Penn
Penn

Penn

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest universities in America and one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.

Highlighted by Penn

From Design Manifestos: Winka Dubbeldam of Archi-Tectonics by Modelo

On her role at Penn I was always teaching in several universities, I was between Harvard, Columbia, and Penn, the differences were interesting to me. At some point, I was at Harvard, and Penn offered a practice professor position and the possibility to start a post-professional program — a second master’s, as its Director. I started in 2003 and initially first formed an international network; multiple connections to create a very global program. It grew fast. We started publishing books every year. At some point developers and cities started inviting us to collaborate on research and design, we studied the future of housing for the city of Tel Aviv, we looked at an urban development, Santurce, in Puerto Rico, we worked on a bottom-up proposal for downtown Bogota. In 2013, after 10 years, I became the Chair at PennDesign. In academics, they don’t really give you a job description, and I realized quickly it’s like an architecture project. You need structure, you need a concept, and it needs to have a very clear direction and focus. If you think about the future of architecture it is clear that education needs to be ahead of the practice. I started the first semester with five different things: 1) turn Penn inside-out [it was like an oyster — Penn wasn’t really appreciated, it was amazing inside but the outside is a bit rough], 2) I started publishing a book every year, made a big lecture series, 3) made sure we started a huge conference for each Fall, the 1st one was the “New Normal” 4) I updated the curriculum. 5) I bought 3D printers, Makerbots, for studio. The students loved that. Those five things changed the school rapidly. I had the summer to work these out further, so by the time September came, we were organized. The school immediately grew quite a lot. It was a scramble with the spaces, professors, and seminars, but super exiting as well.