The Donghia Designer-in-Residency gives students in the Architecture/Landscape/Interiors program at Otis College of Art and Design the opportunity to work under the direction of an international designer at their top of the field. The 2016-17 Donghia Designer-in-Residence, Tatiana Bilbao, lead a week-long master class for the students and presented a public lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA). “The Donghia Master Class, in particular, is a very special, intense, and immersive experience," says Linda Pollari, Chair of the Architecture/Landscape/Interiors program.
A Mexico City native, Bilbao's work is multicultural and multidisciplinary, as her studio seeks to regenerate and humanize spaces in reaction to global capitalism, opening up niches for cultural and economic development. For the Master Class, Bilbao stressed the importance of environment and use of landscape, with a one-week intensive project entitled “Xochimilco,” that challenged students to give Xochimilco urban direction in the form of a master plan and use Los Manantiales as an incubator for responsible urban regeneration.
"Xochimilco is the last visual remnant of la Ciudad Lacustre, the lake city," explained Bilbao. "As more and more of Lake Texcoco disappeared, the landscape evolved from a city which grew atop a lake to a continually decreasing lake that existed along the city’s periphery. Xochimilco is the last area where aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems meet. This area also piqued the interest of Felix Candela who in 1958 was asked to build what would become one of his most famous works (Los Manantiales) beside the idyllic waterways of Xochimilco.”
The 2016-2017 Donghia Master Class Jury and Projects
Wei Qiu presenting his collage which won third place in the Master Class.
Detail from Ibrahim Ghulam’s second place collage.
Juan Febres-Cordero presenting his first-place collage to the jury.
Detail from Juan Febres-Cordero's collage
Erim Ayhan's collage.
Billal Ashai's collage.
Detail from Billal Ashai's collage.
Pinky Lam's collage.
Detail from Michael Chen's collage.
Students Billal Ashai, Erim Ayhan, Michael Chen, Juan Febres-Cordero, Josselin Garcia, Ibrahim Ghulam, Pinky Lam, Sally Park, and Wei Qiu presented large format collages depicting their solutions to a jury including Valery Augustin, Principal, DNA | Architecture + Design; Annie Chu, Principal, CHU+GOODING; Frank Clementi, Partner, Rios Clementi Hale Studios; Chava Danielson, Principal, DSH \\ architecture; Ed Ogosta, Principal, Ed Ogosta Architecture; Nick Seierup, Design Director, Perkins + Will, Los Angeles; and Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, Principal, WROAD on March 22, 2017. The jury, along with Alina Escarcega and Roberta Barcena from the Educational Cooperation Department of the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, selected Juan Febres-Cordero's collage for the first place prize of $400, Ibrahim Ghulam for the second place of $200, and Wei Qiu for the third place prize of $100.
"Architecture needs to become relevant again," Bilbao explained at the public Donghia Design-in-Residence lecture. "Architecture is social, is environmental, inherently." Bilbao presented a selection of her work, highlighting her project addressing Mexico's social housing shortage. The project has received praise for the architect's human-centered approach in which her team spoke with over 2,000 existing social housing residents before presenting their solution. The Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles Carlos García de Alba, accompanied by the Cultural Attaché and Consul of Mexico in Los Angeles Andres Webster Henestrosa, participated in the introduction to the lecture and welcomed Bilbao to the 2017 Año de México en Los Angeles.
In addition, Bilbao reviewed students’ portfolios of prior studio projects and chose the Donghia-Otis Portfolio Awards as follows, the first place prize of $2,500 was awarded to junior Juan Febres-Cordero, the second place prize of $2,000 went to senior Michael Chen and there was a tie for third place between senior Erim Ayhan and junior Josselin Garcia who each received $1,000.
The Donghia Designer-in-Residency is made possible through a generous grant from the Angelo Donghia Foundation, which provides support for the advancement of education in the field of interior design. Since 2008, the residency has invited a distinguished designer to lead a one-week master class for a group of Architecture/Landscape/Interiors juniors and seniors and present a public lecture to the Los Angeles community.
Image: First place Master Class collage by Juan Febres-Cordero