Jazairy and Ahlquist to Lead Taubman College’s Urban Design and Digital and Material Technologies Programs

El Hadi Jazairy, an associate professor of architecture, recently was named the director of Taubman College’s Master of Urban Design (M.U.D.) program, while Sean Ahlquist, also an associate professor of architecture, was appointed the director of the college’s Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research (MS-DMT) program.

Jazairy and Ahlquist — prominent practitioners and researchers who have exhibited their work worldwide, most recently at the 2021 Venice Biennale — will be leading programs that exemplify Taubman College’s innovative mindset, holistic study of urbanism, and strength in digital fabrication.

The Master of Urban Design is a three-semester program that explores ways of conceptualizing and shaping the complex processes of urban transformation within a global context. M.U.D. studio projects approach urbanism through multiple scales of inquiry and experiment with design work related to infrastructure, territory, urban housing, public-private development, governance, landscape processes, and civic space.

Since joining Taubman College in 2011, Jazairy has worked with architecture students on forward-thinking projects to transform the profession from the inside. His research investigates aesthetic forms of environmental engagement to visualize a future shaped by climate change and the excesses of modern culture, as well as human ingenuity and adaptation. Jazairy is a past winner of the Architectural League of New York’s Prize for Young Architects + Designers, the Jacques Rougerie Foundation’s First Prize, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Awards, amongst other honors. He is a founding partner of the practice DESIGN EARTH with Rania Ghosn Their work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has been exhibited internationally at spaces including the Venice Architecture Biennale, Matadero Madrid, SFMOMA, and Times Museum in Guangzhou, China.

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research is a 10-month post-professional degree that concentrates on Digital and Material Technologies. Leveraging Taubman College’s Digital Fabrication Lab (FABLab), which is unequaled among North American architecture schools, the program investigates the technologies, materials, and production logics that are drastically shaping and challenging our built world and its related industries. In 2019, the MS-DMT program won the Innovative Academic Program Award of Excellence from the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA).

Ahlquist is one of the few architects in the world who creates structures out of large-scale CNC knitted textiles. His written and practical research pushes computational design and material fabrication past its technical challenges to engage with responsivity, sensorial feedback, and human behavior — including extensive research in creating playscapes for children, especially for those with autism spectrum disorder. Since joining Taubman College in 2012, Ahlquist has taught courses at all levels and been part of the college’s faculty cluster in computational media and interactive systems, which connects the architecture field with material science, computer science, art and design, and music. He won the 2020 ACADIA Innovative Research Award of Excellence, recently exhibited at the Big Umbrella Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center, and currently is working on the development of multifunctional material systems through a partnership with the engineering, research, and design groups at General Motors Corp.