Degree(s) Earned
M.Arch '10
M.S. '11

Current Employer: University of Tennessee

Hometown/Country: Levelland, TX

Current City/Country: Knoxville, TN

/ Alumni / Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research,

Mark Stanley

Assistant Professor

“I loved the energy of the school most. I encountered the smartest, most compelling, most ambitious people and work. It set my trajectory, and continues to do so.”

Why did you choose Taubman College?

I chose Taubman College primarily because of the faculty. My undergraduate teachers advised me that there was no better faculty in the country at the time, and when I arrived in Michigan, I found that to be true. What I could not have known or expected at that time was how the diversity of thought and experimentation at the school would be its greatest asset. In graduate school, I met and worked with the most intelligent, creative, and ambitious faculty I have ever met—even after teaching in architecture schools for the last 11 years. I remain friends with many of them, and they have continued to teach me, inspire me, and impact my life in the years since I first met them.

Describe the work you do. What are some of your recent and current projects that excite you? What inspires you about the future of your chosen field?

As a professor in architecture, I get to do what I love most—teach design and representation, work on complex and open-ended research questions, and help young people understand their own ways through the world. Among other things I teach, the thesis studio is my favorite. There, students are asking enormous questions about the discipline of architecture, all the peripheral things it is connected and related to, and their roles as architects and intellectual leaders in the 21st Century. I work to create an environment that supports and fosters their creative intellects so we can do important work no one else can. In my research, I study architecture’s entanglements with larger systems of culture, technology, and ecology. My projects imagine the agency of architecture and the architect within these relationships and are often produced as speculative design conveyed through experimental representation—stories, narratives, and characters in addition to drawings, images, and models—where architecture is one part of a larger critical project addressing the present conditions of our collective existence in the 21st Century.

How did Taubman College prepare you for your career? What experiences beyond the classroom (internships, research assistantships, teaching opportunities, or other external experiences) provided additional value?

The best experiences for me in graduate school were in tight-knit communities with friends and teachers. The studio review culture of the school was special to me, where the creative work being done met powerful conversations about ideas and responses. Also, I had a life-changing opportunity as a Graduate Student Instructor, working with Professor Dawn Gilpin, who modeled teaching in a completely unique way, which I will always try to emulate in the studio and classroom.

How has being part of the alumni community impacted you, personally and professionally?

In academia, meeting people with Michigan connections is never rare. All the reasons that I loved going to school there have continued to get better with the more comrades I meet. The network of friends and allies is deep, and it has only gotten more interesting over time.

What did you like best about attending Taubman College?

I loved the energy of the school most. I encountered the smartest, most compelling, most ambitious people and work. It set my trajectory, and continues to do so.

What advice or important lesson would you share with someone considering Taubman College and/or pursuing a career in your chosen field?

You have to find places and experiences that excite you and compel you—you have to take on graduate education as a way to expand your world. It is one of the most important times in your life to stretch your imagination and capacity. I still think I’m lucky to have ended up at Michigan when I did.