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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

2018 Ekdahl Lecture Series

 Michelle Delk APDesign Ekdahl Lecture

Michelle Delk, ASLA
Partner & Discipline Director at Snøhetta
Monday, 05 November | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum

Landscape architect Michelle Delk is a partner in the multi-disciplinary firm Snøhetta, and Director of Landscape Architecture for the firm. The design process at Snøhetta is collaborative, transdisciplinary, and focused on social and environmental sustainability. The firm prioritizes relationships and recognition of the particularities of place. This is achieved through workshops, conversations, and open exchange, where ideas move freely between designer, client, and consultant. Public participation and community engagement is a core value in Delk’s work. She is committed to expanding the public understanding of the role of landscape architecture in building resilient communities.

Delk has led the design of numerous downtown plazas, parks, streetscape revitalizations, and public spaces. As Director of Landscape Architecture, she is currently heading the landscape design for Snøhetta's Willamette Falls Riverwalk project in Oregon City. The project will open the Willamette Falls to public access for the first time since the 1830s. Delk is also the lead designer for the new Calgary Public Library plaza, the North Tryon Vision Plan for Charlotte, Virginia, and the Temple University Library in Philadelphia. She received an MLA degree from the University of Colorado Denver (2001) and a BA in fine art from the University of Iowa (1997). Before joining Snohetta, Delk was a Principal/Landscape Architect for the Denver-based landscape architecture firm Civitas.


John Phillips

John Phillips, VP Design Development OFS
Wednesday, 12 September | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum

Lecture Title:  "Why design is the best career in the world and the only way to do it!" 


Phillips has an expansive design background in differing industries and design disciplines. He has spent more than 16 years in the automotive industry designing vehicle exteriors, interiors and components for the top brands in the world.

Phillips has designed consumer products and most recently oversaw seating product development for the past five years for a southern California manufacturer. An awarded designer who is extremely passionate about design and enjoys the challenge of creating world-class products, Phillips resides in southern California with his family. OFS is a family-owned, community-driven company providing socially responsible furniture and logistics solutions in office, health care, education and government, headquartered in Huntingburg, Indiana.

The Oscar S. Ekdahl Distinguished Lecture Series in Architecture and Design brings the finest professionals in the design and planning disciplines to APDesign and the K-State community. These individuals are selected to avail faculty, staff, students and regional professionals to the potency of design and planning in addressing the issues we face as a global society. The series honors Oscar Ekdahl who received his Bachelor of Architecture from K-State in 1933 and was a founding partner in Ekdahl, Davis, Depew, Persson Architects PA in Topeka.

OFS is a family owned, community-driven parent company providing socially responsible furniture and logistics solutions in markets across the world. Established in 1937 in Huntingburg, Indiana, OFS has grown into a global leader while staying true to its local roots and core values of sustainability and craftsmanship.



Lawrence Scarpa

Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA
Principal, Brooks + Scarpa Architects 
October 1, 2018 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum

Lawrence Scarpa has garnered international acclaim for the creative use of conventional materials in unique and unexpected ways. He is also considered a pioneer and leader in the field of sustainable design. 

He is the recipient of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Award in Architecture and was also awarded the State of California and National American Institute of Architects Architecture Firm Award. Over the last ten years, Mr. Scarpa’s firm has received more than 50 major design awards, including nineteen National AIA Awards, Record Houses, Record Interiors, the Rudy Bruner Prize, five AIA Committee on the Environment “Top Ten Green Building” Awards and the World Habitat Award, one of ten firms selected worldwide. He has also received the lifetime achievement awards from Interior Design Magazine and the AIA California Council.

Mr. Scarpa’s work has been featured in numerous publications and has been exhibited in venues such as Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, The National Building Museum and the Gwanju Bienale.  Mr. Scarpa has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

He in currently on the faculty at the University of Southern California and has taught and lectured at the university level for more than two decades.  Some of those institutions include UNC Charlotte, Harvard University, UCLA, SCI-arc, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Florida, University of Michigan, University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley.  He is a co-founder of the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute Livable Places, Inc.; a nonprofit development and public policy organization dedicated to building mixed-use housing and to help develop more sustainable and livable communities.



Brent Ryan Community Planning

Brent Ryan
Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy
Head, City Design and Development Group
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT
Wednesday, 10 October | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum

Lecture Title:  THE LARGEST ART

Brent D. Ryan’s The Largest Art is a new manifesto for urban design, providing a theoretical foundation for this under-theorized discipline. Ryan demonstrates that urban design is the largest of the building arts, one that is distinct from other arts like architecture, landscape, and land art. In The Largest Art, Ryan distinguishes urban design by its pluralism, which has five dimensions: plural scale, ranging from an alleyway to a region; plural time, because it is deeply enmeshed in both history and the present; plural property, with many owners; plural agents, with many makers; and plural form, with a distributed quality that allows it to coexist with diverse elements of the city. looks at well-known urban design projects through the lens of pluralism, and revisits the thought of three plural urbanists working between 1960 and 1980. Ryan tells three design stories for the future, imaginary scenarios of plural urbanism in locations around the world, and concludes with three signal considerations that all urban designers must acknowledge: eternal change, inevitable incompletion, and flexible fidelity. The city is a ceaselessly active, perpetually changing entity: the urban design of the future must be an art whose aesthetic qualities welcome the city’s pluralism instead of resisting it.

Brent D. Ryan is Head of the City Design and Development Group and Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His research focuses on the aesthetics and policies of contemporary urban design, particularly with respect to current and pressing issues like deindustrialization and climate change. Professor Ryan’s first book Design After Decline: How America Rebuilds Shrinking Cities (The City in the Twenty-First Century), was selected by Planetizen as one of its ten best urban planning books of 2012, and his second book, The Largest Art: A Measured Manifesto for a Plural Urbanism, was published by MIT Press in 2017.

Professor Ryan’s research has been published in the Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Planning History, Urban Design International, Urban Morphology, and the Journal of the American Planning Association, which awarded his article “Reading Through A Plan” its best article of 2011. Professor Ryan has also written numerous chapters for books including The City After Abandonment; Urban Landscape; The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning; Rethinking Global Urbanism; and Urban Megaprojects: A Worldwide View.
Professor Ryan has three current research projects in China, all funded by the Sam Tak Lee Laboratory, examining coastal landmaking, the threat to urban villages, and a case study in transfer of development rights. He has also consulted for the World Bank on planning projects for emerging economies in Eastern Europe, and he will initiate a five-year study of sustainability in Siberian cities in 2017, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Prior to joining MIT, Professor Ryan taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was also Co-Director of the City Design Center. Professor Ryan holds a B.S. in biology from Yale University (1991), a M. Arch. from Columbia University (1994), and a Ph.D. in urban design and planning from MIT (2002).