97th Annual Meeting

March 26-29, 2009 | Portland, OR
Hosted by the University of Oregon
Co-chairs: Mark Gillem, University of Oregon and Pheobe Crisman, University of Virginia


Recent cultural changes have placed architects in a promising position to initiate positive change through design insight and proactive practice. Greater concern for the environment, the desire for a heightened sense of place and sensory experience, technological advances, the increasing importance of visual images in communication, and interdisciplinary collaborations all create favorable conditions for design innovation. As the disciplinary limits of architecture continue to expand, architects and architecture students are faced with the difficult and exhilarating challenge of synthesizing complex issues and diverse knowledge through physical design across many scales.

By questioning the broader value of design, the role of architecture can become more significant within society.

o What social value does design have for individual inhabitants and clients, for the broader public, and for society as a whole?
o What urban and environmental value does design have beyond the building?
o What economic value does design have beyond the pro forma?
o What aesthetic value does design have for the places and objects of daily life?
o What pedagogical value does design education offer to other disciplines?
o What are the ways in which design education can promote creative insight and foster the ability to make visions real?

These are just a few of the questions we hope to investigate at the 2009 ACSA Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. Portland is an excellent city in which to discuss the value of design. Architects there have worked collaboratively with other professions to transform Portland into a vibrant, diverse, and livable city that highlights the multiple benefits of design. They have worked with transportation engineers to develop a comprehensive public transit system that focuses development in a predictable way. They have collaborated with landscape architects to ensure that public open space is a priority in the heart of the city and at its edges. They have teamed with urban designers, interior designers, and developers to create memorable settings and buildings that capture the spirit of the place.

Within this intellectual and physical context, we ask conference participants to consider the multiple values of design for our discipline, our profession, and our society.

Keynote Lecturers 

Michael Pyatok, Pyatok Architects
Michael Pyatok, FAIA has 40 years of experience as a nationally recognized architect, advocate and professor, establishing Pyatok Architects in 1984. He has designed over 30,000 units of affordable housing for low-income families and been a leader in the development of participatory community design methods. In addition to actively participating with the firm’s urban design projects, Mike is a Professor of Architectural Design and recently served for three years as the founding Director of Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Mike has served the American Institute of Architects on its National Affordable Housing Task Group. The National Endowment for the Arts sponsored Mike to facilitate housing design workshops and awarded him a grant to write a book about how to design higher density affordable housing called “Good Neighbors: Affordable Family Housing.” In 2002, Pyatok Architects was chosen as Architecture Firm of the Year by “Residential Architect Magazine”, and “Professional Builder Magazine” identified Mike as one of the 12 thought leaders in the field of development. In 2007, Mike was identified by “Builder Magazine” as one of the 50 most influential people in the development industry.

David Miller, Miller|Hull Partnership, University of Washington

David E. Miller is a co-founder, with Robert Hull of the Miller/Hull Partnership, a leading Pacific Northwest firm, an architecture professor at the University of Washington, and, since January 2007, has been Chair of the University of Washington Department of Architecture. Miller/Hull has established its self  a reputation for buildings that are Modern, but which draw upon the heritage of Pacific Northwest architecture. The firm is particularly successful in winning commissions for public and institutional buildings as well as designing single-family residences. Their work has garnered numerous local, regional and national design awards. Miller’s book, Toward a New Regionalism: Environmental Architecture in the Pacific Northwest (2005) offers the theoretical background for his approach to design. Miller became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1994. Miller/Hull was selected as the AIA Firm of the Year in 2003. David Miller and Robert Hull were co-recipients of the Washington State University Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007.

Topaz Luncheon
Adèle Naudé Santos, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2009 ACSA/AIA Topaz Winner
In addition to her academic work, Santos is principal architect in the San Francisco-based firm, Santos Prescott and Associates. Santos takes a holistic approach to architecture. Her belief that architecture transcends accommodation of programmatic requirements to also satisfy the human spirit has resulted in buildings that are characterized by abundant natural light, connections to nature, and innovative spatial arrangements. She pays close attention to the people affected by her design, whether it be community groups on the development of housing, faculty or administrative committees on institutional projects, or collaborations with artists and administrators on arts-related spaces. Her commitment to design extends beyond practice and academia to embrace civic dimensions. She advises institutions ranging from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Children’s Museum in San Diego, and serves on the peer review committee of the U.S. General Services Administration.

“During my entire career, I have combined teaching and practice,” Santos says. “There has always been a cross-fertilization between the two, and, at their best, both teaching and practice have been a form of research. The balance between the two has been an important stimulus to my creativity as a teacher and to my professional work and role as an administrator. Even now, as dean at MIT, I have a small practice, which I find an essential creative outlet, and I continue to teach.”

Closing Keynote
Patricia Patkau, Patkau Architects, University of British Columbia
2009 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal Reciepient
Patricia Patkau shares design direction in Patkau Architects with her partner John Patkau. She has a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and is currently a Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of British Columbia.  Since its founding, Patkau Architects has received numerous national and international design awards for a wide variety of building types, including ten Governor General’s Medals, four Progressive Architecture Awards, twelve Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, and an RAIC Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence.

The firm has also won a number of national and international design competitions for: a major addition and renovation to the Central Winnipeg Public Library, the Nursing and Biomedical Sciences Facility for the University of Texas, Houston, College Housing for the University of Pennsylvania, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario and the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec, a new central library for the province of Québec. The work of Patkau Architects has been published and exhibited widely. Over 200 articles in books and professional journals and three books dedicated exclusively to the firm’s work have been published. The work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions, including 20 solo exhibitions, in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1996, Patkau Architects was selected to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale.
Sponsored by: Tau Sigma Delta