Graduate Architecture

Pressing Matters III

A Publication of the Department of Architecture at PennDesign

I am delighted to share the latest issue of the Pressing Matters publication with you.  We have gone through a transformational year in the Department of Architecture at PennDesign. I hope you will enjoy the innovative student work, the news sections, and curricular improvements reflected in this issue. The start of this year was also marked by the introduction of a new PennDesign website, designed by 2x4, a global design consultancy headquartered in New York City with satellite studios in Beijing and Madrid.

We started the semester last year with a two-day conference “The New Normal, Experiments in Contemporary Generative Design,” with keynote speakers Neil Denari and Ben van Berkel.  By bringing together leading international and US architects, the symposium explored how the role of the digital, as it was introduced roughly 20 years ago, has created a new form of PRACTICE, we coined  the “New Normal.”  The symposium not only gave a great overview of emerging new practices but also of possible future innovations for the architectural practice.

The PPD [MArch2] semester collaborated last year with Peter Winston Ferretto, Architect / Assistant Professor at Seoul National University, Department of Architecture, which was made possible by the generous support of Mr. Jeong of the Heerim Company, Seoul, Korea, an Alumnus of PennDesign. The subject of the PPD studio, a Surrealist Museum in Seoul, was to be located in controversial and interesting sites in Seoul. The outcomes will be seen soon in the annual PPD publication. More news on the PPD; I am excited to be able to announce the start of a newly formulated Post-Professional Program, which will now include a third semester. This added semester not only allows for a completely reconfigured first semester with a dedicated studio and specific seminars, but also provides a much more thorough involvement with the 3rd year of the MArch program. With Ali Rahim as its new Director, the PPD is ready to start a new chapter.

Our MArch program continues to grow, as do the wide range of dual degree programs offered through PennDesign. As you will see in these pages, students have had the opportunity to work with world-renowned architects, and the quality of the student work is as strong as ever. We have also added even more 3-D printers in studio, completely re-calibrated our Visual Studies program, our Professional Practice curriculum, and our History and Theory lectures and seminars to better reflect changing professional and disciplinary dynamics. This ongoing interest in the possibilities of contemporary design is also reflected in our public lecture series and symposia. It is an exciting time to be at Penn!

Growth in our student body has also led to an influx of new faculty and a search for a tenure track position. I am happy to announce that Andrew Saunders joined us as Associate Professor; we are delighted to have him as a colleague. Andrew is currently coordinating and teaching the 501 studio. Assistant Professors Daniel Barber and Franca Trubiano have joined me as Associate Chairs for the Department of Architecture. For this Fall’s Research Studios we invited a great list of visiting faculty, among whom are: Neil Denari, Michel Rojkind, Francois Roche, John Hong, Brennan Buck, and Laura Baird and Rainer de Graaf [OMA/AMO]. Sulan Kolatan and Tom Wiscombe will join us again in the Spring along with Nanako Umemoto and our excellent faculty critics Ali Rahim, Simon Kim, Homa Farjadi, Kieran Timberlake, and Marion Weiss.  With all this and even more – and larger – makerbots in studio, we look forward to a great year!

Winka Dubbeldam

Professor and Chair

Department of Architecture




WSDIA design

Editors: Maria Teicher, Winka Dubbeldam