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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

2017-2018 Ekdahl Lecture Series





Walter Hood, Creative Director and Founder - Hood Design Studio
Landscape Architecture
September 15, 2017 | 11:30AM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title:

Walter Hood is the Creative Director and Founder of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, CA. He is also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and lectures on professional and theoretical projects nationally and internationally. Hood Design Studio is tripartite practice, working across art + fabrication, design + landscape, and research + urbanism. The resulting urban spaces and their objects act as public sculpture, creating new apertures through which to see the surrounding emergent beauty, strangeness, and idiosyncrasies. The Studio’s award winning work has been featured in publications including Dwell, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Architectural Digest, Places Journal, and Landscape Architecture Magazine. Walter Hood is also a recipient of the 2017 Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award.



Pete Wenger | Designer, Senior Design Researcher - Patkau Architects
September 22, 2017 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title: Material Operations: Tactility, Failure, Play, and Found Potential in the New Design Research from Patkau Architects

Mr. Wenger joined Patkau in 2013 and became a Senior Design Researcher in 2017. He runs the Patkau Design Lab, a facility for design research, prototyping and material investigation. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as a Teaching Assistant, a Graduate Student Representative, and wrote for the student journal, Issue. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000 and, before studying architecture, enjoyed a career in the Chicago music and arts community. Mr. Wenger was the main contributing author of Patkau Architects, Material Operations; Princeton Architectural Press 2017.








Ryan Gravel, Urban Planner, Founding Principal at Sixpitch
Regional & Community Planning
October 25, 2017 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title: Where We Want to Live – Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities

Mr. Gravel, AICP, LEED AP, is an urban planner, designer, and author working on site design, infrastructure, concept development, and public policy as the founding principal at Sixpitch. His master’s thesis in 1999 was the original vision for the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile transit greenway that, with fifteen years of progress, is changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there. Now a $4 billion public-private investment in the early stages of implementation, the project’s health and economic benefits are already evident through record-breaking use of its first section of mainline trail and $3.1 billion of private sector redevelopment since 2005.

Mr. Gravel has received numerous awards and press related to his work on the Atlanta Beltline and tells his story internationally, but an essential aspect of his work is yet to come. Alongside project work at Sixpitch and research on similar “catalyst infrastructure” projects around the world, he makes a compelling case about what this movement means and why it matters. In his book, “Where We Want to Live,” ; St. Martin’s Press, 2016, Gravel investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.








Mogens Smed, CEO, Director and co-founder of DIRTT
Interior Architecture & Product Design
November 8, 2017 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

 Lecture Title:

CEO, Director and co-founder of DIRTT, has over 40 years of experience in the interior construction industry, including launching and growing SMED International into a publically traded modular interior construction company with over $300 million in annual revenue and his role as CEO of Evans Consoles, a private company providing command-control infrastructure solutions. SMED International was sold to Haworth Inc. in 2000.









Cheryl S. Durst, FIIDA, LEED, Executive VP and CEO of IIDA
Interior Architecture & Product Design
January 24, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title:

An exceptional communicator, innovator, and visionary leader, Ms. Durst has spurred progress, driven change, and encouraged the expansion of the Interior Design industry. As the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), she is committed to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society through both functionality and engagement in every day work spaces and the built environment. Demonstrated by her active involvement in connecting industry professionals, including designers, manufacturers, clients, end users, and employers, she has worked to promote an understanding of how design impacts human behavior and affects all aspects of shared spaces.









Gina Ford, ASLA, Principal at Sasaki
Landscape Architecture
February 28, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title:

Ms. Ford is a principal and landscape architect in Sasaki's Urban Studio. The Urban Studio is an energized and interdisciplinary group of practitioners solely dedicated to the improvement of quality of life in cities through rigorous planning, exceptional design, and strong community partnerships.

Her work encompasses a wide range of scales and project types, from public parks and plazas to large-scale landscape planning and waterfront projects. She brings to each project a passion for the process of making vibrant landscape spaces—from the conceptual design to the details of implementation—with a particular focus on the life and use of urban, public environments.

 Ms. Ford's experience is additionally informed by extensive research, writing, travel, teaching, and competitions. Her teaching includes guest critic and studio instructor roles at the Harvard Design School, MIT, and RISD. She holds degrees in architecture from Wellesley College and landscape architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and was the recipient of Wellesley's Shaw Fellowship, the Janet Darling Webel Prize, the Hyde Chair at the University of Nebraska, and the Charles Eliot Travelling Fellowship. Gina also serves on the board of directors for The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and on the editorial board of Architecture Boston.









Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner, City of Toronto
Regional & Community Planning
April, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title:

As the newly engaged Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, Ms. Keesmaat is committed to creating places where people flourish. Over the past decade Jennifer has been repeatedly recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, OPPI, the Design Exchange, + EDRA for her innovative work in Canadian municipalities.

Her planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staffs, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO’s and residents associations. She is the founder of Project Walk, which premiered its first short film in 2011, as an official selection at the TIFF. In 2012 Ms. Keesmaat debuted her first TED talk, Walk to School. She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (combined honors English and Philosophy) and has a Master in Environmental Studies (Politics and Planning) from York University.














Marlon Blackwell, FAIA,
April 4, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Hall

Lecture Title:

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas.  Working outside the architectural mainstream, his architecture is based in design strategies that draw upon vernaculars, typologies, and the contradictions of place: strategies that seek to transgress conventional boundaries for architecture.  His design work has received recognition with numerous national and international design awards and significant publication in books, architectural journals and magazines..