Profile

Q&A

How long have you been with the Design department?
Since 2006.

What other, if any, professional work positions have you held?
I am a licensed architect and was a founding member of the architectural firm FACE. Also, for a two-year period between professional practice and teaching, I was a union organizer for SEIU, Local 1000. 

Where could we find examples of your work?
My latest article, “The Licit and Illicit Vandalism of San Francisco’s Early Garages” is published in Change Over Time, the “Vandalism” issue (just released). My book, “The Early Public Garages of San Francisco: An Architectural and Cultural Study,” is available on Amazon. 

Think about one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on.
In writing my book, I enjoyed applying analytical skills normally reserved for architectural landmarks to common utilitarian buildings in the city. I developed an expansive view of the historic preservation mandate based on the idea that architectural merit rests in part on the relationship of similar, but spatially dispersed, buildings.

What led you to become a design educator?
I always wanted to teach architectural design, but held off until I gained some practical professional experience to complement the more abstract and conceptual skills I learned in school. 

If you could teach any course, what would it be?
Adaptive reuse as historic preservation

What do you think is the most difficult challenge designers struggle with?
Students are trained to commit themselves to a mode of design that contributes to social and economic justice; then, they enter a profession that makes its money producing designs that advance profit and consumerism. Navigating between these two worlds is the most difficult challenge facing young designers. 

What do you think is the most pressing problem designers should be addressing today?
The obvious answer is climate change, but that’s a simplistic characterization of the problem. Designers need to develop the critical skills that enable them to view the problem in the context of the political and economic forces that allow the problem to perpetuate. 

What are 6 things you believe all design students should read or watch?
Living by the Bay Area, I recommend that designers visit the following buildings: Morris Gift Shop, by Frank Lloyd Wright; Scientist First Church of Christ, by Bernard Maybeck; De Young Museum, by Herzog & de Meuron; Castro Theater, by Timothy Pflueger, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park; and Camera Obscura, next to the Cliff House. 

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