Associate Professor Sarah Lorenzen, director of the architectural landmark VDL House designed by Richard Neutra, has been appointed as chair of the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona. A member of the architecture faculty at Cal Poly Pomonasince 2005, Prof. Lorenzen is well known for her success as a teacher and as a representative of the university to the public. Her courses, ranging from freshman survey courses to advanced topic studios and electives, often focus on the relationship between architectural form making and cultural forces likemedia, especially film. Prof. Lorenzen is also a registered architect, who founded her own practice, Plasmatic Concepts, in 2004.
Since2007, Prof. Lorenzen has served as the resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, where she oversees tours, artist exhibits, and cultural programming at the house, in addition to supervising the house’s ongoing restoration program. Since January 2008, Prof. Lorenzen has helped raise more than $350,000 for the house. That total includes a $10,000 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (2010) and a $50,000 grant from Friends of Heritage Preservation (2012).
“Professor Sarah Lorenzen has done a great job managing the restoration and increasingattendance at the VDL House,” said Michael Woo, dean of the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, which includes the Architecture Department. "She represents a new generation of architectural leadership."
Afteraccepting the appointment, Prof. Lorenzen offered the following response: “I feel extremely fortunate to have spent the last eight years teaching in the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona and to now be given the opportunity to serve as chair of the department. This school has a tremendous amount going for it: outstanding students, an active and engaged faculty, and accomplished alumni.”
Prof.Lorenzen’s duties as chair of the Architecture Department will include overseeing the budget and curriculum of the department. She describes her goals for the program as follows: “At Cal Poly Pomona we also have the advantage of being a polytechnic school that values teaching students how to transform their ideas into physical structures. My other focus will be to find ways to capitalize on this strength by investing in new technologies, innovative fabrication systems, and by developing partnerships with the construction industry. Emphasizing technology and fabrication will be an asset to many parts of our program from historic preservation, to sustainability, to design andconstruction methods.”
Prof.Lorenzen grew up in Mexico City, but she completed her undergraduate work in the United States at Smith College and at the Atlanta College of Art (BFA, 1992). She received a Masters of Architecture degree from Georgia Institute of Technology (M.Arch, 1997), and in 2004, she completed a second Masters in Metropolitan Research and Design at SCI-Arc (M.Arch MR+D.) Prior to founding Plasmatic Concepts, Prof. Lorenzen worked as a project architect at MBT Architecture in San Francisco (2001-2003) and Lord Aeck & Sargent Architecture in Atlanta (1997-2001.) Prof. Lorenzen has been honored with several design awards and grants, including a Fulbright Fellowship, four Graham Foundation grants, and a six-week travel fellowship to China. In proof of her popularity among Cal Poly Pomona students, Prof. Lorenzen was also awarded the Tau Sigma Delta Silver Medal Professor Award in 2009.
Professor Lorenzen replaces Professor Judith Sheine, who is the new head of the architecture program at the University of Oregon. Prof. Sheine led the Architecture Department for over ten years. The faculty of the Cal Poly Pomona Architecture Department has included such distinguished design leadership as Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, Raphael Soriano, Ray Kappe, Bernard Zimmerman, Thom Mayne, and Bill Adams.