities across the country. If I could work for amazing organizations like She the People or Emerge America and call A’shanti Gholar or Aimee Allison my boss, I’d be very happy.” (Christopher Ackerman, BAUP) “2020 is definitely an unusual year to graduate with the world pandemic. It seemed very prominent for students to land a full-time job or internship, but soon after, everything changed in a blink of an eye.



I am very grateful to be able to get an offer from Hoefer Wysocki, which I will be moving to Kansas City to start a full-time position. Hoefer Wysocki allows new-grads to fill right in the position. I am excited to learn all the aspects of architecture with the firm. Moreover, HW is very supportive with licensure.” (Snow Lee, M. Arch) “I’m hoping to work for a non-profit or planning firm with focuses on social justice and/or community development. I’d like to stay in the Chicago area, not only because it’s my home, but because it’s the most segregated city in the country. I’d like to dedicate my work to issues that are close to home.” (Molly Zupan, MUP) “I am interested in collaborating with a design firm to gain professional experience in the design and planning of buildings and public infrastructure, and then use this knowledge in my home country. My future goal is to improve the living conditions of impoverished populations in the south who, at the moment, do not have access to basic services or decent shelters. I believe in architecture as a powerful tool able to shape a better future for humanity.” (Felipe Flores, M.Arch)



“If I had to give one piece of advice to students continuing at Illinois, I would say make sure that you take advantage of every opportunity you get. The ISoA presents so many amazing opportunities - from guest lectures and studying abroad to scholarships and social events. Even though studio and your classes are so important, the things that stick with you are the memories you make with your classmates. Make it a priority to spend a couple hours a week - at least! - doing something fun. Explore Champaign! Take a weekend trip with friends to Chicago! Take a break in the studio to grab dinner with friends. Because it will be over in a blink of an eye.� (Rebecca Palmer M.Arch)



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