I. M. Pei '40, Pritzker Prize Laureate, Passes Away at 102

Image: RIBA via The Telegraph

Image: RIBA via The Telegraph

Note: Much of the biography posted here is from https://listart.mit.edu/public-art-map/wiesner-building

I.M. Pei, B.Arch ‘40, an MIT alum and one of the most famous architects in the world, has passed away at the age of 102.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton, China in 1917 and came to the United States to study architecture at the age of seventeen. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from MIT in 1940 and upon graduation was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, the MIT Traveling Fellowship, and the AIA Gold Medal. He went on to enroll in the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1942, where he studied under Walter Gropius. He completed his Master of Architecture degree in 1946 while serving as assistant professor.

In 1951, he was awarded a Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship from Harvard, which permitted him to travel extensively in Italy, England, France, and Greece. In 1954, he became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. He formed I. M. Pei & Associates in 1955, which became I. M. Pei & Partners in 1966, and Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners in 1989. His formal retirement two years later was instigated by his desire to pursue smaller, independent projects.

Among Pei’s famous buildings are the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the renovation to the entrance of the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Fragrant Hill Hotel, Beijing; the West Wing Renovation of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the John F. Kennedy Library, Boston; the Tête de la Défense, Paris; Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China; and the annex to the TWA Airlines Terminal, JFK Airport, New York. His many honors and awards include several honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts; the Pritzker Architecture Award; a National Endowment for the Arts Ambassador for the Arts Award; Grande Medaille d’Or from the French Acadamie d’Architecture; Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects; Architectural Society of China Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Architecture; the Medal of Freedom; and Officier de la Légion d’Honneur from the French Government.

Turning Points: Celebrating 150 Years of Architecture at MIT

Fall 2018 marked the 150th anniversary of MIT's first architecture class, making what is now the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) home to the oldest architectural course of study in the United States. To mark the occasion, the department celebrated with a diverse array of educational and social programming on campus throughout the academic year. The events culminated in a symposium and alumni open house on campus April 12–13.

The symposium included tours of Course-IV workspaces, faculty talks, panel discussions, and a reception held at the MIT Media Lab building.

Constructing a Place for Female Architects: Lois Lilley Howe, Class of 1890 (from Technology Review)

Lois Lilley Howe, Class of 1890, was the second female member (and first female fellow) of the American Institute of Architecture and served on the AIA’s Committee on Small Houses.

Lois Lilley Howe, Class of 1890, was the second female member (and first female fellow) of the American Institute of Architecture and served on the AIA’s Committee on Small Houses.

Note: This article was originally published in Technology Review. See the original article here.

In 1870, luminaries gathered just north of Harvard Yard to lay the cornerstone for Memorial Hall, a High Victorian Gothic building being erected in honor of Harvard alumni who’d fought for the Union in the Civil War. Six-year-old Lois Lilley Howe happened to live across the street, and for the next seven years, considered the construction site her playground. As the enormous building took shape under her watchful eye, she spent so much time there that the workmen took to calling her “the little engineer.”

The precocious daughter of Dr. Estes Howe and Lois Lilly White Howe became fascinated with architecture, and came up with a plan for turning the straight staircase in her family’s home into one with landings. (An architect claimed it couldn’t be done, but Howe convinced the house’s next owner that it was possible, and was proved right.) And she would ultimately end up founding Boston’s first female architectural firm.

But while the Howes considered themselves part of Boston’s progressive, intellectual circles and rubbed elbows with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, her interest in a building career was still radical for the late 19th century. “Always interested in houses, I had wanted to be an architect but had been suppressed by my pastors and masters on the ground that I could not be an architect because I was a woman,” she wrote in a 1963 essay in Technology Review.

Not wanting to study at Radcliffe College (then known as the Harvard Annex), Howe enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to pursue a degree in design. She spent several years attempting to work as an artist. But when her family built a new home, she found herself practically living at the construction site, and decided to seek a degree in one of academia’s newly burgeoning fields: professional architecture.

Before the 1860s, the work of gentleman architects (who met with clients and toiled at their drafting boards) and architectural engineers (who saw to the physical realization of the architects’ plans) rarely overlapped. By 1868, places like MIT were starting to offer training in both design and engineering for those who wanted to tackle every aspect of the architectural process. The young field was still primarily a men’s club when Howe arrived at MIT in 1888 as one of only two women in the architecture program, and the only one in her entering class of 66 students.

After completing the two-year “partial course” in architecture in 1890, Howe got her first taste of acclaim in 1893: second place in a national competition to design the Woman’s Building for the Chicago World’s Fair. (Fellow MIT graduate Sophia Hayden, who’d earned her four-year architecture degree in 1890, took home first prize.) Howe spent her $500 winnings on a 15-month tour of Europe with her mother and sisters before returning to Boston to start building her architectural practice.


A blueprint of a Cambridge house designed by Howe, Manning & Almy.

A blueprint of a Cambridge house designed by Howe, Manning & Almy.

In her essay for Technology Review, Howe wrote that just as her career was starting to take off in an office “downtown” in 1900, she was left “high and dry” by her two male colleagues. While this could easily have set back the young architect’s confidence, she charged forward, calling it “one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Having already started to make a name for herself through commissions for friends in her social circle, Howe realized she didn’t need to rely on male colleagues’ connections to bring in work. So instead of recruiting more male architects to replace the two who’d left, she began hiring female draftsmen.

Before long, women who’d recently completed their architectural studies at MIT began flocking to the Firm, as many in Boston called her practice at the time. Alumnae sought out Howe’s practice not only for the camaraderie among the women there but because most firms run by men tended to favor male applicants. Eventually, Howe would invite two of her draftsmen to become partners. Eleanor Manning, Class of 1906, did so in 1913 and served as the firm’s engineering expert; Mary Almy, Class of 1920, took charge of business operations when she became a partner in 1926. Having partners allowed Howe to focus on design work.

The partners realized that as Boston’s only all-female architectural firm (and the second such firm in the country), they would often be expected to focus on what they (surely!) knew best: domestic architecture and design. So Howe, Manning & Almy completed many such commissions and became known for their thoughtful renovations of Colonial Revival and Greek Revival homes. (Manning referred to such work as “renovising.”) With her keen eye for design and her background in art history, Howe created meticulous designs that not only streamlined the operation of the house but paid homage to its historical elements.

Howe’s training as an artist was evident in her watercolor renderings.

Howe’s training as an artist was evident in her watercolor renderings.

Not content to focus only on renovating genteel homes, she actively sought out public architecture projects as well. During World War I, the firm contributed to the war effort by building a cafeteria at Camp Devens and by designing and building—and then volunteering at—a canteen on Boston Common that was near the firm’s Tremont Street offices. Meanwhile, Howe and her colleagues were eager to help address urban housing problems and to provide much-needed housing stock for middle-class families. As part of their practice, they began concentrating on designing smaller, more efficient homes.

In 1924 the firm was among 25 commissioned to design one of the country’s first planned communities, which was targeted to working-class families in Mariemont, Ohio. Together, Howe and Manning designed seven single-family Mariemont houses in the “English Garden” style. In the 1920s and 1930s, the firm also remodeled apartments for a slum clearance project in Lynn, Massachusetts, and submitted its small-house designs to the US Department of the Interior for its Subsistence Homesteads program, which relocated poor rural families to planned communities.

Commissions slowed during the Depression; the firm focused more on renovations than building in the 1930s, and Howe, Manning & Almy dissolved in 1937, when Howe retired. By that time, though, the firm had completed a formidable 426 commissions. Manning and Almy went on to found firms of their own, and Howe remained in Cambridge to pursue her interests in historical architecture and preservation. She gave frequent talks at the Cambridge Historical Society up until her death in 1964, just 12 days shy of her 100th birthday.

“Small commissions led to large ones,” she wrote in Technology Review. “And while we never grew fat and rich on small houses we generally had good jobs.”

March 18 2019: SA+P Dean's Reception in San Francisco

SA+P Dean’s Reception in San Francisco

MITArchA hosted a reception for SA+P Dean Hashim Sarkis on March 18, 2019, and Bay Area alumni gave Dean Sarkis a warm welcome on his first visit to San Francisco. SA+P alumni, from the 1960s to recent graduates, were treated to an evening of conversation with Dean Sarkis at the San Francisco office of SOM where alumna Ellen Lou ’85 is Director of the Urban Design + Planning Group.

Exuberant and engaging, Dean Sarkis brought alumni up to date on his vision for SA+P and shared his plans for strengthening the design core of the Institute while growing innovative programs that build on MIT’s creative and technical strengths; programs that will be enhanced by the collaborative space and state-of-the-art facilities proposed at the soon-to-be renovated Metropolitan Warehouse. Sensing the enthusiasm in the room, Dean Sarkis encouraged Bay Area alumni to re-engage with our alma mater by actively participating in current and future programs such as Design X and Urban Science, created with alumni participation in mind.

Alumnus Jeffrey Heller ’64 ’67, FAIA, President and Founder of Heller Manus Architects, recently honored with the MIT Architecture Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating 150 years of MIT Architecture and the inaugural MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award, welcomed the invitation to go back to school, echoing the School’s youthful and innovative approach that has continued to renew and propel the nation’s oldest Architecture program to excellence. Jeffrey’s curiosity about the new Urban Science undergraduate major and how Bay Area alumni practices can learn from and support this new discipline as an active field laboratory underscores the mutually beneficial potential of stronger School + Alumni relationships.

Dean Sarkis recognized, with great appreciation, Jeffrey Heller for his generous gift to the school, MIT’s first Architecture fellowship given by a practicing architect. This act of giving back is especially poignant at a time when the School of Architecture + Planning is at a historic and strategic crossroad. The promise of a physical nucleus to convene the brightest creative minds from the Institute to improve human interaction with the environment from the nano to cosmic scale bodes well for the future, a future that includes all of us.

Curious? For two days in April - April 12 and 13, 2019 – Architecture 150 will be dedicated to welcoming SA+P alumni back to school to see and hear first-hand where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed. Reserve your space now.

03/12/2019: Skylar Tibbits SM '05, MIT Self-Assembly Lab, Speaks to Alumni in New York

On March 12, 2019, the MIT Club of New York and MITArchA (the MIT Architecture Alumni Affinity Group) joined forces to host a talk by Skylar Tibbits SM ’05, Assistant Professor of the MIT Department of Architecture and Founder of the MIT Self-Assembly Lab. The talk was held at the New York office of Arup, a world-renowned engineering consultancy.

Professor Tibbits began his talk by discussing the history of digital design and fabrication, as well as MIT’s early involvement in the development of computer-aided design technologies. He described his interest in materials (developed during his graduate studies at MIT) before describing the concept of Self Assembly: “a process by which disordered parts build an ordered structure through only local interaction”. He showed some research projects that explored this concept including Aerial Assembly and the Fluid Assembly Chair. Professor Tibbits then showed a developing real-world application of the concept—a sand assembly project tested in the Maldives in which a series of weighted inflatable bags are used to promote the creation of sandbars that fight erosion and facilitate reef creation.

Tibbits then spoke about the concept of Programmable Materials—compositions that are designed to become highly dynamic, but are cost-effective, easily fabricated and capable of flat-pack shipping and self-assembly. He showed the audience multiple explorations of this concept, including: Rapid Liquid Printing, in which furniture-sized objects are printed in a gel; Active Shoes, in which a two-dimensional pattern self-transforms into a three-dimensional form after being released from the machine; and Rock Printing, which uses the concept of “granular jamming” to create rigid structures that can be easily disassembled.

Professor Tibbits concluded his presentation with the following phrase: “Today we program computers and machines. Tomorrow we will program matter itself.” Interested and engaged alumni asked many questions after the presentation, ending the event on a high note.

Special thanks to Alessandra Vecchiarelli SM '13 MEng '15 for her invaluable assistance with this event.

Carlos Cerezo Davila PhD '17 Joins Kohn Pedersen Fox as Environmental Design Director

Image via KPF.com

Image via KPF.com

Note: this article is adapted and reposted from the website of Kohn Pederson Fox. See original article here.

Carlos Cerezo Davila PhD ‘17 has joined Kohn Pederson Fox as Environmental Design Director. In this newly created role, Cerezo Davila will guide the firm in its ongoing efforts to positively impact the environment through its built work. Working closely with staff at all levels of the firm, Cerezo Davila will advance existing processes and create new design tools, workflows, and analysis systems to ensure KPF projects exceed the highest standards of sustainable performance and resiliency.

“With the addition of Carlos, KPF is strengthening both the environmental and research aspects of our practice,” says KPF President James von Klemperer. “As architects of impactful, large-scale projects in key city centers around the world, we appreciate that we have an outsize responsibility to make sure we are designing for a healthy sustainable future. Carlos will help us advance our practice and the cause of environmental betterment worldwide.”

“Given their density and scale, the potential of KPF projects to have a positive environmental impact is immense, not only in the operation and construction of individual buildings but also in the urban microclimates and infrastructure they are embedded in. With more than 50% of the firm’s work located in urban regions of the world facing some of the largest challenges due to rapid urbanization and climate change, KPF has a duty to deliver lasting environmental performance,” says Cerezo Davila. “Having explored the built environment as an academic, I am extremely excited to join KPF and to address some of these challenges alongside experienced and talented designers, while continuing to innovate and expand the field of building performance through applied research.“

Before joining KPF, Cerezo Davila worked as a Research Scientist with the Sustainable Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), focusing on the development of workflows and tools to incorporate building performance simulation in design at all scales. His research studied the application of energy simulation and uncertainty analysis at an urban scale in collaboration with municipalities such as Boston, Chicago, Lisbon, and Kuwait.

Boston’s proof of concept study for a citywide Urban Building Energy Model (UBEM), a term introduced in one of Cerezo Davila’s published scientific papers, modeled over 80,000 buildings and estimated their energy usage to assist the city in developing urban energy generation strategies.

As an instructor in the Building Technology program at MIT, Cerezo Davila taught environmental modeling to architects and urban planners. He is a licensed architect in Spain, and has practiced in Europe, Japan, and the United States.

Benjamin Wood, MArch ’84 in Technology Review

ben-wood-photo-3.jpg

Note: Content reposted from Technology Review. See original article here: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612545/benjamin-wood-march-84/

Perhaps Benjamin Wood, MArch ’84, should have known he was destined to become an architect when, at age eight, he constructed an elaborate multiroom treehouse. Instead, he became a civil engineer, flew fighter jets for the US Air Force, and opened a restaurant. But he found himself drawn to architecture again and again, and he finally made it his profession after earning a master’s degree from MIT in his 30s. Now, decades later, Wood is using his skills to change the urban landscape in China.

Wood made a name for himself with projects such as Spitalfields Market in London, the renovation of Soldier Field (the Chicago Bears’ stadium), and Lincoln Road and the Art Deco District in Miami Beach. But in 2004 he moved to Shanghai, where he currently heads Studio Shanghai. For Wood, China represents the ultimate architectural opportunity: “There’s never been an economy that has grown so fast and gotten so big in such a short time in [modern] history,” he says, adding that during his two decades in the country, millions have moved from small, rural villages into cities.

One of Wood’s most famous projects is Xintiandi, or “New Heaven and Earth,” which he says is “probably the most successful cultural entertainment destination in the world.” The Shanghai development offers car-free shopping, eating, and entertainment, and it is visited by millions every year. When designing it, Wood made an unusual decision: he incorporated the historical brick townhouse buildings near the old French Concession district rather than demolishing them. The project was wildly successful and his approach copied so often that “to Xintiandi” has become a verb.

“Because of my work on Xintiandi, the whole attitude toward historic neighborhoods has changed,” Wood says. “I’m not a historic preservationist, but I demonstrated to the rest of China that you could take some very ordinary buildings and through a very humane approach to architecture, you could create a cultural and entertainment destination.”

As Wood’s reputation in China has grown, so have his opportunities to shape its cities. Currently, half of Wood’s work is through public-private partnerships, where the government redoes entire blocks at a time.

And although he recently turned 71, he has no plans to retire. “A lot of architecture is asking the right questions and optimizing the variables, and that takes decades of experience to really do well,” he says. “If you live long enough, remarkable things come your way—I guess that’s why I’m going to keep working, because who knows what’s over the next horizon.”

Met Warehouse renovation planning takes an exciting next step

Photo: Bryce Vickmark

Photo: Bryce Vickmark

NOTE: This text is excerpted from an article on MIT News. Read the original here.

MIT’s campus is like a living organism, as changing programmatic needs and new opportunities make for a vibrantly evolving landscape.

One exciting new feature of this condition is the adaptive reuse of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street. The massive brick structure was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is of high historic significance for its architecture and its association with the history and development of the City of Cambridge.

Plans are now under way to renovate this building to serve as a new home for the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and a campus-wide makerspace run by Project Manus. And, after an in-depth community-driven search and selection process, an architect has now been selected to lead the project.

The next chapter of SA+P history

The reenvisioned structure will create a hub for design research and education, allowing the school to expand its range of activities and offering benefits to the Institute community. The ground floor will be dedicated to the campus’s largest makerspace open to all of MIT, overseen by Project Manus, and an auditorium, galleries, and convening spaces.

The proposed renovations would preserve the structure’s distinctive external features and create 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art interior spaces including classrooms, studios, workshops, galleries, and an auditorium. 

The innovative project has garnered early financial support from SA+P alumni and others with an interest in the next chapter in the history of MIT and the school, which this year is celebrating 150 years of architecture education at MIT.   

“The project will be a confluence of concepts related to adaptive renewal, environmental responsiveness as exemplary of approaches to climate change, and progressive ideas about the architecture of design pedagogy and research,” says Andrew Scott, interim head of the Department of Architecture.

The architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has been tapped to lead the redesign. Founded in 1981, DS+R is a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multimedia performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. The studio is based in New York and is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists, and researchers, led by four partners — Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin.

Among DS+R’s many recognized projects are the High Line in New York City and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. 

“A project of this scale and complexity, which demands a design sensibility informed by both art and technology — along with a deep understanding of architecture education as well as the role of public space — is made for a firm like DS+R,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

DS+R will work with local partner Leers Weinzapfel Associates, an architecture and urban design firm that has won many national design awards and brings added expertise in sustainability and historic building renovation.

150 Years of MIT Architecture: San Francisco Celebration

The celebration of 150 years of MIT Architecture set new records in San Francisco on October 16, 2018. Alumni representing six decades of Course IV graduates joined Interim Department of Architecture Head, Professor Andrew Scott, faculty Sheila Kennedy, Caitlin Mueller and Brandon Crawford, and fellow Danielly Starback, in an evening dedicated to honoring the oldest and best architecture program in the nation. For the fourth year in a row, MIT Architecture has been ranked first in the world by QS World University Rankings for Architecture/Built Environment.

150 San Francisco joins 150 Hong Kong and 150 New York to become the third MIT Architecture 150 celebration, with MITArchA-led 150 celebrations in Detroit and Washington DC. Pamela Chang Sing Tang AIA | NCARB, 150 San Francisco event organizer, MITArchA VP of Programs and California Representative noted, “Building MITArchA One Gathering at a Time is part of the foundational work that has to be done to build the relationships that will grow a vibrant community.” As part of the evening’s slideshow Pamela shared images collected from some of the MITArchA-led gatherings, showing MITArchA’s founding board under President Jacob Kain, and the gatherings that have grown from coffee with one alumna to what it is today.

The Olympic Club near Union Square in downtown San Francisco, founded in 1860, provided a historic and gracious venue for the more than 80 guests coming mainly from the Bay Area and as far away as Santa Monica, California. More than 80% of attendees are Course IV alumni and more than 95% have strong affiliations with MIT Architecture. Sherwood (Woody) Stockwell, an alumnus who attended the first post-war Architecture class at MIT in 1946 sent photographs of his work and a narrative of his time at MIT. As our oldest living Course IV alumnus who built his career in the Bay Area, Woody’s enthusiasm underscores the significance our gathering holds in the hearts and minds of local alumni.

Front and center that evening were two concurrent Slideshows showcasing the Photographic History of 150 years of MIT Architecture and Course IV Alumni Work in the Bay Area.

Rarely seen precious images that document the evolution of the Department of Architecture from its founding mission “to insure that the Architecture of the future shall be worthy of the future”, through its innovative experiments in pedagogy, its world-renowned resident and visiting faculty roster, its prominent place on the MIT campus, and its strong roots in an Institute of Technology . Generations of students continue to be attracted by the technical program where “the application of Science to the Useful Arts” provided the basis for the first Architecture course. Designing the future harnesses an education that integrates knowledge of cutting edge technological tools with empathy for sound design principles founded on the science of building, an understanding of place and culture, and the analysis of architectural precedent.

Course IV Alumni Work in the Bay Area include slide contributions from local alumni. This sample of work from a dozen alumni shows the dynamic range and creativity of work produced – from art mural installations to innovative residential and commercial projects, to prominent high-rises that add to the San Francisco skyline, to high-profile real estate development projects in the Bay Area, to large-scale planning projects that have shaped San Francisco’s downtown and major Bay Area cities. Each of these projects have been mapped into the MITArchA MAP Project, an interactive map designed to help us visualize Course IV alumni’s impact in the Bay Area Built Environment. The MITArchA MAP Project is an initiative started in San Francisco by two MIT alumna, Ellen Lou and Pamela Tang, for Architecture 150.

If you would like to submit your projects to the MITArchA MAP please contact Pamela Tang, pcs83@alum.mit.edu. The MAP Project is ongoing and will be expanded to include other regions.

We have also included photographs that we received of retired MIT faculty and former Heads of the Department of Architecture in the slideshow. While we wish we had planned in advance for this section we deeply appreciate the contributions to date and the need to recognize ALL our faculty as we celebrate this momentous milestone. If you would like to send faculty photographs please contact Pamela Tang, pcs83@alum.mit.edu.

As part of the Speaker Program for the evening, Andrew provided an update on the Department of Architecture, Sheila, Caitlin, and Brandon shared their research interests, and as a newly minted alumna and fellow, Danielly shared some of her student work.

Special guest, Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA, who recently served as a Presidential Nominee (2012-2016) on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Architecture joined several alumni speakers which included, Allison Albericci ’MCP ‘12 SMArchS ‘12, Neeraj Bhatia SMArchS ’07, and J. Kenji Lopez Alt ’02 in providing alumni updates on the MIT Course IV experience.

As part of the Architecture 150 milestone, MIT Architecture recognized three alumni in the San Francisco Bay Area for their work in advancing the field of architecture through practice.

Jeffrey Heller ’64 M.Arch ’67, FAIA, was presented the MIT Architecture Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

William Gilchrist ’82, FAIA, was recognized with the MIT Architecture Alumni Civic Design Award.

Ellen Lou ’85 was awarded the MIT Architecture Alumni Global Leadership Award.

Course IV alumni are artists, philosophers, photographers, chefs, techies, entrepreneurs, engineers, community leaders, civic leaders, firm leaders, industry leaders, project managers, designers, builders, researchers, educators, authors, developers, planners, and architects. Reflecting on the versatility with which we have pursued our passions, Paul Pettigrew, Director Undergraduate Recruitment, Career Development & Alumni Outreach, observed, “It is not surprising. Our MIT education empowered each of us to forge our own path.”

Eric Morris ’14 led the champagne toast for Architecture 150 San Francisco. As one of the youngest alumni classes to join the celebration, Eric’s heartfelt comment summed up MITArchA’s efforts, “We are more than a community . . . It truly feels like we have a family here.”

Hundreds of Course IV alumni around the country and the world have reconnected with each other and with MIT as a result of these gatherings and the work started by MITArchA. The festivities are expected to culminate on campus in Cambridge on April 12-13, 2019 at the Alumni Open House, MIT Museum Architecture 150 Exhibit, and Course IV’s Experiments in Pedagogy Symposium. All are welcome. We hope to see many of you there.


Biographies of Alumni Speakers

Jeffrey Heller ’64, M.Arch ‘67 is President and Founder of Heller Manus Architects. Since its beginning in 1984, the firm has established a reputation for influencing architecture and urban design in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. Jeffrey is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. On May 18, 2017, Jeffrey Heller was awarded the inaugural MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award. The recently announced Jeffrey D. Heller Fund will provide graduate student financial support, including fellowship support, for students in MIT’s Department of Architecture. Jeffrey’s generous gift is MIT’s first Architecture fellowship given by a practicing architect.

William Gilchrist ’82 is currently Director of the Planning and Building Department for the City of Oakland. Prior, he was Director of Place-Based Planning for the City of New Orleans and Senior Associate at EDAW and Director of the Department of Planning, Engineering, and Permits for Birmingham, AL. William has chaired the AIA Committee of Design Assistance, served as a trustee of the Urban Land Institute, served as chair of the Public Private Partnership Blue Flight for ULI and has served on numerous ULI Panel Advisory Services.

Ellen Lou ‘85 is Director of Urban Design and Planning at the office of SOM. Ellen has directed many world-renowned urban design and planning efforts in the United States and the Pacific Rim countries. Her areas of specialization include urban, brownfield reuse, master plans for new towns and communities, historic revitalization, and campus master plans. She is also active in civic and educational outreach. Ellen has lectured and served as visiting instructor and guest critic for architecture and urban design courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, North Dakota University, California Academy of Arts, and University of California Berkeley.

Allison Albericci MCP ‘12 SMArchS ‘12 - A dedicated proponent of sustainable architecture, Allison is an expert in the design of complex mixed-use and transit-oriented projects in urban areas. As a staff architect for the City and County of San Francisco Planning Department, Allison is responsible for the review of development proposals of all scales and types. Allison was the recipient of the 2018 Young Architects Award.

Neeraj Bhatia SMArchS ‘07 is an architect and urban designer from Toronto, Canada. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure and urbanism. Neeraj is a co-director of InfraNet Lab, a non-profit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics, and the founder of The Open Workshop, a design office examining the project of plurality. Neeraj is currently an Assistant Professor at The California College of the Arts, where he is co-director of The Urban Works Agency.

J. Kenji Lopez Alt ‘02 is the Chief Culinary Advisor for Serious Eats, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, and partner at Wursthall and Backhaus in San Mateo. His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking through Science is a New York Times Bestseller, winner of the James Beard Award for General Cooking, and was named Book of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


Biography of Special Guest

Elizabeth Ranieri is Design Principal of Kuth Ranieri Architects and co-founded the Bay Area firm with her partner, Byron Kuth. Ms. Ranieri recently served as a Presidential Nominee (2012-2016) on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Architecture. Visiting Committees were established at MIT in 1875, and their recommendations have had a strong influence on the course of education and research at the Institute for over 120 years. Along with her practice, Elizabeth has taught at: the California College of the Arts, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, as a Friedman Professor for the Masters of Architecture program at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. Elizabeth was elevated to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 2010.


Event Slideshow:

9/29/2018: 150 Years of MIT Architecture: Detroit Design Tour

On Saturday September 29, 2018, a perfect fall afternoon—brisk and bright—embraced the 25-plus participants who registered for the Detroit Design Tour. The event, jointly sponsored by MITArchA and the MIT Club of Southeasst Michigan was organized to celebrate the 150th anniversary of MIT Architecture during Detroit’s annual “Month of Design”.  Three Course IV alumni tour guides, Robert Ziegelman, AIA, M.Arch ’59; Constance Bodurow, Assoc. AIA, AICP, CUD, SMArchS ’91; and Noah Resnick, RA, SMArchS, ’04—all of whom are practicing in Detroit, led the 5.25 mile walking tour of significant downtown architecture and urbanism, emphasizing the roles MIT alumni played in the city’s built environment. A mix of Course 2, 4, 6, and 13 participants began at the Detroit Riverfront, the site of Detroit’s First Nations/European founding and recent focus of extensive public realm investments.

Alumni participants were guided  through seven stops, including: the Renaissance Center; the Financial District (featuring Art Deco treasures including the Guardian Building); the former Hudson’s site on Woodward Avenue (currently under redevelopment by Quicken Loans/Rock Financial and soon to feature the tallest building in Michigan); and concluding at Lafayette Park (the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe designed buildings in North America).

The tour concluded with a refreshment stop at local restaurant Gather in Eastern Market, which provided participants with a chance to relax and gain insight into smaller scale, yet no less important, revitalization projects in Detroit. MIT Club of Southeast Michigan President (and official event photographer!) Isaac In-Soo Suh expressed the consensus, stating: “this tour was full of surprises with excitement discovering Detroit history and architectural beauty.”  Organizers expressed their hopes for repeating similar joint events in the future!