Chair Message

Welcome to the Department of Architecture! I started the 2018 academic year as the new Chair of Architecture. Thanks to Karl Wallick, the outgoing chair, for his 4 years of service to the department – shepherding us through a successful NAAB accreditation.

At times of transition we have opportunities to look forward, as well as backwards, to see where we have been, where we stand now and how we might imagine a new future. This includes celebrating the legacies of some of our founders like mid-century modernists rock stars Lillian and Willis Leenhouts, who helped start the school almost 50 years ago. You may have never heard of the firm or their work, but they left a building legacy in Milwaukee and this region that is equaled by few others. We will work this year and next to boost your knowledge of their work.

In addition to these impacts on the built environment, we celebrate the imprint of an architectural education at SARUP that values traveling and seeing the world. Faculty like Harry Van Oudenallen left a lasting legacy on students and faculty for the love of learning while traveling abroad. The opportunity to see and experience other places and cultures is important at all levels of our program. We will be offering 4 such study abroad programs in the summer of 2019 to Japan, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

The Leenhouts and Harry represent a particular aspect of professional practice where architects made drawings as the communication tool for contractors to build buildings. Since this is also a time to look forward, we can see ourselves in flux, operating at a time when the definition of professional practice is evolving. The kinds of firms, the way they practice, how they engage with communities and how they embrace “we” instead of “I”, are all reflections of times that have changed since Lillian, Willis and Harry practiced. As we continue to think about what the future of practice might look like, we can recognize that some elements that have been fundamental to this school stay the same. You may be surprised that the core principles of architectural practice of Lillian and Willis Leenhouts were the ideals of empowerment, social justice, sustainability and community engagement. Those legacies live on today in the variety of classes, studios and seminars available to you. Looking to the future means building on these past legacies and ideals.

We are not training students to be the practitioners of today, but are empowering you with the skills to change the profession and make a new future. You must ask yourself how can you be the change agent for the 21st century practice. Do not accept the status quo.

It is hard to be passionate about a future that one cannot imagine. However, at a minimum, you need to be curious about it. What might it hold for you, your peers, your generation — those who are like you and those who are not? What will architecture and design say about your generation’s practice? What does it say about your generation now? How will you think differently after this experience at SARUP? If you start and finish this journey thinking the same way, then something has gone wrong. Embrace the unknown and embrace change, and in turn you will become the change this world needs.

At the school, we have a number of faculty members who practice in big and small offices across Milwaukee and the region. These individuals bring a particular expertise about professional practice to the courses they teach, while working within their own firms to rethink the definition of practice. A number of our other faculty are full-time academics. This particular group has a responsibility to not only teach, but to continually engage in research and scholarship that advances the discipline of architecture. As part of our duties, you may find that faculty have to be away from our studios and seminars to present papers, attend conferences, give lectures at other institutions or even attend final reviews at other schools. These behind-the-scenes activities, in the long run, advance educational opportunities for students here at SARUP. We participate in these activities to better educate you through the process of further educating ourselves.

We are lucky to have a dedicated support staff, both teaching and non-teaching, who provide valuable services to you in our various labs and centers. Along with the front office, each of them provide a starting point to find answers to your questions. Never hesitate to approach anyone and ask where you should go to find a solution. Every staff and faculty member has one goal in mind: to make you successful.

Off campus activities are abundant. Grab a friend and make a difference. I encourage you to get involved. Take advantage of as many activities as you can. This is one of the best times to be engaged.

We thank our dedicated team of professionals from fall 2018 Gaby Bustos, Monika Thadhani, Nicholas Robinson, Eileen Hankes, Oscar Avila-Landero, Dan Cesarz, Kate Edwards, Brian Johnsen, Ash Lettow, Matt Messner, Bob Monnat, Allyson Nemec, Marc Roehrle, Sebastian Schmaling, Ryan Shortridge, Nick Straube, and Timothy Wolosz.

We welcome new academic staff for spring 2019 Joe Gaudreau, Leeann Wacker, Dan Causier, Lucille Sells, and Andrew Cesarz. Returning academic staff in spring include Oscar Avila-Landero, Gaby Bustos, Jennifer Current, Amanda Koch, Matt Messner, Allyson Nemec, Joy Peot-Shields, Marc Roehrle, Ryan Shortridge, Nick Straube, and Monika Thadhani. We are also joined by 4 of our PhD students Cynthia Anderson, Michael Mandelman, Sarah Keogh, and Leila Saboori

We also welcome Angie McManaman our new Integrated Marketing & Communications Account Executive for the School of Architecture & Urban Planning.

Have a GREAT semester.

Mo Zell
Chair, Department of Architecture