- Aim: Throughout my academic career, I have maintained a close link between my teaching, research, and scholarship. I have aimed to render the research understandable and beneficial to the students and keep the content of my courses abreast of new developments in architecture and other fields of study that are of particular interest to me, i.e., Cultural Anthropology, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, and History.
- Scholastic Foundation: At the root of my academic endeavors to date, including my scholastic focus and teaching pedagogy, is an enduring interest in the why of the way things are. For me, the what of architectural form and composition have been inseparable from the impetus behind a building’s production and the modalities of its use. The latter led me early on to Cultural Anthropology and related disciplines in search of a better understanding of culture to which architecture is inextricably linked.
- Objectives: As a spatial, formal, and material language, architecture is an indispensable medium that allows a culture to transform its assumptions, beliefs, views, and ideas about the world into a factual, lived experience. Deciphering, understanding, and in turn, communicating the modalities of this transformation and the complexities of the interdependent and inexorable dialogue between architecture and culture has been the focus of my academic career as a teacher and a scholar.
- Curriculum Development: I have had an ongoing engagement with curriculum development from the onset of my academic career. I have been principally involved in major curriculum revisions at four of the six universities at which I have taught over the years.
- Pedagogy: I have persistently tried to study the broader cultural developments that are likely to require different skill sets from future architects in order to shape and continually adjust my pedagogy to better prepare students for future professional and academic careers in architecture. I have widely disseminated the various facets of this research through multiple peer-review publications and referred national and international conference presentations and publications.
- Challenge: The current speed and changing modalities of global communication and cross-cultural exchange, fueled by the information revolution and a global economy, require a shift from the traditional emphasis on the acquisition of bodies of knowledge in academia to a greater emphasis on the development of analytical, critical, and creative abilities that are essential to engaging and effectively addressing diverse bodies of knowledge.
- Response: My overall pedagogical objective has been to instill a spirit of exploration, experimentation, critical engagement, creative thought, and innovation in a new generation of architects who, practicing within a global economy and faced with multiplicity and diversity of cultures and environments, would be well prepared to not only respect but creatively respond and effectively sustain cultural and environmental integrity and diversity, locally and globally.
- Pedagogy and Technology: I have a long-standing interest in digital media and its impact on architectural education and pedagogy. I have made every effort to exploit the immense potential of the media to affect better communication with students in lecture and seminar classes, as well as online. I have also addressed the curricular dimension of digital media’s impact on architecture in several publications.
- History/Theory Courses: I have developed and taught a wide range of history and theory courses, trying not to assume the traditional divide between these two modes of inquiry in architecture. My courses have ranged from very large first- and second-year undergraduate lecture classes on the history of architecture to doctoral seminars on the history of theoretical discourse on architecture. I have also taught both medium and small-size undergraduate and graduate lecture and seminar courses covering various periods in the history and theory of architecture from the Renaissance to the present.
- Studio Courses: My studio pedagogy is based on extensive research and critical analysis of the language of architecture, the role architecture plays within its broader cultural context, and a keen awareness of the interdependence of theory and practice. My intention has been to open both the theory and the practice of architecture to critical scrutiny and reevaluation and thereby pave the way for new directions and different courses of action. Over the years, I have taught studio courses at virtually every level of the curriculum, from the second, third, fourth, and fifth-Year undergraduate to second and third-year graduate studios, at six different institutions. I have also developed and taught M.Arch thesis research and thesis design classes and B.Arch thesis studios. In addition, I have supervised numerous theses as a primary advisor.
Research and Scholarship
- Thrust: To probe and better understand the complexities of the dialogue between architecture and culture, my research and scholarship have been interdisciplinary, integrating new approaches and analytical methods from other fields of study, including Cultural Anthropology, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, and History.
- Research on the history of architectural theory and criticism: In various publications to date, I have charted and discussed theory and criticisms’ covert roles as requisite vehicles of cultural appropriation and regulation of architecture since the Renaissance.
- I have tried to demonstrate how the discursive and critical strategies and modes of self-validation in the theoretical discourse on architecture are deeply rooted in Western metaphysics and a broader humanist attempt to give metaphysics the aura of physics and to culture the guise of nature.
- My intent has been to make room for different critical trajectories and other formative possibilities than those the discourse on architecture has traditionally allowed.
- I have tried to articulate a mode of architectural criticism that does not seek to supplant one ideology with another but acts as a force of resistance to the hegemony of any one particular worldview or ideational perspective.
- Research on the history and genealogy of secular building types: I have pursued a parallel interest in the history of secular building types and the institutions they serve.
- I have focused on the genealogy of building types that shelter various forms of representation, e.g., museums, libraries, cinemas, and theaters, and outlined the historical link between their formal and experiential properties and Western ideational stance on representation.
- I have explored the contribution of each institutional building type to the fabrication and perpetuation of a logocentric worldview, including the presumption of a hierarchical relationship between such familiar dichotomies as authenticity and imitation, real and virtual, original and copy, memory and mimesis, etc.
- Other Research Trajectories: Concurrent with the research areas outlined above, I have engaged in other, though related studies and writings. The topics include:
- The ideational and spatial challenges of digital media
- Revisionist studies of early American architecture
- Architecture pedagogy and its challenges in the context of globalization and the information age.
- Dissemination of Research: Given the interdisciplinary nature of my research, I have often tried to cross the disciplinary divides to seek publication venues and attend conferences in the arts and the humanities, as well as architecture. To date, I have over 40 peer-reviewed publications in media that cross multiple disciplines.
- Peer-Reviewed Journals: My research has been reviewed and published in highly competitive and well-respected national and international academic journals, each at the forefront of its discipline, in history and theory of architecture, history of art, and highly regarded journals in the humanities.
- Referred Conferences: I have presented my research at numerous national and international conferences, from Canada and Mexico to Germany, Finland, Denmark, Turkey, and Hong Kong. These have been highly selective conferences, with an acceptance rate of 35% and below in most cases.
- Invited Lectures: In addition to the six universities at which I have taught, I have had the privilege of sharing, by invitation, my research and writings on sixteen different occasions with students and faculty at various universities nationwide.
- Retrospect: To the best of my ability, I have accomplished to date much of what I set out to do early on in my academic career. Much remains to be done along the same trajectory for the foreseeable future.
- I have constantly searched for opportunities in service that are likely to make a lasting and positive contribution to the academic life of the faculty and the students. To date, I have served the academic community in a multitude of positions, at every level in the university and at six different academic institutions.
- Administrative Leadership: I served as Department Chair for two years and as Director of the Undergraduate Program in Architecture for four years. These valuable experiences allowed me to implement meaningful changes and make many positive contributions to the academic life of the department, its faculty, and the students, ranging from curriculum changes to facility improvements to technology initiatives and others.
- Administrative Service: I have played an active and, in most instances, a leading role as Chair in numerous committees at the departmental, college, and university levels. These have ranged from serving on the Faculty Advisory Council to the university president, the University Faculty Senate, College Assemblies, numerous faculty searches, promotion and tenure, accreditation, and curriculum committees. My recent contributions as committee chair include developing multiple modes of teaching evaluations for architecture faculty and writing department bylaws.
- Curriculum Revisions: I have developed a comprehensive curriculum vision and structure for a new undergraduate degree program in architecture at UCD. This proposal builds on a long-standing engagement with curriculum design and development that goes back to the early years of my academic career. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop and implement two major curriculum revisions at different institutions over the past decade and a half.
- Curriculum Resource Development: As an extension of my ongoing interest in curriculum development, I have invested an immense amount of time and energy collecting visual data for the use of the faculty and the students at the various universities I have served. The Arch.ive project, which first began in slide format, was transformed into digital, and for the past twenty years, 360 panoramic format has been a comprehensive digital visual database covering key monuments in the history of architecture.
- Academic and Community Service
- Conferences: In service to the academic community, I have reviewed numerous articles for peer-reviewed publications and conferences, chaired sessions at various conferences, attended design reviews, and given lectures at various academic institutions nationwide. I edited, designed, compiled, and published the Proceedings of the 18th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student: The Predicament of Beginning.
- Exhibits: I have organized, designed, and built several installations and exhibits of students’ work in Portland, Seattle, New York, and Philadelphia.
- Lecture series: Lastly, I have organized several lecture series covering a host of contemporary topics addressed by academics and accomplished designers invited from across the nation and Europe.