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Virtual Weitzman School Talk | Designing Practice
Join Rudabeh Pakravan (MArch’00), Kristen Sidell (MArch’00), and Maxine Skaggs Kennedy (MArch’00) for a discussion on designing practices that engage with the community and the culture of architecture through building. For these west coast architects, designing practice means foregrounding design, but also relates to making choices about how to run their offices while at the same time, looking at what projects to pursue, shaping a place for their teams to thrive in, and creating opportunities for their communities through architectural advocacy.
About the Participants:
Kristen Sidell and Rudabeh Pakravan are principals of Sidell Pakravan Architects, an architecture practice based in Berkeley. They believe in the power of architecture to influence context, culture, community, and individual experience. Sidell Pakravan approaches architectural design as both a physical exploration of space, form, scale, and volume, as well as a vital practice of civic and social engagement. Their critically informed, idea-driven designs physically materialize as distinctive, bold, and contextually resonant constructions.
Kristen Sidell is a LEED accredited, registered architect. She holds a Bachelor of Art in Art History from Stanford University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts. Kristen is a member of the Board of Trustees of Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley.
Rudabeh Pakravan is a registered architect and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. She is on the design faculty of the University of California, Berkeley. Rudabeh is a member of the Board of Directors of the AIA East Bay and Rites of Passage, an advocacy organization for formerly incarcerated youth.
Kristen and Rudabeh met while pursuing their Master's in Architecture degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. Following over a decade of working for other firms in both Europe and North America, they founded Sidell Pakravan Architects as a practice designed to explore critical questions through the process of building.
Maxine Skaggs Kennedy (MArch’00), Principal, Studio Skaggs Kennedy
Maxine Skaggs Kennedy is Principal of the architecture firm Studio Skaggs Kennedy (S_SK) in Berkeley, CA, and a licensed architect in California and Washington. S_SK is run as a studio in which study, research, and collaboration are vitally important to their approach to design. S_SK’s projects are diverse in type, size, and use but always consider context and function, light and structure, and always with a decidedly modernist attitude. Some of S_SK’s most recent projects include rehabilitating and reimagining a historic theater into a mixed-use food hall and community co-work / event space, upcycling a disused gas station into an indoor/ outdoor beer garden, and a new 21 home neighborhood as part of the dynamic Bridge District in West Sacramento. This project, Moderns at Eames Walk, won awards for Exceptional Residential Project from the AIA East Bay and Best Urban Housing from the Sacramento Business Journal. Maxine received her Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. In 2015 Maxine, along with her husband Sean Kennedy, founded their firm Studio Skaggs Kennedy,
Susan Kolber (MArch and MLA ’20)
Susan Kolber is a 2020 Weitzman Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture graduate. During her time at Penn and now currently, Susan’s research explores ethical, aesthetic, and environmental practices that reposition and reimagine humans and their interactions with other beings in the built environment. As a leader of various initiatives at AIA’s Equity by Design group and Penn’s Women in Design organization, advocacy work has been an important aspect of her professional and academic practices. She has focused on increasing equity in the professions of architecture and landscape architecture through projects that have focused on data collection, storytelling, and mentorship. Her professional background is in residential architecture and public landscapes where she has worked on projects of different scales combining her interests in multispecies relationships and environmental research, equity advocacy, and passion for design. Susan received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania studying Architecture, Urban Studies, and East Asian Studies.
Charlette Caldwell (MSHP’16)
Charlette Caldwell (MSHP’16) is a PhD student and Provost Diversity Fellow currently studying the history and theory of architecture at Columbia University. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century American architecture and vernacular architecture. She received a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and continues to work part-time in Philadelphia on various preservation projects.
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Image Credit: Moderns at Eames Walk housing/ 7th St Residence, working model