Weitzman News

Posted April 29, 2022
  • Richard Farley, Elizabeth Lovett, and Akira Drake Rodriguez

Weitzman Faculty Receive G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards

Richard Farley, adjunct professor of architecture; Elizabeth Lovett, lecturer in undergraduate architecture; and Akira Drake Rodriguez, assistant professor of city and regional planning, have received G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards for 2021-2022. Named in honor of the architect and longtime faculty member who served as dean of the School from 1951-1971, the awards are given annually based on student nominations to recognize distinguished teaching and innovation in the classroom, seminar, or studio. 

Richard Farley (MArch’73), FAIA, PE, LEED AP, is both a registered architect and engineer who teaches the two-course structures sequence in the Master of Architecture program. His professional experience centers on high-tech buildings, complex master plans, and mixed-use high-rise structures, and his research is focused on the application of structural innovations in mainstream architectural design. Before entering his private consulting practice, he was a senior principal at KlingStubbins (now Jacobs). In 2007, he was elevated to the College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects. His work in Philadelphia includes Center City’s award-winning Bell Atlantic Tower. A former student of Lou Kahn’s, Richard earned a Master of Architecture and a Master of Engineering from Penn. One student wrote of Farley, “He wants us to learn and flourish and [his] are not empty words. It saddens me that this will be my last semester having him as a professor.”

Elizabeth Lovett is a practicing architect and principal of Lovett Keshet Studio who teaches two courses in the undergraduate architecture program. Her interest in the language of geometry and the pragmatic constraints of materials and construction is coupled with expertise in historic and modern building practices. Lovett gained architectural experience in master planning, design, and construction documentation at Stanev Potts Architects and Kieran Timberlake in Philadelphia, as well as the Galante Architecture Studio in Boston. She also worked as a project engineer for the A. Zahner Company, co-designing and overseeing the manufacture and on-site installation of complex facade systems. She is a co-author of Material Design: Informing Architecture by Materiality (Birkhauser, 2012) and her drawings appear in The Function of Form by Farshid Moussavi (ACTAR, 2009). She earned her Bachelor of Arts in architecture at Penn and her Master of Architecture (MArch I) at Harvard. One of Lovett’s students said, “She is very patient when it comes to guiding students through the process of design and conceptualization, without being imposing, allowing students to better explore their own ideas.”

Akira Drake Rodriguez teaches Introduction to Planning History, Theory and Practice; Readings in Race, Poverty, and Place; and Urban Research Methods in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her research engages scholarship in urban studies, political science, urban history, black feminist studies, community development, urban policy, and critical geography to examine the ways that disenfranchised groups re-appropriate their marginalized spaces in the city to gain access to and sustain urban political power. Rodriguez is the author of Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing (University of Georgia Press, 2021), which examines the dialectic between black feminist politics and public housing policy in Atlanta from 1936 to 2010. A two-time Penn graduate, she has a MPA from the Fels Institute and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School; she earned her PhD from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. One student said of her: “Akira has been an inspiring force within the city planning department. Her research and teaching have had a huge impact on my time in the program.”

The three will be honored at the Weitzman School's Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 14, 2022.