Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome back!

As we are now on the threshold of the 2017-2018 academic year, we are delighted to welcome an impressive incoming class of undergraduate and graduate students. I am writing this brief note to reflect on some of the recent activities and accomplishments of our faculty and students and speak about some of the curricular innovations and educational opportunities for the coming year.

On the afternoon of Friday, January 20, 2017, our faculty and students stood alongside our CBE colleagues in participating in Design as Protest: National Day of Action. This nationwide event engaged students, faculty and professionals to use design as a means to speak out in support of disenfranchised and marginalized communities. I would also like to report that the Department of Architecture held its inaugural Alumni Awards Event on Saturday, April 1, 2017. The primary focus of the evening was on the significant accomplishments of the five awardees—our two Distinguished Alumni, Lee Copeland (BArch 1960) of Mithun Inc. in Seattle and Steven Holl (BArch 1971) of Steven Holl Architects in New York; and this year’s Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD), Scott Crawford (MArch 2008, MSArch 2010) of LMN Architects in Seattle, Mariam Kamara (MArch 2013) of atelier masomi in Niamey, Niger, and Suk Lee (BAArch 2008) of Steven Holl Architects. This biannual event was supported by the many individual and firm sponsors whose contributions will directly fund the Alumni Awards Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Recent accomplishments include MArch/MLA student Ariel Scholten being awarded Third Place in the 2017 HERE + NOW: A House for the 21st Century, Residential Student Design Competition. This national competition was jointly organized by the AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (AIA-CRAN) and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The project was produced during winter quarter 2017 in the Arch 501 studio taught by Assistant Professor Elizabeth Golden and Associate Professor Rick Mohler. This project was also given an Award of Merit in the 2017 AIA Northwest and Pacific Region student design awards program. Another significant achievement is recent graduate Hillary Pritchett (MArch/MLA, 2016) receiving an honor award in the general design category from the 2017 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Student Awards program for her thesis “Concrete Nurse Logs: Spawning Biodiversity from Ballard’s Century-Old Locks.” Her thesis committee was Professor Ken Oshima and Associate Professor Rob Corser from the Architecture Department and Associate Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture, Ken Yocom. Congratulations to all involved in both of these exemplary student projects!

In looking toward 2017-2018, this will be the first year of our revised Master of Architecture curriculum. This change will apply to our incoming 3-year MArch students this year, with full implementation by 2019-2020. The curriculum changes were approved by the UW Graduate School in June 2017 and will facilitate the streamlining of core courses while allowing for a curriculum that enables college-wide breadth. Our goal for these changes is to facilitate the continuing evolution of our MArch program through a greater focus on issues of collaboration, integration and research. An important element of this change is the addition of a non-thesis option. The creation of a Research Studio (non-thesis) culminating experience and the enhancement of the existing independent Thesis will allow students to gain increased exposure to research and collaboration activities that will serve them in their future careers.

New educational opportunities for this year include the appointment of Mark West of the Center for Architectural Structures and Technology (CAST) in Winnipeg, Canada as the Barry Onouye Endowed Chair for 2017-2018. Professor West will give a lecture on November 8, 2017 and co-teach an undergraduate studio and a course on structural architecture with Assistant Professor Tyler Sprague during winter quarter 2018. Given his interest in fabric formwork for concrete structures we are likely to see some innovative constructions in the north courtyard of Gould Hall, like the small wood pavilions produced by last year’s Onouye Studio, which was taught by Professor John Ochsendorf of MIT along with Assistant Professor Sprague.

In addition, I am happy to announce that we will again be offering an advanced graduate studio during spring quarter 2018 with Pritzker Prize winning architect, Glenn Murcutt. The Murcutt Australia Studio, which will be co-taught by Associate Professor Peter Cohan, will include an extended stay at Glenn’s farm (the Marie Short House) during winter break and a return to Seattle for the spring quarter to refine the projects conceived in Australia. Other studio offerings include a second year of collaboration with Perkins + Will through an Arch 504 studio co-taught by Research Associate Professor Chris Meek and Devin Kleiner (MArch 2004) of Perkins + Will’s Seattle office. We are also pleased to announce that Donald King, FAIA, will be offering an advanced undergraduate studio during spring 2018.

In closing I want to thank our faculty, staff and students for their efforts in making the UW Department of Architecture such a vital and positive learning environment.

All the best for the new academic year!

mclaren signature

Brian L. McLaren, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair
UW Department of Architecture