Keynote Speakers


2015 ACSA Fall Conference: Between the Autonomous & Contingent Object
October 8-10, 2015 | Syracuse, NY
Host School: Syracuse University School of Architecture
Co-chairs: Roger Hubeli & Julie Larsen, Syracuse University

Brett Steele, AA School of Architecture
Brett directs the AA School of Architecture. This includes the AA public programme, publications, membership and fundraising activities. Current projects include multi-year master plans improving the AA’s historic Bedford Square home and the school’s rural campus in Hooke Park, where AA students and staff have designed and built five buildings since 2011. Brett has hired and brought to London more than 150 teachers from Europe, Asia & the Americas, who now teach at the AA School, lead seminars and direct design workshops in the Visiting School. Recent initiatives at the School include the AA’s Digital Prototyping Lab; dLab summer courses in computational architecture; new full-time MSc & MPhil graduate courses; and a new PhD by Design programme. Brett has created new departments supporting the work of the school, including a dedicated Digital Platforms and Social Media team; the AA Archive; and AACP Curatorial Practices, which includes a team of curators that have realised exhibitions and special events in London and at the Venice, Beijing, Sao Paolo and other architecture biennales.

Hernan Diaz Alonso, SCI-Arch
Hernan Diaz Alonso has been appointed SCI-Arc Director beginning September 1, 2015. He has been a distinguished faculty member at SCI-Arc since 2001, serving in several leadership roles including Coordinator of the Graduate Thesis program from 2007-2010, and Graduate Programs Chair from 2010-2015. He is widely credited with spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, playing a key role in shaping the school’s graduate curriculum in the past decade.

In parallel to his role at SCI-Arc, Diaz Alonso is Principal of the Los Angeles-based architecture office Xefirotarch. His multidisciplinary practice is praised for work at the intersection of design, animation, interactive environments and radical exploration of architecture. Over the course of his career as an architect and educator, Diaz Alonso has earned accolades for his leadership and innovation, as well as his ability to build partnerships among varied constituencies. In 2005, he was the winner of MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program (YAP) competition, and in 2012 he received the “Educator of the Year” Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Most recently, he won the 2013 AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and a 2013 Progressive Architecture Award for his design of the Thyssen Bornamiza Pavilion/Museum in Patagonia, Argentina. 

Diaz Alonso’s architectural designs have been featured in exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, London Architecture Biennale, and Archilab in Orleans, France, as well as displayed in featured exhibitions in leading architecture museums such as the New York MoMA, SFMOMA, Art Institute of Chicago and the MAK Centre, Vienna. The work has also been widely published in magazines, periodicals and multiple books, including the “Excessive” monograph of Xefirotarch. The office is currently working on a new monograph to be published by Thames and Hudson. Diaz Alonso’s work is also part of the permanent collections of the FRAC Center, SFMOMA, New York MoMA, the Thyssen Bornamiza Collection, the MAK Museum, Vienna, and Art Institute of Chicago.

A gifted educator, Diaz Alonso has been acknowledged throughout the years with prestigious appointments such as Yale University’s Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship of Architectural Design in 2010, Visiting Design Studio Faculty at the GSAPP at Columbia University 2004-2010, an ongoing appointment as architectural design professor in the Urban Strategies Postgraduate Program at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and as Distinguished Faculty Member at SCI-Arc. In spring 2015, served as Yale University’s Eero Saarinen Professor of Architectural Design. 

    Amale Andraos, Columbia University, GSAPP
Amale Andraos is the Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Andraos has taught at numerous universities including the Princeton University School of Architecture, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania Design School and the American University in Beirut. Her recent design studios and seminar have focused on the Arab City, which has become the subject of a series of symposia entitled “Architecture and Representation” held at Studio-X Amman in 2013 and at the university’s New York campus in the Fall of 2014. Her publications include the recent 49 Cities, a re-reading of 49 visionary plans through an ecological lens, Above the Pavement, the Farm!, and the forthcoming Architecture and Representation: the Arab City.