Karl Daubmann Appointed Associate Professor

It is with genuine pleasure that we announce the appointment of Karl Daubmann as associate professor of architecture, with tenure, effective September 1, 2008.

Karl is an architect, a principal at PLY LLC in Ann Arbor, and has taught at the University of Michigan since the fall of 1999 when he arrived as the Williard D. Oberdick Teaching Fellow. He received a Master of Science in Architectural Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 and a Bachelor of Architecture (cum laude) from Roger Williams University in 1995.

Karl teaches both undergraduate and graduate architecture courses in studio, lecture and lab formats and in active use of the Digital Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab), which he has coordinated. Since inception in 2003, the FabLab has become a locus of digital design research in the college. Concomitant with his coordination duties, Professor Daubmann has developed two new courses DigiFab and ParaMod that simultaneously build knowledge of new developments in digital technology matched with experiments in design and material.

Professor Daubmann’s digital crafts approach allows him to restore technical considerations to studio culture in a way that is imaginative and generative. His construction courses have provided the bridge. In what are often students’ first productive encounters with material and mechanical phenomena, Professor Daubmann lays the groundwork for the digital fabrication sensibilities developed in higher level courses. Karl has a strong record of teaching, is a respected educator, sought-after critic, and is able to fashion an analogue for much larger and more complex problems in architecture. His professional practice, PLY LLC, serves as a forum for critical thought about design and digital craft and his courses become an extension of that practice. It is easy to trace the evolution of this intelligence over the last several years, and it mirrors a transformation in the way architecture is being practiced worldwide.

Through his partnership at PLY, Karl’s work has garnered recognition in several, prominent and peer-reviewed venues. PLY was an invited competitor and garnered second place in the prestigious Robbins Elementary School Competition. They were finalists and later were given an ACSA Faculty Design Award for their entry in the Chicago Public School Competition. PLY was again invited and won the Cleveland Case Study House Competition. Three of the firm’s projects, BTB Restaurant, Mies van der Rohe Plaza, and OMI Sushi Restaurant, were given honor awards by the American Institute of Architects/Michigan—the highest state-wide honor bestowed by the discipline’s professional organization. Of particular note was PLY’s inclusion in the 2007 Young Architects Awards sponsored by the Architectural League of New York. This annual competition seeks to identify and celebrate the work of the next generation of architects and academics and has become a coveted and illustrious recognition.

The work of PLY demonstrates the importance of creative production to the college and the architecture discipline. This work is without parallel on our faculty in both extent of recognition outside the College and relevance inside its academic programs. It complements more conventional forms of scholarship done by colleagues.

Professor Daubmann has been a solid and active contributor at the program, college, and the university levels. His recent and ongoing efforts with the university-wide “Arts on Earth” program speaks well to his increasing role as a spokesman for computation and the arts. He has been a key player in conceptualizing and establishing the role of computation within the Architecture Program and in transforming the perception of construction technology with respect to design aspirations and professional accreditation.

We are very fortunate to have Karl join the tenured faculty ranks and look forward to his continued contribution to teaching and research at Taubman College.