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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

2018-2019 Ekdahl Lecture Series


David Rubin

David A. Rubin | PLA, ASLA, FAAR
February 18 | 4:30pm Regnier Forum

Lecture Title "The City is a Landscape: Kindness and the Space between Buildings"

View the lecture HERE

David Rubin, founding principal of DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, practices landscape architecture with a simple mission and big ambitions: to positively inform the world and improve the human condition through landscape. In this talk, David will explore how socially-purposeful landscapes can create positive change through cross-disciplinary collaborations and the synthesis of art, technology and the social sciences. This kind of “empathy-driven” design process derives from the understanding that landscape requires a spectrum of thoughtful ideas and voices in order to be successfully rendered. This collective consciousness lifts landscape to its highest ideals, effecting the human condition in positive, equitable ways.


Joyce Coffee

Joyce Coffee | LEED AP, President of CRC
March 4 | 4:30pm Regnier Forum

 View the lecture HERE

Founder and President of Climate Resilience Consulting, a Certified B Corp.  She is an accomplished organizational strategist and visionary leader with over 25 years of domestic and international experience in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors implementing resilience and sustainability strategies, management systems, performance measurement, partnerships, benchmarking and reporting.

Her career started working on private sector projects in Southeast Asia forUSAID’s US-Asia Environmental Partnership and the World Bank and proceeded with implementing water security projects for MWH, a global engineering company; creating community sustainability projects for a niche architecture and urban design firm, Farr Associates; and pioneering public private partnerships, adaptation planning, interdepartmental coordination and climate performance measurement as lead of the Chicago Climate Action Plan at the City of Chicago.  More recently, she created corporate social responsibility plans and reports for Fortune 500 companies as a Vice President at Edelman and ran a preeminent global adaptation nonprofit grounded in university-based research and analytics, the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, ND-GAIN.

Joyce is a Senior Sustainability Fellow at the Global Institute of Sustainability and advises various high level resilience groups, including the Resilience Brokers Programme, City Finance Lab, The Climate Bond Initiative's Adaptation and Resilience Expert Group, Global Adaptation and Resilience Investment work group, the MIT Climate CoLab, Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness, The Climate Service, and the US Green Building Council's Illinois chapter. 

She was a Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leader, founding board member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a Great Lakes delegate to Brookings International Young Leaders Climate Change Summit, an American Society of Adaptation Professionals board director, an advisor to the National Center for Atmospheric Research Engineering for Climate Extremes Partnership, a member of Illinois FARM’s advisory group and an Aspen Institute Socrates Fellow.

Joyce regularly speaks as an expert in climate adaptation and resilience and has presented at Climate Week, WEF and COP side-events, and Greenbiz, among others.

She received a B.S. in biology, environmental studies and Asian studies from Tufts University and a Masters in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of the Climate Adaptation Exchange Blog. @joycecoffee


jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith | Regnier International Lecture
February 13 | 4:30pm Regnier Forum

Lecture Title: Soft Architecture; is being finished finished?

View the lecture HERE

When a cyclone cleared the trees around a house he designed in a forest, accomplished New Zealand architect Jeremy Smith embarked on an alteration, research and teaching adventure; finding time, he suggests, at airports and while his kids were at parties. What happens next includes winning World Villa of the Year at the 2017 World Architecture Festival in Berlin, exhibitions in Prague, multiple New Zealand Architecture awards, and an iterative-design teaching program and PHD at the University of Auckland.

Smith has over 15 years of experience working as a design architect in design led practices in New Zealand and Australia. His residential and public work has been widely published in New Zealand and internationally, and rewarded with a string of awards, including winning World Villa of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017, being a finalist for the NZIA New Zealand Architecture medal in 2013, winning multiple NZIA New Zealand Architecture awards in public and residential categories, New Zealand’s top timber design award in both residential and commercial categories, and in 2018 received nomination for the German International Architecture Award and was awarded at the International Architecture Awards and Architecture Masterprise Awards out of America. He was also Highly Commended at the 2015 World Architecture Festival in Singapore and presented as a finalist in Barcelona 2011, Singapore in 2013, 2014, exhibited and represented NZ at the 2015 and 2018 International Architecture Festivals in Prague, and has received commendation from the NZ Concrete Society, NZ Property Council Excellence Awards, and over thirty NZIA local architecture and magazine awards. Recent publications include Architecture Record, Elle, Vogue, and GQ Magazine.

Smith has widely lectured about the practice’s work, teaches an iterative design studio to Masters students and has been both an internal and external Masters examiner at Auckland University. He has served as a New Zealand Institute of Architects National Councilor, been appointed to architecture award juries at a national level, and was invited onto a Super Jury at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore 2014 and judged again in Berlin 2017 and Amsterdam 2018.


Catlin Taylor

Caitlin Taylor | Design Director - MASS
February 1 | 4:30pm Regnier Forum

Lecture Title: Provisional Architecture: Designing Just Food Systems

View the lecture HERE

MASS Design Group is a non-profit architecture firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, Poughkeepsie, New York, and Kigali, Rwanda. At MASS we believe that architecture is never neutral, and our mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity.

Food is primal and political and cultural. Food is inextricably linked to housing, to education, to health, to environmental change, to local economies, to global industry, and to racial and social injustice, and today we operate within a food system that is designed to exclude and oppress. Food access is spatial and temporal, and agricultural production colonizes vast swaths of our landscape.

We will discuss the history of MASS' work, and the conceptual framework for Caitlin's focus on food system design as a form of radical hope. Through that lens she will present some of the ongoing food and farming projects on the boards at MASS including the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Kansas, a new national network for school kitchen design, a community-run food hall as catalyst for urban redevelopment in Poughkeepsie, New York, and an industrial scale grain mill in Senegal.

As an architect with a background in organic agriculture, Caitlin brings to MASS Design Group an interdisciplinary focus on food justice, agriculture, and food systems. She is currently working on projects based in Boston, Hartford, and the Hudson Valley Design Lab that focus on issues of rural infrastructures of food production, equitable food access, and cultivation of food culture in disinvested cities. Prior to joining MASS, Caitlin directed an independent practice focused on water infrastructure. In this capacity, she was recipient of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction Gold Prize for her work on urban flood control in Las Vegas.

Caitlin lives with her family in East Haddam, Connecticut, where they own and operate an organic vegetable and cut flower farm. She has taught advanced architecture studios at the Yale School of Architecture and Columbia Graduate School for Architecture, Planning & Preservation.


John Stram

John Stram | Industrial Design Consultant
February 6 | 4:30pm Regnier Forum

Lecture Title: Design at IBM 1967 - 1978

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Industrial Design, Graphics, and Interior Design

John Stram has 46 years of professional award winning design experience. He served as industrial design/graphics manager at IBM, was director of design division at Seal Furniture and Systems and was manager of design—p fixtures & temporary displays for American Greetings Corporation. He is an instructor/visiting lecturer for eight universities and colleges. He is a member of the Fashion Merchandising Advisory Board at University of Central Missouri. Stram has been a member of IDSA for 28 years. He holds 11 US design patents and two US utility patents. His 27 exhibited/design awards include being part of the permanent collection at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), a two year traveling exhibit with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and a three-month exhibit at Plastics as Plastics, at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York. Stram has 27 works cited in design books, magazines and newspapers including: Form—Journal of Design, Product Design 2 and Industrial Design Magazine.



 Michelle Delk APDesign Ekdahl Lecture

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

View the lecture HERE

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!" 

 View the lecture HERE

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

View the lecture HERE

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

View the lecture HERE

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).