Graduate Architecture

Under Pressure: Urban Housing Symposium

Existing between formal and informal systems and ranging widely in quality, typology, and audience, urban housing is a bellwether for economic, social, and political change. Housing’s complexity and flexibility offers unique and exciting opportunities for architects, however, its source in private equity and public agencies often challenges its ambitions. Three panel discussions at Weitzman School will focus on pressure points affecting urban housing: Super-Hot:high-pressure economic markets, New Domesticities: the changing nature of living and domesticity, and Speculation: new tools and technologies for design and fabrication. The symposium functions as a think tank for current topics under these influences by bringing together thought leaders working and writing in these arenas.

Symposium Convened By

Hina Jamelle 
Director. Contemporary Architecture Practice
Director of Urban Housing. University of Pennsylvania

Kutan Ayata
Partner/ Young & Ayata
Lecturer/ University of Pennsylvania

Brian Phillips
Principal. ISA
Lecturer / University of Pennsylvania
Graduate Assistants: Katie McBride, Caleb White, Miguel Abaunza, Alex Tahinos, Mark Chalhoub, Insung Hwang, Jiateng Wang, Adrian Emmanuel Subagyo, David Harrop, and Ricardo Hernandez-Perez.

Special thanks to Lily Wubeshet and Deb Katz.

Presented with support from the Don Prowler Endowment Fund.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Welcome from Dean Frederick Steiner + Chair Winka Dubbeldam // 9:00am
Symposium Introduction: Hina Jamelle, Director of Urban Housing, PennDesign.

Panel 1 // SUPER HOT // 9:30am

As a major component in the global real estate market, urban housing is acutely subject to market speculations, consumer preferences, and financial crashes that characterize risk-based investment. In the world’s fastest growing and highest value markets, housing takes on the characteristics of luxury brands, high-end amenities, super density, and new business models. There are also echo-effects that challenge expectations of supply, affordability, access, and urban patterns. As urban, financial, and political forces apply pressure on the entire spectrum of city dwellers, how do, can, and might architects re-act?

Introduction by Hina Jamelle

Barry Bergdoll (Moderator)
Martha Kelley
Patrik Schumacher

Mark Willis

Chris Sharples

Panel 2 // NEW DOMESTICITIES // 11:30am

Housing has become an insufficient concept to frame the complexities of twenty-first century domestic life. Private living space, once simply a retreat from the public sphere and work environment, has been radically transformed by the conflation of live and work, new family structures, and economic factors that are pushing toward new typologies and hybrids. Given these changing trends, how can and should architects help shape new possibilities for housing?

Introduction by Brian Phillips

Michael Bell

Mimi Hoang
Chad Ludeman

Clifford Pearson (Moderator)
Simone Tarantino

Panel 3 // SPECULATION // 2:30pm

The discipline of architecture, especially through modernism, always produced new visions of the city through comprehensive concepts of urban housing. The shift to market economies relocated these efforts away from speculation on vast urban land to speculation on architectural objects. New lifestyles, technologies, and design tools are radicalizing the possibilities of urban housing. Fresh considerations of program, scale, material, fabrication, and form are redefining present and future visions. What are these new possibilities and how can they be deployed in ways that apply their own pressures to the emergence of new urban housing models?

Introduction by Kutan Ayata

Marcelo Spina
Neil Denari
Nader Tehrani (Moderator)
Laia Mogas

Kai-Uwe Bergmann

Reception // 5:00pm
Kutan Ayata

Partner/ Young & Ayata
Lecturer/ University of Pennsylvania

Kutan Ayata is a founding partner of Young & Ayata in New York City. The practice is dedicated to both built commissions, speculative projects and experimental research. In 2016, the Firm was selected one of two first prize winners in the International Architectural Competition for the New Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany. In 2015, the Firm was among the finalists for MoMA YAP Program in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2014, the partners were the recipients of the Young Architects Prize from Architectural League of New York, their entry in the international competition for the Dalseong Citizen's Gymnasium in South Korea received an honorable mention, and their submission for the Pamphlet Architecture 35 publication was also awarded an honorable mention. The firm's work is published internationally and has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Istanbul Modern, the Graham Foundation, Storefront for Art & Architecture, SCI-Arc, and Princeton University. Kutan is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania teaching studios and seminars. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture in 1999 from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Kutan was a fellow at Princeton University School of Architecture and earned his Masters of Architecture degree in 2004 as a recipient of the Susanne Kolarik Underwood Thesis Prize.

Michael Bell

Professor of Architecture / Columbia University, GSAPP

Michael Bell, Professor, Columbia University, is founder of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials and was Director of the Columbia Housing Studios (2000-11). Bell has been a Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard. His work in housing has been commissioned/exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (1999/00 and 2011/12). His books include: Engineered TransparencySpace Replaces Us16 Houses, and Slow Space. His Gefter-Press House is featured in Kenneth Frampton’s American Masterworks: Houses of the Twentieth & Twenty-first Centuries. Bell practices with Eunjeong Seong and is currently a visiting professor at Stanford University.

Dr. Barry Bergdoll, PhD.

MoMA. Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archeology / Columbia University

Barry Bergdoll is Professor of Art History at Columbia University and curator at MoMA. Trained as an architectural historian at Columbia (BA 1977; Ph.D. 1986) and Cambridge Universities (MA 1979). He served as Chairman of Art History at Columbia (2004-07), President of the Society of Architectural Historians (2006-08), Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA (2007-13), Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge 2011), and delivered the 62nd A.W. Mellon Lecture at the National Gallery (2013). He has organized exhibitions in Montreal and Paris and has collaborated on several films on architecture.

Kai-Uwe Bergmann

Partner / BIG

Kai-Uwe Bergmann is a partner at BIG who brings his expertise to proposals around the globe, including work in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Kai-Uwe heads up BIG’s business development which currently has the office working in twenty different countries as well as overseeing BIG’s communications. Registered as an architect in the USA (eight states) and Canada, Kai-Uwe most recently contributed to the resiliency plan BIG U to protect ten miles of Manhattan’s coastline. He compliments his professional work through previous teaching assignments at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Florida, IE University in Madrid, and his alma mater the University of Virginia. Kai-Uwe also sits on the board of the Van Alen Institute, participates on numerous international juries and lectures globally on the works of BIG.

Neil M. Denari

Principal / NMDA

Professor / UCLA

Neil Denari is principal of NMDA, Inc. and professor of architecture at UCLA. He received his M.Arch from Harvard in 1982. In 2015, he was elected to The College of Fellows of the AIA. He is the recipient of the 2011 AIA-LA Gold Medal, 2005 and 2007 National AIA Awards, 2005 Progressive Architecture citation, and eight AIA Honor Awards, among others. He lectures worldwide and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and UC Berkeley, among other schools. He was the director of SCI-Arc from 1997-2002. He is the author of Interrupted Projections (1996), Gyroscopic Horizons (1999), and Mass X, forthcoming in 2016.

Mimi Hoang, AIA

Principal / nARCHITECTS 

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University, GSAPP

Mimi Hoang, AIA, is a principal at nARCHITECTS and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University's GSAPP (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation). Along with partner Eric Bunge, she co-founded nARCHITECTS with the goal of addressing contemporary issues in architecture through conceptually driven, socially engaging and technologically innovative work. Their work instigates interactions between architecture, public space, and their dynamically changing contexts. The letter 'n' represents a variable, indicating the firm's interest in designing for a dynamic variety of experiences within a systemic approach. nARCHITECTS was honored with an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture and AIA-NY's Andrew J. Thomson Award for Pioneering in Housing. Hoang received a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a B.Sc in architecture from M.I.T. She regularly lectures on the work of nARCHITECTS and the themes of innovative contemporary practices, density, new housing models, and women in architecture.

Hina Jamelle

Director. Contemporary Architecture Practice
Director of Urban Housing. University of Pennsylvania

Hina Jamelle teaches Graduate Option Studios at the University of Pennsylvania where she also directs the second year Urban Housing Studios of the Master of Architecture Program. She is co-director of the New York and Shanghai-based firm Contemporary Architecture Practice (CAP). CAP’s projects have been exhibited extensively including the firm’s 2008 commission by the Museum of Modern Art [MoMA] for its show, “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.”

Her publications include the volume Elegance [2007] and a forthcoming book on design research, Architecture and the New Elegance, which will be published in 2017. Jamelle’s notable honors and awards include the Architectural Design Vanguard Award in 2004. In 2005 she was featured in Phaidon’s 10x10x2 as one of the world's top 100 emerging architects. In 2015, her project, IWI Orthodontics in Tokyo, Japan, was featured in Phaidon’s ROOM 100 as one of the most creative interior design projects of the year. Also in 2015, she was featured in 50 Under 50 Innovators of the 21st Century.

Martha Kelley

Goldman Sachs

Martha works in the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, which serves as the principal investing arm of the bank. Her group, the Real Estate Principal Investment Area (REPIA), makes direct, opportunistic equity and credit investments in real estate assets and portfolios around the country. In the housing space, the team is currently active in multifamily development, and is building several condo projects in major urban markets. Prior to REPIA, Martha worked for five years in the investment banking sector. She has an AB from Princeton in Political Economics and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

Chad Ludeman

President at Postgreen Homes & Hybrid Construction

In 2008 Ludeman founded Postgreen Homes specializing in the development of modern, sustainable and attainable homes in Philadelphia's urban neighborhoods. Aiming to make Philadelphia better one project at a time. He specializes in the fields of green building and development, real estate investment, marketing and small business startup.

Clifford Pearson

Director / USC American Academy in China

Clifford Pearson is the director of the University of Southern California’s American Academy in China and a lecturer at the USC School of Architecture. From 1989 to 2015, he was an editor at Architectural Record, serving as deputy editor-in-chief for the last 10 years. He oversaw the magazine’s coverage of Asia, acting as editor-in-charge of its China edition, 2008-2013. He is the author of Indonesia: Design and Culture and the editor of Modern American Houses. In 2004 and 2006, he was the co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Pearson holds a master's degree in architectural history from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in urban studies from Cornell University.

Brian Phillips

Principal. ISA
Lecturer / University of Pennsylvania

Brian Phillips is founding principal of ISA, a design and research office engaged with projects in cities across the U.S. ISA has leveraged the opportunities and challenges of its home city to drive a busy, innovative and thought-leading practice that takes on the complex context of the post-industrial American city. The firm designs buildings, master plans, installations, and conversations that address changing climates, lifestyles, technologies, and urban environments.

Phillips earned his MArch from the University of Pennsylvania and BS from the University of Oklahoma. Brian’s work has been featured in ArchitectArchitectural RecordDWELLMetropolisThe Boston GlobeThe Philadelphia InquirerThe New York Times, and on NPR Radio. ISA has won over two dozen local, regional, and national design citations, including an AIA Silver Medal, AIA National Housing Award, AIA COTE Top Ten Award, and USGBC LEED for Homes Project of the Year. Brian was awarded a 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts and was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York in 2015.

Patrik Schumacher

Principal / Zaha Hadid

Patrik Schumacher is principal of Zaha Hadid Architects and is leading the firm since Zaha Hadid’s passing in April 2016. He joined Zaha Hadid in 1988, has been a co-author on most projects and was seminal in developing Zaha Hadid Architects to become a 400-strong global architecture and design brand. In 1996 he founded the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association where he continues to teach. He is lecturing worldwide and recently held the John Portman Chair in Architecture at Harvard’ GSD. Over the last twenty years he has contributed over 100 articles to architectural journals and anthologies. In 2008 he coined the term parametricism and has since published a series of manifestos promoting parametricism as the new epochal style for the 21st century. In 2010/2012 he published his two-volume theoretical magnum opus The Autopoiesis of Architecture. He recently guest-edited the magazine AD - Parametricism 2.0, setting architecture’s agenda for the 21st Century with a new emphasis on the societal relevance of parametricism.

Chris Sharples

Principal / SHoP Architects

Since 1996, SHoP has modeled a new way forward with our unconventional approach to design. At the heart of the firm’s method is a willingness to question accepted patterns of practice, coupled with the courage to expand, where necessary, beyond the architect’s traditional roles. Chris Sharples is a founding principal of SHoP with a focus on successfully integrating academic and cultural projects into the urban environment. Chris has served as principal for many significant projects including the Barclays Center, SITE Santa Fe gallery expansion, 10-story residential timber building at 475 West 18th, Google Headquarter Offices, and currently, Uber Headquarters in San Francisco. Beyond the studio, Chris has earned a reputation as a thoughtful leader of his generation of innovative architects and a powerful advocate for design quality in contemporary city-building. In addition, He has led SHoP’s efforts in a collaboration with several research institutions to develop and bring to market a proprietary facade-integrated solar energy technology known as HeliOptix, scheduled for commercial release in 2017. Chris has held teaching positions at Cornell University, Parsons School of Design, Yale University, The City College of New York, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia and lectures internationally.

Laia Mogas Soldevila


Laia Mogas Soldevila is a licensed architect and researcher interested in biological material systems and novel material practices in design. She is currently completing her PhD at Tufts University's Biomedical Engineering SilkLab. Previous research positions include the MIT Media Lab Mediated Matter Group (design and digital fabrication of natural material systems), the MIT SUTD Robotics Lab (large scale automated manufacturing), the MIT Department of Material Science Ortiz Lab of Structural Materials (biomimetic computational methods), and at the UPC CODA Group (parametric architecture).

Soldevila’s research contributions have been published in numerous scientific journals and shared at international conferences such as WAF, MRS, IASS and ACADIA. Her work has been exhibited at MIT, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the Lisbon Architecture Triennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and the Pompidou Center in Paris as part of the Advances in Architectural Geometry Exhibit.

Marcelo Spina

Principal / P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S
Professor / SCI-Arc

Born in Rosario, Argentina, Marcelo Spina is an internationally renowned architect and educator. Along with Georgina Huljich, he is a principal of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, an award-winning innovation-driven architectural practice based in Los Angeles with a worldwide presence. Spina received his BArch from the National University of Rosario, Argentina, and a MArch from Columbia University, New York. He is been a member of the design faculty at SCI-Arc since 2001 and has been a visiting professor at Yale, Syracuse, Harvard, Berkeley and Di Tella, among others. Awards include Architect of the Year [3rd Prize], Architectural League’s Emerging Voices, USA Artists Fellowship, and various AIA National and Local awards. He is the Co-Author of Embedded [ACDCU, 2010], Material Beyond Materials [SCI-Arc 2012] and the forthcoming Mute Icons. He was also co-curator of ‘‘Matters of Sensation’’ at Artists Space. Spina’ work has been published and exhibited widely and he has given more than 100 lectures around the world.

Simone Tarantino

US Executive Director. Startup Home Inc.

Boasting more than 20 years of tech and business experience, Simone started his career at companies like Intel and Acer. In 2001, he launched a Management and Marketing Consulting firm which focused on developing new intersections between technology and the workplace to create smarter and more efficient ways to conduct business. In 2013, in addition to founding Inspect Manager, a cloud-based testing infrastructure for the environmental and engineering industry, he also invested in and co-founded, an advanced music media platforms in the cloud. In 2016, Simone invested in UK's Startup Home London, a venture that works on the concept of co-living/co-working for startup entrepreneurs, and it's now in charge of expanding its operations opening new locations in US, starting with Philadelphia.

Nader Tehrani

Principal / NADAAA
Dean / The Cooper Union

Nader Tehrani is Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union and is also a principal of NADAAA, a practice dedicated to the advancement of design innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and an intensive dialogue with the construction industry. His work has been recognized with notable awards, including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the United States Artists Fellowship in Architecture and Design, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, and sixteen Progressive Architecture Awards. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 NADAAA has ranked No. 1 in design in Architect Magazine's Top 50 firms.

Mark A. Willis

Senior Policy Fellow / Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Mark A. Willis is the Senior Policy Fellow at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Before joining Furman, Willis was a Visiting Scholar at the Ford Foundation following a 19-year career developing and overseeing JPMorgan Chase's programs and products to help strengthen low- and moderate- income communities. Before joining Chase, Willis held various positions with the City of New York in housing, economic development, and tax policy and was an urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He serves on the boards of a wide range of banking and community-oriented organizations. He is a frequent participant on panels at academic, industry, and government conferences/convenings, and his recent publications have focused on affordable housing, national housing finance reform, and the Community Reinvestment Act. He also teaches housing and community development policy at New York University’s Wagner School. He has a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. degree in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.