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.

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