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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

APDesign Newsletter 4.9.12


Sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence.

After conducting an international search for their department head opening, current Interim Department Head Matthew Knox, AIA, was selected to lead the Architecture department into the future.

“Matt has been on a trajectory to be a superb leader for his colleagues for quite some time,” said Dean Tim de Noble, College of Architecture, Planning & Design. “His dedication to the Department of Architecture and to the College is evident in the excellent work he has done as a faculty member, while serving as interim department head, and prior to that as an associate department head. Matt’s leadership, evidenced through his willingness to build on the traditional strengths of the department, as we as his collaborative spirit will help us continue to craft a unique and potent course for professional design education at Kansas State University.”

Knox has been on the Architecture faculty for more than 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia.

“I’ve worked with Matt Knox in his role as interim department head over the last year, and he has been fantastic to work with,” said Rohn Grotenhuis of 360 Architects in Kansas City, chair of the Department of Architecture’s Professional Advisory Board. “He has already made some positive changes and has had great ideas. I’m happy we get to keep working with Matt. He has already shown that he has the potential to be an effective and innovative department head.”

Prior to serving as Interim Department Head, Knox was the Associate Department Head. He is a licensed architect whose architectural design studio students have won multiple regional and national competitions. In addition to teaching studio, he has taught a wide range of courses including building construction, architectural theory and digital applications in architecture. He also has taught in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design’s Italian study program.

Knox’s research is focused on using digital visualization tools, such as 3D modeling, animation and film techniques, to study the visual and perceptual relationships between architecture and landscape historically and in new projects. He has published papers and lectured widely about the work, and many of the films done in collaboration with his students have been shown at national and international animation conferences.

“I can’t say enough what an honor it is to have this opportunity at the No. 5 graduate architecture program in the country,” said Knox. “We have amazingly bright and hard-working students and a dedicated and passionate faculty in a dynamic and supportive interdisciplinary College. We are in a great position to continue improving our program, promoting mutual connections with the profession and engaging our students in service to the K-State community and beyond.”


Are you interested in knowing more about study abroad, internships or studying at the Kansas City Design Center? If so, plan to drop by the APDesign Browsing Fair on Thursday, April 12, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The fair includes a presentation at 6:30 p.m. in Seaton 63, followed by opportunities to get more information about whatever you’re most interested in from 7-8 p.m. in Pierce Commons. Dessert will be provided.


This week is Diversity Week!

NOMAS and the APDesign Diversity Committee have scheduled several events throughout the week to celebrate.

Today at 5:30 p.m., come find out “Who is NOMAS?” The informational session will be held in the Pierce Commons, and snacks will be provided.

Tuesday is lecture day. At 11 a.m., Prabha Bajracharya will present “Nepal: Culture & Architecture” in the Pierce Commons. At 4:30 p.m., Associate Professor Vibhavari Jani will present “Diversity in Design: An IDEC Award Winner” also in the Pierce Commons.

Oh Wednesday, the Diversity Committee presents Celebrate Africa. The afternoon events include a presentation by Associate Professor La Barbara Wigfall at noon and a drumming circle performance at 12:30. The evening events start with a 5:30 p.m. African student panel followed by a fashion show, African dance demonstration and dance and drumming instruction. All events are in the Pierce Commons

Diversity Week finishes up with an international mixer in the Pierce from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13. Please plan to check out one or all of these fantastic events!


This Friday, April 13, Professor David Leatherbarrow will present the spring Ekdahl Lecture at 4:30 p.m. in the Hemisphere Room at Hale Library. Leatherbarrow’s lecture, titled Architecture Otherwise, is open to everyone.

Leatherbarrow is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as Interim-Chairman of the Department of Architecture and Associate Dean of the School of Design. He teaches architectural design, as well as the history and theory of architecture, gardens, and cities.

His recent books include: Architecture Oriented Otherwise; Topographical Stories: Studies in Landscape and Architecture; Surface Architecture (in collaboration with Mohsen Mostafavi); and Uncommon Ground: Architecture, Technology and Topography. Before that were: The Roots of Architectural Invention: Site, Enclosure and Materials; and On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time, again with Mostafavi. His research has focused on selected topics in the history and theory of architecture; most recently, on the impact of contemporary technology on architecture.


The Nicodemus Historical Society presents the next colloquium in the LA/RCP Colloquium Series titled Pioneers and Political Leaders on Friday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Seaton 106C. The colloquium is open to anyone who would like to attend.


Graduating students, please remember to fill out your exit surveys soon. The surveys are due by Friday, May 4, and your input is invaluable. Thank you!


The all-College faculty/staff meeting on Thursday, April 19, will now take place at 1:30 p.m., rather than in the morning. The meeting will still be in Seaton 104. Please adjust your calendars, and we’ll see you there!


ZGF is a nationally recognized architecture, planning and interior design firm with a long commitment to the critical collaboration of architectural education and professional practice.  In place since 2004, the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architectural Scholarship Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation is intended to recognize and foster students who have a demonstrated talent and passion for architecture.

$10,000 will be awarded to one scholarship recipient; a currently enrolled student entering their final year in a graduate or undergraduate level, NAAB-accredited architecture program in the fall of 2012. In addition to the financial award, a summer internship in one of the firm’s five office locations (Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York or Washington, D.C.) will be offered to the scholarship recipient. The scholarship recipient will be selected in June, with funds awarded for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Additional information and an application form are available on the Scholarship page www.zgf.com

ZGF intends to review highly qualified students from eligible institutions, each of whom must be recommended by the head of the school of architecture or a faculty member with a signed letter from the dean or chair. Applications must be received no later than May 1, 2012.  The scholarship recipient will be chosen no later than June 1, 2012.  Any questions regarding the ZGF Scholarship should be directed to janet.hull@zgf.com.


The Food Studies conference at the University of Illinois October 4-5, 2012, will address contemporary food challenges from interdisciplinary perspectives by exploring new possibilities for sustainable food production and human nutrition. The aim is to consider the dimensions of a new green revolution that will meet our human needs in a more effective, equitable and sustainable way in the 21st century.

Members of this knowledge community include academics, teachers, administrators, policy makers and practitioners in food communities. Contributions range from broad theoretical and global policy explorations, to detailed studies of specific human-physiological, nutritional and social dynamics of food. Other topics are welcome, and should focus on the food sciences in the areas such as, but not limited to agricultural and environmental food sciences, food industries and markets, and local and global food sociologies.

Location: In 2012, The Food Studies conference is strategically held in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, during the midwestern harvest season. This is the home of the land grant University of Illinois, in the United States’ agricultural heartland.  With cutting edge research at the university, and a full range of agricultural endeavors in the community, ranging from large agribusiness to urban farmers’ markets, Urbana-Champaign represents an ideal location for the Food Studies community to gather.

This year’s conference will feature a special panel discussion highlighting urban food hubs and their evolving role in the local agribusiness and food industry arena. Conference tour activities will feature an exclusive farm-to-table dinner at Prairie Fruits Farm where participants will experience the slow foods movement firsthand in a unique outdoor, field-side setting. Urbana-Champaign can easily be reached by commuter plane, train and automobile from Chicago.

Proposals: We welcome presentation proposals which range from broad explorations of theoretical, methodological and policy questions, to proposals which present finely grained evidence of the connections of economics, public health, government and community practices, sociological, medical and educational perspectives of food in our societies. Presenters will have the option to submit to be published in the refereed Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Proposals must be in English, include a title, a 20-30 word short description (thesis statement), a 200-300 word long description (abstract), and can be submitted electronically through our website. For more information regarding proposal submission requirements and to submit your proposal, please visit the conference website at: http://food-studies.com/conference-2012/call-for-papers/

Virtual proposals/registrations, as well as non-presenter registrations are encouraged to submit and attend.

Submission deadlines: Deadlines will be announced on the conference website. Papers and proposals will be reviewed within two weeks of submission.  The deadline to receive the early registration discount is May 4, 2012.

For full submission and registration details, including an online proposal submission form, please visit the conference website.


“Diversity in Design: Perspectives from the Non-Western World,” a book penned by Associate Professor of Interior Architecture & Product Design Vibhavari Jani received top honors at the Interior Design Educators Council annual conference.

According to IDEC, the annual Book Award recognizes and honors significant books that exhibit excellence in addressing the issues of the interior design profession including practice, scholarship and education. IDEC gives out one award each year, and according to Interior Architecture & Product Design Head Katherine Ankerson, the competition is stiff and the attention on this book is particularly timely.

“In the midst of dynamic growth and change within the interior design profession, educational resources specific to designing interiors, helping educators bring their students to an understanding of the interwoven complexities and diverse influences resulting from geography, culture, history, religion and available materials are crucial,” Ankerson said. “The study of Western culture, especially from a Eurocentric perspective has been the norm in most architectural and interior design programs. Professor Jani’s book is poised to play a significant role in educating our students to be global citizens, respectful of both Western and non-Western cultures and prepared to face a world increasingly dependent upon an understanding of non-Western cultures.”

Jani got the idea for the book while undertaking a research project to understand how educators are incorporating non-Western design into their teaching. Jani said through her research she realized that many educators were not providing non-Western precedents for their students because the information was not readily available. While presenting her research at a conference, a publisher offered her the opportunity to create a resource guide on non-Western design.

“I wanted students to learn and understand how climate, religion, culture and social traditions all have influence on how built form is shaped,” Jani said. “I proposed that we work with native scholars who specialize in their own countries’ design traditions to develop an authentic book on non-Western design traditions.

“We strategically selected the seven countries to highlight - India, China, Turkey, Egypt, UAE, Algeria and Nigeria - based on their contributions in the development of world architecture and design, their population and economic growth, and their current design needs. Some of these countries, India and China especially, are places where our students could be finding jobs over the next several decades, so there’s a need to understand the people, their diverse cultures, and their design traditions to do work in those places.”


Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Blake Belanger received the 2012 Excellence in Design Studio Teaching at the Junior Level award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture at the annual meeting at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, on March 29. The award recognizes a faculty member’s “ability to direct design studio projects that demonstrate outstanding quality and/or emphasize the critical thinking, creative process.”

Among the students contributing to Belanger’s nomination was fourth-year Landscape Architecture student Elise Fagan. She believes that Belanger’s “contagious passion of landscape architecture, urban design and academia drives his students to excellence while laying the foundations for our individual growth.” She credits so much of her “design process, thought process, problem solving skills and leadership skills to Blake’s teaching, advising and mentoring.”

“I am honored to receive this recognition, and proud to contribute to our program’s national visibility,” Belanger said. “This award speaks to our faculty’s ongoing commitment to teaching excellence and preparing our graduates for professional practice. I am grateful to my colleagues for their support and mentoring, as well as to our students for their unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Professor and Head Stephanie Rolley noted that the national prominence of this award reflects the high quality of studio instruction that Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional & Community Planning values. Her nomination letter said, “Professor Belanger inspires his students by modeling the type of practical professionalism combined with forward-thinking creative work that is needed in the practice of landscape architecture. The transformative experience he provides students in his classes is evident in the quality of work they produce.”

Belanger received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Michigan State University in 1995 and a dual Master of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design degree from the University of Colorado, Denver, in 2006. He joined the Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional & Community Planning in 2007. He was the 2010 Kansas State University Mary Jarvis Emerging Faculty of Distinction in Landscape Architecture and was awarded a K-State Academic Excellence award with colleagues in support of a collaborative studio in 2011.