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University of Minnesota

December 9, 2013

2013 marks the Centennial Celebration for the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. Since 1913, the University of Minnesota School of Architecture has been building a vibrant legacy.  Over its first century, the collective impact and achievements from this program in the College of Design have been both significant and extensive. The School of Architecture Centennial Celebration was a two-day tribute to how this remarkable school—as a nexus for students, educators and practitioners—has been shaping spaces and the future of architecture through its educational vision. On October 25-26, classmates and colleagues celebrated 100 years of education and shared ideas and dreams for the next century of achievement. Events began Friday evening with a Centennial Reunion Party at Ralph Rapson Hall and culminated Saturday evening with a Centennial Gala at the Historic Train Depot in downtown Minneapolis.
Blaine Brownell, Associate Professor of Architecture: Blaine Brownell's fifth book, Material Strategies: Innovative Applications in Architecture was published by Princeton Architectural Press last year. He continues to teach studios and seminars with a focus on emergent materials and applications at the University of Minnesota, where he was promoted to associate professor with tenure last spring. Blaine's recent pedagogical collaborations include an international workshop with Kaori Ito at the Tokyo University of Science, a biomimicry studio with Marc Swackhamer at Tianjin University, the Transmaterial Research Symposium with Tim Schork and John Sadar at Monash University in Melbourne, and a responsive architecture studio with Billie Faircloth and Ryan Welch (KieranTimberlake) at the University of Minnesota. His work was recently featured in the Architalx Voices of Design exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art and the Hello Materials exhibit at the Danish Design Center. Blaine co-directs UMN's M.S. program in Sustainable Design, serves on the editorial board of the National Institute of Building Sciences' journal JNIBS, and recently completed a three-year term on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education. He also writes a monthly print column and biweekly online article for Architect magazine entitled "Mind & Matter."
John Comazzi, Associate Professor of Architecture: In July 2013, Professor Comazzi lectured and participated in a panel discussion (with Will Miller) on the Miller House and Gardens in Columbus, Indiana. The program was part of the Member's Weekend for members of the Association of Architecture Organizations, and Professor Comazzi's lecture focused on the collaborative practices of design that produced the Miller House and Gardens based on archival research he has been conducting at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Eero Saarinen Archive at Yale University. This Fall, Professor Comazzi and colleague Marc Swackhamer (Associate Professor, University of Minnesota) completed a design-build project for the redesign of the front offices in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. The two faculty worked with three graduate students and utilized the digital fabrication lab at the University to complete the project. Also, in May and June of 2013, Professor Comazzi led a group of 10 undergraduate students (8 architecture, 1 landscape architecture, and 1 interiors), on a program abroad in Florence, Italy. The program explored the development of the city's urban morphology, building typologies, and landscapes, in a hands-on active learning experience.
Thomas Fisher, Dean and Professor: Dean Fisher gave a talk "Cities and the Survival of the Species" at the Future Cities, Livable Futures conference in Cincinnati; has written a chapter "The Performance of Buildings, Architects, and Critics" for a forthcoming book Architecture Beyond Criticism; and has written a chapter "Variability in Fracture-Critical Systems" for a forthcoming book Sources of Variability in Human Performance.

R.T. Rybak, Distinguished Visiting Professor:  Outgoing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will become a distinguished visiting practitioner, with a joint appointment at both the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the College of Design. Rybak will teach one course this spring, titled "Mayor 101", in which he will explore the political, administrative, design and bureaucratic challenges of running one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the United States. The course will be open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Under the auspices of the Humphrey School and the College of Design, Rybak will also plan and host a conference for faculty, students, and civic and policy leaders, focusing on the key challenges facing urban areas in the United States. He will teach two additional courses, one in fall 2014 and one in spring 2015.

Marc Swackhamer, Associate Professor of Architecture: Professor Marc Swackhamer and his HouMinn Practice partner, Blair Satterfield from the University of British Columbia presented their research on variable vacuum forming in October at the annual ACADIA Conference (Association of Computer Aided Design In Architecture). Their paper, titled "Breaking the Mold: Variable Vacuum Forming," focused on a renovation project in Minnesota's School of Architecture main office. The space was re-skinned with a new programmatically-tuned, adaptive surface as part of the School's Centennial celebration in late October. Professor John Comazzi from Minneosta's Architecture program was also a designer and adviser on the project, along with a group of Masters of Architecture students. 
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