Weitzman News

Posted August 9, 2018

PennDesign Welcomes New Faculty and New Associate Dean for Research

With the new Academic Year, PennDesign welcomes four new members of the standing faculty, subject to University approval: Dorit Aviv, lecturer, Department of Architecture; Sean Burkholder, assistant professor, Department of Landscape Architecture; Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl, assistant professor, Department of Architecture; and Zhongjie Lin (PhD’06), who joins the faculty as a visiting associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning for the fall of 2018.

“I’m confident our new faculty members will help drive innovation in the spheres of energy, ecology, and urbanization, and promote a deeper understanding of modern architecture,” said PennDesign Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner.

Dean Steiner has also named Megan Ryerson associate dean for research as part of a wider initiative to advance and diversify the School’s growing research agenda. Ryerson is an assistant professor of city and regional planning who has a secondary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn Engineering. She has chaired the research committee at PennDesign since 2017.

Dean Steiner said, “Along with an impressive track record in her own research, Professor Ryerson brings tremendous energy and vision to her new role.”

In other faculty transitions, Daniel Barber, associate professor of architecture, and Andrew Saunders, associate professor of architecture, earned tenure. After 22 productive and rewarding years as chair of the Graduate Group in Architecture, David Leatherbarrow, professor of architecture, has decided to devote himself full-time to teaching and scholarship; he is succeeded by Barber. Eugenie Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research & Education and co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, has been re-appointed as chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning. In addition, PennDesign welcomes Matthew Jordan Miller as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Faculty appointments are formally reviewed by the Provost and the Board of Trustees in the fall.

Dorit Aviv joins the faculty as a lecturer in the Department of Architecture. Currently a PhD candidate at Princeton University, she is a designer and researcher specializing in the fields of energy and ecology; her work investigates the relationships between thermodynamics, geometry and material science. She has taught at The Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, and Princeton University and has practiced design at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, KPF New York and Shanghai, and Atelier Raimund Abraham. She also curated the energy pavilion in the 2017 Seoul Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism along with Forrest Meggers. Aviv earned a BArch at The Cooper Union, and an MArch and certificate in urban planning from Princeton University’s School of Architecture and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy.

Sean Burkholder is assistant professor of landscape architecture. He is also director of the Landscape Affairs Group, a landscape, research and design consultancy focused on the human-entangled freshwater ecosystems of postindustrial regions, and co-directs the $1.5M Healthy Port Futures project from the Great Lakes Protection Fund in close collaboration with a range of local and federal agencies. Underpinning Burkholder’s work is a particular interest in the way in which substrate and ecology influence the urban landscape and how these systems are interpreted by others. Previously, he was assistant professor of landscape and urban design at the University of Buffalo. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Miami University and a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl is an assistant professor for architectural history and theory in the Department of Architecture. In the past year, Hochhäusl was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States, with a focus on the history of social movements, environmental history, and women’s and gender studies. Hochhäusl is the recipient of the Carter Manny Award by the Graham Foundation, the Bruno Zevi Award, and the Clearance Stein Fellowship in Landscape and Urban Studies. She received an MArch from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and an MA and PhD from Cornell University in History of Architecture and Urbanism.

Zhongjie Lin is a visiting associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning and co-founder of Futurepolis, a cross-disciplinary design practice. His research focuses on theory and practice of urban design, modern architectural avant-garde movements, utopianism, and contemporary architecture and urbanism in East Asia. Previously, he was a professor of architecture and urbanism and the director of the Master of Urban Design program at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, where he has taught architectural and urban design studios as well as seminars in history/theory and urbanism, and directed the School of Architecture’s China Programs. He has lectured or served as a studio critic at many universities in the U.S. and Asia. He was a visiting associate professor at Tongji University in 2012 and National Taiwan University of Science & Technology in 2017. He is a 2012 Woodrow Wilson Fellow and 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. He received a PhD in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and a Master of Architecture from Tongji University in China.

Megan S. Ryerson, PhD, is an assistant professor in the departments of city and regional planning and electrical and systems engineering. Ryerson and her team design algorithms and methods to address cross-disciplinary transportation planning challenges such as the introduction of autonomous vehicles and new infrastructure design strategies for pedestrian and bicycle safety to improve accessibility and mobility. She is the research director of the Mobility21 Transportation Research Center, a national University Transportation Center, a senior fellow at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a member of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics. She serves on the Board of Advisors of The Eno Center for Transportation, the Program Committee for the International Conference on Research in Air Transportation, two Transportation Research Board committees, and the Board of Advisors of the Los Angeles Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation. In 2015, Ryerson was named “Woman of the Year” by the Women’s Transportation Seminar Philadelphia Chapter. Professor Ryerson received a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 and a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.