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University of Minnesota

November 21, 2011
Blaine Brownell, Assistant Professor
This year, Princeton Architectural Press published Brownell's fourth book, entitled Matter in the Floating World: Conversations with Leading Japanese Architects and Designers. The book considers Japan's sophisticated design and material culture, and is organized along four primary themes—lightness, atmosphere, flow, and emergence. The book includes interviews with twenty individuals including Hitoshi Abe, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, and Kazuyo Sejima. Brownell continues to write a monthly one-page column entitled "Mind & Matter" in Architect magazine, in addition to a blog that appears twice a week on Architect's website. In July, Brownell wrote “An Uncertain Future” about Japanese architects' perspectives on rebuilding Japan in a supplement to the London Times. His article "Peering into the Floating World" about Japanese designers' approaches to light and materials appeared in the June issue of Architectural Lighting. Christopher Kanal interviewed Brownell for his article "Houses of the Rising Sun" in the November issue of Sublime magazine. Brownell also gave lectures entitled "“Material Evolution: Assessing Disruptive Change in Technology and Nature" at Harvard University on September 16 and "Material Resilience: Innovative Technologies for Adaptable Buildings and Cities" at the University of Southern California on September 13. Brownell continues to co-direct the Master of Science in Architecture--Sustainable Design program with Jim Lutz at the University of Minnesota.

Marc Swackhamer, Associate Professor of Architecture
The Weisman Art Museum (WAM) at the University of Minnesota announced in October that a team led by School of Architecture Adjunct Professors Jennifer Yoos and Vincent James of VJAA, working with Associate Professor Marc Swackhamer and Blair Satterfield of HouMinn Practice and artist Diane Willow, Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Fine Art, was announced the winner of the Weisman Art Museum's Plaza Design Competition. The competition focused on the plaza at the east end of Washington Avenue Bridge, spanning the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. This is a busy thoroughfare for bikers and pedestrians. Students, staff, faculty and visitors to the Twin Cities Campus, over 20,000 people per day, use this important public space. The next phase of the project will be to hold meetings with the winning team, and the campus community, in the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration to refine the design and implement the plan.

John Comazzi, Assistant Professor of Architecture
John Comazzi (Assistant Professor of Architecture and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture), was an invited presenter and moderator at the annual conference of the Association of Architecture Organizations in Philadelphia, PA.  Comazzi is a co-chair of the organizations Architecture and Design Education Network (A+DEN).  He has also been invited to join the planning committee for the upcoming Midwest regional conference for the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) to be held in Minneapolis in April 2012.  

Professor Julia W. Robinson
Julia Robinson is teaching an undergraduate design studio that is working with the Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood of the city of St Paul, exploring how to design dense housing acceptable to the neighborhood on a 2 1/2 acre site.
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