Graduate Architecture

Pressing Matters IV

A Publication of the Department of Architecture at PennDesign

A Publication of the Department of Architecture at PennDesign

I am happy to present you with this new Pressing Matters IV. This wonderful compilation of design - research performed at PennDesign’s Department of Architecture features recent student work, news, important symposia and lectures, and a special article on the “YES pavilion”, a wonderful smart structure designed by our first year students under the great guidance of Professors Danielle Willems and Ezio Blasetti, and executed by a collaboration of 500, 600 and 700 students under the great guidance of Professor Mohamad Al Khayer. We are also happy to welcome Andrew Saunders, who after an intense search was invited to join us at the Department, and who immediately took the coordination of both the first year and the construction of the YES pavilion on!

In our lecture series we looked a bit deeper into the subject of OOO [Object Oriented Ontology] with a lecture by Graham Harman, which subsequently led to a collaboration with Syracuse’s Dean Michael Speaks and resulted also in a day long symposium and great discussion in NYC around the same subject. These conversations are a continuation of many of the subjects we had started to discuss in the “The New Normal, Experiments in Contemporary Generative Design,” a conference we held at Penndesign in 2013. Last spring, Penn’s focus on Design-Research is also going strong with lectures by David Benjamin, Antoine Picon, and Florian Idenburg to name a few, details can be found at: Visiting studio critics this past year included great names such as: Neil Denari, Tom Wiscombe (both from LA), Michel Rojkind from Mexico City, Laura Baird and Reinier de Graaf of OMA & AMO from Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Last Fall the Architecture Department of PennDesign was invited by the ACSA’s president elect Ming Fung, to host the ACSA’s Administrator’s conference “EXPANSE, architecture in an expanded field” ,  where I was joined by my co-chair Nader Teherani to run and moderate the conference sessions. We greatly enjoyed having the ACSA as our guest and look forward to future collaborations. 

The Architecture Department goes GLOBAL, our collaboration with the AA under leadership of Professor Homa Farjadi, reaches its twelfth year when our students will again study in London this Fall. Last year we added Seoul to the list, thanks to our Alumnus, Mr Young Kyoon Sejong’s [CEO of Heerim Architects & Planners] generous donation, our students will travel again to Seoul to collaborate with students from Seoul National University on an exiting project. Of course the Summer Programs are also going strong, our traditional Paris Program spearheaded by professor Annette Fierro and the Greece program under leadership of Danielle Willems and Ezio Blasetti as well as the Colombia Program run by Eduardo Rega Calvo and Juan Ricardo Rincon Gaviria [from Bogota] have inspired students over the last few years and strengthened PennDesign’s collaborations in Europe and now, Latin America.

The Department of Architecture offers an Undergraduate major, a professionally-accredited Master’s degree, two post-professional Master’s programs [MSD in AAD and the MEBD], and a research-based Master of Science and Doctoral program. The Department is situated within a multi-disciplinary School of Design and a strong research University, this allows for many kinds of connections and specialized studies, including undergraduate minors, certificate studies at the Master’s level, and dual degrees in a host of disciplines. More you find on our website:

We hope to see you soon at PennDesign!

Winka Dubbeldam, Assoc. AIA
Professor and Chair
Department of Architecture


WSDIA design
Editors: Maria Teicher, Winka Dubbeldam

Pressing Matters 4 on ISSUU