Ask Jennifer Siegal and she will tell you just how powerful the media
Siegal, an associate professor of architecture at Woodbury
University and the owner of a Venice-based design firm, has been
flooded with appearance requests since being named one America’s
“Best and Brightest” in the December issue of Esquire magazine. She
was recognized for her work designing Portable Houses, inexpensive
and environmentally conscious mobile structures.
Among the programs Siegal, 37, has scheduled interviews with are
ESPN’s “Cold Pizza” and National Public Radio.
“Everything is buzzing; it’s crazy,” Siegal said recently while
waiting to catch a flight from Los Angeles to New York City, where
Esquire honored her and 37 others featured in the magazine article.
Portable Houses use such materials as an insulated plastic that
acts as both a wall and window, and Plyboo, an eco-friendly bamboo
But the biggest appeal to consumers may be the structure’s
flexibility -- they can be stacked or added onto each other like
building blocks. Portable Houses, which measure 12 by 60 feet with an
area of 720 square feet, cost between $80,000 and $100,000.
“With an overpriced market like Los Angeles and San Francisco,
students, for example, could live there for five years and then turn
around and sell it,” Siegal said. “It’s a pretty good real estate
Heather Kurze, the dean of the School of Architecture and Design
at Woodbury University, said Siegal is an invaluable asset to the
“Any exposure for the university is a positive thing, but having
her is more important because the caliber of her teaching is an
enormous benefit to the students,” Kurze said. “Her value is not
public relations, but what she contributes to the classroom, which is
At Woodbury University, Siegal has worked with her students to
build “Paseo de Sol,” an open-air classroom with solar panels.
Additionally, she designed the new Kate Mantelini restaurant in
Woodland Hills, received a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Design
School and wrote the book “Mobile: The Art of Portable Architecture.”