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LEAF Spring 2018 | TTUCoA

01| DISTANCE: Spring 2018 Lecture series bios p.06

02| TTU - El Paso AULA Conference and interview with Robert Gonzalez p.10

03| TTU CoA Career Fair: List of all participating firms and summaries p.14

04| TTU DDF Program with interview with Sora Key p.16

05| Upcoming Events and submission instructions for CROP p.22

What is LEAF? The second installment in the CROP publication series, LEAF continues to document each academic year. The publication captures the events and discussions that drive the design culture at Texas Tech’s College of Architecture. By providing a critical platform to its student body, faculty, and alumni, this pamphlet serves as a stimulus during the current academic year. Arriving in the spring semester, LEAF contains a preview of the college’s ongoing and forthcoming events, as well as other efforts that are shaping the college’s discourse: faculty research, interviews with lecturers, and student work.

01 02 03 TTU: El Paso Program

2018 Career Fair

Since 2009, Texas Tech’s College of Architecture has bridged the gap between education and practice by carefully selecting prominent architects and educators to lecture at the university.

The Spring 2018 AULA Conference, Porous Borders, focused on ways in which border-interaction can facilitate a better built environment.

The Annual Career Fair fosters the growth of relationships between potential employers, students, and alumni.

p. 06




04 05 TTU DDF Program

Upcoming Events

The new Digital Design and Fabrication Program intends to provide new machinery and guidance to students and faculty as architectural technology continues to advance.

The Porous Borders Conference alongside Pecha Kucha hosted by the Knights of Architecture provide opportunities for student engagement within the College of Architecture




DISTANCE Spring 2018

This semester our lecture series continues to explore the topic of DISTANCE: an academic discussion in relation to our remote geographic location in West Texas. All lectures will be held in the COA first floor gallery at 4pm on a mixture of Mondays and Fridays. Lectures will also be followed by a reception on the ground floor of the Architecture Courtyard with light refreshments, which are sponsored by the Knights of Architecture.


Keller Easterling is an architect, writer, and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space, examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Easterling’s research and writing was included in the 2014 Venice Biennial, and she has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, the Rotterdam Biennial, and the Architectural League in New York. Her influence has spread beyond the United States, as many of her lectures and presentations have reached around the globe. The journals to which she has contributed include Artforum, Log, and Harvard Design Magazine. Her lecture was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Professor Zook, with the panelists Professor Duran, Professor Stiphany and Professor Witmore from the Classics Department.


Fig. 01 Texas Tech College of architecture lecture series poster.


Preston Scott Cohen is a Professor at Harvard University GSD and principal of Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. Cohen’s practice encompasses diverse scales and building types including houses, educational facilities, cultural & public institutions, urban design, and corporations. Preston Scott Cohen is also notable for authoring Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture (2001). His work has been widely published and exhibited, and resides in numerous collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Harvard’s Fogg Museum of Art.


Meredith Miller and Ellie Abrons are both Assistant Professors at the University of Michigan Taubman School of Architecture, and are two of the four Principals of the architecture practice T+E+A+M. Since its founding in 2015, T+E+A+M has obtained many architectural achievements for their superb design and sculpture, including exhibits at the Venice Architecture Biennial and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, as well as the Taubman School of Architecture. Their work has been featured in numerous publications such as Architect’s Newspaper, Architecture Record, and Log. The practice recently constructed their winning entry for the 2017 Ragdale Ring proposal “Living Picture.”



Sharon Johnston, FAIA, is a founder and partner of Johnston Marklee, and was recently named Professor in Practice at Harvard University GSD. Johnston has held many high-profile educational positions, including teaching appointments at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton University, the University of California Los Angeles, Rice University, and University of Toronto. Her practice, Johnston Marklee, has been recognized nationally and internationally for creations such as the Vault House and the Porch House, and has received over 30 major awards. As a merit of their work, Johnston and Marklee were named the 2016 USA Oliver Fellows for Architecture & Design by the United States Artists; the team was also selected to curate the 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial. In 2016, Johnston Marklee published a book on their firm, entitled House Is a House Is a House Is a House Is a House.


Cristiane Muniz is an architect and urbanist operating in São Paulo, Brazil. She is one of four Principals in the architecture practice Una Arquitectos, and serves as a professor of architecture at the University of São Paulo. Muniz has participated in architectural events in several European and Latin American cities. Since the formation of Una Arquitectos in 2006, Muniz’s practice has developed projects at various scales and programs such as public transportation stations, urban & cultural centers, schools, and residential and commercial buildings. Her practice has received several accolades, one of which being the Carlos Barjas Milan prize for her firm’s project on the New Piqueri Station. Additionally, her firm participated in the 5th International Architecture Biennial of São Paulo. 8

Fig. 02 Gallery of the Architectural Imagination, 2016 Venice Biennial


Ponce de León is a Venezuelan-born architect and educator who is currently Dean of the Princeton University School of Architecture and Principal of the architecture practice MPdL. Her interdisciplinary practice has offices in Ann Arbor (Michigan), New York, and Boston. Monica previously served as Dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan and as a professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Prior to establishing her own practice, she was the founding partner with Nader Tehrani in the award-winning design firm Office dA. Ponce de León’s prestige is noted by her numerous achievements, including the Architecture League of New York’s Emerging Voices Award, a naming as a United States Artists Fellow, and being the first Hispanic architect to receive the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. 9


Texas Tech University: El Paso Program An interview with Professor Roberto Gonzalez

Porous Borders is the Texas Tech University at El Paso’s fourth AULA Symposium, taking place from March 29th to April 1st. The event will be hosted by Robert Gonzalez and Kristine Stiphany from Texas Tech University, and Rafael Longoria from the University of Houston. Focusing on ways in which border-interaction can facilitate a better built environment, Porous Borders will present numerous keynote speakers, who will discuss and challenge preconceived notions of borders and cultural identity.

Q: What can you tell us about Texas Tech’s involvement in El Paso? This year marks our tenth anniversary with Texas Tech. Before Tech, El Paso didn’t have a college of architecture. Since the 70s and 80s, El Paso had been trying to get UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) to start a college of architecture; however, they refused to do it. Eventually, residents of El Paso studying at Texas Tech connected with the previous dean, Andrew Brunoi, who eventually negotiated with the El Paso community College president to establish a partnership. This agreement included a two plus two program to give locals in El Paso a pathway to architecture school, and then eventually to Texas Tech.


Fig. 01 El Paso Community College campus, El Paso, 2017.

Q: Will there be any events marking the ten-year anniversary?

Fig. 02 Downtown El Paso.

Fig. 03 Texas Tech College of Architecture, El Paso.

Yes, for the program's anniversary, we decided to host an academic conference to celebrate our partnership and recognize alumni achievement. This will be our first alumni celebration, to which we have invited 150 individuals that have gone through the El Paso program. As a focus to the conference, we will discuss the current border situation between the United States and Mexico. I will also be presenting a journal that I founded in 1998 called "Arquitectura y Urbanismo en Las Américas", or Architecture and Urbanism in the Americas. The conference is an all-day event, starting Thursday, March 29th, and ending on Saturday, March 31st. There will also by a large event on Sunday, we are bringing together some amazing leaders in the Latino architectural community. Such people include Frida Escobedo, a fantastic young Mexican architect for Thursday at six o’clock. The next day, we have Alvaro Rodriguez. Alvaro and his cousin Robert Rodriguez are from Texas, near the border, and both lived in San Antonio, went to the University of Texas at Austin, and became incredible and important filmmakers. Robert wrote the films El Mariachi and Spy Kids, and Alvaro wrote From Dusk Till Dawn, El Machete, and Last Rampage, all of which are set around the U.S.-Mexico border. Alvaro’s films take the U.S.-Mexico border situation, fold it all up, and crumple it. They present very obvious and scary stereotypes of the border, but mock them by displaying their absurdity. On Saturday, the final key note speakers will be Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael, who are partners of Rael San Fratello. They are young practitioners that are well established within both the Latin architecture community and academia, as they are both professors at Berkeley. As our last keynote, the team’s lecture will intersect with our alumni event, as Robert and Virginia will be excellent examples for our alumni to follow. 11

Q: Union Depot, the Texas Tech Campus in El Paso, is very close to the city’s downtown. How do you think a school of architecture can revitalize an urban condition like downtown El Paso? I just lectured on this very topic at ACSA Administrator’s Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “How can an architecture school become a catalyst in a city?” When considering medical schools, they intersect with the medical environment. It’s almost a given than an architecture school should do that with a city. When I arrived in El Paso seven years ago, my desire was to move the school downtown. At the start, we were in the administrative building of the community college, which was a very unfortunate place. Our architecture school was a shopping strip with no windows—it was horrible. Someone said from El Paso’s medical school once visited the building, and said: “This is great space, you don’t need windows.” I responded, “A school of architecture without windows is like a hospital that’s always dirty.” It was the opposite of what we wanted. Later on, I really set myself on moving the college downtown. Luckily, the city of El Paso got word of what I wanted to do, and recommended a fantastic building downtown for our school of architecture. Then we had a downtown presence. With that presence, we were able to spread our architectural affluence throughout the city, as our location intersects with streets along which many activities happen. This sort of cultural reinvigoration was certainly a result of moving into downtown El Paso.

Fig. 04 Texas Tech College of Architecture, El Paso.




2018 Career Fair March 1st - March 2 nd

Texas Tech College of Architecture will be hosting its annual Career Fair from February the 28th to March the 2nd.

The Career Fair gives TTU CoA students and employers of various local firms the unique opportunity to interconnect. Furthermore, it provides these firms and our alumni a great opportunity to promote their brand through the presentation of their work or the firm in general. The Career Fair’s use of mixers and interview days allows for students to get real life experience as well as guidance for the improvement of their portfolios and interviewing skills.

Fig. 01 TTU CoA Annual Career Fair Poster, 2018.




TTU Digital Design Fabrication Program An Interview with Dr. Sora Key

Q: What is your background in design regarding your education and PhD studies? When I was going for my license, I was a very conventional architectural designer. I was in Seattle working on my Bachelor’s of Architecture; when I finished, I started working at Osen Zonberg, which does very serious design on expensive residential and industrial buildings, as well as galleries. I then moved back to my hometown, Seoul, and I worked at the magazine, Space. In Seoul, my office was special in that I was able to work on design competitions; it was a lot of work actually, we had new competitions every month.

Q: Within the office you worked at, what were the primary projects you worked on alongside competitions? We had some projects, but we mostly entered design competitions to get a project. At my office, I was in the competition team for a while, but eventually decided to go back to school for a PhD. While I was working full-time at Space, I also taught part-time, which I liked a lot, as I saw the differences between working and teaching. When you work, you get into a routine; you design, and keep designing new buildings, project after project, competition after competition. However, in that lifestyle, you don’t have time to think about why you are doing what you are doing, and how can you improve your process. It’s really hard, because you have to set up a process—even in design competitions, there 16

are procedures you need to follow. On the other hand, with teaching you can think about new ideas without knowing if they’re going to work out or not; you can always try. These experiments are allowed as long as they take place in a classroom or studio. Seeing this side of architecture was very different, and made me realize that I wanted part of my work to be teaching. That is why I went back to school for my PhD to become a fulltime professor.

Q: Was there any specializing focus in your PhD? In architecture, there is no pure PhD. It has to be either historical or technological, so I needed to choose which way I should go. I was originally interested in historic criticism; it is more analytical, so you are not producing design, you are analyzing someone else’s and trying to see what is there. To clarify my interests, I met with an advisor for my PhD in Seattle. Somehow, he liked my work, and asked me to join his lab as a graduate student. I thought of this as one of my options, as he had enough funding to support full-time graduate students. I eventually took the position at his lab; however, at that time, the University of Washington did not have a PhD program. After four years, I asked my advisor to write me a letter of recommendation to go back to school, and apply for PhD programs. I was applying to two different domains, historic criticism and computational design, which is also an analytical focus. In two different ways, my educational path was analytical. I decided to go with computational design, because I thought that it would be more useful with my knowledge and background of design. I found the technological and computational part of architecture more exciting anyways. With studies in history, there are many historians, and I wanted to do something totally new. That is why I joined Carnegie Mellon as a PhD student in computational design.


Q: How would you define your position within Digital Design and Fabrication? I would say that computational design is really about finding a better use for all these new and evolving technologies. I am really interested in design methods that use new tools, and try to integrate them into a design process—that is my research. As the larger picture of all of this, I am currently teaching a robot how to create nice design. From my studies, the biggest difference between robots and humans is that robots need very specific guidelines and information to design, but humans do not, due to their preexisting knowledge of design concepts. You have to tell a robot everything: move two degrees, rotate, go to another place based on x y z coordinates—all to grab a brick and move it. The programming of a robot must be very specific to accommodate for the level of specificity required. As a benefit of programming, one can understand the process entirely, and become more effective when teaching students. I am figuring out this technology, and all its minute details, in order to understand the design and fabrication process better. With that in mind, I am using what we know already, and translating that knowledge into machine language so that we can be more effective designers and have better tools. We are teaching the tools new knowledge and a language for the architectural domain. Computers and scientists by themselves don’t know the difference between good or bad design, or how to design in general. With my work, I stand in the middle doing two different kinds of practice—computation and design, connecting these two fields into a beneficial and educational program.


Q: What is your vision for Texas Tech’s DDF program? Over the last 5-6 years, I have seen Texas Tech students during the summer as a reviewer. They are very capable—more than capable—and are smart, sharp, and open to new things. This is one of the reasons why I decided to join Texas Tech. Today, we have machines everywhere, and by pursuing my research, I intend to create a very integrated procedure for design and architecture students, as well as faculty who wish to use these tools. By adding my knowledge of science in the middle of the design process, no third-party programs are necessary. I am working towards desktop fabrication. With these developments, for example, you can design with Rhino, and just print out the 3D models you make. In five years from now, I foresee ourselves having industry-level output, consisting of one quick cycle from drawings, to models, to in-house production. To accomplish this, I have placed emphasis at faculty meetings on building new machines such as these. We already have book-producing machines and plotters on some of the floors, as they are essential to studios. These machines should start becoming a major part of every studio, so that in five to ten years, we may even have tiny robots alongside printers in every studio. With these aspirations, more time can be spent on design, rather than making a hundred cuts to create a model.

Q: Essentially, would you like to make fabrication as easy as laser cutting? Yes, we can expect digital tools to become easier and cheaper just as computers did twenty years ago. As processes become more streamlined, they will cost less to maintain. However, we must consider what we can do with these tools. What will we be able to do with these machines when they are available? These questions are 19

the next step in researching these technologies. While we are developing these tools, we must spend time on creativity, and challenging what we can make, as these machines will not only change our conceptions of form and function but also our perceptions and experiences of design.

Q: Many students see this robotic arm, but they don’t know what it is capable of. Can you elaborate on some of its uses? Maintaining that robotic arm is a huge responsibility of mine. With it, I will create demonstration pieces that will become a part of my research and design. As for its uses, we don’t know what it can do. It has no answer Rather, we will utilize the arm to be more experimental and play more with different geometries and materials. The pieces created from this will go into our archives as a demonstration of what the machine can do for us. I will use conventional materials—concrete, resin, and definitely wood and brick—to figure out different applications of typical materials. In a few years, I am expecting to use this fabrication project as a part of my research, and have students and faculty collaborate on designs using the robot. Some universities in China and Switzerland already have robotic studios in their architecture department since they have multiple robots. In our case, one robot is not enough to run a studio. However, with multiple faculty members teaching students how to use the robot, the end result is a huge push toward digital fabrication. If that sort of college-wide alignment is possible, something like a robotic application studio will be in the queue.


Fig. 01 Robotic Arm located in the new CoA Annex.

Q: What advice do you have for students amidst the development of this program? We are trying to develop a long term plan and direction of where this DDF program should go. Consequently, we have just as many questions as the students regarding a clear vision of the future. The bottom line is that the tools are already out there to use. I am just inventing a new way to utilize these tools. In DDF, we can still think of ways to create new tools for designers. Of course, all this design and effort should be integrated in architecture, as these machines will make their way into the profession eventually. In order to understand your current views and perspectives of these technologies, please come say hello to me if you see me working with the machines. My team and I would like to hear any student input to aid us in forming the picture of our program’s direction. 21


Upcoming Events Spring 2018

4th Annual AULA Symposium - Porous Borders The Porous Borders Symposium will take place at the Texas Tech El Paso campus from March 29th to April 1st. The event will be chaired by the director of the El Paso program Robert Gonzalez and Professor Stiphany. This symposium will bring together prominent scholars and architects to the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss a timely topic concerning borders, boundaries, and identities. Porous Borders will also have keynote presentations by Frida Escabedo, an architect from Mexico City, Alvaro Rodriguez, a film-maker and writer, and finally, the partners of the Rael San Fratello practice.

Pecha Kucha - Knights of Architecture Pecha Kucha is a fun and informal gathering for likeminded creative people – artists, musicians, architects, filmmakers, writers, and local personalities - held on April 27th to share ideas, works, or interests. The format is a “20x20 presentation,” where 20 images are shown – each for 20 seconds. The progression of each slide is uninterrupted with the presenter speaking along with the images. This is a free event to all students, faculty, friends and family. In coordination with the CROP release for the College of Architecture, book release and sales shall be presented at the end of all presentations. 22

Fig. 01 Texas Tech College of Architecture, El Paso.


call for submission

Calling all students, faculty, and alumni to digitally submit their work or research to be featured in this years edition of CROP 08: Distances. CROP is the student-led, yearly journal of Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture. The publication constructs a cohesive narrative of the ongoing research and disciplinary themes driving each academic year. Curated through strict criteria of the contributions of students and faculty, CROP allows for an in-depth view of the robust culture that fuels the College – one arisen from the core tenets of high design, passion, and criticality.

Please follow the instructions on our webpage, to complete the submission form, along with the we-transfer to submit the files. We are asking for final drawings as .pdf, .jpg, .ai, or .psd files only. Thank you for your participation!

Fig. 02 Call for Subissions Poster, CROP, 2018.

How to submit to CROP: Step 01: Complete the submission form on for each individual project you want to submit. Step 02: Create a zip folder with the final files you wish to enter (.docx, .pdf, .jpg, .ai, and .psd files are accepted) Step 03: Go to and send the zip folder to 23