Two local institutions are thinking globally -- and youngish --in seeking new leadership for their architecture programs.
Tokyo-based Hitoshi Abe, 44, who has built little outside Japan but has strong ties to Southern California, was designated by UCLA to chair its Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Known for taking on diverse projects, Abe says he is interested in applications of new technologies -- including robotics -- and in "how you can apply design theory to actual practice and into the vocabulary of construction." A teacher at Tohoku University and head of Atelier Hitoshi Abe in Sendai, Japan, Abe is expected to arrive in time for UCLA's spring term.
Shanghai-based Qingyun Ma, the new dean of USC's School of Architecture, will be the first foreign national to hold that position. Ma, 41, says he intends to open up the USC program with a "much more global platform," including environmental issues, landscape architecture, art and virtual reality. Architecture's role in the world has changed, he says, "and more and more environmental issues are becoming motors of new thinking and research. In the next 10 years we'll see a lot of debate in this realm."
-- Lynne Heffley