CBE launches new mentorship program

Interior of Gould Hall and Gould Gallery with people in it

The College of Built Environments has launched its first-ever, college-wide mentorship program. The program will help students grow in their chosen field through one-on-one guidance, advice, and insight from a mentor.

Our goal for the 2022-2023 academic year is to provide a mentor to every CBE student wanting guidance from a CBE graduate and/or industry professional.

Interested in serving as a mentor?

You can work one-on-one with a College of Built Environments student and help them grow professionally through career exploration, networking, and professional skill-building by signing up for our mentor program. This is an excellent opportunity to support the built environments community by sharing your advice and professional experience.


Mentors do not need to be University of Washington graduates. Applications are preferred by September 30th.

Mentors are needed in the following areas:

  • Architecture
  • Construction Management
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design and Planning

The program begins in November and runs through May. Mentor/mentee pairs are encouraged to meet at least twice per quarter for one hour — this is a total of 6 meetings in one academic year. CBE provides a handbook that includes suggestions for discussion topics and activities. The event launches with a kick-off event on November 8 at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House on the Seattle campus. Optional events and activities for mentoring pairs will also be shared through regular emails from the program office.

Program Information


Watch the short overview video and checked out the program website. You can also email the program office at cbementor@uw.edu to ask specific questions or to set up a call or Zoom meeting.

Q&A: Exploring how the design of the built environment affects our health and well-being

How does the design of the built environment – such as houses, schools, workplaces, streets, parks, transportation systems, and urban form – affect our health and well-being? To explore these issues, editors Nisha D. Botchwey, Andrew Dannenberg, and Howard Frumkin, recently published the second edition of “Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Well-being, Equity, and Sustainability.”

The first edition, published in 2011, was widely used to teach students in public health, urban planning, architecture, and other fields about the impacts of design on human health. In subsequent years there has been increasing focus on how the design of the built environment impacts health in areas such as climate change, sustainability, environmental justice, and the COVID-19 pandemic. There has also been a growing need for more cross-disciplinary training across these fields.

We asked the editors about the importance of this book now.

Why did you want to write this book?

The second edition of Making Healthy Places fills the gap in the education of health and design professionals so they will understand how the design and building of places impacts health and will be prepared to create healthy places. Making Healthy Places includes practical applications, an enhanced emphasis on sustainability, equity, well-being, and examples from urban and rural environments in high-income and low to middle-income countries around the world. The first edition of MHP, published in 2011, has been used widely for teaching in the US, Australia, and elsewhere, and has become out of date.

Why does this book matter? How does it help actually create healthy places that are equitable and sustainable and promote well-being?

As the climate crisis intensifies and recognition of racism and other forms of inequity continues to grow, it is important to study the role of the built environment in addressing such issues. The field is growing and more people are interested in learning about the connection between the built environment and health; this book is valuable for students planning on working at this intersection.
New technologies emerge every day that allow us to study the built environment and develop meaningful ways of creating healthy places.

Please give us an overview of the book. What topics are covered in the second edition of the book? Why did you include these in this new version? What are some key differences between the first edition and the second edition?

This second edition (2022) maintains key messages while expanding treatment of some topics including wellbeing and sustainability, with new chapters on equity and health disparities, issues across the lifespan, climate change, resilience, technological innovations, and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were able to review feedback from UW students on the first edition and incorporate that into the new and updated chapters. We also included updated references along with a website. It was important for us to increase diversity of contributors by gender, race, geography, and professional expertise, incorporate global perspectives, and keep sustainability as a main focus.

With an urban planner as the lead editor of the second edition, the book highlights work that can be done by planners and other design professionals in collaboration with public health professionals to promote health, well-being, sustainability, and equity.

Some people may not realize the connection between community design and health, how might you describe or explain that relationship?

Both fields took modern form in the 19th century in response to rapid population growth, industrialization, and urbanization; they eventually evolved to become distinct fields. Today’s leading causes of suffering and death are related to community design and associated behavioral choices. There are numerous opportunities for the two fields to collaborate that would lead to improved health, well-being and sustainability.

How does the book respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? In what ways did shifting COVID-19 policies influence the writing process/direction?

The COVID-19 pandemic began after we started drafting the book. As the pandemic unfolded, we decided to add an entire chapter about COVID-19 and the design of the built environment. We also revised chapters to discuss connections between topics in other chapters and the pandemic.

Aside from COVID-19, are there other things like it over the last 10 years that have had such a profound impact on the built environment?

Climate change and equity and racism have become more prominent issues. The design of the built environment, both redeveloping existing and building new buildings, neighborhoods and cities can have major impacts on these issues.

Who will find this book most useful? Did you have a specific audience in mind during the writing process, or does everyone including the general public have something they can take away from this book?

This book will appeal to anyone interested in making healthy places and improving their own physical environments. In particular, we hope built environment professionals including planners, architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, transportation professionals, real estate developers, public health professionals, and graduate and undergraduate students in public health and in design fields, will find it especially useful.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The built environment shapes physical and mental health and well-being over both the short and the long term. Policies and practices can influence the design of the built environment to promote health and equity, minimize adverse health impacts and health disparities, and maintain a sustainable balance between human needs and natural systems.

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.

While this year continued to challenge us, there is a lot to celebrate:

    • We celebrated in-person graduation for the first time since 2019, 350 students attended the interdisciplinary CBE ceremony with over 2500 family, friends, and supporters.
    • 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.

As we wrap up this academic year, I’m looking forward to:

    • Our visionary programming analysis that will look at how our college’s virtual and physical spaces and places support our goals and answer the question of ‘what are the academic work and learning spaces of the future?’
    • The branding effort that will help us align our Strategic Framework with the visual identity of the college

I hope you have a revitalizing summer. See you in September.


CBE’s visionary programming analysis

Looking forward to 2022-2023, the second year of implementing the CBE strategic framework, one of our major projects will be to look at how our college’s virtual and physical spaces and places support our goals, specifically:

Embrace inter- and intra-disciplinary collaboration as a core curricular value that shapes all student experiences and professional practice; and ensure the most positive, welcoming experiences possible for prospective students, students, and graduates.

In order to progress towards these intentions, we will be going through a space analysis with the architecture and design firm KieranTimberlake. The purpose of this analysis is to answer the question: What are the academic work and learning spaces of the future?

We will be focused on:

  • Transforming the student experience
  • Promoting equity
  • Future proofing
  • Providing a diversity of instructional space types
  • Enhancing collaboration
  • Specific to the culture of CBE, celebrating hands-on fabrication and testing spaces

We will be investigating:
➔ 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 work across disciplines and operational supports
➔ 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
➔ how do our space needs change with additional use of hybrid remote and in-person learning and interaction
➔ how can our values hands-on fabrication and testing for teaching and scholarship be supported or reflected in our spaces

Outcomes may include:
Pilot testing of artwork, furniture, paint colors
Potential for limited and targeted renovation
Schematic program ideas
Strategy for future major renewal projects, including phasing and funding sources

Your engagement will be critical to the success of this project.

September 2022: Project start
September – October: Space assessment
October – December: Stakeholder engagement
November – December: Program and project development
December – January 2023: Project refinement and report out

Note if you are on campus this summer and see renovations occurring over the summer, these are long planned updates to meet immediate needs, separate from this effort.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved. Expect to hear from me in September.

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!


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.