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    USC Architecture Dean news

    By Daniel
    Apr 3, '06 9:42 PM EST

    I suppose this is about as breaking as news can get in an architecture student's blog. Some of you may know that Robert Timme, our Dean of Architecture, passed away just this last October. Now the search for a new dean is almost over: the committee in charge of the process has four final candidates:

    Peter Pran
    Design Principal at NBBJ
    Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the University of Kansas

    Dana Cuff
    Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA

    Qingyun Ma
    MADA, Shanghai

    Margaret Crawford
    Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard GSD

    (I wonder if I'm allowed to announce this. What a scoop.)

    Each is coming here to give a guest lecture. This is very exciting for the school, and especially for us first years who will really be able to see the effects of the new dean.

    As for my own project, today's desk crit changed its direction quite a bit: the folds of earth now peel longitudinally (ie cut horizontally or N-S across the site) and the plan is much more, if not entirely, orthogonal, much to my relief. It was one of those really great crits when a hundred new ideas are stirred up and you can't wait to start working because you know your project has fresh potential. This is architectural adrenaline.


    • So as a current student, which do you think you'd prefer? Any word on lectures by them, etc.?

      And don't worry about breaking it... Alan Loomis already posted them after I mentioned here that I knew there were down to the final four.

      Apr 4, 06 11:53 am  · 

      I haven't formed much of an opinion yet, and I think it's unfair to judge based on their CVs alone. I'll wait for the lectures, which will be this month. The Dean will be in place sometime in May. I'll definitely update with my responses to the lectures.

      Some students are expressing disappointment in the lack of high-profile names... I think many students wanted a starchitect dean. There were lots of name-dropping rumors going around: the name I heard the most was Tadao Ando, but that was just students' gossip.

      Apr 4, 06 2:44 pm  · 

      The thing about Deans is that they usually give up their practices to become Dean (or at least GREATLY reduce their production/participation), and you wouldn't want to miss out on Todao Ando's great work so that he could be dean. And if he didn't give it up, then he'd probably do a crappy job as dean because his practice would take up too much of his time. So really it's probably better this way.

      Be sure to update us after the lectures. Although I'll try to make it to them(I'm still quite close by), unless they're current-student-only, it's always nice to hear someone else's take on things.

      Apr 4, 06 3:18 pm  · 

      i don't know qingyun ma, but the other three are definitely heavy hitters. you should tell the naysayers that if they don't know about these people, they should do their homework. i'm just a yokel in practice in the midwest and i know what they're doing!

      Apr 4, 06 3:24 pm  · 

      Qingyun Ma is a (relatively) recent grad of Penn. Not sure when exactly he graduated, but sometime after 1996, I think. He taught first year studio at Penn one year, and according to a former TA of mine, he was the best critic she had. He's based in Shanghai and has had a lot of "hot" projects in China recently. A friend of mine worked there one summer and said it was a total sweatshop.

      Apr 4, 06 7:59 pm  · 

      generative, his CV says 1991.

      Apr 4, 06 10:09 pm  · 

      oops.. my bad ;) off by 5 years.

      Apr 5, 06 12:07 am  · 

      Ma's firm, MADA s.p.a.m., is quite well known internationally, perhaps with exception to the midwest ;)... As far as star-practicing-architects, he would be one in my book. i visited his office while in a summer design studio in Hong Kong, and it reminded me of a design studio at school, just as messy, process and models everywhere, young international employees working away, but their work was being built. Some of the "manifesto"-ish material, mentioned in the CV, was hanging on the walls as a reminder. Ma wasn't in the office on this particular afternoon.

      Any of the 4 would be great deans, i'm sure.
      best of luck. keep us posted.

      Apr 5, 06 8:52 am  · 

      Does MADA s.p.a.m. have a website? I can't seem to find one, which is odd to say the least.

      Apr 5, 06 3:55 pm  · 

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