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USC Architecture professors win national honors

Quartet to receive awards in Miami

Allison Engelby Allison Engel

A sculptural built-in desk, a fur-lined pavilion for an art exhibition and a support group for fledgling architects are national award winners for four members of the USC School of Architecture faculty.

Alvin Huang, Gail Peter Borden, Karen Kensek and Douglas Noble will be honored at the 2014 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s annual meeting in Miami Beach in April. The faculty members will be given awards by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).

Assistant Professor Huang is one of three architecture professors nationwide who will receive the 2014 ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award, honoring faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching performance during the formative years of their career. The award recognizes excellence in how faculty members address ideas of cultural, social, economic or environmental sustainability.

birch plywood lacquer desk

Alvin Huang’s built-in desk was made from laminated birch plywood with a clear lacquer.

Huang also will receive a 2014 ACSA Faculty Design and Research Award Honorable Mention. There are four awards and four honorable mentions awarded annually for work that advances the reflective nature of practice and teaching. Huang’s project, “Chelsea Workspace,” is a sculptural interior installation for a home office that explores the applications of associative modeling, mass customization and digital fabrication. His undulating built-in desk, built in the Chelsea neighborhood of London for a private client, was made from laminated birch plywood with a clear lacquer.

Associate Professor Borden, who is architecture discipline head and director of graduate architecture, also received an Honorable Mention ACSA Faculty Design and Research Award for his research in materiality. His project, “Furlined,” was designed as an experimental pavilion for A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California, a 2013 exhibition at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art. “Furlined” called for a triangulated frame made of galvanized electrical conduit, neon orange Plexiglas and “fur” made from handwoven loops of varying lengths of zip ties.

This is Borden’s sixth ACSA Faculty Design and Research Award in the past nine years. Borden was a recipient of the ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award in 2005.

Kensek and Noble are receiving an ACSA Creative Achievement Award for a support organization they began for architecture graduates who were not yet licensed architects. NotLY (Not Licensed Yet) offers free classes, study groups, weekly emails with encouragement and advice and general support to help graduates secure licensure. In the decade prior to the group’s formation in 2007, California averaged 420 new architecture licensees annually. Since NotLY began, that average has climbed to 513.

Noble, who received an ACSA New Faculty Award a decade ago, said there were 595 new licenses granted in 2013. The goal for this year is 1,000 new licensed architects, he said.

NotLY has nearly 1,500 members and has offered more than 300 free classes, many of which now attract 150 to 200 attendees.

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