Dean's Letter

Dean's Letter, Fall 2015
College of Architecture
Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design
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A Culture of Practice/A Culture of Research

The School of Architecture was founded in 1910, and in 1912, it was one of the eight founding members of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). In 1959-60, the faculty started the four plus two curriculum, which established the graduate program in architecture, and in 1961, the urban design program was founded. The landscape architecture program was started in 2010 and graduated its first cohort of students in 2012. There are more than 3,000 alumni from around the world who, alongside our current faculty and students, define the School. In part because of this long history, the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design has a long history and tradition of practice and professional education. Over the last ten years, with our partners in art, design, and the Kemper Art Museum, as part of the Sam Fox School, we have been working to develop a culture of research alongside our culture of practice that contributes to the mission of Washington University in St. Louis, a tier-one research institution.

For me, the image of this culture of research has recently begun to change in thinking about the likelihood that you don’t create culture as much as culture results from a great deal of work. This has led me to speculate that the recent emphasis on research is not so much an initiative as the result of our changing and evolving practices brought about by the work of the faculty and students. If we imagine practice and research as overlapping spaces, I would argue that the overlap is the space where institutional practice and research resides. The University is charged with creating new knowledge. An art and design school within a research university is charged with not only creating new knowledge but also applying it through individual disciplines, which changes or evolves those disciplines. When applied across the context of an interdisciplinary school, this in turn leads to new kinds of knowledge and new applications. This does not mean that initiatives are not important. I mention two here.


The nation’s demand for better quality health care at a lower cost has led to new challenges in the delivery of health care. At the same time, the role of the built environment on health and wellness is becoming central to evidence-based research that can help inform health care delivery.

The Sam Fox School is creating a multidisciplinary research center aimed at developing new knowledge to inform health care design. With a focus on the built environment as a unifying component of health and wellness, the center will address issues posed by changing health care legislation.

Our mission is to use design research methods to develop new knowledge that leads to innovative solutions for improving the experience of health and delivery of care from the community to the hospital and back. Through a holistic, evidence-based approach to design, the center will address problems as wide-ranging as the built environment and information design, to interactions and relationships among patients, doctors, and nurses.


The Brundtland Commission of the United Nations first defined sustainability as an idea related to development in 1987 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable urbanism extends this definition to the design and management of cities with respect to environmental, social, and economic sustainability contained within the preservation of the integrity of all ecological systems, with an increasing emphasis on health and resiliency—resiliency being the ability of cities and citizens to equally flourish and recover in the face of a rapidly changing and unequally resourced global context.

The Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism (DrSU) program, which will bring a small number of students to campus in fall 2016, will offer a 72-credit hour doctoral degree in urban design. This program is designed to prepare experienced professionals and students for advanced careers in transdisciplinary, evidence-based sustainable urban design and planning practice. This experience will also prepare them for research-oriented positions in the profession, nonprofit organizations, community design and research centers, government, and faculty positions at colleges and universities focused on applied research in sustainability and urban design.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to contribute to the design and redesign of cities that are more environmentally integrated with natural systems, healthier, happier, less dependent on scarce natural resources, and more socially just. The future of architecture and landscape architecture is sustainability, and the future of sustainability is sustainable urbanism.


We are pleased to welcome a number of new and returning faculty to the School.

Established in 1986 through a gift from Ruth and her brother Norman Moore the Ruth & Norman Moore endowment supports the Ruth and Norman Moore chaired professorship currently held by Professor Robert McCarter as well as a visiting professor. Joining us this year as the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor is Nanako Umemoto, principal along with Jesse Reiser of RUR Architecture PC in New York City. Nanako received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cooper Union in New York in 1983, following studies at the School of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at the Osaka University of Art, and formed Reiser + Umemoto with Reiser in 1986. Nanako has taught at various schools in the United States and Asia, including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Hong Kong University, Kyoto University, and the Cooper Union, and she has lectured widely at various educational and cultural institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. “RUR Architecture PC is an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary architectural design firm that has built projects at a wide range of scales: from furniture design, to residential and commercial structures, up to the scale of landscape, urban design, and infrastructure.”

Michael Willis joins us as a visiting professor teaching a graduate architecture option studio. Michael is an alumnus of architecture and social work and principle of MWA Architects in San Francisco. “MWA Architects is committed to creating architecture characterized by excellent design, positive social impact, sensitivity to site and the environment.” Among many honors, MWA was recently awarded the Mayor’s Award for Design Excellence by the Portland AIA for the Stephens Creek Crossing HOPE VI Redevelopment.

Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, is a principal and president of VJAA and joins the graduate school of architecture this fall teaching an option studio. Jennifer received her Graduate Diploma in Design from the Architectural Association in London and her professional degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota, where she currently teaches. During 2002-2003, she was a Loeb Fellow in Urban and Environmental Studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. VJAA is known for its innovative and research-based approach to architectural practice that encompasses urban and environmental design. VJAA received the national American Institute of Architects Firm Award in 2012.

Mónica Rivera and Emiliano López Matas, principals of the architectural firm Lopez Rivera Arquitectes in Barcelona, will be visiting professors in the graduate school of architecture. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mónica received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and a Bachelor of Architecture in 1994 from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1999 she received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Emiliano was born in Argentina and grew up in Barcelona. In 2012 he received his Doctoral degree in Architecture from the Universitat Politèctina de Catalunya. In 1999 he received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and in 1997 he received the Master “History: Art, City and Architecture” from the UPC, ETSA Barcelona. He received his degree in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Vallès in 1996. The work of López Rivera Arquitectes has been recognized by several architecture awards, such as the Young Architecture Award of the 10th Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism and the first award in the 7th Iberian-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, among others. Both Mónica and Emiliano will be teaching in the 419 housing studio.

Alumna Valerie Greer, AIA, also joins us as a visiting associate professor full-time this fall, teaching a studio and elective in both the fall and spring semesters. Valerie is on leave from HOK St. Louis where she is vice president, having led design projects around the world. She worked on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a $12.5 billion, 5.5 million-square-foot campus in Saudi Arabia, among other projects. In 2014 she was honored with the St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award for leadership in architecture and design. Valerie will be teaching in the 419 housing studio in the fall and a graduate option studio in the spring.

Jeff Ryan, AIA, director of design for Christner architects in St. Louis, will be teaching a graduate option studio this fall. Jeff has led projects for the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Edward Jones, and Washington University School of Medicine, among others. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Tulane University and his Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.

Several recent graduates join us as lecturers this year. Michelle Hauk will be teaching a new writing intensive course titled “Design With Words,” coordinating the history survey teaching assistants, and teaching a freshman design studio. Joshua Chan will be teaching a sophomore design studio and graduate representation, and assisting Nanako Umemoto with her graduate option studio. Nathaniel Elberfeld will be teaching in the freshman design studios and offering a digital fabrication elective. Alex Waller will be teaching the 317 graduate studio and graduate representation.


We are pleased to congratulate Professor Heather Woofter, chair of graduate architecture, and Professor John Hoal, chair of urban design, on their promotion to full professor.
Jesse Vogler, assistant professor in landscape architecture, begins the fall as a new tenure-track assistant professor. “Jesse Vogler is an artist and designer whose work sits at the intersection of spatial practices, material culture, and political economy.”

Dr. Linda Samuels joins the urban design program as an associate professor. Linda has a graduate degree in architecture from Princeton University and her PhD in planning from UCLA. “Her research focuses on infrastructure as public space as well as the barriers architecturally inspired infrastructure reinvention projects face on the path to implementation.” Linda’s most recent work in the College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona is the Sustainable City Project.

Dr. Hongxi Yin arrives this fall as an I-CARES (International Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability) associate professor in the graduate school of architecture. Hongxi received his PhD in building performance and diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research spans the fields of building science, computer science, and architecture. Hongxi recently led the China Solar Decathlon program, and this fall, along with senior lecturer Pablo Moyano, will be leading a vertical studio to develop a submittal for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which will be held in Orange County, CA, in 2017.

We are sorry to say that Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller have taken new positions with Texas Tech’s new program in El Paso. It was great to have them here, and we wish them well in their new endeavors.

Congratulations to Bobbe Winters, who has been promoted to Associate Dean for Finance, and Kathleen O’Donnell, who has been promoted to Graduate Admissions Coordinator.

Have a great semester.
Bruce Lindsey, AIA, Dean
E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration