The UO Trustees, the governing board for the University of Oregon, spent time during their June board meeting in Lawrence Hall to learn about the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, with visits to student reviews, a gallery show, and an overview of A&AA from Interim Dean Brook Muller.
Muller stressed that the school represents a solid investment for the UO. “We deliver a #1 ranking for sustainable design education in addition to a number of other highly ranked programs, and we do this for a modest 3% of the overall University budget,” Muller said. He also reported that 79% of the school’s budget is supplied by the general fund.
Above: UO Board of Trustees visit the Selected Show by Department of Art students in the LaVerne Krause Gallery. The work was chosen by a faculty jury from the 2015 Spring Storm annual senior show. Acting Associate Dean Anya Kivarkis spoke about the exhibition. Photo by Cody Rappaport.
Dean Muller cited national awards earned by faculty members such as Anne Godfrey in Landscape Architecture (2014 Most Admired Educator), Kiersten Muenchinger in Product Design (2015 Top 30 Design Educator in the U.S.), and landscape architecture Professor David Hulse and his team (Thiess International RiverPrize). He spoke about the significant work done in the Energy Studies in Buildings research lab, directed by Professor G.Z. Brown, and the contributions of the Community Service Center, which provides, among other services, planning and disaster resilience assistance across Oregon.
One of Muller’s key points in arguing for continued investment in A&AA pertains to the importance of design and creative education in light of pressing issues facing society. He cited a United Nations estimate that there would be 3 billion more urban inhabitants by 2050. “We are called upon to adapt, reshape, and redesign our products, buildings, landscapes, and cities so they function in dramatically more resourceful ways,” Muller said. “A&AA is cognizant of the larger trends and is well poised to make a difference around the world,” he added.
He concluded with a set of “What if?” questions that would establish a framework for the future of A&AA:
*What if we built a facility that demonstrates our excellence in and commitment to collaborative inquiry, creative expression, and sustainability?
*What if we launched the most integrated undergraduate design degree in the world, preparing students for the century of design and the arts?
*What if we made off-campus study available to every A&AA student?
*What if we hired experts in sustainable real estate, transportation, and urban design to create a model framework for solving problems in our increasingly urbanized world?
*What if we became the global hub for sports product design, testing, and manufacturing?
*What if the OSU/UO National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design fundamentally alters Oregon’s economy?
The Trustees toured Lawrence Hall after Muller’s talk, visiting the LaVerne Krause Gallery to see selections from the annual senior art exhibition; touring two architectural studio reviews led by Professors Peter Keyes and Erin Moore; examining furniture design and fabrication work in Tim Fouch’s Interior Architecture studio, and witnessing video presentations from Landscape Architecture’s bimimcry competition studio led by Anne Godfrey and Emma Froh.
“The Board was incredibly impressed with the quality of the work and depth and richness of the students’ thinking,” Muller said afterward. “They could see the power of education in A&AA.”
Above: Curious and engaged UO Trustee board members listen to Kevin Loo-Chan describing his final architectural design project. He was in Professor Peter Keyes terminal studio “Type Place Time,” investigating housing design. Photo by Cody Rappaport.
Above: Landscape architecture students presented video and materials from the Bimimicry Challenge for Food Systems Issue Competition Studio led by Professors Anne Godfrey and Emma Froh. Matt Jorgensen, Casey Howard, and Wade Hanson explain their “Penthouse Protozoa: Living Filtration System” concept for reducing agricultural chemical pollution into water systems to the UO Trustees. Other team members not pictured include Krisztian Megyeri and Allison Lewis. Photo by Cody Rappaport.
Above: Trustee members and staff enjoy Interior Architecture furniture design review of “Two Chairs.” The student designer demonstrates how the chair converts into two different formats with a simple turn and adjustment. Studio was taught by Instructor Tim Fouch. Photo by Cody Rappaport.