The Future of Practice ︎
Uniquely situated in a region where some of the most exciting design experimentation is occurring, Woodbury is at the nexus of pressing issues related to immigration, housing insecurity, climate change, and gender equality. Daunting? Yes, but it’s also exciting to imagine how architects and designers might engage such critical concerns. Our locations in Los Angeles, Hollywood and San Diego offer a complex context with messy, often oppositional tendencies for our students to explore. Our studios provide a sanctuary that inspire our students to experiment without fear and with ambition and ingenuity to construct not just buildings, but environments that enrich and effect change outside of the traditional confines of physical spaces and of our discipline. Embedded in our curricula is the ethos that diverse points of view lead to innovative design solutions.
Accessible education leads to accessible architecture. The work on this platform – ranging in methodology, topic, scale, technique, formal investigations, tools, and concentrations – celebrates and amplifies the intrinsic diversity of our students which spans across spectrums of gender, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. What unites us is an optimistic affirmation of the value of our profession. Woodbury School of Architecture is, above all, a school committed to the future of practice.
What does this mean?
Our paramount mission is not just to educate our students to succeed as architects and designers, but to dynamically shape the future of practice. Not all our students end up working within these bounds, of course, but this is the beauty of the discipline: that the education of an architect opens doors to careers we cannot even begin to imagine. Design acumen is combined with a fundamental belief that good design is a human right.
Investing in “The Future of Practice” suggests not only commitment to the profession, but to a method of applying knowledge. The word “practice,” is of course, both noun and verb. It is about action.
It implies doing something, not just dreaming something. Speculation is underpinned by an ability to execute. Design acumen is arrived at by experience and exercise. Excitingly, many of our students now practice sooner through our Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure.
Representational virtuosity is the most visible means through which our students are iteratively exploring and developing their personal language. Beautiful drawings that engage and invite are a powerful means of making architecture more accessible. Technology, used smartly, is another means of access. As technology shifts from being a top down brand-driven process, to an intellectual engagement with computing and light fabrication machines, we are there.
What does it mean to practice as an architect? What does it mean to practice as an interior designer? The work of our faculty exemplifies a breathtaking wealth of ways to practice. They are architects and educators but also public artists, real estate developers, creators of pre-engineered building systems, authors, fabricators, coders, curators, exhibition designers, landscape architects, furniture makers, filmmakers, interior designers, visual artists, façade consultants, delineators, and principals of their own architectural practices. Is it any wonder that our alumni are so successful, using design not just to to craft unconventional career paths but to galvanize communities?
“The Future of Practice” is our invitation to ask: “What next?” Understanding that good architecture has the potential to bring joy and beauty to others, we seek to reenergize the profession by stretching its limits and exploring its possibilities from within. Areas of concentration, led by faculty research engaged in a range of projects, allow students to craft customized degrees, uniquely blended to their skillsets and passions. In our student’s projects, you will find uncommon combinations: applied computer science and civic engagement; augmented reality and real estate development; immersive digital environments and curation; material research and representational virtuosity. The future really does belong to Woodbury.
Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, FAIA
Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter is an architect, educator, and design consultant specializing in the building envelope and the experimental architectural use of glass. Currently Dean of the School of Architecture at Woodbury University, she has taught at Yale, Cornell, the Bartlett, and SCI-Arc. She is also Director of WUHO, the Woodbury University Hollywood gallery, a venue for experimental installations, public lectures and workshops. She currently serves on the LA Forum Board of Advisors.
The work of her collaborative office, WROAD, navigates transdisciplinary territory in the diverse type and scale of projects. She has collaborated on multiple award-winning projects including as façade consultant on Bloom with DoSu Architects, the Portland Aerial Tramway with AGPS, the Centre Pompidou exhibition, Continuities of the Incomplete, with Morphosis, and as project architect for the Corning Museum of Glass with Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects.
Named AIA Fellow in 2018, Ingalill is recipient of AIA California Council 2016 Educator Award, was honored with the AIA|LA 2018 Presidential Educator of the Year Award, and recognized by DesignIntelligence as one of the nation’s Most Admired Educators in architecture and design.