Spring 2019 Letter from the Dean

A very warm welcome back to everyone in the new year.

I’d like to take a moment to highlight work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have accomplished so much in 2018, and to mention some of what we have to look forward to in 2019.

Looking Back – 2018 Activities

Under the coordination of LA Architecture Assistant Chair and Wedge Gallery Director Ryan Martinez and IA faculty member and WUHO guest curator Nina Briggs, our events program was exceptionally vibrant. These included three lecturers who were invited to design installations in our Wedge Gallery – Joel Kerner, Andrew Kovacs, and Kristy Balliet – and two exhibitions at WUHO including the Small Scale Architecture Store featuring the work of 40 designers whose items were sold to help fund student scholarships, and Now What?! Advocacy, Activism and Alliances in American Architecture that brought together voices of advocacy such as LALA (Los Angeles Landscape Architects), NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), FSA (Free School of Architecture), AWA+D (Association for Women in Architecture + Design), LA Forum, Cal Poly Pomona Department of Landscape Architecture, and MFLA (Mapping Feminist LA), uniting for the first time as part of a powerful collective.


Our faculty continued to build, lecture and write to great acclaim. Highlights include Dr. Jason Rebillot’s contribution to the edited volume Horizontal Metropolis and presenting research at Parsons School of Design as part of the Design History Society’s annual conference; Ted Smith and his RED Office featured in the publication ‘The New Pioneers’; Hector Perez participating as panelist at the City of West Hollywood Innovative Urban Design Solutions Symposium; Linda Taalman’s house for Kristen Wiig featured in Dwell; and Dr. Paulette Singley writing in the Princeton Alumni Weekly about her experiences teaching in the United Arab Emirates. Other faculty news includes Dr. Singley and Gerry Smulevich presenting at the 2018 ACSA International Conference, and Mark Ericson’s sabbatical work featured in Drawing Matters.

Under the directorship of Jeanine Centuori working with MCD faculty Cate Roman, ACE (Agency for Civic Engagement) continues to lead University-wide civic engagement initiatives such as the Pico Union Recuperative Care Center for Homeless collaboration with the National Health Foundation, receive awards such as the CODAawards for their Walk Watts project, and offer student scholarships under WISE (Woodbury Integrated Student Experience) and the Ward Lombardo Scholarships. Our Interior Architecture program, chaired by Christoph Korner, hosted SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit and the IDEC Regional Conference with CSUN. More notable faculty news from the fall were the election of Catherine Herbst as Dean of Faculty/Personnel, and the appointments of Heather Flood as Chair of LA’s BArch and MArch programs, Ryan Martinez as LA Architecture Assistant Chair, Dr. Ewan Branda as Associate Dean and Director of our MS Arch program, and Jose Parral as Chair of San Diego’s programs.


Our students continue to be honored with public accolades. These include Interior Architecture students Christian Esparza who won the 2018 Donghia Foundation Scholarship (a $30,000 award!) and Justin Jakubisn awarded the NEWH LA Founding Chapter Award AND 1st place in the Mars City Design Challenge; San Diego students, led by SD faculty member Brett Farrow, featured in The Coast News Group on their studio work designing for the housing crisis in Encinitas; LA BArch students Ka Kit Chiu and Armen Janazyan awarded honorable mention in the AIA LA 2×8 student competition and exhibition; and LA BArch student Stephanie Greene winning the competition for the AIA LA ‘Mobile Center for Architecture and Design’.

Worth noting was that the LA AIA 2×8 exhibition was designed by alumni Biayna Boghosian (BArch ’08) and Robbie Mehring (BArch ‘12). Also, LA BArch students Hans Li & Jesse Gomez received Honorable Mention in the ACSA Steel Competition, and Jason Bravo was awarded the Shepley Bulfinch Summer Design Fellowship. The work of our San Diego students, led by Stan Berthaud working with faculty and students at University of New Mexico to create a revitalization plan for the City of Deming, were featured in the USA Today Network: Deming Headlight, and our AIAS San Diego chapter hosted a Women in Architecture Confab Panel.


Esteemed alumni continue to give to our institution: Ignacio Rodriguez (BArch ’07) was appointed to the Board of Trustees, the first School of Architecture alumnus thus honored, and Sonny Ward (BArch ’02) again gave generously to fund ACE scholarships. Ignacio and his partner Lauren Rodriguez (BBA ’08) also sponsored a 6-part Real Estate Development seminar series in the fall featuring leading consultants in the Southern California real estate market. The fall weekend workshop series also included alumni-led Architecture Registration Examination seminars hosted by AIA SFV. More notable alumni news included Crystal Tan (MArch ’15) who was awarded the 2018 AAa/e Scholarship Student Loan Grant; Bart Kwok (MS Arch RED ’15) who completed his first ground-up project in Phoenix Arizona; and Germane Barnes (MArch ’12) who was featured in the NY Times, gave a lecture at Princeton titled ‘Porch: Politics as Usual’, and worked with RAW POP UP in Miami’s Brickell City Centre.

Looking Forward – 2019

Keep your eyes open for the upcoming 2019 Event and Lecture series line-up beginning with our second annual ‘Platform’ exhibition at WUHO featuring architecture and design student work of eight community colleges. Under the leadership of Career and Outreach Coordinator Catherine Roussel, we will be selecting our 4th IPAL student cohort this spring. Please stop by to visit our newest addition to the LA Making Complex, the Material Testing Lab, at the opening reception this Friday, January 18th at 6pm. A special thank you to IA chair Christoph Korner and Making Complex Director Matthew Corbitt who participated on the team that helped complete this project. This spring, we will also be continuing the challenging work of reporting to the Board of Trustees about our San Diego campus. I deeply appreciate the time and attention so many of you have put into this effort.

A sincere thank you to each of you – faculty and staff – for the transformative work that you are doing on behalf of our students. Please keep sending me your news, both inside and outside of the classroom. I look forward to an exciting spring semester.

With gratitude,

Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter

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