Fall 2009 MUD News from the Director


We had an excellent yield this year, bringing us 14 students, two more than the Taubman College standard studio of 12, but terrific in creating a dense and energetic class. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are newly represented. Other countries of origin are United States (4), China (4), Ghana (1), Korea (1) and India (2), making this one of the most diverse classes ever. By discipline there are three planners, one landscape architect, and 10 architects, including two planners and two architects from Taubman College. They’re an accomplished group, with a high number having professional experience before coming to the Program.


HENCO BEKKERING from TU Delft is visiting this year, teaching with LARISSA LARSEN in Theories of Urban Design and with me in Intermediate Studio. Professor Bekkering comes to Taubman College to learn about methods of teaching urban design in the United States. At the end of the term, he’ll go to Tsinghua University in China to study methods there. Professor Bekkering’s former student at Delft is CONRAD KICKERT (MUD.5), a fortuitous connection for us.

LARS GRAEBNER, whom many of you know from our pin-ups and reviews, will join us from the Architecture Program to lead the winter studio. Professor Graebner practices in Detroit and has worked with Daniel Libeskind. Originally from Germany, he’ll add valuable design and cultural perspectives to the Program this year.


Through the good efforts of MICHAEL JOHNSON (MUD.7), his office, JJR Ann Arbor, will participate in this term’s studio through round-tables and reviews. Michael was generous to introduce the firm to incoming MUD students this summer, focusing on JJR’s campus-design work in a slide presentation and discussion. The addition of JJR professionals will enrich this term’s academic work and may help establish a new pattern for future studios.


The MUD Program’s third year of work in Turkey began this summer with a two-week visit to Istanbul and Rize. Rize is on the Black Sea in the country’s northwestern region and will be the subject of the fall’s studio. We’ve been asked to look at three sites: the city, a nearby valley, and surrounding mountains (the last for transient summer camps) – a very dramatic topographical cut. Our designs will then be combined with those for New Istanbul (MUD subject of the last two years) as part of a national plan for Turkey, laid out in part by the Regional Plan Association of New York and other consultants.

A good addition to the work this year is Professor KIT MCCULLOUGH, who joined us on the Turkey visit and will coordinate this term’s Practices of Urban Design with the studio, developing a “pattern book” for the design projects.

In the meantime, I’m working with Istanbul Konut to create a publication that will make our designs available to an international audience.

I’ll keep you posted as to studio reviews so that those of you who are available may join us.


With Dean MONICA PONCE DE LEON’S permission, I’ll start a free-standing course this winter: Architecture and Urbanism in Film. It will grow from the Intermediate Studio’s film viewing, which will continue, but open the conversation to students from the Architecture and Planning Programs (and hopefully, from elsewhere in the University). I’ve wanted to hold this course for some time and look to expanding my filmography. If you have any suggestions (especially international films), please forward them to me.


During the summer, I had lunch with PRISHANT SALVI (MUD. 2) at the Kitano. Prishant, now married,is at EEK in DC.

ONUR AKANSEL (MUD.4) and his spouse, Gozda, joined me for drinks at the Campbell Apartment. Onur starts the fall term at Columbia’s Masters in Real Estate Program. He and Gozda moved to Greenwich Village this summer. As you know, Onur helped arrange the work in Turkey. He was sorely missed this visit!

At Novita, I had dinner with SANDRA PIRES (MUD.5). Sandra continues with her Manhattan gallery, Studio Canal 255, and has expanded it to include a film salon.


LYNETTE BOSWELL completed her comprehensive exams toward a PhD in planning at the University of Maryland. Her thesis will focus on neighborhood revitalization strategies and geographic targeting of resources. Lynette’s also working with the National Building Museum in Washington introducing public- school students to urban planning.

Also in DC, STEPHANIE LEEDOM joined the U.S. General Services Administration in the Design and Construction Division. She writes that “it’s an exciting time to be with the Federal Government as the stimulus package has given us $5.5 billion to work with over the next few years. I will work directly with the Chief Architect in design excellence and design reviews for all federal building projects in the Washington area, both new and modernizations .” This program, as you may be aware, has been responsible for improving the quality of federal projects nation-wide. Stephanie looks to giving it an urban-design eye.

SEUNG-HYUN LEE has returned to Korea where he’s joined Parsons Brinkerhoff in Seoul. Here in the U.S., ATUL SHARMA has moved from Urban Design Associates to Duany Plater-Zyberk. (Hmmm. Atul, are you now officially a New Urbanist?)

CAMERON WEIMAR is back at Taubman College preparing for his orals for the PhD in planning. While he’s here, he may connect with our studio pin-ups and reviews.

TAKARA TADA returns to her home state of Hawaii and enters the Doctorate of Architecture Program at the University of Hawaii this fall.

XUAN ZHENG is in the Beijing Planning Department while YING-YING GUAN is a consultant at HOK, also in Beijing. Meanwhile Jun Yi Lin has moved to California where he works at Bellomo Architects in Palo Alto while living in Oakland. Jun Yi, be sure to look up CLAIRE VLACH, KATE BLACQUIRE and PETER WINCH, alumni in the Bay Area (and listed in the Alumni Directory).