Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning University of Michigan
Dean Jonathan Massey looks to the future for Taubman College and for the architecture and planning professions
W ELCOME BACK TO P ORT ICO. We are excited to again bring you Portico, the semiannual magazine of Taubman College. In each issue, our goal is to demonstrate the value of â€” and our pride in â€” the work that our students and faculty, and your fellow alumni, are undertaking. We want to bring you insights from the leading edge of design, research, teaching, and learning. And we hope to remind you that no matter where you are, you always have a home at Taubman College. If you have thoughts on this issue, story ideas for future issues, or a class note to share, please let us know at email@example.com. Thank you for reading, and thank you for contributing to the strength of our global Taubman College community.
CON T EN TS
AR OUND T HE COL L E GE / 04
FA C U LTY + S TU DEN TS / 2 6
04 News from the Art & Architecture Building and Beyond 14 Postcards from Spring Travel
26 What Are You Thinking About? James Chaffers Wes McGee and Tsz Yan Ng
C OVER ST O RY / 18
30 Shoring Up Coastal Communities Professor Richard Norton helps Lake Michigan towns adapt to climate change
18 Building Tomorrow 24 Designing Equity: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Taubman College
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34 Telling a Neighborhood’s Story Professor Anya Sirota brings the funk and the farm to Detroit’s North End
38 Fluid Borders Professor Kathy Velikov and students study transnational ecologies of the Rio Grande
42 Finding a Sense of Place Professors Ana Paula Pimentel Walker and María Arquero de Alarcón lead student work in Brazil
A L U MN I / 4 8 48 Thinking Big about Urban Futures A conversation with Sidewalk Labs’ Josh Sirefman, M.U.P. ’03
52 Fundamentally Hollywood Rasa Bauza, B.S. ’80, goes beyond architecture at Warner Bros. 54 The Delight Is in the Details Ken Faulkner, B.S. ’91, sweats the small stuff at Adjaye Associates 56 Handmade’s Tale Emily Fischer, M.Arch ’95, is flying high at Haptic Lab 60 Finding a Platform for Success Clarke Lewis, M.Arch ’15, and Myles Hamby, M.U.P. ’14, bring their A+ game to Detroit
GI V I N G + C L A S S N OTES / 6 2
62 Robert C. Metcalf’s Legacy Continues 66 Vivian and Anthony Mosellie, B.S. ’84 Repaying a Debt of Gratitude While Investing in the Profession 69 Pankaj Duggal, M.U.P./M.Arch ’95 No Gift to Taubman College Is Too Small
I N MEMORI A M / 7 6 ON THE COVER:
Dean Jonathan Massey in the A. Alfred Taubman Wing Commons.
C L OS I N G / 7 8 3
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Borum Named to AIA College of Fellows Craig Borum, professor of architecture, was elevated to the College of Fellows by the 2018 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member. Borum is the founding principal of PLY and has overseen the growth and transformation of the practice into PLY+ architecture, urbanism, design, a collaborative practice in partnership with Associate Professor Jen Maigret and William Carpenter. At PLY, his work has been recognized by Architect Magazine with a citation in the Progressive Architecture Awards and an R+D Award. His designs also have won an American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum and a Wood Design Award from Wood Design & Building Magazine. Additionally, he has been the principal designer on eight projects that have won Michigan AIA Design Awards across the building and interior design categories. He received the highly competitive Young Architects Prize from the Architectural League of New York, and in 2007, he was included in Wallpaper* magazine’s list of the world’s 101 most interesting new architects. His designs have won prizes in numerous national and international competitions, including first prize in urban design in the 15th Quito Biennale of Architecture. His work also has been exhibited and featured in major publications in the United States and internationally. Dean Jonathan Massey and co-editor Barry Bergdoll, of Columbia University, have published Marcel Breuer: Building Global Institutions (Lars Müller Publishers, 2018). The collection of essays by a group of scholars, which draws on an abundance of newly available documents held in the Marcel Breuer Papers at Syracuse University, examines Breuer’s approach and way of working, his strategies, and his signature buildings. Breuer (1902– 1981) is celebrated as an architect, furniture designer, and teacher who is known as a “formgiver” of modern American architecture and often is seen as a pioneer of a brutalist modernism of reinforced concrete. More recently, historians, architects, and — with the reopening of his Whitney Museum as the Met Breuer in New York — a larger public are gaining new insights into the cities and large-scale buildings he planned.
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Elevation to the AIA College of Fellows honors the achievements of the architect as an individual and also elevates before the public and the profession those architects who have made significant contributions to architecture and to society. The stringent requirements result in only 3 percent of the AIA’s more than 91,000 members being recognized as fellows. Borum was honored at a Taubman College alumni gathering at the Hudson Yards Experience Center in New York in June. In addition, the following alumni were elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2018: Larry Barr, B.S. ’80, M.Arch ’82; Leigh Christy, B.S. ’96; Timothy Griffin, B.S. ’78, M.Arch/M.U.P. ’81; Cynthia Hayward, B.S. ’73, M.Arch ’76; Mark Hirons, M.Arch ’89; James Nicolow, B.S. ’91, M.Arch ’95; and Thomas Savory, M.Arch ’84. Read more about the alumni honorees on pages 65-77.
Fall 2018 Lecture Series 09.12.2018 Neri Oxman (MIT Mediated Matter Group) The Krebs Cycle of Creativity 09.25.2018 Florian Idenburg (SO-IL, New York) Open Structure – Open Form 10.08.2018 Ann Forsyth (Harvard GSD) Planning for Longevity: A Gender Perspective 10.26.2018 Michigan Meeting Fall Symposium Life with/in Digital Objects
“India turned out to be unimaginably different from anything I knew; I arrived full of preconceptions that were rapidly debunked. It was the most intense learning experience I’ve ever had.” — Sarah Jordan Turkomani, B.S. ’17, a winner of a 2017 Wallenberg Travel Award, which annually recognizes the best work from the final undergraduate design studio through a stipend for international travel to a country of the student’s choosing. Honoring Raoul Wallenberg, B.Arch ’35, the awards are presented with the hope that students will engage in the culture of the country they visit — exploring architecture, getting acquainted with the people, and returning with a broadened understanding of the world and an appreciation and feeling for the people they encountered.
10.30.2018 Rachel Armstrong (Newcastle University) 11.05.2018 Craig Dykers (Snøhetta, New York) 11.09.2018 Shaping Future Cities Symposium 11.16.2018 Alan Mallach (Center for Community Progress, Washington, D.C.) The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America Learn more: taubmancollege. umich.edu/lecture-series
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62 firms, a record number, participated in the 2018 Career & Networking Fair in March. Nearly 75 percent of those firms’ representatives were alumni. The annual event introduces employers to students from Taubman College’s bachelor’s and master’s programs in architecture, urban design, and urban and regional planning.
Top Honors for M.U.P. Capstone “Stabilizing MorningSide,” a capstone project completed in 2015 by a team of master of urban and regional planning students, won the 2018 Student Project Award from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in the Contribution of Planning to Contemporary Issues category. The project was published on the APA website and presented at the 2018 National Planning Conference in New Orleans in April. “Stabilizing MorningSide,” which also won the Michigan Association of Planning’s Outstanding Graduate Student Project Award in 2017, focuses on the housing conditions in a once-stable neighborhood on the east side of Detroit that has been affected by mortgage and property tax foreclosures. Between 2000 and 2010, the neighborhood population decreased by 27 percent, and owner occupancy fell to 60 percent of housing units. Furthermore, housing conditions have declined, with most houses in need of renovations or repairs, and more than 20 percent of neighborhood properties are vacant lots. The project, which collected data, analyzed cases, and created a strategic plan for the community, was advised by Professor Emerita Margaret Dewar and Libby Levy, M.U.P. ’00, lecturer of urban and regional planning. It was completed by M.U.P. ’15 students Josh Bails, Sarah Clark, Fan Fan, Nicholas Fazio, Seul Lee, Evan Markarian, Jamie Simchik, and Xiang Yan. ONLINE EXTRA: See Evan Marka rian, M.U.P. ’15, reflect on the capstone experience at taubmancollege.umich.edu/morningside-video
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18 Taubman College faculty have won the Architectural League Prize since its inception in 1981, including 2018 winners Gabriel Cuéllar, Athar Mufreh, and Anya Sirota. Sirota, an associate professor, is co-founder of Detroit-based Akoaki. Read more about her on page 34. Mufreh, a lecturer, and Cuéllar, the 2018–2019 Oberdick Fellow, are co-founders of Brooklyn-based Cadaster. Previous faculty winners are El Hadi Jazairy (2017), Thomas Moran and Clark Thenhaus (2015), Adam Fure (2014), Andrew Holder (2014), Wesley McGee (2013), Catie Newell (2011), Geoffrey Thun and Kathy Velikov (2008), Craig Borum and Karl Daubmann (2006), Keith Mitnick and Mireille Roddier (2004), Steven Mankouche (2003), and Mónica Ponce de León (1997).
North Star “ The buildings have a consistency to them in terms of how they look, but they also have a functional consistency. They really turned the campus from a 19th-century campus to a much more modern 20thcentury campus.”
This spring, the Arch 562 Propositions Studio imagined prospective visions for U-M’s North Campus through a collection of 12 projects. As a site distinct from Central Campus and Downtown Ann Arbor, North Campus becomes an ideal test-bed for innovative forms of university campus urbanism, exploring the potential for emerging technologies to influence new forms, configurations, and occupancies of campus buildings, housing, infrastructure, and collective open space — with an eye to leveraging North Campus’ strengths to form a greater vision of the leadership and diversity of the exceptional research, living, and learning that are possible. The projects in the exhibition were developed by M.Arch and M.U.D. students under the direction of Visiting Assistant Professor Andrew Moddrell, Lecturer Laura-Anne Wong, M.Arch ’15 and Chair Sharon Haar. They are intended to spark interest and conversation with the wider community as to next steps toward building an unprecedented future for North Campus.
— Claire Zimmerman, associate professor of architecture and history of art and coordinator of doctoral studies in architecture, referencing U-M’s Hill Auditorium and other campus buildings designed by Albert Kahn in the March 26 New York Times story, “In Energized Detroit, Savoring an Architectural Legacy.” The story takes readers on an architectural tour of the Detroit area’s Kahndesigned buildings.
In September, Saint Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan, dedicated a new chapel designed by Professor Craig Borum, FAIA, and Associate Professor Jen Maigret through their firm, PLY+.
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New Faculty + Fellows Join Taubman College reshaping the built environment. He co-founded the Ann Arbor-based design practice EXTENTS with Associate Professor McLain Clutter.
Sir David Adjaye OBE will be the Clipson Visiting Professor in Architecture in winter 2019, teaching an advanced prototyping course with Catie Newell, associate professor of architecture and director of the master of science in architecture concentration in digital and material technologies. The course, which is part of Taubman College’s pursuit of building sector innovations, will explore a material concept or method, facilitated by the expertise and machinery in the FABLab. Adjaye, who is recognized as a leading architect of his generation, also will deliver a public lecture.
Upali Nanda is an associate professor of practice in architecture. She is director of research at HKS, a global architecture firm, where she leads and implements healthcare and 8
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design research projects. She also serves as the executive director at the Center for Advanced Design Research and Evaluation, a nonprofit initiative of HKS. In January, she will teach design and health courses and, along with other Taubman College faculty, will pursue interdisciplinary research with the U-M medical community. In August, she received the 2018 Women in Architecture Innovator Award from Architectural Record.
Cyrus Peñarroyo is now an assistant professor of architecture, after joining the college in 2015 as the Muschenheim Fellow. His work as a designer and educator explores the interplay between architecture and contemporary digital culture, particularly concerning how the construction and circulation of images are
The college also has welcomed new lecturers in architecture. Jacob Comerci previously worked with Bureau Spectacular in Chicago and Los Angeles and with MOS Architects and LTL Architects in New York. Irene Hwang, who also begins a two-year appointment as the assistant chair, served as director of business development for the New York-based Deborah Berke Partners. She was the 2010–2011 Oberdick Fellow. Athar Mufreh is co-founder of the Brooklyn-based architecture practice Cadaster with incoming Oberdick Fellow Gabriel Cuéllar. Nicholas Quiring, M.Arch ’07, is the founder of 515 Studio, a collaborative design forum. Again this year, post-graduate fellows are bringing some of the best emerging talent to Taubman College. The 2018–2019 Oberdick Fellow (Project) is Gabriel Cuéllar. He is co-director (with Lecturer Athan Mufreh) of Cadaster, and his work during the fellowship focuses on real property. Liz Gálvez is the 2018– 2019 Muschenheim Fellow (Design). She is the founder of the architectural practice office.for.example (e.g.), and her research focuses on American housing models, with an emphasis on questions of lifestyle and culture. De Peter Yi, B.S. ’10, is the 2018–2019 Walter B. Sanders Fellow (Research). He works on cross-cultural sites in the contemporary city, and his research mines and reimagines the physical and intangible forces that bring form together toward new modes of design theory and practice. Bryan Norwood, an assistant professor of architecture, is a postdoctoral scholar in
the Michigan Society of Fellows. His research focuses on architecture and building practices in the United States in the 19th century. Sara Timberlake, M.Arch ’18, YoungTack Oh, M.Arch ’15, Manuel Shvartzberg-Carrió, and Nora Krinitsky have joined the college as Michigan Mellon Fellows. Claudia Isaac has joined the urban and regional planning faculty as the Sojourner Truth Fellow. She is a professor at the University of New Mexico, and she conducts community engaged scholarship and practice, particularly concerning
community education, local organization development, and scholarly civic engagement. New this year, a multiyear postdoctoral fellowship supports emerging scholars who enhance to the college’s research capacities in building sector innovation, improved health outcomes, and sustainable urban strategies through academic innovation and contribution to the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda. In January, Arash Adel will serve as the first Taubman Postdoctoral Fellow.
HAIL TO THE CLASS OF 2018 A breakdown of the 241 newest members of the Taubman College alumni family.
42 Bachelor of Science
138 Master of Architecture
8 Master of Urban Design
35 Master of Urban Planning
14 Master of Science in Architecture
ArcPrepped Michigan Architecture Prep (ArcPrep) students prepare their models for final review at the Detroit Institute of Arts in June. Since ArcPrep’s inception in January 2015, 228 juniors in the Detroit Public Schools have completed the semester-long architecture immersion program.
2 Urban Planning Ph.D.
2 Architecture Ph.D. 9
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R+D Times Three Of the five R+D Awards presented by Architect Magazine in 2018, two went to teams of Taubman College faculty. A third entry earned one of five honorable mentions. The annual awards honor the research and technologies that have advanced the profession at every scale — from design strategies and building products to fabrication methods, installations, software, and materials.
trial CNC-knitting machine to create complicated play environments. Though aided by research, Ahlquist designs the undulating, funicular forms intuitively, guided by a sense of what will satisfy “the diversity of multisensory experiences that the audience of children with autism commands.”
Associate Professor Steven Mankouche, Lecturer Kasey Vliet, Professor Peter von Bülow, and Ph.D. candidate Omid Oliyan Torghabehi received a citation for “Limb, a Fantastical Take on Timber Construction,” which leverages the strength of tree crotches to create 3D structures. Because tree crotches — the connection points between a trunk and a limb, or between a main limb and an offshoot — are a single integrated piece, they are stronger than a joint that forces together disparate vertical and horizontal members. The team wondered whether they had a place in 21st-century design and found that while every crotch varies, most fall within a narrow range of angles, particularly after being milled. Using the team’s database of the most common angles, architects can input their angles, and an algorithm will crunch the values into an optimal arrangement for whatever structure the user wants to build. Assistant Professors Tsz Yan Ng and Wesley McGee and Lecturer Asa Peller received a citation for “Robotic Needle Felting Stitches New Possibilities.” Ng, McGee, and Peller considered how the traditional process of needle felting — in which a barbed needle pushes through layers of fabric and, as it pulls back, entwines the threads and thus the layers to unite the plies — could be integrated with robotic manufacturing to create a more efficient way to bind thermoplastic textiles. The result, which the team developed by using Taubman College’s FABLab, is an additive process somewhat analogous to 3D printing: A robotic head equipped with a needle is fed a strip of felt that it then lays out and attaches onto a foam substrate. “Integration into a robotic process not only enables precision and speed in manufacturing but also extends needle felting as a 3D process, especially for surfaces with complex geometries,” the team wrote. Assistant Professor Sean Ahlquist earned an honorable mention for “Social Sensory Architectures Offers Comfort and Healing Through Design,” which explores the impact of architecture on autism and sensory processing disorder. Inspired by his daughter, who is autistic and non-verbal, Ahlquist explores the interplay and distinction between textiles and structures by using an indus10
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Submissions by Taubman College faculty (top to bottom) McGee, Ng, and Peller; Mankouche, Vliet, and von Bulow; and Ahlquist earned 2018 R+D Awards from Architect Magazine.
An installation by Assistant Professor El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn of Design Earth is part of the U.S. Pavilion exhibition of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, which runs until November 25. The exhibition, Dimensions of Citizenship, features the work of seven architecture practices to “explore how citizenship may be defined, constructed, enacted, contested, or expressed in the built environment at seven different spatial scales.” Design Earth, whose scale is the cosmos, posits that “the space above Earth, as a site of existing human occupation and potential belonging, has become a territory that both captures the imagination and serves as a theater for existing conflicts or conditions.” In response, they present three geo-stories that speculate on the legal geography of citizenship when extended to “the province of all mankind.” Together the stories in “Cosmorama” (“Mining the Sky,” “Planetary Ark,” and “Pacific Cemetery”) ask how we should reckon with the epic and frontier narratives that have fueled space exploration, at a time when prospects of instability and extinction have become normal on Earth. The three stories are told through backlit triptych drawings placed in light boxes, and suspended, 3D heads in different materials — “a reinterpretation of a diorama,” Jazairy told the New York Times in July.
“Policymakers should welcome the entry of big players into that market.” — Jonathan Levine, professor of urban and regional planning, in a CNNMoney story about recent moves by ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer bike-sharing and scooter-sharing services.
Ann Arbor Atlanta Boston Charlottesville, VA Chicago Denver Detroit Greensboro, NC Houston Los Angeles Miami Minneapolis New York Philadelphia Providence, RI Rochester, MN San Diego San Francisco Seattle Toronto Washington, DC Cities with organizations that hosted 250 undergraduate and graduate architecture students, as well as urban and regional planning graduate students, during the Spring Break Connections externship program in February. The program gives students the opportunity to combine their academic studies with real-world experiences, while building a network. More than 200 architecture firms and urban planning organizations hosted students; many hosts were alumni. If your firm or organization is interested in being on the list to host an extern the week of March 4–8, 2019, complete an interest form at taubmancollege.umich.edu/ extern2019. We will determine matches based on our mix of alumni practices and student aspirations.
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Ana Morcillo Pallarés and Jonathan Rule, assistant professors of architecture and practice, received the award for research in the category of product/ prototype at the opening of the 14th Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism in Santander, Spain. The awards reflect technological progress and its application in architecture, urban planning, and the elaboration of prototypes produced and sold by the industry. The research is from their 2018 Taubman College Research Through Making Project, “CCFF: Catenary Concrete Funicular Formwork,” which explores the use of physical catenary and funicular modeling in conjunction with the precision of robotic concrete extrusion for the development of pattern-based thin concrete screens.
“Downtown Detroit will never be a bonanza like it was in the ’20s, but it will at least have turned around sufficient to generate the funding for schools, neighborhood developments, parks — just a functioning city government.” — Robert Fishman, professor of architecture and urban and regional planning, in an August 18, 2018, Business Insider story about billionaire Dan Gilbert’s investments in the city. Fishman also is principal investigator of the $1.3 million Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis. 12
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NSF Funds U-M Transit Study in Benton Harbor Robert Goodspeed, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, is part of a U-M team that recently received funding from the National Science Foundation for “Data-Informed Scenario Planning for Mobility Decision Making in Resource Constrained Communities.” The $1.4 million, four-year research engagement in Benton Harbor, Michigan, will involve collaborations with the local transit provider (TCATA), the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and Kinexus (a workforce development organization). The project involves data collection from surveys and existing city buses, which will be used to develop and analyze new transportation solutions. Goodspeed will lead a scenarioplanning process in which a stakeholder group will review and provide feedback on the team’s policy scenarios and data visualizations. He’ll also contribute to some of the data analysis work.
The project is led by U-M College of Engineering Professor Jerry Lynch. Goodspeed’s co-principal investigator is Tierra Bills, also with the College of Engineering.
Taubman College Team Wins 2018 AIA Studio Prize Associate Professor Matias del Campo, Assistant Professor of Practice Sandra Manninger, and a group of M.Arch Class of 2018 students were awarded the 2018 AIA Studio Prize. The New Grand Tour Studio, which speculates about the architecture of CERN’s satellite campus at the Future Circular Collider (FCC), was selected by the jury as one of the most compelling studios in U.S. architectural education today.
Taubman College’s student-run publication, Agora: The Urban Planning and Design Journal, won the 2018 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals. Karen Otzen, M.U.P. ’18, served as editor, and the Agora team consisted of Emily Burrowes, William Doran, Brad Kotrba, Eric Krohngold, and JP Mansolf, all M.U.P. ’18, as well as current students Colin Brown, Michael Friese, Gwen Gell, Greg Monroe, Andrew Moss, Karina Pazos, Jonathan Riley, Emily Smith, India Solomon, Sarah Stachnik, Peter Swinton, Matt Tse, Karis Tzeng, and Jessica Wunsch. Julie Steiff, lecturer in urban and regional planning, and Scott Campbell, associate professor of urban and regional planning, served as faculty advisers.
CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, asked del Campo and Manninger to develop a studio that speculates about the program, morphology, and location for a future campus for a higher-performance particle collider. The goal was to critically interrogate the typology and morphology of the campus, in collaboration with one of the world’s most advanced scientific communities. “Though the studio was invested in the forensic examination of the typology of the campus, it was at the same time pushing for the evolution of contemporary sensibilities and means of expression,” says del Campo. “It was crucial to transform the idea of the campus into a frame for possible alternative design ecologies,” adds Manninger. Students in the New Grand Tour Studio were Ashish Bhandari, B.S. ’15, M.Arch ’18, Westley Josiah Burger, B.S. ’10, M.Arch ’18, Nathan Michael Wesseldyk, B.S. ’15, M.Arch ’18, and M.Arch ’18 students Robert Allsop, Daniel Barrios, Kevin Bukowski, Stephanie Bunt, Benny Cruz, Victor Emmanuel Dionisio, Allison Ford, Sung Su Kim, Yongjoon Kim, Feier Lan, Xin Shen, Wei Wu, Dongfang Xie, and Shufan Zhang.
“ There are interesting conversations about how you create a social mixer in public space in Detroit. Usually planners are like, ‘How do I make Black people who don’t feel like they belong here comfortable?’ But what happens when Black folks are the majority? It’s like, ‘Well, how do we make white people feel comfortable in our space?’” — Marc Norman, associate professor of practice in urban and regional planning, in a July 2018 conversation in Urban Omnibus with Maurice Cox, director of planning and development for the City of Detroit. ONLINE EXTRA: Read Norman and Cox’s conversation about developing Detroit at urbanomnibus.net/2018/07/growing-in-the-gaps.
GLOBA L IMMERSION EACH YEAR, SPRING STUDIOS TAKE undergraduate architecture students and graduate students in architecture and urban and regional planning around the United States and across the globe — offering them the chance to broaden their exposure while gaining access to facilities, groups, and individuals that otherwise might be inaccessible. Courses are selected, organized, and directed by individual faculty with interests in a particular country, region, or city. With this year’s courses ranging from Mexico to Morocco and Utah to Ukraine, students again tackled exciting and unique educational, research, and service opportunities in traditional and nontraditional sites for architectural exploration. North Africa and the French Imaginary students in the Sahara Desert.
Emoción Estética: Light, Color, and Solitude searched for glimpses of the Mexican International Style, embodied by Luis Barragán, in an intensive study of the solemn, spiritual spaces he designed, juxtaposed in the bustling metropolis of Mexico City. Instructor: Yojairo Lomeli
“ The use of bright, fearless color will always stick with me. I was one of those anti-color architects before the trip.” — Michael Griffin, M.Arch student
“I learned to walk with my eyes and draw the line in my mind. And I learned that drawing is a meditation.” — Elpis Wong, M.Arch student LSA sophomore Oscar Martinez at Cuadra San Cristobal, Ciudad López Mateos, Mexico.
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Troublemakers: Land Art/Large-Scale Earthworks and American Infrastructure experienced the departure of art from the gallery by traveling through several U.S. states to engage, connect, and differentiate between land art, earthworks, large-scale infrastructure, and massive, naturally occurring formations. Instructor: Jeff Halstead
“ One thing I learned during the trip is that in a society that is becoming ever faster, it is important to take moments of pause and appreciate not only the art and architecture we are surrounded by, but the natural beauty that exists within this country and worldwide.” — David Alcala, M. Arch student
“ Troublemakers satiated a thirst that I did not know I had: to experience the land, radical users of that land, and the remnants left of those efforts. I was truly affected by our workshop and private tour through the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Experiencing the work by Judd, Flavin, Andre, Chamberlain, Irwin, Horn, and many more was timely and necessary in my architectural endeavors.” — Delaney McCraney, M.Arch student 15 untitled works in concrete (Donald Judd), Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas.
Experimental Japan examined new approaches to cultural creation by seeking out, engaging with, and creating filmic narratives about those who are actively contributing to Tokyo’s art, architecture, and design scene. Instructor: Peter Halquist
“Naoshima was the highlight of the trip and will remain one of my favorite places in the world. Being able to navigate the entire island by bike opened up the landscape to a different experience that reinforces the relationship between the site and the art and architecture.” — Julia Jeffs, M.Arch student
“I have always wanted to try working with film, and this studio seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn a new technique. Working with video helped me focus on one aspect of Japanese culture — the use of hands.” — Ashish Bhandari, B.S. ’15, M.Arch ’18 Professor Peter Halquist and B.S. student Mark Hibberd at a Sou Fujimoto-designed pavilion, Naoshima, Japan.
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Architectural Identity: Coastal Exploration of Cultural Transference explored the role architecture has played in constructing and deconstructing the identity of cultures over time by traveling along the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco, France, and Italy, considering materials and methods of construction but also origins of color and form. Instructor: Dawn Gilpin
“I chose this studio because the topic of identity, and the role of designers in dislocating, agitating, dislodging, preserving, tracing, and reflecting the facets of place that affect a location’s self, seemed an apt and timely discussion in our current state of globalization and our technologically headlong field.” — Don David, M.Arch student
“ Throughout the trip, I continued to question and reconsider my conceptions of what culture is (or isn’t). Traveling helps enable recognition of patterns unnoticed through habits or conditioning; I always come home with new realizations and questions.” — Hanna Jeffers, B.S. ’18 Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain.
North Africa and the French Imaginary traveled to the former French colonies of Morocco and Algeria, as well as France, to investigate legacies of the Modernist project in North Africa and examine the confrontation between the agendas of Modernism and the Casbah. Instructor: Brittany Utting
“ Coming from a colonial country myself, I wanted to understand the foreign influence in different places and try and relate it to my own experience. I saw that neither the oppressor nor the oppressed, especially in a colonial setup, defines the culture of the place — it is the fragments that break or shed away from the host, find themselves in a marriage which best suits the various parts.” — Akshay Srivastava, M. Arch student Students demonstrate maize-and-blue spirit in Marrakech, Morocco.
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Soviet Modernism visited key sites that were built in Georgia, Armenia, and Ukraine between 1920 and 1991 in order to explore the architectural legacy of Soviet public buildings, called “palaces,” that served the general population as sites for communal and cultural activities. Instructor: Ashley Bigham
“As an Asian-American of Korean descent, it was often made apparent by locals’ interactions with me how much I stood out within overwhelmingly white countries. It was interesting to consider how the lack of racial diversity in these regions affected the way many people related to those whose appearances were markedly different from their own. … Being in and studying these countries makes it clear how much there is to know and learn from their histories and cultures, which are often unfortunately overlooked in the U.S.” — Leah Hong, B.S. student Leah Hong at Republic Square Metro Station, Yerevan, Armenia.
Updating the Visual Lexicon: Venice Biennale to Berlin Biennale developed a n updated w ay of visual thinking w ithin the contemporary city by surveying Venice, Milan, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin to discover architectural “ lookalikes,” or visual synonyms, and other morphologically similar architectural elements and aesthetic patterns. Instructor: Laida Aguirre
“Spring Travel is an incredibly unique experience within Taubman College. Being able to work closely with a professor to analyze architecture in situ was truly eye opening and has expanded my understanding of contemporary practice.” — John Vieweg, M. Arch student
“ The trip initiated many disciplinary discussions on site, under a global context, which pushed us to further think about the interrelationships between practice and academia, social issues and possible solutions, and digital images and materialized spaces — and, as architects and designers, what responsibilities and ownership we have.” — Autumn Mengqiu Zhao, M. Arch student Students explore IULM University, Milan, Italy.
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CO VER S TO RY
BUILDING TOMORROW Dean Jonathan Massey looks to the future for Taubman College and for the architecture and planning professions By Amy Spooner THERE WAS THE MOMENT ON DAY 39 of his deanship, when he stood in the midst of a crowd of excited students, faculty, and alumni to dedicate the new, $28.5 million A. Alfred Taubman Wing. And the April morning he sat not at, but on midfield at college football’s biggest venue, as one of the platform dignitaries celebrating the University of Michigan’s newest alumni on their graduation day. But mostly, says Dean Jonathan Massey, the theme of his first year at the helm of Taubman College has not been grandiosity. Rather, “it’s been a continual, ever-deeper understanding that I am part of a big enterprise that a lot of talented people are passionately committed to.” Foremost among them are alumni, Massey says. From the moment he was announced as Taubman College’s next dean in May 2017, friends and colleagues from near and far offered congratulatory messages with common themes: the University of Michigan is amazing, my years at Michigan were the best of my life, you are going to love Ann Arbor. “The level of school spirit among University of Michigan alumni is like nothing I’ve experienced before,” Massey says.
Dean Jonathan Massey addresses a standing-room-only crowd of students and faculty at the September 8, 2017, Dean’s Inaugural Lecture.
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Developing and sharing his vision with the global Taubman College community has been important in Massey’s first year; he knows some elements present a paradigm shift. Conversations with faculty, staff, and students have informed, refined, and clarified his agenda, Building Tomorrow, and in his first year he also met with alumni around the country to share his ideas.
“The society that relies on architects to translate its needs and desires into built form deserves better. The underrepresented population turned away by the cost and other challenges of architectural education deserves better. Those of us in the field deserve better.” — Dean Jonathan Massey
With Building Tomorrow, Massey envisions Taubman College becoming even more of a research powerhouse, especially in the areas of post-digital design, emerging urbanisms, and building sector innovation — all of which play to its inherent strengths as part of one of the country’s preeminent research universities. As Massey has learned in his first year on campus, “Michigan is a place that likes to think big.” Another key element of Building Tomorrow is a human-centered redesign of the education that Taubman College offers, aimed at improving student learning and success while expanding access. Massey is a product of the current model of architectural education and, like graduates of rigorous programs worldwide, is proud of the effort he put in, especially as a student and early-career practitioner, in order to be successful. He also is proud of his profession and the influence it can wield. But he’s troubled by the marked gaps in participation and advancement by gender and ethnicity within education, leading into a profession where these disparities are even more pronounced. “I am passionate about design and about architecture’s intellectual and creative capacities. I wouldn’t have come to Taubman College if it didn’t have a kick-ass, lively, and intense experimental design culture,” he says. “But the society that relies on architects to translate its needs and desires into built form deserves better. The underrepresented population turned away by the cost and other challenges of architectural education deserves better. Those of us in the field deserve better.” The demands of the traditional educational environment — the intense time-to-credit-hour ratio, the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses competitiveness of the studio, escalating student debt coupled with the near impossibility of holding down part-time work as a student, and the long road to licensure — “powerfully equip those who are willing and able to pursue it,” Massey says, “but weed a lot of people out in the process. And we lose a huge diversity of talent as a result.” He has written and spoken extensively about the notion of “building the profession we deserve,” including an
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op-ed in The Architect’s Newspaper in September, and notes that “we” refers to those inside and outside the architecture profession. “It’s mostly about what society deserves in its built environment — people who are knowledgeable and empathetic about building a world that supports a diversity of people equitably. But at the same time, we in the field deserve a better professional world. I get energized by a diverse workforce with leadership from many types of people; I know others do, too.” Changing the profession must start in the schools, Massey argues. A cornerstone of his Building Tomorrow agenda is what he calls equity innovation — academic innovation that promotes equitable access to learning
Town Hall (opposite page) in the Taubman College Commons, A. Alfred Taubman Wing. Dean Massey’s first year on campus (above) included lectures, symposia, and alumni events around the country. He sees campus partnerships like MCity (middle right) helping to make Taubman College even more of a research powerhouse during his tenure.
and professional opportunity — in both the architecture and urban and regional planning programs. “Architecture and planning education at Taubman College remain little changed by the technological and business disruptions underway in some higher education sectors,” Massey says. “This inertia is a strength, preserving high levels of student-faculty engagement, deep learning, and high levels of capacity development. It also is a liability, making demands on student time and finances that undermine success in other dimensions of life, isolate our students from other people and opportunities, and exacerbate disparities in access.” This spring, Massey launched an Equity Innovation initiative aimed at the human-centered redesign of Taubman College’s educational offerings. He convened a task force to explore ways to reduce the time, cost, and geographic hurdles of attending the college, as well as focus on student success. “One of my learnings from being in the midst of the tech sector and in the Bay Area, where interaction design was driving a lot of innovation, 21
was to realize that educational processes and practices often are built out from a faculty-centered perspective,” he says, referencing his previous deanship at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Instead, Massey wants to focus on the end user — prospective students, current students, and other stakeholders like alumni and employers who engage with the college. “We already do a great job in the format in which we offer our education. But I think we can diversify the ways that we help people develop their capabilities so that we engage a broader range of people and do so with greater success. “We are revamping our educational model not because it’s bad, but because we are passionately committed to it and think it could be better.” The Equity Innovation initiative includes a multiyear competitive incentive funding program to elicit, develop, pilot, and deploy new approaches conceived by faculty and staff at Taubman College. It called for proposals to develop or pilot new modes and formats of teaching and learning, curricular reformulation, and process innovations that promise to make a Taubman College education more inclusive, accessible, affordable, and satisfying by giving students the options they need to find the most viable path to and through school. The five winning proposals, which in total are receiving more than $52,000 in funding, include establishing a peer mentorship program; incorporating emerging technologies like massive open online courses (MOOCs); and enhancing the global and cultural competence of planning students, as well as 22
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the profile of the field and the college, by strengthening and expanding teaching materials grounded in perspectives from the Global South. “One of our winning proposals came from an earlycareer member of our marketing communications team; another came from a group of tenure-track faculty,” Massey says. “It speaks to the breadth of talent at the college and our shared enthusiasm for moving the needle in transforming education.” Massey says one of the things that drew him to Taubman College was the chance to explore these ideas of education reform — which he began developing earlier in his career — on a larger stage. How broad that stage is, though, has been the biggest surprise of his inaugural year in Ann Arbor. “I knew Taubman College is a place that has bigger capacity and can make a bigger impact than where I’ve previously taught. But I have been blown away by the level of preeminence in research, teaching, and learning across so many fields of knowledge and study at the University of Michigan. It’s a formidable place, and Taubman College plays into that — and in so doing, transcends what traditional architecture and planning programs, by themselves, can do.”
Dean Massey says that initiatives like Equity Innovation and Prototyping Tomorrow will help to position Taubman College as a leader in creating an innovative, inclusive environment that trains a diverse array of highly skilled practitioners.
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“We are revamping our educational model not because it’s bad, but because we are passionately committed to it and think it could be better.” — Dean Jonathan Massey In his second year, Massey looks forward to continuing to leverage that formidability — through further partnerships with the College of Engineering around building sector innovation; with the Ross School of Business, the School for Environment and Sustainability, and other units around emerging urbanisms; and with MCity and multiple facets of the University that are working on smart city technology.
outside of conventionalized epistemologies of urban development. It features Associate Professor of Architecture McLain Clutter, Lecturer Cyrus Peñarroyo, and Muschenheim Fellow Laida Aguirre working with colleagues from U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability and the Cleveland-based nonprofit LAND studio. Prototyping Tomorrow and other initiatives to support interdisciplinary research, Massey says, will build upon Taubman College’s core strength in training future architects and planners for the ever-evolving world of practice, while simultaneously leveraging U-M’s vast, divergent collateral capacities to make the impact of those core strengths even greater. At the same time, he also sees opportunities for Taubman College to “shape winning geographies” by increasing opportunities for students and faculty to engage with partner institutions and research collaborators around the world, in Detroit, and even across the street through initiatives like the current effort to reimagine North Campus.
To aid such efforts, in March he announced a faculty research seed program, Prototyping Tomorrow, which builds on the college’s legacy of supporting research that generates knowledge in targeted focus areas by offering a new multiyear cycle of competitive funding for projects that use physical, virtual, historical, or social prototyping to test hypotheses about architecture, planning, and urban design. Prototyping Tomorrow especially encourages proposals that activate collaboration between fields within the college, with another U-M unit, or with an external partner. “Whether at the scale of a component, situation, simulation, building, or city, prototyping moves concepts from ideas into some form of provisional reality that allows them to be studied, tested, and refined iteratively,” Massey says. “By foregrounding the interplay between concept and outcome, prototyping develops ideas and moves them toward potential deployment.” The seven recipients of the inaugural Prototyping Tomorrow grants cover a broad array of interests at Taubman College and beyond. For example, “Post Post Rock” is co-led by Meredith Miller and Thomas Moran, both assistant professors of architecture, in partnership with U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship. The project is enhancing the college’s work in building sector innovation by working to define a specific building application for a new stone-like material that Miller and Moran have developed by combining waste plastics and construction debris. Another project, “Collective Reality: Image without Ownership,” is developing an augmented reality application that will allow residents of marginalized urban communities to image alternative spatial and social scenarios
It’s work that Massey says will require the buy-in and passion of Taubman College stakeholders worldwide — which is yet another reason why he sees the alumni community as a tremendous asset. “Our greatest growth potential lies in aiming our professional capacities outward in strategic partnership in order to have the most impact on the future of the built environment. And alumni are key partners in that because they are the ones out in the world of practice, seeing emerging patterns and potentials, often at the leading edge. “I see alumni as true thought partners in how we can build what we already know onto a set of emerging capacities that will meaningfully put Taubman College at the forefront of the architecture and planning fields.” 23
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DESIGNING EQUI T Y Taubman College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy is a leader among architecture and planning schools
What is DEI?
A: DIVERSITY: is expressed in myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.
EQUITY: is the assurance of non-discrimination and equal opportunity for all persons in our community. Race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status are irrelevant to the right of each individual to equitable access and standing. INCLUSION: ensures that our campus is a place where differences are welcomed, differing perspectives are respectfully heard, and where every individual feels a sense of belonging and connection. A: U-M President Mark Schlissel announced a comprehensive investment in DEI in 2015, and directed all campus units to develop DEI plans. Taubman College published its initial plan in October 2016. When he became dean in September 2017, Dean Massey expanded the plan as part of his vision to “build the discipline we deserve,” so that architecture and planning education is more accessible and inclusive, and so the professions better understand and reflect the needs of all. We envision a community with a diversity of people, ideas, and perspectives, where everyone feels a sense of belonging. We are developing policies, practices, and procedures that are more equitable, so everyone in our community gets the support that
Why are we focusing on DEI?
they need in order to succeed academically, personally, and professionally, and so we reduce bias, harassment, and discrimination.
What are we doing?
A: Taubman College is at the leading edge of creating organizational change in architecture and planning education and, by extension, in the professions. Our DEI strategy is the most robust of any top architecture school and has become a model for other institutions. It includes:
• Partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions and K-12 schools, including the popular Michigan Architecture Prep program for high school juniors in Detroit • Workshops for students, faculty, and staff • “I Am Taubman College” poster campaign • Equity Innovation and Prototyping Tomorrow grant programs • Hiring a full-time DEI specialist, Joana Dos Santos, in 2017 and a graduate student staff assistant in 2018 to support these efforts A: We welcome your ideas on how to make Taubman College a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Contact TaubmanCollegeDEI@umich.edu and learn more at taubmancollege. umich.edu/about/dei
How can you help?
“The University of Michigan’s strong global reputation gives us the opportunity to shape an important conversation. Why shouldn’t we be leaders in institutionalizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, when we are leaders in so many other ways?” — Joana Dos Santos, Taubman College DEI Specialist
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Launched in the spring, â€œI Am Taubman Collegeâ€? recognizes students, faculty, and staff for their efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through posters that are prominently displayed throughout the building.
ONLINE EXTRA: See Fatima Al Zaabi (bottom right) talk about her time at Taubman as part of our Studio Sessions series at taubmancollege.umich.edu/alzaabi-video
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Q: What Are You Thinking About? Constructing my dreams. With this focus, the “content of my character” is perhaps the clearest expression of my life’s “bricks and mortar.” This “keystone” of content sustains my wider-world of navigation; it also reflects an inner architecture of moral and ethical values being actively developed or quietly chosen to guide my public conduct. As I give conscious attention to this underlying compass, I now understand my character and “character-building” to be a daily/lifelong reflection of “selfdesigning” — not a static collection of “traits” somehow inherited; nor a biological pattern. In short, I now understand my character as the (moment-to-moment) “home of my moral-ethical compass” … a “work in progress.” In particular, I have been reflecting on a timely bit of “inner sight” shared by Grace Murray Hopper, Ph.D., famed co-developer of the UNIVAC 1 computer: “A ship in port is safe; but that’s not what ships are built for.” Grace’s connected path of words stirs a recurring question ever nearer my deepest center … “What am i built for?” In considering this question, I am reminded, foremost, of my unique human capacity to be imaginative—to continually exercise imagination, whenever, wherever needed. I am reminded particularly
of how I might now imagine evermore encompassing ways for addressing the “3p” (personal / public / planetary) obligations that increasingly define our present millennium. I am further reminded of my overarching challenge to address these troika obligations with unbroken commitment. Attempting to envision practical navigating tools for doing so, I am also realizing that such tools would/should impact Third Millennium design practice —mine included. Why is this interesting to you? Pivoting to Martin Luther King Jr., I’m wondering above all, what “3p” navigating tools might mean for the inherent structure of my mind-body/ spatial-spiritual “designer-ship.” Introducing a bit of translation, I am now more fully understanding that my “spirit(uality)” speaks centrally to the “q(uality)” of my individual life — i.e., to the inherent dignity, self-worth, and empowering spiritual oneness of my individ(uality). Meaning, if my aim is to respect and sustain what I am coming to understand as an all-encompassing “personal / public / planetary wellness,” I must, also, respect that I am interdependent; necessarily linked through relationships of mutual consequence and common well-being. Second, I must understand that my quest to live sustainably will require an equal commitment to live accountably. [Ecological sustainability = personal accountability.] Attempting to anchor my “dream constructions” in these twin references, my work is challenged to serve as a practical “life guide” for balancing individual dreams, passions, and purpose with our common need to live sustainably.
What are the implications for design-planning professions? Here, I pivot again to Dr. Hopper, and to my overarching personal question of “What am i built for?” I also pivot to Rui Moreira, the mayor of Porto, Portugal, who said, “I cannot conceive of managing a city that is prosperous, but only for some.” As with Dr. Hopper, Mayor Moreira’s connected path of words suggests that rather than start with implications for professions, industries, the Church, government, et al., the more critical implication for a sustaining and sustainable “leadership” may well lie at the personal/individual level. Meaning that stewardship is ultimately about the “steward”; planning is ultimately about the “planner”; designing is ultimately about the “designer.” leadership n. our human capacity for caring — for sharing deeply in one’s own dreams and/or deeply in the dreams of others—in ways that serve to inspire; an inherent capacity which each of us must choose to exercise (in our own unique way) if we are to make our “dreams” (our visions) real; a capacity exercised with the understanding that “caring,” alone, is not enough; specifically, the act of putting our “caring” into action — caring enough to act. Emeritus Professor James Chaffers, FAIA, M.Arch ’69, D.Arch ’71, focuses his career on exploring design links between spatial quality and human spirituality and for 14 years was senior design consultant for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial. He teaches a design seminar for graduate-level students. 27
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Q: What Are You Thinking About? A.
Concrete. We’ve been thinking about and also literally getting our hands dirty with concrete lately. It’s a project that combines a number of shared interests between us, specifically McGee’s expertise in additive manufacturing and Ng’s work exploring new techniques and applications for concrete. Recently, we received two grants, one from the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative and another from Taubman College’s Prototyping Tomorrow program, to explore concrete 3D printing for precast assemblies. There are many people, both from the building industry and from numerous research groups around the world, who are working on deploying 3D printing at construction scales, but it still is nascent in terms of application — and the potential for design is extensive. It’s a big topic with many component parts, all of which are possible moments of innovation. It also is a topic that has a shared interest across disciplines, and we have been fortunate to link up with Dr. Victor Li, a material scientist at U-M’s
College of Engineering, to develop specific printing processes with his tailored Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC) cement. The aim of this collaboration is to push the limits of what concrete can do so that it’s stronger, more resilient, durable, sustainable, and, last but not least, still is aesthetically pleasing. Why is this interesting to you? Broadly, we are interested in this research not only in how it will impact the future of construction for the building industry, but also in how this technology will spawn new designs that simply were not possible before, given the limitations in concrete fabrication. We both have backgrounds working with concrete and understand the cost and labor involved in building with it. While concrete is one of the most ubiquitously used materials for building around the world, the labor involved for formwork production, setup, and casting is extensive, making it expensive and time consuming. As a new technology for construction, 3D printing has the potential to disrupt existing industry norms for building with concrete. The fact that 3D printing has the potential to reduce or eliminate formwork for casting fundamentally will change how we build with this material. Where it becomes interesting is its potential to change how we design buildings. What are the practical implications? One of the biggest implications for this technology is its potential to reduce the environmental impact of concrete. The elimination of casting formwork will reduce the waste associated with concrete forming. The increased geometric freedom of
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Wes McGee and Tsz Yan Ng the 3D printing process has numerous advantages. We can reduce the total amount of concrete used by as much as 30 percent or more by optimizing structural performance, especially in combination with Dr. Li’s ECC material. By employing computational design techniques, we can develop façade systems that direct airflow or sun shading in novel ways. The printing process also is compatible with emerging techniques like CO2 sequestration, which has the potential to make concrete not only carbon neutral but carbon positive. We also are looking at techniques in which the design of the concrete mix can be varied on the fly, which is not possible with traditional casting techniques. While there still is a lot of work to do before 3D printing of concrete will become widespread, we think it has far-reaching potential for architectural design and construction. Wes McGee is an assistant professor of architecture and the director of Taubman College’s FABLab. Tsz Yan Ng is an assistant professor of architecture and the principal of an independent architecture and art practice with built works in the United States and China.
â€œThe aim of this collaboration is to push the limits of what concrete can do so that itâ€™s stronger, more resilient, durable, sustainable, and, last but not least, still is aesthetically pleasing.â€?
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SHOR ING UP COA STA L COMMUNI T IES Professor Richard Norton’s research helps coastal Michigan towns protect their beauty and their economies By Greta Guest HANNAH ANDERSON, THE MAYOR of Bridgman, Michigan, remembers the thrill of sledding down the sand dunes above Weko Beach right onto frozen Lake Michigan on winter days in the 1950s. “When I was growing up, there was nothing down there but sand, the lake, dunes, and this little, dilapidated old building we affectionately called our beach house,” she says. By the 1960s, things had started to change for Bridgman, a small lakeside town in Michigan’s southwesternmost county: A road was paved to the lake, the beach house was expanded, and a parking lot soon followed. In the 1980s, high water had city officials sandbagging the beach house and trying to protect the beach with boulders.
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Professor Richard Norton (opposite page) says that while the process of erosion is “remorseless and irreversible,” communities can find ways to adapt, and to preserve the beauty of an ecosystem that is vital to Michigan’s $24 billion tourist industry.
“Over time, they realized that putting the rubble in makes things worse,” Anderson says. Shoreline erosion also has affected an old boat ramp on the beach. The city shells out $8,000 a year to add gravel to set and stabilize it, and that seems like a waste to Juan Ganum, Bridgman’s city manager. City officials are considering getting rid of the ramp. “Gravel costs are the most painful because the wind and wave action continuously take what we deposit,” Ganum says. “It’s like throwing money into the water.” Several lake towns along the state’s western edge have faced even more costly damage to their beaches and structures because of fluctuating Great Lakes water levels. In New Buffalo, severe shoreline erosion has cost private homeowners more than $7 million for repairs and resulted in one house demolition.
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or even decades and reshaping beaches in the process. When water levels remain low for some time, coastal landowners are tempted to build closer to the shoreline; when water levels rise again, those areas may be at risk.
Richard Norton, professor of urban and regional planning and recent chair of the program, is part of a program that trains local officials in coastal management and helps them better understand the threats posed by climate change and building in floodplains. The training aims to preserve the beloved, and economically vital, shorelines and beaches of the Great Lakes. Visitors to Michigan spent nearly $24 billion in 2017, and hitting the beach or waterfront was among the top five activities, according to a report prepared for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Norton — with researchers from U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability and Graham Sustainability Institute, the Land Information Access Association, Michigan Technological University, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality — has developed scenario-based planning methods to help Great Lakes coastal communities make land use and development decisions in light of fluctuating water levels and increasing storms. Norton’s team helps local planners analyze shore dynamics, potential fiscal liabilities, environmental vulnerabilities, and other land use impacts. They also developed a variety of regulatory and infrastructure policy options that local governments could consider adopting to better protect coastal areas and to address challenges related to changing water levels. Through a program called Resilient Michigan, they have blended scientific knowledge and best coastal management practices to identify hazard areas along Lake Michigan’s shore and engage community groups in the process. The researchers’ coastal management knowledge has been shared through 50 public presentations in communities along the west side of the state during the past three years, attended by a mix of city officials and homeowners. “We’ve gotten away with not thinking about the lakes because water levels were low,” Norton says. “Now, several communities have seen damage from rising levels. There are stretches along Lake Michigan where the beaches are gone.” That has local officials concerned and wondering how to manage their coasts, which can be challenging because of the uniquely dynamic nature of the Great Lakes system. Although the lakes are not tidal, water levels fluctuate substantially, rising and falling over periods of years
For example, the report indicates that the city of Grand Haven faces development pressure with demand for new or retrofitted single-family homes. The city’s primary concerns about their shoreland areas are related to stormwater management and water quality protection, the encroachment of coastal homes too close to Lake Michigan, and development in high-risk flood areas.
Researchers detailed a number of actions and policies that Grand Haven could adopt to address the concerns, including using low-impact development to address the city’s stormwater management and sensitive features, establishing new setback criteria to halt residential encroachment toward Lake Michigan, and adopting new building standards and/or risk-avoidance policies to minimize flood risk and damage in highly vulnerable Great Lakes coastal areas. As the climate continues to change, the research will provide insights relevant to freshwater lake systems around the world. “Lake Michigan’s shorelines are eroding landward, according to some estimates by as much as one foot per year on average,” Norton says. “This process is remorseless and irreversible, but there are ways that we can help communities adapt.” ONLINE EXTRA: Learn more about Norton's work at taubmancollege.umich.edu/norton-video
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Telling a Neighborhood’s Story Through her design studio, Akoaki, Assistant Professor Anya Sirota is restoring a sense of place to Detroit’s North End By Eric Gallippo
ANYA SIROTA HAS SPENT the last several years using architecture and design as a tool for urban renewal and cultural preservation in Detroit. From sustainable urban farms to Funkadelic-inspired motherships and nomadic arts councils to glittering “party palaces,” Sirota; her partner, Jean Louis Farges; and their design studio, Akoaki; have worked to restore a narrative of place and historical continuity in the city’s historic North End. The once-thriving entertainment district was frequented by musical giants like Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, George Clinton, and John Coltrane. But there are few markers pointing to any of that today. For Sirota, who recalls how Jewish cemeteries were paved over in her native Ukraine, it was heartbreaking to see this important part of African-American history vanishing when she moved to the area 10 years ago. “How do you tell a story if you remove all of the markers associated with that story?” asks Sirota, an associate professor of architecture. But she and Farges (a French-born designer who jokes, “We preserve every piece of stone in Europe”) haven’t tried to turn the neighborhood into a museum. Rather, they try to reintroduce the right signifiers to keep that history alive and help spark a new story told from the voice of the people who live there. Akoaki’s work — for which Sirota was awarded a 2018 Architectural League Prize — addresses the wreckage left behind by systemic racism, poor planning, and aggressive blight remediation in an area where resources are scarce. For example, finding a meeting space with a good roof, running water, and heat is a challenge in itself. But Sirota says design always is front and center. 34
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“We care about the way things look,” she says. “Perhaps it’s connected to something my grandfather always advised: ‘If you only have one pair of pants, be sure the crease you iron into them is really precise.’ I think that has something to do with our philosophy of design: How to take whatever assets or resources are at your disposal and maximize their impact — visually, spatially, socially, and environmentally — and think critically about all the consequences of your design actions.” Informed by their own backgrounds, the couple set out to apply the European idea of culture as a catalyst for change and economic development in a post-industrial world, but with one major difference — in the United States, public funding for this kind of work isn’t easy to come by. “We’ve looked for ways to design without the typical capital influx that permits architecture,” Sirota says. “So we’ve unintentionally addressed the perennial criticism of architecture, namely, its contingency on power and capital.” To that end, many of Akoaki’s structures have focused on inexpensive, temporary, portable installations that combine design with cultural programming, often tapping into Detroit’s rich musical and artistic history, with a flair for spectacle and celebration. Since the North End is where famed funk musician George Clinton assumed his Dr. Funkenstein persona in the 1970s, Akoaki designed a traveling “mothership” that houses a DJ, sound system, and light show and can “land” anywhere in the neighborhood, converting unused buildings or open lots into a pop-up nightclub.
Professor Anya Sirota, Jean Louis Farges, and Ziggy in the barn where they produce large-scale prototypes for Akoaki.
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Built with aluminum and steel, the structure quotes from Detroit’s auto manufacturing history. Its pieces were designed to be assembled with hand tools (like IKEA furniture) and fit into the back of a pickup truck, allowing easy access for anyone who wants to participate. For the inaugural “landing,” original members of Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic band performed for a crowd of 700. For a stage set for the Detroit Afrikan Funkestra, Akoaki worked with the Detroit Sound Conservancy to reference the original performance spaces and decor of historic neighborhood nightclubs, including the Blue Bird Inn and Phelps Lounge, to incorporate the spirit of those venues into a modern, portable backdrop that offers something more than a faithful recreation could. “The project taps into a hauntological sensibility, where for the audience there’s a fuzzy, dislocated sentiment that these are the appropriate colors, that there’s enough glitter, that it’s the right shape,” Sirota says. “Then we insert the construct into unlikely situations, and suddenly we have a hybrid citational mashup of stages activating an otherwise innocuous open space, and somehow it all seems natural. In this scenario, the musicians occupy center stage, suggesting that carefully calibrated programming is what gives these artifacts meaning.”
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Through efforts like its O.N.E. Mile project to revitalize a single mile of Oakland Avenue, as well its partnership with the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF), Akoaki also has helped build a network of local residents, artists, musicians, and activists — not to mention business and legal experts, nonprofits, and donors — who have become integral to the work and shared in its successes. For example, when UNESCO invited Akoaki to install a 10,000-square-foot exhibition at the 2017 Saint-Étienne Design Biennale, the principals brought with them to France a team of more than 30 neighborhood collaborators. “We’re reimagining the role of the architect as a negotiator — as an enabler and a galvanizer of networks of people,” Sirota says. Sirota estimates about 80 percent of Akoaki’s work happens before anything ever gets designed. It can make for a long, slow process, as with the current Detroit Cultivator project with OAUF. Akoaki has been working with the farm for nearly four years to develop a vision and “guiding plan” to make the farm self-sufficient and sustainable. Founded on vacant land with little value in 2008, the six-acre farm has been a community center and anchor for the North End, but until recently, the land it inhabited and infrastructure it built still was on the
market for cheap, even as Detroit’s real estate market surges. Today, much of that land has been purchased on the farm’s behalf, thanks to impact investors and grants from the Kresge Foundation and ArtsPlace America, secured with the help of Akoaki. Now in the design stage, the architecture of the farm is central to its future, with plans for an experimental store and visitors’ hostel to help generate revenue, rooftop rain collectors to irrigate crops, new build materials that absorb heat for longer hoop house growing seasons, and conscientious landscaping to keep neighbors happy. OAUF founder and manager Jerry Hebron says seeing the physical plans for the farm’s future laid out in front of her gave her a new appreciation for the value of her own work. “From an architectural and design perspective, they helped us realize the actual cultural impact we have made in this community and, in our plans for the future, how important that is,” Hebron says. Sirota’s work with Akoaki also has received plenty of attention outside of the North End. Besides the Architectural League Prize, her national recognition includes the ACSA Faculty Design Award (2016), the SXSW Eco Place by Design Award (2015), and the R+D Award from Architect Magazine (2013). She also speaks regularly on socially driven architecture at international lectures, panels, workshops, and expositions. In addition, Akoaki’s work in Detroit includes (opposite page, top right) “Mothership,” which turns empty spaces into popup nightclubs. Sirota exhibited at the 2017 Saint-Étienne International Design Biennale in France (above) and won the 2018 Architectural League Prize.
Akoaki is one of three groups of finalists in an international competition to design a new cultural district in Midtown Detroit. Sirota and Farges have added two topnotch architects from Europe as collaborators, as well as Assistant Professor Harley Etienne, Cezanne Charles, and John Marshall, associate professor of architecture and associate professor of art and design at the Stamps School of Art & Design. Charles and Marshall are co-founders of Detroit’s rootoftwo design studio. “It’s exciting to take this research that started on a large institutional scale and then dispersed into a community environment, and then learn from that community work in neighborhoods and plug it back into an urban-scale project at the institutional level,” Sirota says. Sirota translates that excitement into the classroom, says M.Arch student Jordan Laurila. He first met Sirota as her student and has worked for Akoaki since May, helping with the OAUF project, as well as travel logistics, exhibits, and post-processing work. “She is infectiously charming and possesses an intellect and sensibility that produces unique work, all without being pretentious about it,” he says. One major lesson Laurila says he’s learned from Sirota is that architecture is not only spatial but also systemic — that by expanding architecture to a spatial definition that is broader than a single building or structure while also thinking systemically, architecture can address a wider set of interests and problems. “The commitment to her practice’s ethos of community and neighborhood engagement through tactical and ephemeral projects make believers out of us all.” 37
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Fluid Borders Through Transnational Ecologies of the Rio Grande, Associate Professor Kathy Velikov helps students understand critical water issues By Nardy Baeza Bickel
ON ONE SIDE OF THE RIO GRANDE, residents access one of the most advanced water purifying systems in North America, which feeds the booming economy of El Paso, Texas. On the other side, residents of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, have sporadic access to drinkable water. In addition, many worry that houses built during the development boom spurred by international trade agreements will be washed away. This spring, 12 Taubman College graduate students traveled to the El Paso-Juárez region as part of Transnational Ecologies of the Rio Grande, a class taught by Kathy Velikov, associate professor of architecture. It was part of the initiative “Two Sides of the Border: Reimagining the Region” by Tatiana Bilbao, a Mexico City architect who teaches at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Yale and Columbia universities. Selected projects from the studio will be part of an exhibition at Yale University in November, and a forthcoming publication will feature work from all students involved. Velikov’s students studied the water issues affecting the 2.7 million people who rely on the Rio Grande and Paso del Norte Watershed. Many fear agriculture, industry, and population growth are sucking the river dry, but solutions are complicated: The river marks the border between the United States and Mexico. “Juárez experiences massive environmental and social injustices where people don’t have running water or safe water and live in vulnerable conditions due to rapid, 38
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uncontrolled urbanization,” says Velikov. “I wanted students to recognize this asymmetrical infrastructural development in the ways that, for example, water rights are manifest on each side of the border — and how control of water has become part of the urbanism, of the architecture of the city through the dams that partition the water.” The students traveled to El Paso-Juárez to document the sites and the living conditions of residents on both sides. In Juárez, students toured the city and its markets and spent time in the floodplains and other areas to better understand the issues and communities involved. “It was good to experience not only the neighborhoods that are in trouble but the main square full of vendors, how colorful it is,” Velikov says. “We saw an expanded view of the city that included its culture and the very real urban problems it’s facing.” Back in Ann Arbor, students developed their vision of a shared water institute and presented plans that included landscape designs for rehabilitating the ecology of the Rio Grande, a research institute that would engage a former toxic copper smelting site, a wastewater reclamation project, a community water emergency network, a water parliament for binational negotiation, and a new public space that also would clean the waters of one of Juárez’s irrigation canals.
Fraught with political tension, the U.S.-Mexico border also illustrates a deep divide in access to potable water that affects some 2.7 million people.
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“I wanted students to recognize this asymmetrical infrastructural development in the ways that, for example, water rights are manifest on each side of the border — and how control of water has become part of the urbanism, of the architecture of the city through the dams that partition the water.” — Kathy Velikov Shane Donnelly, an architecture and urban design student, says studying the region showed how recent U.S. government policies affect what was once a community that transcends borders — where people could easily cross the river and meet, work, and play together. “Because the border is very contentious now, people must jump through hoops to get to the American side. Families live on different sides, and citizens on both sides share this burden.”
Reddy wanted to propose solutions to help alleviate water shortages, so she focused on colonias, which are informal settlements from the 1960s and ’70s that developed rapidly as Juárez became more industrialized. The colonias lack reliable water sources and sanitation services. They also were built on arroyos (gullies), putting them in the path of destruction during flash floods.
Donnelly’s project, a floating urban territory, was inspired by the third nation concept developed by Michael Dear, who has written at length on issues facing the border region. “My proposed project looks at embracing this shared community and subverts the border by envisioning a space that removes itself from the physical territory of both nations — instead, making its own,” Donnelly says. The platform provides a space for families to be reunited and includes an institute where people can learn their rights as border citizens and how local resources are controlled. It reaches far into the U.S. side of the valley, touching down on points of importance like the University of Texas-El Paso. “This area is culturally, historically, and geographically unique, and people who live here feel like they are more connected to one another than to their host countries, thus the idea of a ‘third nation,’” says Donnelly. The situation resonated with M.Arch student Sneha Reddy, where two states in her native India share water rights. “It’s been a fight for three decades. While we face the same issues, El Paso-Juárez is a larger scale because two countries are involved,” she says.
Students traveled to the El Paso-Juárez region for the Taubman College course Transnational Ecologies of the Rio Grande, part of a larger initiative by Mexico City architect Tatiana Bilbao entitled “Two Sides of the Border: Reimagining the Region.”
“Mountain water flows in, but nobody uses it. It was a challenge for me to look at how, as an architect, we could address this issue,” says Reddy. She proposed using readily available local materials to slow down, but not stop, water flow so the community can gather and utilize it. Her plan includes a water retaining pond and community center. “It is their water; they should be empowered to use it.” Velikov said the students’ diverse take was exactly what she hoped for. “It is called a wicked problem because it’s probably not solved by design, but design can address it. This isn’t about easy answers. There are a lot of complexities and contingencies involved.”
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F INDING A SENSE OF PL ACE Taubman faculty and students join Brazilians to build a strong community By Fernanda Pires
RESIDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS were busy working overtime cleaning the debris caused by a recent storm that destroyed dozens of homes and the association headquarters of Ocupacão Anchieta, a five-year-old land occupation south of São Paulo, Brazil. As soon as they finished cleaning the area, a construction crew began building a cultural shed, a place for learning for 1,000 kids. This new space — conceived by Taubman College faculty and students — will touch the lives of more than 800 families who live below the poverty line and are victims of a common social problem in most developing countries: unchecked urbanization. Ocupacão Anchieta comprises 220,000 square meters of land — 136,000 of which once were Primary Atlantic Forest, considered one of Latin America’s most important biomes. Pushed to the periphery, Ocupacão Anchieta’s inhabitants live in shacks built from scavenged materials. Lack of sustainable infrastructure and deforestation has polluted water and soil. Most population growth in cities like São Paulo stems from deforesting peri-urban zones. These young land occupations do not receive much research and policy
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attention, compared with urbanized favelas (“slums”). Informal dwellers of young land occupations like Ocupacão Anchieta, including Elizabeth da Silva, suffer the human costs of neglecting early public intervention. “Our children live in the streets, without having a place for leisure, to play, or to meet their friends,” says da Silva, who moved to the community with her 12-year-old son and husband when it was created four years ago. The culture shed will offer daily educational, leisure, and cultural programming. It is a safe space where youth, women, and unemployed residents will engage through activities. “We have to prioritize our kids,” da Silva says. “They need a space for themselves and their activities so they stay away from drugs and prostitution. If children have knowledge, they have a higher chance to become better adults.” As more residents claim space, Ocupacão Anchieta highlights the extreme clash between environmental protections and the informal settlers’ right to housing. Poverty, precarious housing, and substandard infrastructure threaten public health and degrade natural resources. That’s where Taubman College faculty and students enter
the picture — to help informal dwellers and landowners address conflicts between the right to dignified housing and a healthy environment. Ana Paula Pimentel Walker, a native Brazilian and assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and María Arquero de Alarcón, associate professor of architecture and urban and regional planning, first visited Ocupacão Anchieta in 2016. Since then, they have returned with multidisciplinary teams to meet residents and the larger network of partners, collect water and soil samples, and use a drone for air mapping and to aid an infrastructure improvement framework. The Taubman teams’ on-theground partners include Instituto Anchieta Grajaú, a local nonprofit organization and owner of the property; the dwellers’ association; and an extended network of collaborators. Together, they developed and executed comprehensive household surveys, held meetings with residents, and identified community necessities and goals. Since 2016, multidisciplinary teams of Taubman College students have been working with residents of Ocupacão Anchieta on several projects, including the creation of a cultural shed (opposite page, top left) that will provide community programming and recreation.
Ocupacão Anchieta comprises 220,000 square meters of land. As more residents claim space, tensions mount between environmental protection and the right to housing.
“The traction our team has been able to achieve is impressive and inspiring,” says Laura Devine, M.Arch ’18, who spent two months in São Paulo in summer 2017 and more than a month there this summer. “Helping to implement the designs to have a real, lasting impact in the community was a challenging but rewarding experience.” She adds that the project kept her engaged through multiple semesters because it will have tangible benefits. “The dedication of the team and Brazilian partners shows me that we can achieve real impacts within communities with patience and persistence,” she says. Pimentel Walker says the work offered important compare-and-contrast lessons for Taubman’s U.S. and international student participants, as they learned how private property and housing rights work in a different country and how communities acquire land and secure shelter. “They also learned about the environmental justice consequences of unplanned neighborhoods and were able to compare it with the similarities and differences from their countries.” Based on the community requests, the students developed a framework with different components: a cultural 44
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shed, which includes environmental programming; a playground to serve about 1,000 children; alternate housing prototypes and a decentralized, communal sewage infrastructure; green infrastructure prototypes to clean the water and reforest the creek and springs areas; a waste management plan that includes education and profit-generating recycling programs; and a communication plan to collect and disseminate strategies for environmental stewardship in other, younger occupations. Charisma Thapa, M.U.P. ’17, says this project was a perfect fit for her. Born and raised in west Michigan but with family originally from Nepal, she concentrated her studies in global and comparative planning. “My favorite part of the trip was meeting and engaging with the residents and learning their needs,” she says. “I also enjoyed working with architecture students for the first time and understanding a bit more about their thinking and approach. It was such a good learning experience.” According to the students, 19 percent of households visited use septic tanks, and the rest of the site discharges human waste directly into water bodies. The waste management system is deficient, with dumpsters over capacity on a daily basis, litter in the roads, trash in the water,
Inadequate housing is among the issues that the Ocupacão Anchieta team is working to address.
waste burned in open spaces and residents’ yards, and very rudimentary recycling. Water pollution is a major risk for the area’s seasonal creek and natural springs. It is aggravated by poor infrastructure and the residents’ limited capacity to properly discharge wastewater and solid waste. Most have a toilet inside their home, but sewage systems are unreliable. The students had to think globally, understand the cultural settings, listen carefully to their clients and local partners, and find a way to balance solutions with the residents’ wishes, according to Arquero de Alarcón. “We bring technical expertise, but we learned a great deal from the way projects develop in this specific cultural and geographic setting,” she says. “It was a big challenge for our students, but really rewarding.” Three out of the five recommendations received funding from a Ford Community Challenge Award (culture shed) and a Dow Sustainability Award (housing prototypes and sustainable components). Both grants, which total $65,000, also were set to fund the decentralized sewage infrastructure and a communications plan. After the destruction of the association headquarters — the social heart of the community — in the recent storm, however,
residents, land owners, and students came together to devise an alternative to the initial plans. Today, the construction of a new civic shed is underway, and the first decentralized sewage prototype already is in place. This capacity to adapt to the complex site conditions and the long-term commitment with the community did not go unnoticed in the Michigan Association of Planning Excellence Awards. The project, Ocupacão Anchieta Avança!, received the 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Project Award. “With these combined strategies, we want to work with community members to increase resiliency, inspire other occupations, and reflect on the relevance of instigating more sustainable urban practices in the Global South,” Pimentel Walker says. And those community members now have the support of Taubman students and alumni watching from afar. “I experienced one-to-one connections with people searching for solutions to their problems,” says Antonela Sallaku, B.S. ’16, M.Arch ’18. “The community had been through many troubles in the hope that they finally gain tenure where they had settled to live years ago. I hope they do.” 45
HEL P US BU IL D TOMORR OW Aimee Wolf, B.S. ’16, M.Arch ’18, embraced the challenge of studying architecture — perhaps because she overcame challenges just to attend Taubman College. Originally waitlisted, Aimee spent two years at a community college to earn the grades to enroll as an undergrad. But since money was tight at home, Aimee relied on scholarships to put Michigan in reach. “There is absolutely no way I could have attended Taubman on my own,” says Aimee, a junior designer at 212box in New York. “I was grateful to receive more support than I ever could have hoped for.” As a transfer student, Aimee didn’t think she had time for extracurricular activities. Now she looks back on those experiences — which include co-founding Taubman College’s Initiative for Inclusive Design (IID) — as important elements of her education. IID sparks conversation about disability and accessibility issues in architecture; it was a finalist in U-M’s Campus of the Future competition and earned a North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Award and a certificate of appreciation from U-M’s Council for Disability Concerns. “I didn’t have time to take classes about everything that interested me, like accessibility,” Aimee says, “so I learned that if I want to do something, sometimes I have to do it myself. I also became more confident in leading a group of my peers.”
A gift to Taubman College supports students like Aimee and groups like IID. Visit taubmancollege.umich.edu/give
Learn more about Aimee’s experience at Taubman College and how scholarships made it possible at taubmancollege.umich.edu/wolf-video
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Thinking Big about Urban Futures A conversation with Josh Sirefman, M.U.P. ’03 head of development at Sidewalk Labs JOSH SIREFMAN, M.U.P. ’03, is a native New Yorker who began his urban planning career in Detroit after completing his M.U.P. coursework in 1996. But now his work in another great North American city is making cross-border headlines. As the head of development at New York-based Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Sirefman is overseeing the design of a futuristic neighborhood near downtown Toronto that proposes adaptable modular buildings, passive house construction, and a goal of being climate positive (a step better than climate neutral). In addition, connected technology could enable services ranging from a shared fleet of autonomous vehicles to notification when coveted Adirondack chairs in waterfront parks are available for a sit. While Sidewalk Labs touts the site as “a place that’s enhanced by digital technology and data, without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves,” some aren’t convinced. The project has sparked a lively public discourse about how it will toe the line between the two successfully. Prior to helping found Sidewalk in 2015, Sirefman was senior vice president of U.S. development at Brookfield 48
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Properties and then managed his own firm, where his projects included Cornell University’s applied sciences campus in New York City and the revitalization of the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He began his planning career at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and when he decided to return home to New York, he walked into the New York City Economic Development Corporation and asked if they had any openings. While he now looks back on that coldcall as “bonkers,” it worked — he had a job offer a week later, and further down the road, he even served as the organization’s interim president. In early 2002, Sirefman joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, during which time he served as chief of staff for the deputy mayor for economic development. “It’s easy to forget what it was like in those months right after 9/11,” Sirefman says. “It was a tremendously trying time, but also an extraordinary opportunity to think big about the city’s future.” Sirefman was the city’s lead on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center and spearheaded projects that spanned the city and its boroughs. “We drove big, complicated initiatives across agencies in
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tandem with communities,” he says. “With the World Trade Center site, there were incredibly difficult politics. Every aspect was complex, but at the same time, everyone involved had this personal and professional mandate of doing what needed to be done — and the balance of urgency and patience — to keep it moving forward.” In advance of Taubman College’s Shaping Future Cities symposium in November — in which Sirefman will participate — he talked with Robert Goodspeed, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, about Sidewalk Toronto, the urbanist-technologist divide, and the future of cities. Robert Goodspeed: The Sidewalk Toronto project has generated a lot of excitement but also critical commentary, especially around issues like data privacy and the use and ownership of data. How are you addressing this issue, especially given the project’s stated goal of creating a place with a spirit of ongoing innovation? Josh Sirefman: Cities have always collected and analyzed data about what is going on within them, whether it is health inspections or 311. New technology is giving cities ways to collect more data more cheaply and easily, but right now the technology is racing ahead of the best practices for privacy. Cities everywhere are struggling with this. One of the opportunities we are most excited about is the chance to work with government partners in Toronto, expert advisory panels, and the public to define a set of rules that can serve as a model for how to benefit from new technology while respecting individual privacy. I think we will end up with policies and processes on pri-
vacy and data security that will exceed Canadian law and ultimately will be world-leading. We have a lot of ground to cover still, but we are deep in, working with many parties on how to develop the right approach. We approach everything relative to data with the intent of creating an open platform that allows many parties to have access to data, so that it can be a part of whatever innovation they can layer on. But the question about ongoing innovation covers much more ground than just data — it’s building materials like tall timber, it’s taking advantage of self-driving cars to give street space back to people. Our aspiration is to create a set of conditions that can enable ongoing innovation. This is not about technology for technology’s sake, or about saying here is the technology, therefore let’s do this — “smart cities” is a term I don’t often use because it has connotations that are counter to what we’re trying to accomplish. This is about understanding what existing technological tools might enable, and then creating the conditions that can adapt as additional capabilities emerge. One of the critical keys to that is the policy and regulatory approach: How do you create a framework for how things can be thought about differently, and how can that first step of innovation be taken and then adapted based on learning and in real time? That’s the essence of what we’re trying to do. Goodspeed: How to address those issues for future cities at large is something a lot of places will be interested to learn from your experience. You’ve done a wide variety of engagement activities in Toronto. What are some of the
Sidewalk Toronto is billed as “combining people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology to achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.”
resulting inputs or creative ideas that are emerging or being refined that you think will shape the project? Sirefman: As you can imagine, there are lots of opinions, ideas, and questions. Overall, we have been thrilled with the level of engagement we’ve seen. There are some clear themes: People want to make sure this place is open to everyone, they support our goals of sustainability and affordability, and they really want to make sure we are thoughtful about data, security, and privacy. The single biggest learning for me has been how, in the abstract, people fill the void with what they think this is all about — versus when we can really engage and talk about the idea with the kind of thinking we’re trying to catalyze. It changes the dynamic enormously.
Labs’ leadership has served in government. Government is not going to go away, and it shouldn’t. But new technology gives us the opportunity to think about things in a way that embraces that and recognizes the interrelationship between the multiple layers of cities — infrastructure, the public realm and built environment, the community. The roles and responsibilities between public and private actors is one example where I think you can really start to think about different approaches, whether to challenges such as financing much-needed infrastructure systems or solving affordable housing. As technology gives us more tools to work with, government will have to figure out how to provide flexible regulatory approaches to allow experimentation, and private actors will need to understand how to ensure broader public policy implications are addressed.
“I’ve always thought that the planning field has an opportunity in front of it to be more of a leader in pushing the envelope in how we can best manage urban growth ... combining planning and equitable economic development as an emerging way to think about things a little bit differently.” — Josh Sirefman The second takeaway is that there is a whole series of ideas that are starting to emerge. We’ve taken an initial approach of the work focusing on different subject areas, whether that’s the built environment, public realm, mobility, or sustainability, and then we’ll start integrating them and taking a holistic approach to seeing what all these things add up to. That part of the dialogue is just beginning, and it’s been fantastic. We now have a public facility with prototypes of things we’re working on. Thousands of people have been able to visit and see things like, for example, a different kind of paving that would allow a dynamic control and flexible use of the streets and eliminate the static boundaries of how streets can be managed, enabled by the underlying capability that autonomous mobility provides. And we’re very much intrigued by timber as a building material and its potential to create not just sustainability impacts, but meaningful approaches to lowering the cost to build. People have been incredibly engaged on issues — both very broad and very focused. Goodspeed: Rethinking infrastructure is an example where new thinking is going to challenge the traditional division between the public and the private sectors, and their responsibilities and roles. How do you see relations between the public and private sector evolving with more and more cities exploring new technology applications? Sirefman: We believe in government; a lot of Sidewalk 50
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What we’re trying to do in Toronto — by working hand in hand with government partners, in particular a tri-partite agency called Waterfront Toronto — is bring a level of thinking that is not traditional for a private entity about issues that cut across all. That’s because we have the ability to build a team to think about these issues differently and try to understand the capabilities that technology allows. How we all follow up with the right kind of public-private model, given this opportunity, will hopefully grow out of our collaboration with government. Goodspeed: That actually relates to my next question. There’s a big cultural difference between innovative technology companies and the urban planning field. What are some lessons that you think planners could learn from big technology or entrepreneurs, and vice versa? As someone who has crossed back and forth, what should that interface look like? Sirefman: We talk a ton about the urbanist-technologist divide — I’ve had a four-year crash course in that, and I think Sidewalk Labs is very much on the forefront of bridging it. It has really opened my eyes to think differently — about possibilities, about questioning assumptions — while also respecting the process, engagement, and checks and balances that are required to try new things in the urban context. Somewhere in the middle is this balance that allows you to think about how to integrate the digital and the physical. I think this is going
Sidewalk Toronto, a futuristic neighborhood east of downtown, will include modular buildings and passive construction, with a goal of being climate positive.
to be the basis of a profound shift in the way we all think about urban innovation and the way we think about planning education and the field in general.
the more reason for us to be focused now on how to harness this capability in ways that will be additive for life in cities.
With planning education, the set of tools to work with are profoundly different now, and it’s very hard for people to understand that. We need to think about how to harness those tools and, accordingly, how to change the rules in order to allow things to happen in different ways. That’s a huge opportunity for programs as they look forward. Goodspeed: Can you describe in more detail the different tools available to professionals now versus when you were a student?
Goodspeed: That’s partly my motivation for convening Shaping Future Cities and pulling in innovative practitioners and scholars. It’s a question that our master students will be eager to consider — the alignment between their curriculum and the state of the art. How do you see the professional field of urban planning changing during the course of your career? What are the types of things you’re thinking about now that wouldn’t have been on anyone’s radar coming out the urban planning master’s program when you graduated?
Sirefman: One specific example is how we think about city shaping through the control of land use and tools like zoning and building code. I believe there’s the potential to move past those kinds of fixed-rule controls into a performance-based approach where the outcomes that matter, however one wants to define them, are what can govern and be monitored and adjusted, versus a pre-determined prescription of what activities can or can’t happen in a place or how a building needs to be built. Going all the way back to your original question about how to enable ongoing innovation, we have an idea called outcome-based code, whereby the amount of information that can be processed in real time, with complex analytics, can provide the tools to enable dynamic decisions about the built environment.
Sirefman: Cities are more important than ever, and what makes great cities and great places has only become more important. I’ve always thought that the planning field has an opportunity to be more of a leader in pushing the envelope in how we can best manage urban growth, if you will, combining planning and equitable economic development as an emerging way to think about things a little bit differently. The planning field needs to be out ahead of the opportunities presented by technology. I’ve grown obsessed with this notion of boundaries that are starting to change in every aspect. How do we think about governance models that allow flexibility and adaptability? Do we understand how people want to live and work and what that means for cities? In some ways, planning seems like it still has to catch up to that.
As another example, U-M is deep in autonomous mobility. Beyond the tremendous mobility implications, there also are massive opportunities in how we can think about the design of streets and the assumptions we make about how they’re used, as well as the relationship between streets, public space, and buildings. We’re all just starting to scratch the surface on the potential implications from this set of tools, but the impact will be considerable. All
Taubman College will host the Shaping Future Cities symposium on November 9, 2018, and is livestreaming the event for those who are unable to attend in person. Learn more at: taubmancollege.umich.edu/shaping-future-cities
Fundamentally Hollywood Rasa Bauza, B.S. ’80 leverages “beyond architecture” skills at Warner Bros. DURING THE ECONOMIC RECESSION of the early 1990s, Rasa Bauza was exactly where she wanted to be, but unsure of what to do next. Freshly licensed, she had left Connecticut in 1990 and fulfilled her dream of moving to Los Angeles. But when the work dried up at UIG (a small UCLA-affiliated studio) a few years later and she decided to hang her own shingle, she faced a “now what” moment: The firms weren’t hiring. A post-master’s stint doing architectural research in Switzerland had put her several years behind her peers in acquiring the credentials needed to build a practice. And, it bears repeating, no one was hiring. “I told myself, ‘It’s time to get back to fundamentals.’” Fortunately, Bauza is well versed in fundamentals. One of the things that she says she appreciates most about her education at Michigan is the solid training in architectural history, structures, acoustics, light, air, circulation, environmental sensibility, and site design. But at this particular point in time — this crossroads of how to pay the bills beyond small interior design jobs here and there — the fundamental she drew upon came from lectures by Professor Gunnar Birkerts. “He had said that, in the process of design, we should study every aspect of the project and then set it aside. To be very diligent and thorough in our research so we understood the problem well, but then to let it incubate and trust there will come a moment when the solution clearly presents itself.” During that early period in L.A., Bauza turned her research eye to the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. “It seemed obvious that architects would need to know this law, so I might as well learn its practical applications while I had the time.” 52
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Rasa Bauza, B.S. ’80, “on set” at the Warner Bros. lot.
So when Paramount Pictures had the problem of how to incorporate the ADA into the buildings on its lot, Bauza was able to position herself as the solution. She had done small remodels for Paramount as a sole practitioner, so she made known her expertise in the ADA when the studio needed a comprehensive study of how to roll it out. She ultimately parlayed that assignment into eight years of full-time employment with Paramount. “Because of the study, I got to know every single building on the lot,” says Bauza, who notes that a studio lot is like a small town, so becoming intimate with each structure is no small feat. “Since I had this knowledge base, it was natural that I oversee implementing the recommendations I had made.” Bauza intended to return to design practice but found she liked working in L.A.’s signature industry. She eventually became executive director of design at Paramount Pictures, where she again benefited from being able to dig in and grasp the fundamentals. “Suddenly, the process of design and construction kicked in and I hired consultants; directed design requirements; managed contracts, budgets, and schedules on multiple projects; and learned how to navigate within a complex enterprise. It was boots-on-the-ground learning where I was the studio client as well as an in-house resource serving the business units and studio executives,” she says.
In 2001, she joined Warner Bros. as executive director of project management. She is responsible for managing projects throughout the lot, including entitlements for campus development projects; new construction of stages, parking structures, and retail/tour/food service facilities; building renovations for offices, production, and post-production editing; seismic upgrades; and security, utility, and solar panel installations. As part of the company’s sustainability goals and under Bauza’s leadership as a LEED AP, Warner Bros. became the first Hollywood studio to earn certifications of LEED Gold for a new stage and LEED Silver for a commercial interior renovation. “I work at a place that is a leader in environmental initiatives,” says Bauza. “Whether or not certification is pursued, we start each new project with a bestin-class mentality of implementing what we’ve learned from previous projects.” She also is part of the corporate real estate group, which manages the company’s global real estate portfolio. Bauza oversees tenant improvement projects with colleagues in lease transactions, facilities management, accounting, and legal, which is complex because facilities range from being in another state — like the WB Games
“The biggest challenge is keeping a lot of plates spinning, maintaining transparency, and communicating clearly within a large, complex corporate enterprise. Every day is different, every project has a unique dynamic, and that’s what I like about my job.” — Rasa Bauza
interactive gaming studio in Seattle — to across an ocean, like a full production studio near London. “I translate into architecture and construction speech what the enterprise and end users require in their spaces for the business to be successful,” she says. “The biggest challenge is keeping a lot of plates spinning, maintaining transparency, and communicating clearly within a large, complex corporate enterprise. Every day is different, every project has a unique dynamic, and that’s what I like about my job. ” Bauza, a Detroiter born to Lithuanian immigrants, began studying architecture because she liked to draw and was inspired by the rich urban experiences and vibrant architecture of her native city. But she says it’s her “beyond architecture” skills that have advanced her career. “My fundamentals-based DNA has enabled me to learn the skills of developing business strategies and managing projects. The credibility gained by taking the time to fully comprehend client, consultant, colleague, and enterprise parameters allows me to challenge and problem-solve the path to appropriate design decisions.” And she looks to hire architects who embrace similar values. “There can be an aspirational dimension in architectural culture to make a ‘signature’ design mark from one’s work. However, if the architect’s primary focus is to meet the human, functional, and business needs of a project, and the budget and entity paying for the product of this design are respected, the result is a worthy endeavor of our chosen profession. “Architects’ ability to be cross-disciplinary is the profession’s safety net.” — Amy Spooner
Bauza likens the Warner Bros. lot to a small town.
The Delight Is in the Details Ken Faulkner, B.S. ’91 relishes sweating the small stuff BEFORE HE REALLY KNEW what architecture was, Ken Faulkner, B.S. ’91, worked for Albert Kahn Associates. As part of the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program, he interned there the summer after he graduated from high school. Because of the program’s engineering bent, Faulkner worked with Field Services at Kahn construction sites across metro Detroit. What he learned has shaped his career — a career that never ended up including an engineering degree. “What I heard in the trailers, hanging around with the construction crew and the owners’ representatives, was that architects didn’t know how to build. When I ultimately left engineering school in college, one reason I chose architecture was that at least I would know how to build.” Now Faulkner, based in London, lends his how-to-build expertise to high-profile projects worldwide. In September, he joined Adjaye Associates, led by celebrated Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye, who was
knighted for services to architecture in 2017 and is best known for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. (Adjaye will be a visiting professor at Taubman College during the Winter 2019 semester; learn more on page 8.) At Adjaye Associates, Faulkner is involved in developing the design of the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra. It is Adjaye’s first major project in Africa, but it is not without controversy. Some tout it as a signal that Ghana has “arrived” on the world architecture scene: Princeton University art history professor Chika Okeke-Agulu wrote in a New York Times op-ed, “This Accra commission is not just a recognition by his homeland of Adjaye’s acclaim. It also signifies that Africa can build a major work by a leading architect at the top of his game.” Others worry about the blurred line between church and state in the funding and use of the cathedral, as well as the diversion of resources that could instead address basic needs like food, shelter, healthcare, and education. Behind the headlines, Faulkner is focused on the nittygritty. “David and his team need someone to help make sure that it gets delivered. It is serendipitous when a few conversations lead to something so big,” Faulkner says of the move to Adjaye Associates. “They know I have other skills when delivering projects, like managing an office and helping to keep everything organized, which is where I can add value as David’s practice continues to grow.” Prior to joining Adjaye, Faulkner most recently spent 14 years as a director at KPF in London — a city he fell in love with as an undergraduate studying abroad at University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture. “That year, I began to think about design not just as ideas and forms and shapes, but also as structure and services, and how they should be integrated in a design concept — as opposed to a necessary evil to consider afterward,” Faulkner says. “Plus, it was cool to be black in London in 1989 in a way that I didn’t feel in America. In many ways, it was the year that changed my life.” It also was a time of change in the storied city. Just a few years prior, Richard Rogers’ controversial Lloyd’s building had been completed — a glass and metal structure in the middle of the city’s masonry-rich, historic center. Striking the balance between modernity and tradition has been integral to Faulkner’s work ever since. “You cannot just plop a modern building down without thinking about the context — in London or anywhere,” he says. At KPF, Faulkner’s projects included the Abu Dhabi Airport’s Midfield Terminal (opposite page, top). At Adjaye Associates, he will work on the new National Cathedral of Ghana (opposite page, bottom).
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But London presents additional challenges because of its strict planning codes. One of Faulkner’s early projects as an associate at Foster and Partners in the late 1990s was an office tower that he says paved the way for the Gherkin, a landmark skyscraper that Foster and Partners also designed. “We had to get people’s minds around how to deal with a tall building in the city of London, and we were fortunate that the city had a head of planning who was very forward thinking.” St. Paul’s Cathedral is protected by the London View Management Framework, which sets out the importance of the setting of the cathedral, so Peter Rees, the head of design for the City of London’s planning team from 1985 to 2014, saw land to the northeast of the cathedral — far enough away to avoid view obstruction — as the wave of the future. “His legacy was the Eastern Cluster. He said, ‘If you want to build tall buildings in London, that’s where they should be.’” At KPF, Faulkner helped to do just that. As a senior associate principal, he also managed the team designing the Midfield Terminal Complex at Abu Dhabi Airport,
a nearly $3 billion, 7.5 million-square-foot structure that the United Arab Emirates sees as vital to growing its image as a global gateway. Faulkner led a team of 60 in developing the construction documents — a job that was complicated by the enormity of the project and the nuances of doing business in the Middle East. “It’s been a huge project involving so many people — and it’s going to be fantastic when it’s done,” he says. Completion is scheduled for 2020. Whether working on an office tower in London, airport in Abu Dhabi, or cathedral in Accra, Faulkner says that the focus learned in those early days in the site trailers drives his work. “Lots of people have good design ideas, but where some of these buildings fall down is in the execution. If you don’t know how to detail a building, and if you don’t know how to build, you can have the greatest idea in the world, but it doesn’t work. It’s more than making sure the roof doesn’t leak; it’s doing a beautiful detail and resolving things down to the smallest part. That’s where I come in.” — Amy Spooner 55
Handmade’s Tale Emily Fischer, M.Arch ’05 is flying high with Haptic Lab’s kites and quilts By Amy Spooner
TECHNOLOGY GIVES EMILY FISCHER, M.Arch ’05, design inspiration. But soon after launching her startup, she found that eschewing technology in the creation of her products simplified the process — and provided the craftsman’s touch that seems fitting given that her company’s name is Haptic Lab. “After a year of working in a way that was exhaustive and stupid, I saw that in the space of the computer, the scale of the human hand is lost,” Fischer says. “There’s a real talent in architecture to understand and assert human scale in a space where there is no scale and no law of physics. I still use a lot of technology in the work that I do, but I use it strategically. “Craft, nowadays, is celebrated more and more.” Haptic Lab’s craft is quilt making and kite making (“It’s such an interesting design problem to make something fly,” Fischer notes), and Fischer has received acclaim for both. She has been featured in Architectural Digest and Martha Stewart Weddings, and in 2009 she was commissioned by upscale retailer Opening Ceremony to make a kite for a video starring actor Jason Schwartzman. “Within weeks of getting laid off from my firm because of the recession, I had been anointed ‘the kite girl of New York City,’” says Fischer, who caught Opening Ceremony’s attention after winning second place in a kite-design contest that she entered on a whim. “It was crazy, and 56
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exciting, and fun — and it was a sign that I could start investing in my own ideas, since I wasn’t designing for a client anymore.” Today, Fischer manages a team of seven in her Brooklyn studio, as well as tradespeople in India who hand stitch the quilts. It is a sharing of responsibility necessitated by lessons Fischer says she learned the hard way. “How did I understand all the challenges of starting and running a small business? By making all of the mistakes.” Fischer began exploring quilting as a study in tactility and wayfinding in her first M.Arch studio, with Professor Craig Borum, where she was tasked with design exploration of a map piece of Detroit’s Jefferson Avenue. “I wondered, what if it were dimensional beyond the surface of the paper? I kept returning to the idea of tactility for different projects in different studios. Quilts just happened to be a centrifuge,” says Fischer, who grew up around quilters and jokingly fears that even today, her mother’s quilting circle will criticize her miters. At the same time she began her reign as New York’s queen of kite design, Fischer’s quilts — featuring constellation maps, city maps, and coastlines — began generating buzz in the burgeoning online DIY and e-commerce communities of the late 2000s. She began selling quilts on commission, soon finding that she needed to automate to keep up with demand. So she found a partner with an 11-foot-long quilting machine and learned how to get vector map data “back when I still had to pay for it” — but soon found that
Haptic Labâ€™s quilts draw inspiration from maps of cities, coastlines, and the constellations.
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“The handmade is appreciated in a different way. There’s a benefit not just culturally, but socially — a connection to people, resources, and the planet.” — Emily Fischer
Fischer’s kites and quilts have been featured in Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Weddings, and a video for Opening Ceremony. She is pictured (right) in her Brooklyn studio.
the complexity of automating such intricate designs was hurting, not helping, her process. That’s when she went back to basics, connecting with a group of quilters in India who still produce her quilts today based on maps that Fischer and her team draw by hand. Fischer and her team give the final touch of approval to each quilt before sending them to customers. “It’s sort of a William Morris-type thing, but we’re not trying to fight against the age of mechanical reproduction,” says Fischer of the slow design movement that she sees as parallel to the renewed popularity of farm-totable dining. “The handmade is appreciated in a different way. There’s a benefit not just culturally, but socially — a connection to people, resources, and the planet.”
Benefiting the planet also lies at the core of Haptic Lab’s business model. The company — which is pursuing b-corp certification for its commitment to a doublebottom line of profit and social good — donates kites to low-income schools, donates a portion of profits to support positive climate action, and aims to be 100 percent carbon neutral within the next year. She says Haptic Lab is inspired by design that tells stories and currently is exploring a project involving displaced persons in Europe. “In the day-to-day of running a business, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture, like the refugee crisis or the fact that our planet will kill us if we don’t do something,” Fischer says. “We are a company that wears its heart on its sleeve.”
Finding a Platform
“Detroit is one of the most interesting urban labs in the world,” says Lewis, who grew up in Pittsburgh.
Before they were workmates, Lewis and Hamby, a Californian, were classmates in Professor Peter Allen’s Real Estate Essentials class at U-M’s Ross School of Business. Tasked with drafting a redevelopment proposal for a mixed-use building in the city of their choice, Hamby and Lewis were drawn to each other and to the third member of their team, Dang Duong, M.B.A./J.D. ’15, because “we wanted to turn it into a real deal,” Hamby says. In addition to finding the right property in a good location, they also took a modest approach that could be achievable for three novice developers: “a one or two million-dollar project,” Hamby says. “Three, tops.” Turns out, they severely underestimated what was possible.
Clarke Lewis, M.Arch ’15 and Myles Hamby, M.U.P. ’14 bring their A+ game to Detroit’s redevelopment CLARKE LEWIS, M.ARCH ’15, AND MYLES HAMBY, M.U.P. ’14, aren’t Detroit or Michigan natives. But as development managers at The Platform, a Detroit real estate development company, they are all in on the city’s potential, and they are working on its revitalization with insiders’ views as residents. Clarke Lewis, M.Arch ’15, and Myles Hamby, M.U.P. ’14, at the $38 million Baltimore Station development in Detroit’s New Center area, which began as a class project.
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Their class project — for which they earned an A+ — now is a two-phased, nearly $38 million development known as Baltimore Station, located on the corner of Woodward and Baltimore avenues in Detroit’s New Center area, just a few blocks from The Platform’s Fisher Building headquarters. Phase 1, a rehabilitation of a commercial structure that features 23 apartment units and almost 10,000
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ture to create an artists’ community; and the Pistons Performance Center, a 175,000-square-foot new construction project that will house the NBA franchise’s front office, as well as practice and sports medicine facilities. Hamby’s projects include mixed-use developments of varying scale in the eastside neighborhoods of Eastern Market and Islandview, near Belle Isle. “One of The Platform’s missions is to not just develop in New Center and Greater Downtown, but also in the neighborhoods,” he says. “For Detroit’s revitalization to be sustainable, you need economic development across the entire city.” To properly redevelop neighborhoods, part of The Platform’s approach is to be good neighbors. Before the company acquired property in Islandview, Knoer — The Platform’s president and CEO — was a member of a neighborhood church and built relationships with community leaders. With two developments currently underway, Hamby and others routinely attend community meetings in Islandview. “We have good support because we’ve built up a solid rapport,” Hamby says. “We don’t want to build something that sticks out like a sore thumb, and the only way a development can become part of a community’s fabric is to work alongside its residents.”
square feet of retail, opens soon. Phase 2, a new construction development with 138 residential units and 7,000 square feet of commercial space, will open in fall 2019. The proximity of Lewis, Hamby, and Duong’s employer to their class project is no coincidence: In May 2016, Peter Cummings and Dietrich Knoer agreed to invest in and assume development oversight of Baltimore Station through their new company, The Platform. They also added Duong and Lewis to their growing team, and as Platform employees, each worked to advance the Baltimore Station development. Hamby, who then was food access coordinator for Detroit’s Eastern Market Corporation, came on board about a year later. Baltimore Station’s first partner, however, was their former professor, who owns the Ann Arbor-based real estate firm Peter Allen + Associates. “It’s the dream of my life” to see a student project take off like this, Allen previously has said. Today, the project that got Lewis and Hamby in the door at The Platform is only a portion of their day-today work. Lewis’s current portfolio includes The Boulevard, a 231-unit ground-up multifamily development; Chroma, which will rehab an existing nine-story struc-
It also helps to conceptualize a neighborhood’s needs by having those same needs. “Myles and I live in the city, so we’re eager to expand basic services here,” Lewis says, noting that The Platform has hired a retail expert to bring more regional and national players into its developments. “The city is working to reverse the leakage of retail services and goods.” Their paths of study at Taubman College were different — except for that one fateful real estate class — and their work at The Platform rarely intersects. But, Lewis notes, “our work is very similar. One of the best skills I learned in architecture school is visually representing projects. You have to be able to tell the story of your project and convince investors, lenders, and others to be part of it. A career in development speaks to my interest in design and my entrepreneurial mind-set,” says Lewis, who also earned a certificate in real estate development at U-M. His fellow classmate, teammate, and entrepreneur agrees. “My degree in urban planning taught me how various elements of a city intersect to create a positive or negative experience for the person living in, working in, or visiting a city: zoning, city services, housing needs, amenities, et cetera,” Hamby says. “Real estate developers need to understand those elements and their implications for a particular site. We have the opportunity and responsibility to develop a place that positively contributes to the city. And that is exciting work.” — Amy Spooner 61
“ Thanks to Bob Metcalf ’s leadership, his work, and his disciples, I have carried the torch proudly for decades. A systems-based design ethos, and a passion for making things, and a love of teaching are a part of who I am. Bob was larger than life, literally and figuratively. His legacy is, too.” — Michael LeFevre, FAIA, M.Arch ’77
THE LATE TAUBMAN COLLEGE Professor and Dean Emeritus Robert Metcalf, B.Arch ’50, knew firsthand the impact a scholarship could have. He received a personal loan from his high school counselor to attend the University of Michigan, which would have been out of reach otherwise. In turn, throughout his time at Taubman College, Metcalf was known to help students pay their tuition and other fees — anything to ensure talented students could continue their education.
Metcalf ’s Legacy Continues Through his estate gift, the late professor and dean continues to help students achieve their dreams
Throughout his career, Metcalf left an indelible impact on the state of Michigan and on Taubman College. He designed more than 150 building projects in Michigan, including several in Ann Arbor. Known for the precision and attention to detail he brought to his projects, Metcalf instilled the same principles as a teacher. And as dean, he was a passionate advocate for increasing access for talented students. Metcalf died at his home in Ann Arbor in 2017, and he furthered his extraordinary impact on the college with a $3.18 million gift through the sale of properties in his estate, as directed by his will. The transformational gift is a continuation of his generous philanthropic legacy at Taubman College: In 2008, Metcalf established the
Robert Metcalf, B.Arch ’50, designed many buildings in Michigan, including his own home, as seen in the background on the opposite page. He served as dean of Taubman College from 1974 to 1986 and died in 2017 at the age of 93.
Robert and Bettie Metcalf Architecture Scholarship, to be awarded to out-of-state graduate students. By increasing the funds available through the Metcalf Scholarship, his recent bequest will support the college in attracting the best and brightest students and reducing the financial burden of attending. The impact of Metcalf ’s generosity, academic rigor, and commitment to students will live on in perpetuity at Taubman College through his scholarship fund — supporting many generations of students and helping to ensure his dream of greater access to a Michigan education for all. — Maya Fehrs
“ The college has lost a real stalwart in Bob. He was oneof-a-kind and a beacon for modernism for his entire life. His example still is with those who were his students.” — William Gustafson, B.Arch ’66
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Leave a Lasting Legacy Including Taubman College in your estate or financial plans is one of the easiest ways to make a lasting impact. You can even generate income for yourself and your family while benefiting the college and generations of students. Types of planned gifts include gifts from a will or trust, beneficiary designations, and property, among others. Making a planned gift is a rewarding way to support the causes you care most about while providing for yourself and your family. The benefits of planned giving include: SIMPLICITY: Planned giving can be one of the easiest ways you can leave a lasting legacy with Taubman College. FLEXIBILITY: There are a variety of ways to leave a planned gift that can align with your family’s needs. TAX SAVINGS: Many planned giving options are free of federal and state taxes. IMPACT: You will make a lasting impact on the college. Contact the Taubman College Advancement Team at 734.764.4720 or taubmancollegeadvancement@umich. edu to learn more about leaving a planned gift for Taubman College or to let us know if you already have included the college in your will or estate plans.
Class Notes Share your news with your fellow alumni in a future issue of Portico. Send your class note (along with a high-resolution photo, if you would like) to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online form at taubmancollege.umich.edu/alumni.
1950s Rudy Horowitz, B.Arch ’58, has published a book, Avoiding the Cracks (CreateSpace, 2014), which chronicles his journey from childhood to adulthood during the Holocaust and its aftermath. It is told in a collection of contemporaneous “letters forward” to his two future grandchildren. During that time, 1939–1949, he lived in six different countries; experienced Nazism, communism, and Zionism; and immigrated to the United States. The book is available on Amazon in print and for downloading to Kindle.
1970s Cynthia Hayward, FAIA, B.S. ’73, M.Arch ’76, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July in recognition of her significant contributions to architecture and to society. She is principal and founder of Hayward & Associates LLC in Ann Arbor, a national consulting firm specializing in pre-design planning for healthcare facilities, and has helped hundreds of diverse healthcare organizations economically and efficiently plan their capital investments. She has a long history in research and development relative to healthcare facility planning, including serving on a team that was contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a generic planning process for hospitals across the country in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, she was project
director for a National Health and Welfare Canada contract to develop the Evaluation and Space Programming Methodology Series, which was used for healthcare facilities throughout North America.
Larry Bongort, A.B./B.S./
M.Arch, ’75, moved with his husband into a new, one-story house in Palm Springs, California, in 2017, after more than 30 years of living in a three-story Victorian in San Francisco. His career has focused on healthcare and senior living projects, and he now works from home for Stantec as a senior healthcare planner. Recent work has taken him to Doha, London, Toronto, Vancouver, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and Sydney, as well as many locations throughout California. He and his husband enjoy biking and hiking in the Coachella Valley, the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, and San Jacinto Mountains. He adds, “I have always appreciated the education I received at the University of Michigan, especially from great teachers such as Dr. James Chaffers and Colin Clipson. Go Blue!”
Stephen Meyer, M.U.P./J.D. ’75, counsel in the Sacramento, California, office of Downey Brand, was named a 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine and a 2018 Northern California Super Lawyer. He practices complex business litigation with a particular focus in the last several years on food and agriculture, and he advises some of California’s largest agricultural producers. He also organized the firm’s food and agriculture practice.
David Strosberg, B.S. ’76, recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Morningside Group, his property development company based in Chicago. The company specializes in mixed-use and multifamily projects on urban infill sites and maintains offices in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Seattle. This year, the Ann Arbor office commenced a $200 million mixed-use development in the Lower Town neighborhood at Broadway and Maiden Lane. When complete, the development will include more than 600 residential units plus retail. Plans include an upscale condominium building targeting empty nesters and university and hospital professionals. 65
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GIVING: VIVIAN AND ANTHONY MOSELLIE, B.S. ’84
Repaying a Debt of Gratitude While Investing in the Profession IT’S NOT UNCOMMON for prospective students to choose the University of Michigan because of football — a fascination with the stadium or the fight song, or perhaps a multigenerational love of the team. Football also was a game-changer for Anthony Mosellie, B.S. ’84, because a U-M admissions representative noticed his football varsity jacket at a college fair in his native New York and asked if he was a Michigan fan. “Oh! The helmets, right?” Mosellie responded. That night sold Mosellie on more than just the football team. Enrolling in U-M’s architecture program became his dream. But he couldn’t have afforded that dream without a generous financial aid package, which is one reason why he and his wife, Vivian, have established a scholarship fund at Taubman College to assist out-ofstate architecture undergraduate students. “Michigan has a way of finding the people who are meant to go there, and getting them there. I don’t know how they do it, but I’ve never met someone who went to U-M and didn’t love it,” says Mosellie, who is a senior vice president at The Related Companies in New York after spending most of his career at KPF. At KPF, he was managing principal for Related’s Hudson Yards project. “Attending Michigan put me on a path that made everything possible. By helping other students, I hope we are affording them even one-tenth of the experience I had and a shot at the opportunities that I have been fortunate to have received.” Despite receiving financial aid, Mosellie still needed to balance the rigors of architecture school with a part-time job in order to make ends meet, so he worked more than 25 hours a week as a student bus driver. “I couldn’t be on the long-term program with my parents writing checks while I found my way, so I realized I needed to be very determined, very focused about everything I did,” he says. Meanwhile, Vivian also grew up in a home where funds for higher education weren’t available, so she attended college close to home. Now, as a high school Spanish teacher, she says she is even more appreciative of highquality public education. “It is important for me to support an institution that reaches out to everybody, not just certain people, and tries to help them grow. It makes me want to support an institution like Michigan, because 66
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I can see that by everyone making a small contribution, we can make a big difference in a student’s life, in their education, in their future.” While the shared challenges of their own educational journeys inspire the Mosellies’ desire to help today’s students, Anthony also has an eye to the ripple effect on students’ post-Michigan lives — and the architecture profession. “I couldn’t imagine a young student coming out and getting an entry-level salary in architecture while having a lot of debt. It’s so challenging for students to get an outstanding architectural education from a place like Taubman, and the profession needs well-trained, welleducated students who come from the right kind of culture,” he says. “Through our scholarship, I am repaying my debt but also making an investment in the future of the profession, which in turn, is an investment in our cities and society as a whole.” The Mosellies also are well on their way to establishing that multigenerational legacy that makes U-M’s booth a must-stop at college fairs, instead of a chance encounter. Their son, Andrew — who is pictured with his parents at his first U-M football game in 2005 — is a junior at the Ross School of Business. “I hope that Michigan is part of our family’s future, that Anthony and Andrew are the beginning of a long line of attendees,” says Vivian. “I can’t describe the passion we feel for the school. We know the value that it adds, and that’s one of the major reasons why we want to support it.” — Amy Spooner
Vivian and Andrew Mosellie at their first U-M football game, 2005, with Anthony Mosellie, B.S. ’84.
community experience their 3D models in virtual and augmented reality. He’s also a founding member and former chair of the Space Architecture Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The subject of his dissertation and some conference papers is architectural design for artificial gravity in long-duration space habitation; he calls space architecture “my expensive hobby” and encourages fellow alumni to look him up the next time they’ll be on campus.
Timothy Griffin, B.S. ’78, FAIA, M.Arch/M.U.P. ’81, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July in recognition of his significant contributions to architecture and to society. He is a senior research fellow at the Minnesota Design Center, where his urban design and strategic planning career has focused on prototypical, participatory design and public engagement methods that underscore the force, impact, and value of design advocacy, historic care, and insightful future logic. Bill Mathewson, M.U.P. ’78, has retired after serving for more than 40 years with the Michigan Municipal League (MML), including the last 20 years as general counsel. He spent his entire career with MML, beginning as an intern in 1977. In March, the organization presented him with its highest individual honor: the Honorary Life Membership Award. League Executive Director and CEO Dan Gilmartin called him “the consummate professional. His work at the League, for its length of service and its quality, is unmatched. He really personifies what makes the League great.”
Gordon Carrier, FAIA, NCARB, B.S. ’79, M.Arch ’81, has won several awards and distinctions for Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, of which he is partner and design principal. The Architect’s Newspaper awarded the firm the 2017 Building of the Year–West Award for design of the new Science Center for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Also, Architect Magazine has included Carrier Johnson + CULTURE among the leading firms in its Architect 50: Top Firms in Business rankings for best design businesses nationwide. In addition, Carrier Johnson + CULTURE was included in the 2017 Giants listings by Building Design + Construction and on top lists by Interior Design and Engineering News-Record.
Theodore Hall, B.S. ’79, M.Arch ’81, D.Arch ’94, returned to Ann Arbor in 2009 after 13 years in Hong Kong and a short contract stint in New Jersey. He is a virtual reality visualization specialist in the Duderstadt Center, across the street from the Art & Architecture Building, where he writes software for the Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus, Oculus Rift, and Microsoft HoloLens and helps the U-M
1980s Larry Barr, FAIA, B.S. ’80, M.Arch ’82, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July, in recognition of his role in advancing the standards of architectural preservation, restoration, and adaptive use of historic properties. He is president of Quinn Evans Architects and a national leader in the transformation of iconic American buildings, including the awardwinning modernization of the National Academy of Sciences on the National Mall, four major theater renovation projects at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, renovation of the Robert Vance Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, and modernization of the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Currently, he is leading the firm’s multidisciplinary team to mod67
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ernize the National Air and Space Museum, one of the largest museum renovation projects in history. Doug Farr, FAIA, CNU-F, B.S. ’80, was named in June as a Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism. He is celebrating 29 years as president of Farr Associates, a sustainable architecture and urban design firm based in the John Root-designed Monadnock Building in Chicago’s South Loop. The firm is proud to be part of the third Chicago school of architecture, spreading sustainable architecture and urbanism far and wide. In addition, his new book, Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future (Wiley, 2018), a message of practical can-do optimism in challenging times, is taking him around the country, as the book has struck a chord with readers. He adds, “Thanks to LSA and Taubman for providing a great foundation.” Thomas Savory, FAIA, M.Arch ’84, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July in recognition of his significant contributions to architecture and to society. He is a founding principal of Watson Tate Savory (WTS), with offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2000, WTS has received more than 50 design awards from the American Institute of Architects and was the winner of the 2016 AIA South Carolina Center for Architecture design competition. In addition to his role as WTS principal, he regularly speaks on architecture and design, most recently at the national AIA A’17 Conference in Orlando and the AIA 2016 South Atlantic Region Conference in Savannah. He has chaired seven national AIA design awards juries, regularly serves on academic reviews, and has taught at Clemson University. He currently chairs the Columbia Design/Development Review Commission. 68
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Cynthia Winland, FAICP, M.U.P. ’85, recently was inducted into the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows, the highest honor the AICP bestows upon a member. She is a senior fellow at the Just Transition Fund — dedicated to helping coal-impacted communities build strong, resilient, and diversified new economies that work for everyone — and at the Delta Institute, which is a Chicago-based nonprofit that thinks like a business to build a resilient environment and economy through sustainable solutions.
office of CannonDesign and is considered one of the leading international interior architect/designers for corporate environments. His work has received numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects, the International Interior Design Association, and the American Society of Interior Designers. It also has been highlighted in many design publications and the Wall Street Journal. Beyond designing environments, he also has designed his own line of corporate office furniture.
Rick Yaffe, B.S. ’87, M.Arch ’89,
has been a principal at Triangle Properties since 1996. Triangle owns and manages 1,200,000 square feet of commercial properties throughout Long Island. He is a registered architect and licensed real estate broker in New York and has written numerous articles for the NY Real Estate Journal. He enjoys playing piano, skiing, and completing crossword puzzles, and he proudly shouts “Go Blue” to anyone he sees wearing Michigan garb. Eric Murrell, M.Arch ’89,
has returned to his first love, forensic architecture and building pathology, after 20 years as a healthcare architect. In 2014, he started at SME in Plymouth, Michigan, as senior consultant and group leader for the building materials group, which seeks and solves issues with existing building enclosures. The group also provides building enclosure commissioning services to project teams looking to address the issues before they are set in stone.
Mark Hirons, FAIA, M.Arch ’89, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July in recognition of his significant contributions to architecture and to society. He is design principal, interior design, in the Chicago
1990s Curtis Laitinen, B.S. ’91, M.U.P./ M.Arch ’94, is associate director, healthcare, at AECOM Middle East and based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (continued on p. 70)
GIVING: PANK AJ DUGGAL, M.U.P./M.ARCH ’95
No Gift to Taubman College Is Too Small AFTER PANK AJ DUGGAL interviewed with HOK during on-campus recruiting, he didn’t think his portfolio was ready enough to be a serious candidate. He threw the application in the trash. The next day, Mary Anne Drew, then the assistant to the dean, ran up to him, asking if he had submitted the application. “She said they had called her five times, asking about me. She gave me a new application and made me promise to complete it right away.” HOK made Duggal, M.U.P./M.Arch ’95, an offer before graduation, “which was unusual, given the economy,” he notes. Today, he runs a global business as vice president and managing principal for Jacobs Buildings Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities, which he joined after leaving HOK about 19 years ago. He says that Taubman College’s investment in students’ success, and the quality of the education that makes students and alumni appealing to top firms, are reasons why he makes annual gifts and chairs the Taubman College Alumni Council. “Taubman College made me a well-rounded professional. Private support is critical for Michigan to compete against other top-ranked schools for the most talented students — so we continue to produce graduates who will be successful in our rapidly evolving profession.” Giving to Taubman College is personal, as well. Duggal grew up in a middle-class family in India, so graduate school in the United States was a financial stretch. His parents, grandparents, and uncle and aunt contributed; he also had a part-time job at U-M’s Facilities Planning and Design Office and received some merit-based schol-
arship aid. And he worked as a teaching assistant in the M.U.P. program, as did his wife, Melina Garner Duggal, M.U.P. ’95, whom he met at Michigan. She, too, worked through school and received some support from her family. “Because of our hard work and additional financial support, both of us graduated with almost no college debt, which made a significant difference in starting out life as young professionals,” he says. “Unfortunately, that situation is becoming rare, so we want to do our part to help today’s students through merit-based scholarships.” He encourages all graduates to support the college at whatever level they can afford. “Start small, with an amount that you won’t miss from your monthly spending. No gift is too small; they all add up and make a real difference for a student in need.” Duggal earned his undergraduate degree in architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, and worked for a boutique design firm before coming to Michigan for the master of urban and regional planning program. “As an architect, I was always interested in the broader discussion about the built environment and how architecture intersects with planning, urban design, large cities, infrastructure requirements, and so forth,” he says. But walking through the architecture design studios made him wax nostalgic, and after a semester, he talked with Professor James Chaffers, M.Arch ’69, D.Arch ’71, about dually enrolling in the master of architecture program. “I couldn’t be at an urban planning and architecture school and not be part of the design studio and the architecture program.” Because he had completed a five-year professional program in India, he could forgo several required courses, which freed him to also take real estate and organizational development courses at U-M’s business school. Now, more than two decades after he graduated, Duggal says that the same discussions about the interdisciplinarity of the built environment that drew him to Michigan and the dual degree continue to excite him about Taubman College and inspire his and Melina’s support. “Dean Massey brings such strong energy in thinking about the broader aspects of the built environment. Architecture can play a critical role in solving so many challenges, and the industry is looking to leading schools like Michigan to train the professionals who will do so. I’m proud to play a part in helping them get their start.”
The Duggal family at Michigan Stadium.
— Amy Spooner 69
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In August, he was interviewed by Commercial Interior Design, a leading industry website, about how design can make the hospital environment more people-friendly. Dan Kirby, FAIA, FAICP, M.Arch ’91, M.U.P. ’92, recently was inducted into the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows, the highest honor the AICP bestows upon a member. He also is the 2018 recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Florida Gold Medal, which is that organization’s highest honor. He is one of only 16 people recognized with fellowships in both the AIA and the AICP. He is a buildings, infrastructure, and advanced facilities principal at Jacobs in Orlando, where he leads design and planning of public and private sector projects while championing emerging technology, transit-oriented development, pedestrian-friendly environments, and sustainability.
Jim Nicolow, FAIA, B.S. ’91, M.Arch ’95, a principal at Lord Aeck Sargent, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in recognition of his commitment to transforming the built environment through leadership and collaboration on significant deep green projects, sustainability
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education and advocacy, and leadership and mentorship as Lord Aeck Sargent’s first director of sustainability. Lord Aeck Sargent recently announced its acquisition by Katerra, a $3 billion, California-based technology company serving the design and construction industries. Ross Kaplan, M.Arch ’92, is celebrating 26 years at Neumann/Smith Architecture in Southfield, Michigan, where he serves as an associate, director of information technology, and a project architect working with corporate clients that include Lear, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Beaumont Hospital, CBRE, Bedrock, GP Strategies, and IACNA. Mark Ehgotz, M.Arch ’93, has landed in the Detroit office of Montreal-based GH+A Design as the studio director-associate, following a couple of lengthy stints at Saroki Architecture and JPRA Architects. He has three wonderful children: His oldest daughter is studying architecture at Lawrence Technological University, his son is studying environmental science at Oakland University, and his youngest daughter is a sophomore at Hartland High School.
positions at Virginia Tech, Harvard University, the University of Toledo, and the University of Michigan. She is a co-editor of the Journal of Planning History and is an established voice on a number of planning topics, including comparative urban form and governance, particularly how planning and land use regulation play out in the U.S. and Europe. Mark Hoffman, B.S. ’95, founded Detroit House Company, a real estate brokerage with expertise in architectural design, to serve clients who are looking for homes in Detroit’s historic neighborhoods and are seeking guidance on potential renovations. He also works with developers who are looking for redevelopment opportunities. Brian Stackable, M.Arch ’95, is co-principal owner of Stackable + Mracek DesignGroup, an awardwinning architectural firm located on the Gulf coast of northwest Florida. The firm specializes in planning and interiors — from custom homes to restaurants and retail — and its projects span from South Carolina to Montana.
Amando Vicario Morales, M.Arch ’93, is practicing with his own firm, doing mostly corporate and commercial projects in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is married and has two children, ages 15 and 10.
Chris Townsend, B.S. ’95, recently joined HLW, a global architecture, interiors, and planning firm, as a senior associate. Based in HLW’s Madison, New Jersey, office, he leads collaborative efforts between the design and technical teams and also liaises with clients.
Sonia Hirt, FAICP, M.U.P. ’95, Ph.D. ’03, recently was inducted into the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows, the highest honor the AICP bestows upon a member. Since 2016, she has served as the dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland. Her 17-year teaching and research career also includes leadership and faculty
Leigh Christy, FAIA, B.S. ’96, was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in July in recognition of her significant contributions to architecture and to society. She is an associate principal in Perkins+Will’s Los Angeles office, where she co-created and leads the firmwide Innovation Incubator program; she also leads the L.A. office’s program offering pro bono architecture and design services to those in
need. Her projects include revitalizing the Los Angeles River, boosting community representation in transit planning, and a cost-benefit analysis of two police stations that helped the City of Los Angeles change its minimum building requirements from LEED Certified to LEED Silver. Also, she frequently is asked by policymakers to help plan for more resilient food systems.
Mark Paskanik, M.Arch, ’98,
is an associate/owner at CRB in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has planned more than 10,000,000 square feet of laboratory space and currently serves as a founding board member for the NC-Triangle Chapter of I2SL (International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories).
Jacob Spruit, B.S. ’98, M.Arch ’00, has lived for nearly eight years in Copenhagen, Denmark, working as operations director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. He enjoys spending time with his three kids, cycling, photography, and travel. He finally became a licensed architect in 2017.
2000s William (“Lyn”) Eller, M.Arch ’01, is a principal in the Denver office of Hord Coplan Macht, leading design in the K12 Studio. He has won numerous awards for school design and an AIA Colorado award for the adaptive reuse of Engine House No. 5, the firm’s downtown office space. He is married to Christina Cornthwaite Eller, M.Arch ’01, and the couple recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. They have four daughters: Winnie, Tess, Merryn, and Ada.
will be leasing to several international clients. Evan Mathison, B.S. ’01, co-founded Mathison | Mathison Architects with his father, Tom Mathison, B.S. ’73, M.Arch ’75, in 2013. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the firm has grown to a staff of 12 and is a diverse, design-focused practice with commercial, residential, and interiors projects.
Fabiano Fiocca, M.Arch ’01, manages his own firm, Fiocca Architectural Associates, in São Paulo, Brazil. He recently completed a mixed-use building in the city’s upscale Vila Madalena neighborhood — from design to construction drawings to the actual construction process — that his firm owns and
Hilary Padget, M.Arch ’01,
has joined pHdesign full time with her husband and business partner, Anthony Harrington, B.S. ’00. Their NYC-based firm was established in 2008 and now supports two full-time staff members. They currently are working on a range of residential projects in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, along with a mixed-use nonprofit development in Lansing, Michigan. Another project was their own home in Jersey City, New Jersey, which was featured in Apartment Therapy this spring. The duo has been focusing 71
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Rebecca Mark, M.U.P. ’07,
has lived in Washington, D.C., since graduation. She spent several years working for Congress before leaving the Hill to become a political pollster and public opinion researcher. She now is a vice president with the global PR firm Porter Novelli, where she’s had the opportunity to work internationally and to lead largescale research efforts. She also serves on the board of the Michigan in Washington program, U-M’s internship program that gives undergraduates an opportunity to spend a semester in D.C.
on the Passive House building standard, with their first ground-up Passive House going into construction this summer in Northport, Michigan, and first EnerPHit Passive House retrofit project going into construction this fall in Jersey City. They are founding members of the New Jersey Passive House chapter that launched this spring. Elizabeth (Zorza) Godbold, B.S.
’04, M.Arch ’08, was promoted in May to associate at Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects PC in Chicago. In June, she celebrated her 10-year anniversary with the firm. During her tenure, she has worked on numerous affordable housing developments across the Midwest, along with assisted and independent living communities for seniors in the Chicagoland area. Michael Brehmer, M.Arch ’06, is a project architect with Hamilton Anderson Associates in Detroit. He taught Integrative Design Studio as adjunct faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy in fall 2017 and winter 2018.
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Heather Rule, B.S. ’06, was awarded and completed a Fulbright Research grant in 2016–2017 in Ecuador, where she studied women’s agency in the built environment. She is a project leader and architect with GFF Architects in Austin, Texas; she has lived in Austin (with the exception of her Fulbright year) since earning an M.Arch degree and a Latin American architecture certificate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015.
Tim Parham, M.U.P. ’08, Cert. Grad. (Real Estate) ’08, was promoted to director of real estate at Plymouth Housing Group, a Seattle nonprofit working to eliminate homelessness and address its causes by preserving, developing, and operating safe, quality, supportive housing and by providing homeless adults with opportunities to stabilize and improve their lives. He has developed 145 apartments and is managing Plymouth’s pipeline of more than 500 new apartments over the next five years. This includes Seattle’s first affordable high-rise apartment building in more than 50 years. Ali Iftikhar, B.S. ’09, currently is working for JASARA, a recently formed joint venture between Jacobs and Saudi Aramco to provide program management services in the Middle East and North Africa.
He recently engaged with a highprofile, confidential client in Saudi Arabia to provide design consultancy and advisory services across multiple multibillion-dollar programs that will shape the future of the country.
2010s Kevin Bush, M.U.P. ’10, is the District of Columbia’s first chief resilience officer, responsible for envisioning the various catastrophes that might strike the district and determining steps the city should take to mitigate harm. His two-year stint is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, which is designed to help urban centers around the world prepare for 21st-century challenges. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he helped direct federal response to Hurricane Sandy. The Washingtonian featured his work in a July 23, 2018, story. Lindsey May, B.S. ’10, became licensed in Washington, D.C., in 2017 and started an architecture practice, Studio Mayd PLLC, that same year. In addition, she has been teaching at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 2016.
De Peter Yi, B.S. ’10, is the 2018– 2019 Sanders Fellow at Taubman College. His ongoing research mines and reimagines the physical and intangible forces that bring form together toward new modes of design theory and practice. He previously was awarded a 2016 Graham Foundation Grant for the forthcoming publication Building Subjects, a proposal for housing’s anachronistic parts. He has practiced with Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, WW Architecture in Houston, and 1100 Architect in New York, designing several housing and adaptive reuse projects, both built and under construction.
and operational performance, combining project planning and management with time tracking, forecasting, and reporting. Monograph is designed from the ground up with a laser-focus on simplicity and on the fundamental premise that business software should be lightweight, delightful, and intuitive.
Lisa Sauve, M.Arch ’11, M.S. ’14,
is principal and co-founder (with Adam Smith, M.Arch ’11) of Synecdoche, a small design-make architecture studio in Ann Arbor that received a 2018 FastTrack award from Ann Arbor SPARK for its impressive record of growth. Recipients of 2018 FastTrack awards were required to have revenue of at least $100,000 in 2014, with an annual growth of 20 percent for the following three years. She is pictured, second from left, with Smith (center) and the Synecdoche team.
Justin Ferguson, M.S. ’03, Ph.D.
’17, was named assistant dean for the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University in July. He oversees the college’s programs in Indianapolis and also has
Robert Yuen, M.Arch ’12, is co-founder of Monograph, a San Francisco-based technology company founded by architects with the mission to help every architect, engineer, and builder succeed in their business. Monograph Dashboard is a business dashboard for architecture and engineering firms to track and analyze their financial 73
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served as the director of Ball State’s master of urban design program since 2017. Eric Robsky Huntley, M.U.P. ’14, is a member of the teaching faculty at MIT, where he is technical instructor of GIS, data visualization, and graphics in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. This spring, he received a Teaching With Digital Technology Award from the MIT Office of Open Learning. Over the next year, he will be developing and launching a digital history project, “A Public Archive of Visualized Futures,” with the support of a HASS Research Grant from MIT. Xiao Li, M.U.P. ’16, is working at Didi Chuxing in Beijing, the world’s largest car-hailing platform. The company is expanding its business to add urban intelligent transportation, including regional congestion alleviation, mobility-as-a-service, connected and autonomous vehicles, and similar projects. Her work explores new possibilities in land use planning, street design under the environment of CAVs, and smarter infrastructures. Alexandra Chen, M.Arch ’15,
moved to the Bay Area and has been working for TEF Design since graduation. Among other projects, she currently is working with Studio
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Gang on a renovation of Kristen College at the University of California Santa Cruz. She was married in summer 2016 along California’s central coast, and many fellow alumni joined the celebration. In the photo from that weekend are Jawwad Nakai, James Brewster Joslin, Rebecca Braun, Lauren Tucker, Peter Dumbadze, Jaclyn Zaborski, and Caitlin Sylvain, all fellow members of the M.Arch Class of 2015. Samantha Farr, M.U.P. ’15, is the founder of and instructor for Women Who Weld®, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that teaches women how to weld and find employment in the welding industry. The organization, which she established in 2014, was featured in the July 2018 issue of the American Welding Society’s Welding Journal. Young-Tack Oh, M.Arch ’15, has joined Taubman College as a Michigan-Mellon Design Fellow for the 2018–2019 academic year. He is an architectural designer based in New York City and a founding member of the experimental studio Archipleasure. He has received several international awards for his critical explorations, including the U.K.’s Creative Conscience Award for his project “Endangered Communities Act” and the Lille Design for Change Merit Award for “Guide to Counter-
Foxiness.” His speculative research and practice look broadly at contemporary issues of architecture, urbanism, and policy through the exploration of tactical hacks in the built environment. In parallel, he has worked professionally for Shared Studios in Washington, D.C., and Mapos in New York City. Mingchuan Yang, M.U.D. ’15, recently began working for HPP Architects as an urban designer. Before that, he spent two years with Urbanus. During his tenure there, he participated in the production of the 2015 London Design Biennale’s Shenzhen Pavilion as one of the chief team members and was a curatorial assistant in the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture in Shenzhen. He also earned first prize in the 2015 Jacques Rougerie Competition.
Guido Seoanes Perla, M.Arch ’16, was invited to participate in the International Heritage Festival, “No Conoci El Palma.” In addition, his thesis, “Defensive Urbanism: Barranquillita, Island of Homo-Ludens, Homo-Fabers, and Magic Realism,” was selected to be part of the AIA DC Emerging Architects Thesis Showcase, which was held in September and October. “Defensive Urbanism” presents an alternative form of urbanism that is a resistance against traditional developers, with the goal of preserving and protecting the unique traditional culture, social values, way of life, folklore, economy, magic realism, and ideals of the Homo-Ludens and Homo-Fabers.
CONNEC T W I T H US Taubman College alumni gatherings take place around the country, and even around the world. Recent events have run the gamut from the AIA Conference in New York to a networking reception in Beijing. To receive news from Taubman College about events near you, submit your contact information (including your email address) online at taubmancollege.umich.edu/alumni or call 734.764.4720. You also can view events online at taubmancollege.umich.edu/alumni.
Alumni events in 2018 included gatherings (clockwise from top left) in Beijing, in Seattle, at the AIA Conference in New York, for Homecoming in Ann Arbor, celebrating the Class of 1968 and emeriti in Ann Arbor, and at ULI meetings in Boston and Detroit.
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In Memoriam Leon Pastalan Leon Pastalan, professor emeritus of architecture and former chair of the doctoral program, died on May 8, 2018, at the age of 88. Pastalan was raised on his family’s dairy farm in New York and graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland in 1953 before going on to serve in the U.S. Army. After his discharge from service, he earned his doctorate from Syracuse University in 1961. His long and distinguished career as a professor took him to teaching positions at the University of Northern Colorado, Hartwick College, the University of Toledo, and, finally, the University of Michigan from 1966 until his retirement in 1998. During his tenure at U-M, in addition to his positions at what is now known as Taubman College, he was a senior research scientist at the Institute of Gerontology and director of the National Center on Housing and Living Arrangements for the Elderly. After his retirement, he spent his leisure time as a “gentleman farmer” tending his property on the Huron River in Dexter, Michigan, and later at Gill Lake in Hamburg Township, Michigan. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alice; two daughters; five grandchildren; and his sister.
Paul L. Gruner, B.Arch ’59 January 9, 2018 James W. Swart, B.Arch ’59 October 13, 2017 John T. Dye, B.Arch ’60 Febuary 8, 2018 Stephen W. Osborn, B.Arch ’61 September 3, 2017 Ralph M. McGivern, B.Arch ’63 November 7, 2017 Richard J. Reinholt, M.Arch ’65 October 20, 2017 Ronald R. Labonte, B.Arch ’66 June 4, 2018
Arthur H. Davis, B.S. ’41 August, 1, 2018
Calvin D. Lane, B.Arch ’54 April 11, 2018
James R. Kuschel, B.Arch ’67 May 25, 2018
Donald L. Johnson, B.Arch ’49 July, 17, 2018
Nicholas G. Lardas, B.Arch ’55 June 2, 2018
Leonard G. Siegal, B.Arch ’50 November 22, 2017
Thomas J. Michalski, B.Arch ’56, M.C.P. ’59 July 23, 2018
Michael L. Quinn, B.S. ’69, M.Arch ’74 January 25, 2018
Robert B. Cain, B.Arch ’51 July 22, 2018 Kenneth D. Pococke, B.Arch ’51 July 14, 2018 Robert M. Chance, B.Arch ’52 Febuary 24, 2018 James C. Inloes, B.Arch ’53 October 2, 2017 Marvin R. Jordan, B.Arch ’53 November 26, 2017
Donald W. Cosgrove, B.Arch ’59 October 21, 2017
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Richard P. Drnevich, M.U.P. ’73 March 27, 2018
Irving Tobocman, B.Arch ’56 November 10, 2017
William J. Donakowski, B.S. ’78 October 15, 2017
Stanley A. Bohinc, B.Arch ’57 December 11, 2017
Barbara C. Berlin, M.U.P. ’79 February 2, 2018
Robert J. Frasca, B.Arch ’57 January 3, 2018
Edward J. Hoover, B.S. ’81 January 23, 2018
Donald O. Chapman, B.Arch ’58 August 2, 2018
Lawrence M. Purdy, B.S. ’89 June 15, 2018
Ronald D. Reno, B.Arch ’58 June 2, 2018
Jacqueline Y. Chavis-Wei, B.S. ’02, M.Arch ’04 Febuary 7, 2018
Prashanth Raju, M.U.P./M.U.D.
’17, is part of Singapore-ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory’s Dense and Green Building Typologies research project, which investigates the environmental, social, urban, architectural, and economic benefits of large buildings with integrated green spaces in high-density contexts. His research systematically draws and analyzes the design benefits of green components on high-density buildings in architecture and urban scale; his broader research is on the integration of landscape infrastructure with the built environment using design strategies that strengthen the negotiation and interaction between them. The research is being presented at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. “Dense and Green Building Typologies: Architecture as Urban Ecosystem” is part of the Time Space Existence exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Centre at Palazzo Mora in Venice.
Jermaine Ruffin, M.U.P. ’17, was featured as the planner profile in the weekly e-newsletter of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in June. He recently left his position as a development outreach coordinator for affordable housing projects with the Michigan State
Housing Development Authority and now serves with the City of Detroit’s housing and revitalization department, in the public-private partnerships office. Gayatri Tawari, M.U.D. ’17, recently moved to Chicago for her new job at CallisonRTKL, where she is part of the healthcare studio, working on hospitals and hospital campuses. She also is trying to start an urban design studio in the Chicago office. Previously, she practiced architecture at a different firm in Irvine, California. Alana Tucker, M.U.P. ’17,
is a project manager for the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) Business Improvement Zone. She began working for DDP for her M.U.P. professional project developing sustainability guidelines for Downtown Detroit. Her current projects relate to innovative planning projects, including Spirit Plaza, winter and year-round accent lighting, community engagement efforts in Downtown Detroit Parks, the Detroit Creative Partnership, and a public space recycling pilot in Cadillac Square. She is a member of ULI Michigan and a Challenge Detroit Fellow.
Karen Otzen, M.U.P. ’18, has joined Poverty Solutions at U-M as the City of Detroit Affordable Housing Policy Fellow, where she is part of the Partnership on Economic Mobility with the Detroit mayor’s office. She is working on a range of projects, including development of the city’s single-family housing strategy. Poverty Solutions is an interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to foster research to identify and test strategies for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. The Partnership on Economic Mobility is an effort to boost economic mobility and break the cycle of poverty in Detroit. Vanessa Flebbe, Panquat Kyesmu, Oliver Popadich, and Charles Weak, all M.Arch ’18, had a largescale installation in the 6th Annual Sidewalk Festival, a celebration of Detroit landscape and culture through performance and interactive art. Installations and performances relating to the theme SOURCE ↔ FUTURE occupied the street, storefronts, parking lots, alleys, and warehouses of Artist Village in early August. The team’s installation, “A Friendly Space Creature,” created a playful, interactive experience that encouraged festivalgoers to orbit around the body and experience different alignments of its layers. Sara Timberlake, M.Arch ’18, has joined Taubman College as a Michigan-Mellon Design Fellow for the 2018–2019 academic year. Her design research is situated at the intersection of architecture, cultural production, and community-led urban phenomena. Prior to joining the Michigan Research Studio, she contributed to Michigan Architecture Prep as a teaching assistant.
“Together, we have built a lot here at Taubman College. We have built models, portfolios, a lot of IKEA furniture, a network, opinions, ideas, dreams, independence, student debt, and relationships that will last a lifetime.” — Hanna Jeffers, B.S. ’18
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P ORT ICO VOL . 18, NO. 1 FA L L 2018 University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning 2000 Bonisteel Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069 USA taubmancollege.umich.edu
We welcome alumni news, letters, and comments at email@example.com. You also can submit class notes online at: taubmancollege.umich.edu/alumni/portico Has your address or email address changed? Submit your new contact information online at taubmancollege.umich.edu/alumni/alumni-contactupdate-form or call 734.764.4720.
Jonathan Massey Dean
Postage paid at Ann Arbor, Michigan. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Editor, Portico, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069 USA
Cynthia Radecki, A.B./B.S. ’87, M.Arch ’88 Assistant Dean, Advancement
© 2018 Regents of the University of Michigan
Amber LaCroix Senior Director, Marketing Communications Amy Spooner Editor Liz Momblanco Graphic Designer
Contributing Writers: Nardy Baeza Bickel, James Chaffers, Maya Fehrs, Eric Gallippo, Greta Guest, Wes McGee, Tsz Yan Ng, Fernanda Pires, and Amy Spooner Photo Credits: Adjaye Associates (p. 55, bottom), Ashish Bhandari (p. 15), The Detroit News (cover, pp. 22-23), Shane Donnelly (pp. 39-41), Brian Ferry (pp. 46-47), Sam Hollenshead (p. 48), Bruno Kelly + the Ocupação Anchieta Avança! team (pp. 42-45), KPF (p. 55, top), Anne Laure Lechat (pp. 36, bottom left, 37), Jacob Lekow (pp. 35, 36 top left, 40) Leisa Thompson Photography (pp. 60-61), Danny Lingen (p. 33), Yojairo Lomeli (p. 14, bottom), Ed Reeve (p. 8), Sidewalk Labs (pp. 49, 51) Charlene Uresy (p. 36, bottom right), Courtesy of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation (p. 26), Aimee Wolf (p. 17, top)
Portico is a semiannual publication for alumni and friends of Taubman College, produced by the Office of Advancement. This issue was printed by University Lithoprinters.
The Regents of the University of Michigan Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio Nondiscrimination Policy Statement The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/ Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734.763.0235, TTY 734-647-1388, firstname.lastname@example.org. For other University of Michigan information call 734.764.1817.
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COMING SOON: Taubman College Career Network EXPAND your professional network within the Taubman College community. HELP students and other alumni learn from your college and career experience. ACCESS opportunities to continue your professional development. RECRUIT Taubman College students and alumni to your firm. Watch for emails about this platform launching this fall! Taubman College Career + Professional Development email@example.com