Raymund Ryan, Moderator

Raymund Ryan is Curator of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Raymund Ryan is Curator of the Heinz Architectural Center at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art. Pittsburgh exhibitions include Michael Maltzan: Alternate Ground (2005), Frank Lloyd Wright: Renewing the Legacy (2005), Gritty Brits: New London Architecture (2007), Laboratory of Architecture: Fernando Romero (2009), White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes (2012), and Building Optimism: Public Space in South America (2016). A graduate of University College Dublin and Yale, Ryan was first Irish Commissioner for the Venice Architecture Biennale (2000; 2002). He is the co-author ofBuilding Tate Modern (2000), author of Cool Construction (2001), and a frequent contributor to The Architectural Review (London), The Plan(Bologna), and Architecture Ireland (Dublin).


Bruce Block, Production Designer & Author

Professor of Cinematic Arts, USC

Bruce Block has over forty years of experience in the production of live action and animated motion pictures, television programs, commercials and Imax films. His producing and consulting credits include: The Holiday, How Do You Know, Something’s Gotta Give, Christmas With The Kranks, What Women Want, Father Of The Bride, The Parent Trap, Stuart Little, As Good As It Gets, Some Kind Of Wonderful, and Pretty In Pink.

Mr. Block is a tenured professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts where he teaches visual structure. He has presented seminars at Pixar Studios, Disney Animation, Dreamworks, Hasbro Interactive, Activision, Nickelodeon, Hewlett-Packard, Treyarch, AFI, and UCLA.

His book, The Visual Story, explains the relationship between story structure and visual structure. It has been translated into nine languages and is used professionally and educationally all over the world.

Mr. Block is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and the Art Director’s Guild.


Rebeca Méndez, Artist & Designer

Professor of Design Media Arts, UCLA

Méndez is an artist, designer, and professor at UCLA, Design Media Arts, where she is director of the CounterForce Lab, a research and fieldwork studio dedicated to using art and design to develop creative collaborations, research, and projects around the social and ecological impacts of anthropocene climate change. Her research and practice investigates design and media art in public space, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. Méndez’s art is driven by her interest in perception and embodied experience. Her diverse works—photography, 16mm film, book arts, and architectural scale sound and video installations—have been exhibited widely at significant institutions and biennials worldwide. Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nevada Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, El Paso Museum of Art, and the National Design Museum. Permanent public art commissions include, two murals for Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project, 2016; the January 8 Memorial design for the January 8 Memorial Foundation, Tucson, Arizona, 2015. Selected awards include, the AIGA Medal, 2017; the National Design Award in Communication Design, bestowed by the White House and the Smithsonian Institution, 2012; and the California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship for Visual Artist, 2010.


Mona Simpson, Novelist

Professor of English, UCLA

Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a Syrian immigrant and her mother, the daughter of a mink farmer, was the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist and an acupuncturist’s assistant before moving to New York to attend Columbia’s MFA program. During graduate school she published her first short stories. She stayed in New York and worked as an editor of The Paris Review while writing her first novel, Anywhere But Here. After that she wrote The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, My Hollywood and Casebook. Her work has been awarded several awards: The Whiting Prize, a grant from the NEA, a Guggenheim, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize and most recently, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She lives in Santa Monica with her children and Bartleby the dog.



Billie Tsien, AIA, Moderator

Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners

Billie Tsien was born in Ithaca, NY and received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her Master of Architecture degree from UCLA. She began working with Tod Williams in 1977; they established their architectural practice in 1986. Located in New York, their studio focuses on work for institutions including schools, museums, and not-for- profits—organizations and people who value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. Tod and Billie have received more than two dozen awards from the AIA as well as numerous national and international citations. They are devoted participants in the cultural community and lecture worldwide. As both educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to making a better world through architecture.


Virginia San Fratello

- Material Ombres

Virginia San Fratello is an architect, artist, and educator. She is a partner in the award winning design studio, Rael San Fratello, and is a co-founder of the start up company Emerging Objects. Emerging Objects is an independent, creatively driven, 3D Printing MAKE-tank specializing in innovations in 3D printing architecture, building components, environments and products. San Fratello recently won the International Interior Design Educator of the Year Award and in 2014, her creative practice, Rael San Fratello (with Ronald Rael), was named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York.

At SJSU, San Fratello directs the Interior Design program, teaches design studio, design and fabrication seminars and materials and methods seminars. She believes design for the 21st century absolutely must incorporate sustainable methods and take advantage of local and ecological material resources. In an era of throw away consumerism and over consumption, excessive energy use, too much waste, and toxic materials, designers have a responsibility to the public and the planet, to change our mindset about what our interiors are made of, how they function and to inform the manufacturing processes used to fabricate the interior. San Fratello earned her Master of Architecture degree at Columbia University in the City of New York. Previous academic appointments include positions at the Southern California Institute for Architecture (SCI_arc), Clemson University and the University of California Berkeley. Her work has been published widely, including in Interior Design Magazine, The New York Times, Wired, MARK, Domus, Metropolis Magazine and PRAXIS and is recognized by several institutions including The Museum of Modern Art and The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.


Sylvia Faichney

- 'Breathtakingly Ugly': Advertising Taste in 1970's Domestic Interiors

Sylvia Faichney is a design historian and essayist. Her work interrogates the mediation of interior architectural design through advertising, art installation, television and other visual facets. Specifically, she is interested in representations of the domestic interior, as it relations to class and gender. She holds an M.A. in Design History and Material Culture from the University of Brighton, where she was awarded a distinction. She been invited to present at several institutions, including Design History Society Symposium and Columbia College.  Currently she is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she is working to develop the advancement of design history as a methodology through her writing, while working as an independent researcher.


Molly Hunker

- Faux Real

Molly is a Wyoming-raised designer and educator and the co-captain of the award winning practice, SPORTS. Molly received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and her Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has worked for architecture studios and art workshops along the west coast including Doug Aitken Workshop, Talbot McLanahan Architecture, Weinstein A|U and The LADG.  Molly previously taught at UCLA, Woodbury University, The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she served as the inaugural 2013–2014 Douglas A. Garofalo Fellow, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, School of Architecture.


Greg Corso

- Faux Real

Greg is a designer from California and the co-captain of the award winning practice, SPORTS. Greg received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  He has worked in art and architecture studios in the United States and Europe including Studio Gang, JDS Architects, and Cliff Garten Studio and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Greg has taught architecture and design at Woodbury University, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, School of Architecture.



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Susan S. Szenasy, Moderator 

Publisher and Editor in Chief, METROPOLIS

Susan S. Szenasy is Publisher and Editor in Chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design at every scale. Since 1986 she has lead the publication and its other media platforms through decades of landmark design journalism, achieving domestic and international recognition. She is a pioneer in connecting environmental stewardship with design, and a tireless advocate for human centered design. A book of her writings and talks, Szenasy, Design Advocate, was published in 2015 by Metropolis Books/DAP.


Todd Erlandson

- Populating the Red Planet: Design for Martian Pioneers

Todd Erlandson is the principle of March Studio which he founded with his partner, Sherry Hoffman, to address the intersection of architecture and branding. This cross-disciplinary approach to design has been a focus of the firm and many of the design studios Todd has taught over the years, including the Interior Architecture Mars Studio at Woodbury University with Lara Hoad. Having designed significant branded architectural projects both in the US and Europe before setting up March Studio, Todd’s breadth of architectural experience, and reputation for creating successful projects for diverse brands and organizations, has rendered him an expert in the field. This experience has made Todd a frequent adjunct faculty member at Tulane University, Art Center College of Design, and American University of Sharjah. Todd has a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).


Lara Hoad

- Populating the Red Planet: Design for Martian Pioneers

Lara Hoad is a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art and has broad, global experience as an architect, designer and educator.  A modernist and eternal optimist whose projects are typically progressive, forward thinking and concerned with aspects of sustainability, social change, branding and contemporary culture, Lara has a utopian vision for future Martian habitats which are being explored, along with Todd Erlandson, through an Interior Architecture studio at Woodbury University.  As well as overseeing Design Direction at Los Angeles architecture firm March Studio, Lara also teaches Science and Sustainable Design with biologist Sam Stier at OTIS College of Art and Design, Los Angeles where they are researching ways of applying the principles of Biomimicry and Biophilia to the Mars model.  When she is not in LA you can usually find Lara at her Joshua Tree residence in the Mojave Desert where she spends her nights gazing through the telescope at the not so distant Red Planet.


Vera Mulyani

- Populating the Red Planet: Design for Martian Pioneers

Vera Mulyani’s multidisciplinary background in master planning in various fields including art, architecture, urban design, filmmaking and storytelling, has rendered her a conceptual strategy specialist in technology, innovation and business development. Vera contributes her expertise in combining these fields in order to create a collaborative competition platform for designing cities for Mars, an integral step in settling the Red Planet. Vera is the Master Architect and planner of Mars City Design and has traveled to many cities as a photographer and architect, working closely with world renowned architects Jean Nouvel and Rudy Ricciotti, contributing studies of urban analytics and experimental solutions for dynamic change to cities such as Nantes-France, Ruhr-Germany, Shanghai-China, Jakarta-Indonesia, Cairo-Egypt, Hiroshima-Japan, Rio De Janeiro-Brazil, and New York City-USA. Vera is a co-founder and co-organizer for SPACEPORT LA, the biggest space community and the home base for space enthusiasts, educators and professionals living in Los Angeles, California.


Tsz Yan Ng

- Labor: Visible and Invisible

As the principal of an independent architectural and art practice, Tsz Yan Ng Design, with built commissions in the US and China, TN’s architectural work ranges from large-scale textile manufacturing facilities and headquarters to commercial retail designs. Her visual art practice, mostly in installation work, explores new processes and techniques in material making that bring into question latent histories, politics, and social concerns within our built context. Common to both practices are projects that deal with questions of labor in its various manifestations – underscoring broader issues of manufacturing, of human labor, craft, and aesthetics. She was the recipient of a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2014, and her design work has been exhibited in Detroit, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Montreal, Ithaca, and Buffalo.


Paulette Singley

- Pellicular Zones

Paulette Singley is an internationally known architectural historian whose work expands the disciplinary limits of architecture across diverse subject matter such as food, film, and fashion.   She is a Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University.  She received a Ph.D. from Princeton University, an M.A. from Cornell University, and a B.Arch. from the University of Southern California.  She co-edited Eating Architecture with Jamie Horwitz, the first book to explore the intersections of architecture and the culinary arts.  She also co-edited Architecture: In Fashion and has published chapters in several anthologies as well as essays in architecture journals such as Log and Assemblage.



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Edward Lifson, Moderator

Former Director of Communications for The Pritzker Architecture Prize, Architectural Communications Consultant

Edward Lifson is an award-winning journalist, architecture writer, and former Director of Communications for The Pritzker Architecture Prize. He writes on architecture, urbanism, and culture and hosted a Public Radio arts program called "Hello Beautiful!" He was a war correspondent and bureau chief for NPR; a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and then a Visiting Fellow; and a Getty Arts Journalism Fellow. As a USC Annenberg Fellow he received a Masters in the Specialized Journalism of Architecture. Lifson is former Chairman of the Mies van der Rohe Society at the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Annie Coggan

- Visceral Reality: The Reconstruction of Historic Space

Annie Coggan is a designer, artist, educator and principal at Coggan + Crawford Architecture + Design in Brooklyn, NY. She received her B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont and her M.Arch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles. She is on the faculty at Pratt Institute, SVA, and Parsons/The New School in New York. Her textile practice focuses on crafting “Didactic Decorative Objects” and experimental textiles. She is a contributing editor to the literary journal A Public Space and writes reviews for The Center of Architecture’s Book Talk series.


Deborah Schneiderman

- Networked Interior

Deborah Schneiderman is a Professor of Interior Design at Pratt Institute as well as a registered architect and principal/founder of deSc: architecture/design/research, a Brooklyn based research practice. Schneiderman’s scholarship and teaching explore the emerging fabricated interior environment and its materiality. A widely published design scholar, her research includes the books Inside Prefab: The Ready-Made Interior (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), The Prefab Bathroom: An Architectural History (McFarland, 2014), and the edited volumes Textile, Technology and Design: From Interior Space to Outer Space (co-edited with Alexa Griffith Winton, Bloomsbury, 2016) & Interiors Beyond Architecture (co-edited with Amy Campos, Routledge, 2017). She has published several chapters in edited volumes including The Interior Architecture Theory Reader (Routledge 2016) and The Handbook of Design for Sustainability (Bloomsburry 2013), in addition to articles in academic journals. Schneiderman has lectured internationally in peer-reviewed conferences as well as invited lectures including the Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Center for Architecture, and Van Alen Institute Books.


Courtney Coffman

- Curtain-as-Wall

Courtney Coffman is currently Program Manager for X-LAB, a small research center at UCLA’s School for Architecture and Urban Design, Participating Adjunct Instructor at Woodbury University’s School of Architecture, and Development Director at Materials & Applications, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a public culture of experimental architecture in Los Angeles. Previously, Courtney co-organized On the Road Project LA—a yearlong public series of architecture and design pop-ups—and worked as a flagship retail designer. She has served as a content and copy editor for various architectural publications and her writing has been featured in Pidgin Magazine, SOLIED, Burrasca Magazine, VIA Publication, and the LA Forum Newsletter. Courtney holds a Master of Arts in Architecture (UCLA A.UD Critical Studies), a Master of Architectural Studies in Criticism (The Ohio State University, Knowlton School of Architecture), and a Bachelor of Science in Design (The Ohio State University, Department of Design: Interior Design).



Heather Scott Peterson

Heather Scott Peterson is an artist, designer, and writer. She received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a MArch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Her studio practice centers around sculpture, furniture, drawing, and artifacts. In 2014 she was awarded a MacDowell Fellowship, and has been a member of the viewing program at The Drawing Center in New York since 2007. In 2009 she was awarded the juror’s choice in issue 85 of New American Paintings. She has taught fine art, design, and architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Boston Architectural Center, and Cal State Long Beach. She is currently Interim Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Interior Architecture in the School of Architecture at Woodbury University. 


Rossen Ventzislavov

Rossen Ventzislavov received his PhD in philosophy from The Graduate Center at The City University of New York and has been teaching at Woodbury University since 2012. Originally from Bulgaria, he lived in Brooklyn, New York, for thirteen years. While pursuing his doctoral degree he taught at The City College of New York and The Fashion Institute of Technology. His primary research interests are in aesthetics, art criticism, and the history of philosophy. He has published and presented work on architecture, popular music, curating, urbanism etc.