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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

2017-2018 Ekdahl Lecture Series














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

Lecture Title: Abstraction in a Landscape of Unholy Unions.

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..



Previous Lectures:





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

Lecture Title: Hybrid Landscapes

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 Forum

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
October 25, 2017 | 4:30PM, Regnier Forum

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

Ryan Gravel is an urban planner, designer, and author working on infrastructure, concept development, and policy as the founder of Sixpitch. His master’s thesis launched the Atlanta Beltline, which through fifteen years of progress, is now changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there. Alongside other projects at Sixpitch and research on similar “catalyst infrastructure” projects around the world, Ryan’s book, “Where We Want to Live,” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), investigates this cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.

The Atlanta Beltline was born in academia as a simple idea for a better way of life. Now, it’s a $4 billion infrastructure project in the early stages of implementation. Its original author, Ryan Gravel, will describe how this catalyst project came to life, what it means, and why it matters. Building on the title of his new book, Where We Want to Live, Gravel will expand on these ideas, sharing how similarly-transformative projects – from the Rail Park in Singapore to the concrete Los Angeles River – represent a new kind of cultural momentum that will reshape the way we build cities. He’ll conclude with current work on the Atlanta City Design, a daunting endeavor to go deeper than the Atlanta Beltline and discover the city’s civic identity. By organizing around its core values, the city will ensure that its anticipated growth will deliver the best version of Atlanta, not some other place that people don’t like or recognize anymore.
Click HERE for the full presentation.








Mogens Smed, CEO, Director and co-founder of DIRTT
November 8, 2017 | 4:30PM, Regnier Forum


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.

 Click HERE for the full presentation.










Cheryl S. Durst, FIIDA, LEED, Executive VP and CEO of IIDA
January 24, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Forum

Lecture Title: Design, Culture, Work + Life: People, Place and The Future

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. 

View the lecture HERE 










Gina Ford, FASLA,
February 28, 2018 | 4:30PM, Regnier Forum

Lecture Title: Designing for Resilience, Equity and Democracy

Gina Ford is a landscape architect, co-founder and principal of Agency Landscape + Planning. Underpinning her two decades of practice are a commitment to the design and planning of public places and the perpetuation of the value of landscape architecture via thought leadership, exhibitions, teaching, writing and lecturing.

Gina’s 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. Gina led the design of the Chicago Riverwalk, Boston’s Lawn on D, Council Bluff’s Tom Hanafan Rivers Edge Park and Raleigh’s Moore Square and strategic planning efforts including the Cedar Rapids Flood Recovery Planning, the Rebuild by Design Competition and the Changing Course Competition while a principal with Sasaki.

Her work has received awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects, among others. She is on the board of directors for the Cultural Landscape Foundation and was the recipient of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Charles Eliot Travelling Fellowship and Wellesley College’s Shaw Fellowship.

View the lecture HERE