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Minnesota School of Architecture appoints new faculty members

The University of Minnesota School of Architecture has appointed five new tenure-track and tenured faculty members. According to Jennifer Yoos FAIA, Dean of the School of Architecture, “We are eager to welcome new faculty to the College of Design in 2022 who will bring a focus on teaching design as a critical practice tackling contemporary challenges.” Their studio-based work will enhance our instruction in design theory and representation, new material development, urbanism, and architectural production processes.

The new Director of Undergraduate Studies is Alex Maymind. In relation to the agency of architects in solving urban problems, institutional critique, and instructional revision, his research explores tensions, origins, and myths surrounding the formation of architectural knowledge.

Alex is a UCLA PhD and Yale MArch graduate. He taught at Yale University, Cornell University, SCI-Arc, UCLA, and the University of Michigan, where he received the Walter B. Sanders Fellowship. He has held positions in offices in NYC and LA as a designer and researcher. Log, Pidgin, Thresholds, Off-ramp, Interpunct, Dimensions, and Clog are all publications that Alex contributes to.

The newly appointed Director of Graduate Studies is Federico Garcia Lammers. Federico was recognized for creating and running the “Forensics Studio” in 2020 with the National AIA/ACSA Practice and Leadership Teaching Award.

In Europe, North America, and South America, Federico’s research on the relationships between structural innovations and labor practices of the Uruguayan engineering/construction firm Dieste and Montaez has been published and presented. Recent presentations of his work include the Architectural Association in London and an exhibition at Cornell University. His research and teaching link broad definitions of citizenship to the labor structures that support the construction of buildings. He obtained an MArch from the University of Minnesota before opening offices in New York City, Lisbon, and the Twin Cities.

Dingliang Yang is an architect, urban designer, and the founding partner of VARI Design. Yang previously worked as an architect with SOM in San Francisco and at Coop Himmelb(l)au in Vienna and taught at Harvard’s GSD.

Yang is author of the books Urban Grids: Handbook for City Design (with Joan Busquets and Michael Keller), Osaka: World Expo as Urban Transformative Engine (Harvard, 2021 / Shinkenchiku, forthcoming), and Shanghai Regeneration: Five Paradigms (with Xiangning Li and Xiangming Huang). 

He is the curator of the first Chongqing International Creative Week and has curated exhibitions about his works at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale, Cooper Union Gallery, and Harvard Drucker Gallery. Dingliang Yang received his DDes and MArch in Urban Design with distinction from Harvard University. He also holds a BArch from Zhejiang University with the university’s highest honor of the Chu Kochen Medal. 

Jessica Garcia Fritz is a member of the new Design Justice College of Design faculty cluster. Her teaching and research challenge architecture’s role in nation-state building through the extraction of material territories in indigenous lands. As a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Itazipco), Jessica focuses on the links between settler-colonialism, construction histories, and instruments of architectural practice through her research on specification writing.  

Jessica received a grant to organize the Building Arts and Labor Symposium in South Dakota in 2021. She received an MArch from the University of Minnesota and has practiced professionally in the Twin Cities, Portugal, and New York City and as an exhibit designer for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. 

Benjamin J. Smith’s research centers on design pedagogy, architectural aesthetics, representation and research methods. His research covers the origins and progress of SCI-Arc through the 1970s and 1980s and how the “college without walls” concept played out in the context of an architecture school. 

He has worked for Morphosis Architects, George Yu Architects and has practiced independently. Smith holds a Doctorate from the University of Michigan and an MArch from SCI-Arc. Smith was previously director of graduate architecture programs at Tulane University, the Design of Theory Fellow at SCI-Arc, and taught at the University of Michigan.