The 5th Annual AIACC Academy of Emerging Professionals Awards Program jury met in October to deliberate all of the extraordinary candidates who would receive one of the 2016 awards.
The AIACC Educator Award went to Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, AIA, the Interim Dean in the School of Architecture at Woodbury University. The jury was particularly impressed with how Wahlroos-Ritter has advocated and shaped young architectural minds. She has taught at Yale, Cornell, the Bartlett and SCI-Arc Universities. “She is clearly worthy and her enthusiasm is obviously contagious,” says current AIACC President, Michael Malinowski, AIA, in the official press release.
“She not only engages and encourages her current students but also continues to follow and support them post-graduation to assure their successful transition into the profession,” writes Debra Gerod, FAIA, LEED AP, Partner at Gruen Associates in her nomination letter to the AIACC. “It is no surprise to me that we hire more graduates from Woodbury than any other university. She is a strong promoter of licensure and sets great examples for her students by being licensed and an active member of the AIA, traits that are surprisingly not universal amongst university educators.”
“I am dedicated to helping architecture students find their own unique design voice, to improving architectural education processes, and above all, to making the discipline of architecture more inclusive,” says Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter. “I believe that increasing the spectrum of diversity in architecture – be it improving gender and ethnic diversity, supporting multi-dimensional teaching methods, or encouraging alternative practices – will expand the influence of our profession by increasing opportunities for improving the built environment.”
In a professional career spanning 26 years, Wahlroos-Ritter transitioned from full-time architect and façade consultant specializing in the building envelope and the experimental architectural use of glass, to full-time educator with areas of scholarship that include building technology and study abroad studios. Her academic leadership roles began twelve years ago, and reflect many of the skills she developed as project architect: managing large, multi-disciplinary teams; coordinating and communicating with multiple constituencies; and providing a vision for initiatives and strategic priorities. With the recent passing of Dean Norman Millar, Wahlroos-Ritter now serves as Interim Dean at Woodbury School of Architecture, a full-time position that brings with it greater outreach responsibilities and public advocacy roles within the larger design community.
In addition to her roles as educator and administrator, Wahlroos-Ritter also serves as the director of the WUHO gallery in Hollywood and continues to work as an architect through her collaborative office, WROAD.
Woodbury School of Architecture alumni who are now working at Gruen Associates shared their praise about Wahlroos-Ritter as an educator and mentor. Among the testimonials are the ones below:
“Ingalill has taught me that through hard work and dedication, every design challenge is an opportunity to rethink traditional paradigms and ultimately develop more forward thinking designs.” -Stephen Hartounian, 2011 BArch, Woodbury University
“Through academia and into practice, Ingalill’s professional aptitude has remained an endless source of personal inspiration; her ambition to create beautiful buildings is contagious.” -Leanna Libourel, 2009 BArch, Woodbury University
“Ingalill encouraged me to embrace design obstacles, to find experiential solutions that engage everyone, and that there is always room for further design exploration.” -Andrew Rahhal, 2013 BArch, Woodbury University
“Ingalill has served as a source of inspiration for me. She has excelled as an architect, educator and a community leader. She is an advocate for equality of opportunity within the profession of architecture, as well as in the education of architecture.” -Gerardo Huerta, 2013 MArch, Woodbury University
“As a guest reviewer, Ingalill has inspired me to always imagine myself as the user of a space while designing both exterior and interior architecture, thus always maintaining a cohesive relationship between the two.” -Helsa Smith, 2015 BArch, Woodbury University
The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC’s mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit www.aiacc.org.