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Building a more just and beautiful future: CBE’s new faculty cohort makes strides on campus

The College of Built Environments at the University of Washington has big dreams. Faculty, staff, and students are tackling issues of social and environmental justice and climate change. They’re seeking out innovations in sustainability, breaking out of disciplinary silos, and forging new collaborations

CBE Community, Environment, and Planning alum encounters experiences of a lifetime during his undergraduate career

Elijah Mason stepped through the door of his second-ever UW College of Built Environments (CBE) class. He was nervous, but also excited. “I chose the course because it was a planning practicum,” explains Mason. “We were going to be doing real work for the community, not just handing in assignments.”

$2 million award from National Science Foundation will support team to develop 3D printed microorganisms for sustainable construction materials

An interdisciplinary research team, including University of Washington Associate Professor of Architecture Gundula Proksch, received $2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program. The funding will be used to combine engineered microorganisms with 3D printing to create materials for sustainable built environments.

OUT in FRONT: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

OUT in FRONT: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, is a fresh take on a favorite biannual event by the UW Landscape Architecture Professional Advisory Council. OUT in FRONT is a showcase for local firms to share innovative and exciting design work with students and the larger professional design community. This year’s event encourages professionals to share work that highlights JEDI principles, practices, or inquiries.

From the Dean: January 2023

After adopting our strategic framework nearly two years ago in 2021, the beginning of the year offers us a great opportunity to reflect and celebrate on what we have accomplished so far and where we plan to go. To learn more about our college’s efforts and outcomes towards these goals, please see the strategic plan implementation progress report.

Meet Steven Bourassa

On August 8, Steven Bourassa joined the College of Built Environments as the Chair of the Department and the Jon and Judith Runstad Endowed Professor. CBE Runstad Department of Real Estate’s new chair shares what drew him to the role and what excites him about the future.

CBE hosts Project Pipeline, architecture camp for underrepresented youth

The College of Built Environments was happy to host NOMA’s Project Pipeline in Gould Hall. Throughout the week, 45 volunteers were there to help the kids learn and 12 youths participated this year, a number they hope continues to grow. They were able to take a tour of the college and campus, and hear from Dean Cheng and CBE professors.

Rick Mohler awarded the AIA Seattle Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement

College of Built Environments Associate Professor of Architecture, Rick Mohler, has been awarded the AIA Seattle Gold Medal, the highest award that AIA Seattle can bestow on one of its members. It recognizes distinguished lifetime achievement in architecture, including design and professional practice and service to the profession, the community, education and the arts.

Engagement & Learning – Space Planning & Website Redesign

As you know, one of the strategic priorities for the college this year involves the space planning analysis work we are partnering on with KieranTimberlake (KT). We are also redesigning our website in partnership with Phinney Bishoff (PB) to ensure our physical and digital spaces reflect our values.

The input from you — students, staff and faculty — will be essential to the success of this work, and we are so fortunate to have such a well informed and knowledgeable community with which to engage!

Engagement Opportunities

WEDNESDAY OCT 26

Workshop 1 (Faculty/Staff)
8:30-10:00 Gould Court

Workshop 2 (Faculty/Staff)
2:00-5:00 Gould Court

Workshop 1 (Students)
10:30-11:30 Gould 110
Workshop 2 (Students)
11:30-1:20 Gould 110 (+Pizza)

THURSDAY OCT 27

Workshop 1 (Faculty/Staff)
8:00-9:30 Gould Court
Workshop 2 (Faculty/Staff)
12:00-3:00 Gould Court

Workshop 1 (Students)
10:00-11:30 Gould 114
Workshop 2 (Students)
5:00-8:00 Gould 110 (+Pizza)

FACULTY/STAFF SIGN UP

STUDENT SIGN UP

Surveys will be sent out soon as another way to engage.

 

The CBE community is asking:

How can space support or generate opportunities for more collaboration among faculty, staff and students of diverse disciplines and backgrounds?
Is there a different way of organizing operations (program administration, advising, research) for more interdisciplinary work?
How can spaces communicate welcome to a diverse range of current and prospective students, faculty and staff?
Can we increase the diversity of instructional space types such as outdoor and semi-conditioned space?
With additional use of hybrid remote and in-person learning and interaction, do our space needs change?
How can our values hands-on fabrication and testing for teaching and scholarship be supported or reflected in our spaces?

Q&A: New book sheds light on Architecture and democracy through Unitarian churches

The history of American Unitarian church architecture is one that’s lesser-known. With this in mind, Ann Marie Borys, associate professor of architecture, wanted to provide context for two extremely highly regarded Unitarian projects of the 20th century that had only been written about independently. Her new book explores how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.

American Unitarian Churches: Architecture of a Democratic Religion” explores Unitarian church design and the progressive ideals shown through them — ideals that were central to the founding of the United States. By situating Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester in their full context, Borys writes about the interconnectedness of American democracy and American architecture.

We asked Borys about the book.

Why did you want to write this book?

I initiated the research in an effort to provide context for two extremely highly regarded architectural projects of the 20th century. Each one had been written about independently with regard to its place in the architect’s creative oeuvre and its “moment” in American architecture. And they had sometimes been discussed in relation to each other (though separated by 50 years) because they were both Unitarian churches. But there was very little written about how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.

I soon discovered that there were quite a lot of Unitarian churches from both the 19th and 20th centuries that were also architecturally significant. So the book that emerged became a narrative of Unitarian church design as a central factor in the development of American architecture itself.

Why has this contribution not been evident in narratives of American architectural history previously? Why is it important to bring this to light?

A simplistic explanation is that architectural history was first developed as a chronology of styles, and then a narrative of architect-heros. It was in the later part of the 20th century that larger social and cultural patterns began to be studied. By then, Unitarianism represented a very small portion of the population, and it was not widely understood to have historical roots connected with those of the country itself.

It is important partly because there are some misconceptions about the two buildings that prompted my research—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester. But more broadly speaking, it is important because it adds a significant body of work to an issue of theoretical importance: What is an ‘architecture of democracy’?

What’s the connection between faith and architecture?

This is a trick question with respect to Unitarian churches. Most faiths build churches that support specific rituals spatially, that express beliefs symbolically, and that aspire to place the church-goers in some relation to the divine. Unitarianism is unusual because it has never had rituals, and in the 20th century, the question of religious belief was transferred from clergy to the individuals. So there can be a wide variety of beliefs in any congregation. This makes the design of a memorable architectural space more difficult.

What elements of Unitarian spirituality are expressed through the architecture of its churches?

I found three things to be in the foreground of Unitarian churches: awareness of nature and with that, the interconnectedness of all things; respect for the individual coupled with responsibility for others; and the necessity for individuals to share knowledge and ideas in a community.

How are the ideals/values of Unitarianism shown through the design of their buildings/spaces?

The awareness of nature and natural processes is evident either directly through generous views promoting connection between the sanctuary and surrounding gardens or natural features or it is present through daylight and through the use of natural materials. Respect for the individual and for individual choice is evident in the way that doors into the sanctuary are located as one choice among others, and in the non-hierarchical arrangement of space in the sanctuary. The necessity to share ideas for the enrichment of all is present in the provision of ample social spaces in addition to a space for worship.

The combination of these features creates an architecture of democracy.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope that readers will understand that Unitarianism was a mainstream denomination in America throughout the 19th century, and that many of our country’s progressive social and cultural advancements were led by Unitarians. I hope that they will be able to appreciate how Unitarianism remains true to its original philosophies and values–values which were formed along with and were practically identical to the American democratic ideals articulated by the founding documents of this country. I hope they will understand that Unitarianism is a democratic religion, and that its architecture is an expression of authentically American ideals.

From the Dean: June 2022

Congratulations to this year’s graduates and also to those from 2020 and 2021! Even with all of the changes that the past two years have brought us, our community has continued to be resilient, creative, passionate, and kind. Here’s what we’re celebrating and looking forward to.

Congratulations, graduates and CBE award winners!

Dear CBE Community,

Congratulations on completing the 2022 academic year! Even with all of the changes that the past two years have brought us, our community has continued to be resilient, creative, passionate, and kind. These graduates are where they are today not only because of their hard work but because of the support that you have provided to them.

A few points of celebration for our community this year:
We had three students named to the 2020 Husky 100 awards and two students named to the 2021 and 2022 Husky 100 awards.
We completed a first-ever cohort hire, bringing on 6 new faculty – which is an important part of our strategic framework to grow our capacity for collaborative interdisciplinary work with the goal of advancing climate solutions.
And we continued to impact the broader community through work like the Nehemiah studio, work with the Duwamish Longhouse, and coastal communities facing rising sea levels.

CBE graduates are well prepared to continue the high caliber of work that genuinely connects their skills to meet community needs and develop innovative solutions to society’s grand challenges. We are proud to send you out to do good things as individuals and as a collective.

I also want to take a moment to recognize and congratulate all of the incredible faculty and staff at our college. Announced during our CBE graduation celebration, this year’s award recipients have distinguished themselves beyond all expectations. These are highly competitive awards with many worthy nominations.

After you read about our Faculty and Staff award winners, I invite you to click the link below to view the photos taken and watch our CBE graduation celebration with guest speaker, Dr. Anu Taranath.

Congratulations graduates!

Yours,

Renée Cheng
John and Rosalind Jacobi Family Endowed Dean
College of Built Environments

View Graduation Photos

Watch the Ceremony

 

Faculty and Staff Awards

 

Headshot of Kimo GriggsLionel Pries Award for Excellence in Teaching
Kimo Griggs

This award is nominated and decided by students in the College of Built Environments. The Lionel “Spike” Pries Award For Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding teaching by faculty within the College during the academic year.

Kimo is recognized for being an inspiring, knowledgeable, and respectful professor who encourages his students to strive for their best — seeing the potential each student has and pushing them to be better.

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Gundula ProkschOutstanding Faculty Award
Gundula Proksch

The Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has made most notable contributions in their field or the community in research and/or service, to their department or college, or to students through teaching and/or service during the past academic year.

Gundula is commended for her internationally recognized interdisciplinary research, mentoring and supervising students, advocating for interdisciplinary research in architecture and the built environment, cross-college collaborations, and her engagement in our college community.

 

Headshot of Steve WithycombeOutstanding Part-Time Teaching Award
Steven Withycombe

The Outstanding Part-Time Teaching Award goes to a part-time faculty member who has made the most notable contributions as a teacher during this academic year. The award recognizes the significant contributions made by part-time faculty members in teaching and acknowledges that the reputation of the college depends on the quality of the educational experience provided by them.

Steve is known for putting interest, care, and time into each student’s work and projects. He gives extra hours of his time all with a smile on his face to support students. He is an incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and enthusiastic member of CBE who is highly regarded among students and faculty.

 

Headshot of Jamilah WilliamsDistinguished Staff Award
Jamilah Williams

The Distinguished Staff Award is intended to recognize the recipient’s extraordinary contributions to the College in the past academic year. The nominee should contribute to a positive collegial environment for the benefit of faculty, staff, and students, with a focus on promoting unity and communication as well as demonstrating an extraordinary level of commitment, leadership, and cooperation.

Jamilah has been a steadfast leader and accountable team player since day one at the College of Built Environments. During her two years with the college, everyone who has had the privilege of working alongside Jamilah knows that she can be counted on as an exemplary collaborator who delivers excellent work to achieve shared goals.

College of Built Environments’ unique Inspire Fund aims to foster research momentum in underfunded pursuits college-wide. And it’s working.

In January 2021, the College of Built Environments launched its new Inspire Fund to “inspire” CBE research activities that are often underfunded, but for which a relatively small amount of support can be transformative. The fund aims to support research where arts and humanities disciplines are centered, and community partners are engaged in substantive ways.

In Memoriam: Bob Mugerauer

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Professor and Former Dean, Robert Mugerauer, on May 8, 2022. Dr. Bob believed in his students’ ability to make the world a better place. His passion and commitment to equity and justice lives on in those he taught and worked with.
His contributions and his presence will be greatly missed.

Announcing the Chair of the Runstad Department of Real Estate

I am excited to share that Steven Bourassa will take on the role of Chair of the Runstad Department of Real Estate. For the past 7 years, he has been Chair of the Department of Urban Design and Planning at Florida Atlantic University, starting August 8, 2022, he will join our college as department Chair and Jon and Judith Runstad Endowed Professor.

Throughout his career, he has led programs that combine real estate development, housing, and planning, at institutions in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to leading the department, Steven will build on and elevate the Runstad Department’s research strengths in housing prices and tenure, land tenure, and property taxes. His most recent work includes collaboration with finance and planning scholars on the use of big data in housing value. I am confident that Steven’s expertise and leadership will move the department toward even greater success in the years ahead.

I want to thank the search committee for their excellent work in bringing such a strong slate of candidates and hosting robust conversations on the leadership needs of the department. I would like to thank Professor Sofia Dermisi for her strong leadership of the department faculty as Acting Chair over the past year. Finally, I appreciate the energy and engagement of the students and the Runstad Advisory Board.

I think the future is bright and I look forward to seeing how the department’s next phases unfold.

Yours,

Renée Cheng
John and Rosalind Jacobi Family Endowed Dean
College of Built Environments

Honoring Black History Month – A Message from the CBE Diversity Council

The CBE Diversity Council, made up of Faculty, Staff, and Students, recently shared a message in honor of Black History Month that celebrates the contributions of a few Black scholars and built environment professionals. We invite you to take the time to honor Black History Month and participate in the observance in some way! Read the message below and see a selection of resources shared to help you in your learning about justice, equity, and inclusion.

Dear CBE Community,

As we enter February, we begin the celebration of Black History Month, an annual observance that was first proposed by Black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. This observance was then formally recognized by the US president in 1976, and has been practiced ever since. Now, in 2022, in the face of continued oppression and structural racism, we continue to celebrate Black History Month as a way to honor Black life, voices, history and art and the African diasporic peoples who have built this nation.

We wish to honor the contributions of Black scholars and built environment professionals who have thrived despite racism to help build a better world. We call out a few initiatives that have inspired us, including:

Nehemiah Initiative created to empower the African-American community by to supporting the retention of historically Black institutions by advocating for development of real property assets owned by historically Black institutions

Wa Na Wari – a Seattle Central Area-based non-profit organization that creates space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection

CBE Black History Highlight

Here we would like to highlight a member of our community, Maisha Barnett, a recent CBE graduate and staff member currently in the role of Assistant to the Associate Deans.  Maisha and her family have had profound and lasting impacts on the City of Seattle and WA State more broadly.  Her great paternal grandfather, John Conna, was head of the first Black family in Tacoma and was recently honored with the City of Federal Way Black History Month Proclamation.  A successful Real Estate Broker, Conna actively recruited African Americans to migrate to the PNW and later became the first Black political appointee in the history of Washington.  In addition, Maisha’s paternal grandfather, Powell Samuel Barnett, was a Seattle-based musician, civil rights activist, and African American community leader.  He was recognized for his work during his life and in 1969 Powell Barnett Park was named for him.  Maisha’s father, Douglas Quinton Barnett, was a Black theater and arts advocate recognized posthumously with Douglas Q. Barnett Street named in his honor in November 2020.  Maisha carries on the legacy and impact that her family has had in Seattle through her work in public space development and service on numerous park boards and commissions.  We are proud to have her as part of our CBE community!

For those interested in learning more around justice, equity, and inclusion, check out the list below, which represents just some of the vast resources on this subject.

Please take the time to honor Black History Month and participate in the observance in some way!

In solidarity,

CBE Diversity Council

*Some of the resources below were pulled from existing sources across campus and we thank the School of Public Health and the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, among others, for their work and willingness to share

READ – books, essays, articles, poems

  • Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, by bell hooks

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

  • Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates

  • Black Landscapes Matter by Kofi Boone

  • Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African-Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

  • Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown

  • Gang of Four by Bob Santos

  • Gather the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

  • Heavy by Kiese Layman

  • Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas

  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and other writings by Maya Angelou

  • Incognegro by Mat Johnson

  • Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown

  • Kindred by Octavia Butler

  • Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

  • March by John Lewis

  • Miles Morales Spider Man by Jason Reynolds

  • My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem

  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor

  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches and other works by Audre Lorde

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks

  • The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  • The Inner Work of Racial Justice by Rhonda V. Magee

  • The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, and other writings by Langston Hughes

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

  • Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America, by Keisha Blain

  • When Ivory Towers Were Black by Sharon Sutton

  • Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis

 

LISTEN – music, music videos & podcasts

 

LOOK – TV, movies, visual art

 

BUY – Enjoy goods and services from Black-owned businesses

 

CARE – Mental health & wellbeing resources

College of Built Environments
Diversity Council
cbediversitycouncil@uw.edu

Entombed in the Landscape: Waste with Assistant Professor Catherine De Almeida

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Catherine De Almeida remembers picking up trash on the playground, seeing people throw trash out their car window, and noticing trash flying around while she played outside as a child. The presence of litter in landscapes upset her so much that she would spend her elementary school recesses picking up trash.

Ken Tadashi Oshima named a Society of Architectural Historians Fellow

Ken Tadashi Oshima is Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he teaches trans-national architectural history, theory and design.

Headshot of Ken Tadashi Oshima, he's wearing a black shirt and grey jacket

He has also been a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and UCLA, and has taught at Columbia University and the University of British Columbia. He earned an AB degree, magna cum laude, in East Asian studies and visual and environmental studies from Harvard College, an MArch degree from University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in architecturalhistory and theory from Columbia University. From 2003 to 2005, he was a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in London.

Dr. Oshima’s publications include Kiyonori Kikutake: Between Land and Sea (Lars Müller/Harvard GSD, 2015), Architecturalized Asia (U. Hawai’i Press/Hong Kong U. Press, 2013), GLOBAL ENDS: towards the beginning (Toto, 2012), International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (U. Washington Press, 2009) and Arata Isozaki (Phaidon, 2009).

He curated GLOBAL ENDS: towards the beginning (Gallery MA, 2011), Tectonic Visions Between Land and Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake (Harvard GSD, 2012), SANAA: Beyond Borders (Henry Art Gallery 2007–2008) and was a co-curator of Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive (Museum of Modern Art, NY, 2017) and Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noemi Raymond (UPenn, UCSB, Kamakura Museum of Modern Art, 2006–2007).

He was an editor and contributor to Architecture + Urbanism for more than 10 years, co-authoring the two-volume special issue, “Visions of the Real: Modern Houses in the 20th Century” (2000). His articles on the international context of architecture and urbanism in Japan have been published in journals including Architectural Review, Architectural Theory ReviewJournal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Kenchiku Bunka, Japan Architect, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, and the AA Files.

Dr. Oshima was president of the Society of Architectural Historians from 2016 to 2018 following service on the SAH Board of Directors and Executive Committee from 2008 to 2016. He joined SAH in 2000 and is a Life Member.

 

The Board of Directors names as Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians individuals who have distinguished themselves by a lifetime of significant contributions to the field. These contributions may include scholarship, service to the Society, teaching and stewardship of the built environment.

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