Ekdahl Lecture Series
All lectures are presented with sustained support from the Ekdahl family.
Ekdahl Lectures Spring 2024
February 21 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Keith Bowers, RLA, FASLA, PWS | Founder + President of Biohabitats
Febrary 21 | 4:30pm
Keith Bowers, RLA, FASLA, PWS
Keith Bowers is the founder and president of Biohabitats, where he has pioneered the practice of nature-based design, green infrastructure, and regenerative design within the landscape architecture community. As a multidisciplinary organization with a mission to Restore the Earth and Inspire Ecological Stewardship, Biohabitats practices at the crossroads between biodiversity conservation, climate adaptation and environmental justice. Keith’s undercover mission is to change the way capitalism is practiced. As a B-Corp and 1% for the Planet organization, Keith has instilled Self Governance, Wholeness, and Evolutionary Purpose as the guiding principles behind Biohabitats success. Keith is an outspoken advocate for biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration around the world.
Keith currently serves as an Advisory Board member for the University of Pennsylvania’s Ian L. McHarg Center and on the Board of Director of the Landscape Architecture Foundation. He also served on the Society for Ecological Restoration Board for more than 10 years and on the Wildlands Network Board for 6 years. He holds a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University and an honorary degree from the Conway School of Design.
February 28 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Grace La + James Dallman | Founding Principals at LA DALLMAN Architects
February 28 | 4:30 pm
Grace La + James Dallman | Founding Principals at LA DALLMAN Architects
Title: LA DALLMAN, on the middle front
Description: LA DALLMAN’s “middle front” articulates a position of architecture grounded in the premise that “exceptionality” has currently become the least common denominator in a transforming, eclectic, and fragmented field. The middle front considers architectural realities that are neither explicitly exceptional, nor properly ordinary, acknowledging a vantage point in the middle, from which quotidian typologies (bridges, street furniture, public buildings, houses) silently, yet forcefully serve at the forefront of shaping the city. We might ask, therefore, how to produce architecture within the neglected realm of the middle? This theoretical and practical stance addresses the challenges facing the discipline of architecture today. The lecture will draw from excerpts of Grace La and James Dallman’s forthcoming book, the Middle Front, which is currently in progress. The talk will share the initial formations of this thinking, as well as thoughts on practice, and reflections on the discipline of architecture as a transformative act.
Bios: Grace La and James Dallman are Principals of LA DALLMAN, a practice internationally recognized for works that integrate architecture, engineering, and site. Grace is Professor of Architecture, and Chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where James also serves as Design Critic. This semester, they are co-teaching a housing studio travelling to Copenhagen, Denmark, sited in the new harbor district of Nordhavn.
LA DALLMAN is engaged in catalytic projects of diverse scale and type. Noted for works that expand the architect’s agency in the civic recalibration of infrastructure, public space and challenging sites, LA DALLMAN was named as an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York in 2010 and received the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Silver Medal in 2007. In 2011, LA DALLMAN was the first practice in the United States to receive the Rice Design Alliance Prize, an international award recognizing exceptionally gifted architects in the early phase of their career. LA DALLMAN has also been awarded numerous professional honors, including architecture and engineering awards, as well as prizes in international design competitions.
March 27 | 4:30 pm
Sushant Vohra | Industrial Designer at Teague
Sushant Vohra is an accomplished Industrial Designer currently based in Seattle, Washington. With a passion for creating winning physical products and experiences, Sushant has honed his skills over the years, establishing himself as a prominent figure in the design industry. Presently serving as an Industrial Designer II at Teague since August 2022, Sushant has been actively contributing to the development of innovative projects. His dedication to pushing the boundaries of design is aptly summarized by his mantra: "Literally fighting gravity."
Prior to his current role, Sushant made significant contributions as an Industrial Designer at Astro Studios in the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area from September 2020 to August 2022. His versatility in the field is evident in his experience as a Contract Industrial Designer at Above.se, where he showcased his expertise from April to July 2021.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Sushant is the Founder and Community Lead of Young Designers India, a full-time commitment he undertook in March 2020. Under his leadership, the organization has flourished into one of the largest volunteer-run design communities in the country, boasting over 6500 members. Young Designers India strives to bridge the gap between design education and industry, connecting designers to opportunities, providing career guidance, and fostering a global network.
Sushant's journey in design began as an Industrial Design Intern in San Francisco, California, where he laid the foundation for his remarkable career. His dedication and commitment to the field have earned him a reputation as a forward-thinking and influential figure in the design community. As he continues to shape the future of industrial design, Sushant Vohra remains dedicated to pushing boundaries and inspiring the next generation of designers.
Ekdahl Lectures Fall 2023
September 20 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Janet Pogue McLaurin| Principal, Global Workplace Research Leader at Gensler
Janet Pogue McLaurin, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP | Principal, Global Director Workplace Research
Lecture title: “Designing for the Human Experience”
Janet Pogue McLaurin is a global leader of Gensler’s Work Sector practices and research initiatives. As the firm’s Global Director Workplace Research, which is one of the six centers of the Gensler Research Institute, she has been instrumental in leading Gensler’s global Workplace Surveys and Workplace Performance Index® (WPI) client tool, which measures space effectiveness and workplace experience on projects. She is active in developing workplace strategy and designing innovative workplace environments for a wide variety of clients, including Vanguard, GSA, Capital One, Gallup and The Coca-Cola Company. Janet has spent nearly four decades in Gensler’s Denver and Washington, D.C. offices. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a registered architect, who has served on the Gensler’s Board of Directors for the past two years and currently serves on Gensler’s Practice Area Management Committee.
September 25 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Liz Butler | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use | Partner at Taft Law
September 25 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Liz Butler | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use | Partner at Taft Law
Liz Butler concentrates her practice in the areas of land use, zoning, entitlements, urban planning, public incentives, historic preservation, and economic development, as well as general real estate transactions. She advises owners and developers of institutional, residential, commercial, and industrial property in acquisitions, dispositions, zoning entitlements, and economic development incentives. Liz counsels private sector clients in their interactions with the City of Chicago and suburban municipalities, working to build consensus between neighboring property owners, government representatives, and community stakeholders.
Through trusted relationships with municipal oﬃcials and staﬀ and with knowledge of local land use and zoning codes, Liz achieves results for clients navigating complex entitlement processes. Liz has extensive experience in obtaining approvals for planned developments, zoning amendments, special uses, variations, subdivisions, right-of-way vacations, dedications, site plan approvals, and various municipal licenses. Liz has negotiated and implemented economic development and historic preservation incentives, performed general property evaluations and zoning due diligence, and structured and closed numerous real estate acquisitions and dispositions.
Prior to practicing law, Liz served as a municipal city planner in the Dallas metro area where she was responsible for coordinating the city’s development review process and acted as a liaison between the private development community and the city’s public boards and commissions. With her educational and professional background in urban planning, Liz brings a thoughtful, strategic, and holistic perspective to challenging development issues.
Liz is a member of the American Planning Association and is a certiﬁed member of the American Institute of Certiﬁed Planners. She is an active member of the Urban Land Institute.
October 4 | 4:30pm | Regnier Forum | Steven Ehrlich FAIA, RIBA | Founding Partner | Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
Lecture title: “The Path Forward?”
Future architects face enormous challenges and opportunities to shape the mid-twentieth-century world.
Climate change’s extreme weather is causing rapid political, economic and societal shifts. Solutions demand innovation and expertise: designers, engineers, and scientists must collaborate with a common humanist intention. And importantly: what constitutes teamwork in the digital age when we all desperately need to connect?
Steven Ehrlich, the firm's Founding Partner, learned early on the significance of how architecture responds to the culture and the environment - a self-proclaimed "architectural anthropologist". Upon graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Architecture, Ehrlich spent six years living and working in Africa, serving for two years with the Peace Corps as their first architect in Marrakech, Morocco. He later traveled across the Sahara and taught architecture at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. The lessons of indigenous building were instrumental in forming Ehrlich's approach to design and continue to influence the firm's work today.
In addition to the Firm Award, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects counts eight national AIA design awards to its credit, and Steven Ehrlich is a recipient of the AIA California’s prestigious Maybeck Award and the 2015 AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal for outstanding lifelong achievement in architectural design. He has lectured and taught as a visiting professor both nationally and abroad, currently as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California.