Alpha Blackburn, Assoc. AIA
President & CEO, Blackburn Architects
Architect, Artist, and Community Advocate
Alpha Blackburn, President and CEO of Blackburn Architects, Inc., is a creative design professional and a distinguished civic leader. A successful Indiana businesswoman, Alpha has shown her dedication to her community by volunteering time and money to over sixty boards and committees.
Alpha is a double graduate of Washington, DC’s Howard University with a B.A. in Design and a M.F.A. in Painting and Art History. In addition to leading Blackburn Architects she is a freelance interior designer, product designer, and fashion designer. Alpha was the fashion editor of Indianapolis Monthly from 1980 to1990 and hosted daily and weekly television talk shows in Indianapolis from 1972 to 1981.
Her current community service includes chairing the National Arts Committee for The Links, Inc., for which she previously held local, regional and national offices. She also serves with the Mount Vernon (Virginia) Ladies’ Association, the Second Century Society for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the board of the Indiana Museum of African American History, the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission, the American Pianists Association, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra among many others. Corporate affiliations include service on the boards of OneAmerica Mutual Holding Company and Key Bank, and she has been affiliated with the Indiana Business Hall of Fame and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. Alpha is a lifetime member of the NAACP and has received numerous state and local awards, citations and recognitions. She has served on architectural jury panels ranging from student portfolio reviews to city-wide and regional award competitions including for the cities of Indianapolis and Cincinnati. She also presents at architectural and design conferences including the Ohio Valley AIA Regional Conference.
Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, UMASS Amherst
Landscape Architect, Historian, Preservationist and Author
Ethan Carr, Phd, FASLA, is an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes, particularly municipal and national park planning and design. He has written two award-winning books, Wilderness by Design (1998) and Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma (2007) that describe the twentieth-century history of planning and design in the U.S. national park system as the context for considering its future management.
In 2008, with partners from the National Park Service and the Cultural Landscape Foundation, Carr co-organized a two-part conference on the history and future of public park design, Designing the Parks, which has resulted in a national park design competition administered by the Van Alen Institute (“Parks for the People,” currently ongoing), and the Designing the Parks initiative for design excellence within the National Park Service. Carr is also the volume editor of the forthcoming eighth volume of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, which covers the period of the 1880s, when the Olmsted’s practice developed into the first modern landscape architecture office.
Carr received his Master’s in Art History from Columbia, his Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and his PhD from the Edinburgh College of Art. His career in the fields of landscape architecture and historic preservation began in the professional world, where he worked for New York City Parks and the National Park Service, where he was the lead historical landscape architect at the Denver Service Center. He also worked for non-profit organizations and private design offices. He has taught at the Harvard GSD, the University of Virginia, and at the University of Massachusetts, where he is currently inaugurating the Heritage Landscape Conservation Program, in partnership with the Department of Landscape Architecture and the UMass Center for Heritage and Society.
Independent Writer and Critic
Former Architecture Critic, The Washington Post
Author, Design Excellence Advocate
Benjamin Forgey is an independent writer and critic. He was the Architecture Critic for the Washington Post from 1981 to his retirement in 2006. Prior to that Mr. Forgey was the Art Critic and unofficial architecture critic for the Washington Star. Few people know more about the architecture of Washington D.C. and no one has done more to explain this complex subject to the public. His most recent work includes how security issues have impacted the design of buildings and spaces in Washington D.C.
Mr. Forgey is the author of Washington: Scenes from a Capital City and is a highly regarded lecturer, interview, and panelist as well as juror for national and international architecture, urban design, and awards competitions. He is a member of the Design Review Committee of the District of Columbia Preservation League; a board member of the Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians; and member of the Governing Committee for the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund.
Mr. Forgey received the 2006 Glenn Brown Award from the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in recognition of his contributions “to raise public awareness of the built environment and its benefits to society.” He also received the First Award for Cultural Journalism from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and an Institute Honor from the American Institute of Architects for “dedication to and insistence upon quality over expediency in our buildings and environment.”
Partner, Pentagram NYC
Graphic Designer, Identity and Environmental Graphics
Michael Gericke is a Partner in Pentagram’s New York office. A renowned graphic artist, his images and often complex programs are known for their simplicity and clarity. His team’s work encompasses a wide variety of assignments and media, including identities, environmental graphics, exhibitions and communications design for a broad range of international institutions, businesses, public agencies and cultural organizations.
Mr. Gericke has received hundreds of accolades from design associations and museums, including Fortune Magazine’s Beacon Award for the creation of outstanding strategic design programs. Michael's environmental graphics, exhibitions, identity, promotional and poster work appears regularly in international design exhibitions and is represented in the permanent collections of many museums around the world. He is a frequent lecturer at universities and professional organizations and has taught identity design at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
Mr. Gericke is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects' Harry B. Rutkins award for his design work and professional contributions. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his professional and civic achievements from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale, and served on the Center for Architecture’s advisory council, the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Graphic Arts NY (AIGA) and the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD).
Professor of Architecture, UCLA
Creative Director, Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture
Architect, Industrial Design, Theater and Exhibit Design
Craig Hodgetts is the Creative Director of Hodgetts+Fung Design and Architecture and is known for employing an imaginative weave of high technology and story-telling to invigorate his designs. With a broad ranging background in automotive design, theater, and architecture grounded by Mid-Western traditions, Mr. Hodgetts brings dramatic concepts to life by means of an uncompromising application of constructive methodology.
Between 1969 and 1984, Mr. Hodgetts published numerous essays and speculative designs in which he anticipated the impact of information technology on the environment and, with partner Robert Mangurian, created the seminal firm of Studio Works, which received three First Design Awards from Progressive Architecture magazine. A shop they created in 1969 for the CBS subsidiary, Creative Playthings, was featured in The Wall Street Journal as the world’s first multi-media entertainment retail environment. With a conviction that the expanding worlds of the arts, technology, and urbanity would demand a fundamental change in the role of the architect, he then set out to integrate the design disciplines. He produced, with his partner Hsinming Fung, a portfolio of exhibitions, temporary structures, and cultural facilities that expanded the boundaries of conventional practice.
Mr. Hodgetts has produced award-winning projects including: UCLA Towell Library, the new design of the Hollywood Bowl, the renovation of the Egyptian Theater, and Sinclaire Pavilion at Art Center. Hodgetts+Fung has received numerous awards, including the Chrysler Award for design innovation, the 2006 Gold Medal from the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the 2008 AIA CC Firm of the Year Award. Mr. Hodgetts’s essays and critical commentaries have been widely published in journals such as LOG and he is currently a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Thom Mayne, FAIA
Founder and Principal, Morphosis
Distinguished Professor of Architecture, UCLA
Architect, Urban Designer, Pritzker Prize Laureate
Thom Mayne founded Morphosis as an interdisciplinary and collective practice involved in experimental design and research. As design director and thought leader of Morphosis, he provides overall vision, project leadership and direction to the firm. Mr. Mayne’s distinguished honors include the Pritzker Prize (2005), the Centennial Medal from the American Academy in Rome (2009), the McDowell Medal (2008), the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt (2006), the Rome Prize (1987), and the Alumni of the Year award from USC. He was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010, appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2009, and honored with the American Institute of Architects /Los Angeles Gold Medal in 2000.
With Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, over 100 American Institute of Architecture Awards and numerous other design recognitions. Under Mayne’s direction, the firm has been the subject of various group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including a large solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, and a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architectural Institute in 1999.
Throughout his career, Mr. Mayne has remained active in the academic world. In 1972, he helped to found the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Since then, he has held teaching positions at Columbia, Yale (the Eliel Saarinen Chair in 1991), the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Eliot Noyes Chair in 1998), the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and many other institutions around the world. His commitment to the education of young designers has not wavered. Mr. Mayne's significant contributions to architectural education include the highly regarded L.A. Now and Madrid Now initiatives. There has always been a symbiotic relationship between Mr. Mayne's teaching and practice. Currently, he holds a tenured faculty position at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design.
Elizabeth Meyer, FASLA
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, UVA
Landscape Architect, Theorist, Author
Elizabeth Meyer is one of the leading landscape architectural theorists in the United States. She has lectured at universities on four continents, and published widely on topics concerning contemporary landscape design practice and theory. Ms. Meyer’s teaching and scholarly interests focus on three areas: the re-discovery and examination of modern landscape theory, the establishment of a robust contemporary practice of landscape criticism, and the idea of design as site interpretation (sites replete with cultural layers as well as natural processes). Her writings provocatively question conventional norms and assumptions.
Ms. Meyer joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1993, and has served as Landscape Architecture Department Chair and Director of the Graduate Landscape Architecture Program. Previously, Meyer taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design and Cornell University. She is nationally recognized as an outstanding scholar, studio critic and lecturer with honors, grants and awards from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Virginia.
Ms. Meyer, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is a registered landscape architect who worked in private practice before beginning her academic career. Since then, she has consulted with several notable landscape architects and stays current with contemporary practice through participation on numerous design competition and professional awards juries. In 2011, she was one of two landscape architects included in the annual DesignIntelligence rankings of Most Admired Educators in the United States.
Harry Robinson, FAIA AICP
Principal, TRG Consulting Global
Dean Emeritus & Professor of Urban Design, Howard University College of Architecture and Planning
Architect, Urban Designer, Executive Consulting Architect American Battlefields Commission
Harry G. Robinson, III is Dean Emeritus of the School of Architecture at Howard University. Educated in architecture, city planning and urban design, he is currently the principal of TRGConsultingGlobal and the executive consulting architect for the American Battle Monuments Commission. Mr. Robinson’s leadership career in the design disciplines spans practice, teaching, design management and research. For nearly twenty years, Mr. Robinson served as Dean and Professor of Urban Design, School of Architecture and Planning, Howard University. Following this service, he became Vice President for University Administration. University planning was a responsibility of his post, including the master plans for the Central and West Campuses. Significant among these plans is UniverCity 20/20, the landmark Central Campus Plan that advances the concept of re-placing within the issues of historic continuity, campus structure and pattern, connecting with the City and development opportunities framework as the organizing elements for future actions.
Mr. Robinson is active in his civic and professional lives and serves on major committees or boards of several organizations. Twice, he was a presidential appointed commissioner and elected chairman and vice chairman of the United States Commission of Fine Arts. Since 1998, he has served on the historical advisory board of “Washington, DC: America’s City,” a four part film series of one hour programs to be broadcast nationally. He has been a trustee of the Booker T. Washington Charter School and the IDEA Public Charter School. He was a director of Scenic America and an incorporator of ScenicDC, the Nation’s Capital chapter of the national organization. He was a member of the international advisory board of the IICB Corporation, Tokyo, Japan and was a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and the Architectural Research Institute, New York City. He is a director of the White House Historical Association. Mr. Robinson also serves on the National Research Council’s Committee of High Performance Sustainable Federal Buildings.
Mr. Robinson has received numerous international and national awards in recognition of his professional and civic achievements. Specific to Washington DC, he was awarded in 2003 the highest honor bestowed by the Washington Chapter of the AIA, the Centennial Medal. He was awarded the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architecture Societies Architect of the Year award and the Howard University College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award for International Leadership. Mr. Robinson was inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame in spring 2006. At its 2008 Charter Day commemoration, Howard University honored him as for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement, the highest alumni award bestowed by the University.