APLA Lecture Series Closes Out Successful Year

APLA Lecture Series 2022–2023

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA) has wrapped up its annual lecture series. The series featured a diverse group of speakers including architects, landscape architects and even a renowned restaurant owner and chef. This year’s speakers were asked to really address each project in depth and to share some of the procedures or practices they regularly employ in their professional work.

The September lecture was included as part of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction’s (CADC) Day of Design, a day-long event that brought together students, educators, alumni and guests to hear from industry professionals in the fields of architecture, graphic design and industrial design. APLA’s speakers were 2008 architecture graduate Drew Merkle and 2004 architecture/interior architecture graduate Lesley Braxton. Merkle, an Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects, played a pivotal role in the design, development and delivery of the Bee’ah Headquarters project in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Braxton, Principal at Trahan Architects, works with a team of designers who are pioneering design that profoundly enriches the human experience with continual listening, research and observation to serve as humanitarians first and architects second.

Other fall events included October’s lecture, sponsored by the Montgomery chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which was delivered by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Williams and Tsien are Partners at their eponymous firm based in New York City. In November, David Godshall and Story Wiggins of Terremoto were the featured speakers. Terremoto is a landscape architecture design firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. And in November, the series welcomed Andrew Bernheimer of Bernheimer Architecture, also in New York City.

The spring portion of the lecture series kicked off in February with Steven Satterfield, executive chef and co-owner of Miller Union Atlanta, an award-winning, seasonally-driven restaurant. Satterfield, who has been named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, brings his architectural training into the kitchen to create unique cuisine. The month of March brought about the inaugural Bob & Sherry Faust Distinguished Lecture, an annual event that honors the legacy of Robert L. Faust, Professor Emeritus of Architecture, who taught in APLA from 1968 to 2012 and passed away in November of 2020. This year’s event featured presentations by Hans Butzer, Stephanie Pilat and Christian Dagg. Butzer and Pilat are on the faculty at the Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, Bob Faust’s alma mater, where Butzer is dean and Pilat is director of the Architecture program. Dagg is an Associate Professor of Architecture in APLA. Also in March, APLA hosted a lecture by Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg of SO-IL, a global firm with both private and public clients around the world. This lecture was sponsored by Alabama Concrete Industries Association. The lecture series finished off in April with a talk by Mónica Rivera of Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos, a Barcelona-based practice that focuses mainly on public works awarded via competitions along with selected private projects.

“I think the lecture series is an invaluable part of our life as a school,” stated Rob Holmes, Associate Professor and Chair of APLA’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program. “It brings the students and faculty from all the programs in the school together to see and consider what excellence in our design fields might be. In the weeks after a lecture, I often find students in my classes drawing a connection between a decision they are making in the studio or a reading for class and something they heard during a lecture.”

Related people:
Rob Holmes, Christian Dagg