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Donghia Master Class

The Donghia Master Class is a week-long immersive elective supported by the Angelo Donghia Foundation, during which a small group of Environmental Design juniors, seniors, and alumni spend 30-plus hours with a designer from outside of the United States, working on a project sited in the designer’s home country. Recently, students in Donghia Master Classes explored repurposing a derelict power station in Lagos, Nigeria with Kunlé Adeyemi (shown in image above); rehabilitating three historical buildings on Mumbai’s waterfront into public maritime museums with Geeta Mehta; and creating a responsible urban regeneration plan for Xochimilco in Mexico City with Tatiana Bilbao.

“Each Donghia Master Class gives students a virtual cultural experience as if they’re designing in and for that country,” says Environmental Design Chair Linda Pollari. “They learn about another country’s culture and issues from the designer-in-residence, who’s engaged in those issues. Each Donghia Master Class gives students a virtual cultural experience as if they’re designing in and for that country.”

Recent Lectures

AL BORDE, represented by one of its four collaborators, Marialuisa Borja
Thursday, March 17

Al-Borde Team

AL BORDE is the Ecuadorian architecture firm founded in 2007 by David Barragán, Esteban Benavides, Marialuisa Borja, and Pascual Gangean. Al Borde has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Schelling Architecture Prize in Germany 2012, the Medal for Cultural Recognition of Ecuador 2012, and the World Prize for Sustainable Architecture in 2013 in Paris. In 2016 they were part of the official selection of the Venice Architecture Biennale. They won the Ibero-American Panorama of Works Award at the XI BIAU 2019 in Paraguay, and in 2020 they were nominated for the Swiss Architectural Award.

About Us

"Design is addressed with the sustainability of life at the center of discussions about resources, co-responsibility, consumption, gender, and social inequalities. We build with resources and techniques that are at hand; that's why the territory is always particular and unique. The projects are often a kind of x-ray of the place, that express people's customs, their history, problems, and necessities. The diversity of our projects represents the will of people to commit to the ideas, take risks, and to be involved in decision-making." - Al Borde, February 28, 2022

Rachel Jordan Bascombe, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C
Thursday, March 3, 2022

Rachel BascombeRachel Jordan Bascombe, AIA, is a licensed Architect, LEED BD+C certified, and an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). She has worked in all phases of design and construction for both new construction and renovation projects. She effectively communicates design ideas with clients by using tools like renderings, augmented reality, and mock-ups. Her keen attention to detail, supported by experience on construction sites, allows her to develop well-coordinated projects that are a true reflection of the client. Most recently, Rachel served as the project architect for the multi-phased Psychology Tower Renovation for UCLA, which renovated a historic Paul Williams building while maintaining ongoing operations.

When she is not working on projects for healthcare, higher education, and government clients, she can be found participating in panel discussions or mentoring at a local architecture summer camp. Recognizing how significantly architecture can impact the community it serves, Rachel has developed a passion for sustainability and public interest design. She received a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree followed by a Bachelor of Architecture degree from North Carolina State University.

Rachel is a daily advocate for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the architecture industry and proudly is the 412th living black woman licensed to practice architecture in the country!

R. Steven Lewis, Urban Design Principal, ZGF; FAIA, NOMAC 
November 21, 2021

Steven LewisLewis delivered his lecture live from Detroit, where he was celebrating the National Organization of Minority Architects’s (NOMA) 50th Year Anniversary Homecoming. He is an architect and tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within the field of architecture. He currently serves as Urban Design Principal with ZGF in Los Angeles. Previously, he was Urban Design Director for the Central Region of Detroit in the City’s Planning & Development Department. He also is a Professor in Practice at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Prior to coming to Detroit, Lewis was an Associate Vice President for TRC in their energy services group. He was a founding partner of the firm RAW International, where he helped build a successful design practice over a 20-year period. In 2004, Lewis accepted an invitation to join the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of the Chief Architect in Washington, D.C., where he served a four-year term as a program manager. 

Lewis was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for the 2006-2007 academic year, during which he focused on the issue of race within the profession of architecture. In December 2010, he concluded a two-year term as President of the National Organization of Minority Architects, traveling around the U.S. and several other countries advocating for architects of color. Lewis used his platform as president to prioritize cultivating the next generation of diverse architects and designers. In 2011, Lewis launched a consulting practice, “Thinking Leadership—What we Do…Who we Are,” aimed at helping clients, particularly civic leaders, attain superior outcomes through his engagement. He was the 2016 recipient of the AIA’s esteemed Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, and was elevated to the AIA’s College of Fellows. 

More than anything, Lewis is a facilitator of partnerships and alliances between groups and individuals who seek to use architecture and design to effect positive change to our world.

Nicholas Hummingbird, cultural and California native plant expert
September 16, 2021

Nicholas HummingbirdIndigenous cultural and California native plant expert Nicholas Hummingbird descends from Cahuilla and Apache nations and was the founder and previous manager of Hahamongna Nursery, a native plant nursery in Pasadena. He has worked on the Channel Islands doing large-scale habitat restoration with the National Park Service and consults with landscape designers and architects on plant choice and placement. Hummingbird blends a commitment to his Native heritage with a desire to share knowledge as a spokesperson for the many benefits of native plants.