The Dean’s Advisory Council — an evolution of the CED Alumni (CEDA) board of directors which had served the college since 1990 — has grown to a diverse group of 26 alumni and friends who act as close advisors to the dean and ambassadors of the college.
“I appreciate CED’s focus on designing an integrated educational experience that acknowledges the critically important challenges associated with shaping the environment, whether through physical or policy means, as the world becomes ever smaller. I am honored to be part of the Dean’s Advisory Committee and am happy to support the work at CED through this involvement.”
— Lydia Tan, B.Arch ’83
Senior Vice President, Development for the Western U.S., Bentall Kennedy
Members of the Dean’s Advisory Council — which include such notable alumni as San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell, Johnson Fain founders Scott Johnson and William Fain, SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf, Walt Disney Company Director of Health Management Barbara Wachsman, and SWA Group Chairman John Wong — represent a range of professions and geographies and comprise not only graduates from the three departments within CED, but also notable leaders from outside the college. The Council was originally chaired by Bob Lalanne and the current chair is Sylvia Kwan. Membership in the Dean’s Advisory Council is by invitation of the dean of the college.
While Advisory Council members pledge an annual contribution to the CED Annual Fund during their three-year term of service, their greater impact comes from bringing their professional expertise to help CED leadership shape activities, programs, and facility development; and inspiring others in the CED family to make contributions in support of these endeavors.
Advisory Council members generously give their time and talent, often going above and beyond, with significant in-kind and pro-bono support to build the CED community, help students, and aid the dean in making improvements to Wurster Hall. Maintaining and nurturing the CED community is essential to the prosperity of the college. Members in New York and Los Angeles go out of their way to coordinate or host both intimate events and large-scale programs, allowing alumni outside the Bay Area to network and continue their relationship with CED.
“The Dean’s Advisory Council is a tremendous way for me to remain connected to Berkeley — important both personally and professionally as a way to keep Disney on the cutting edge of architecture, urban/environmental planning. Having direct exposure to Dean Wolch and other Cal faculty is an absolute dream and allows me to remain up to date about Cal and my professional community. We love to hire Wurster grads at Disney and the Council is a great way to stay informed about what that next generation’s values and interests are.”
— Barbara Wachsman, M.C.P. ’83
Director of Health Management, The Walt Disney Company
Providing professional internships within their firms and supporting internship programs is another endeavor where Council members are an invaluable resource. Internships programs, such as CED’s On-SITE, allow students to enhance their education with practical hands-on experience in firms while introducing these organizations to some of the brightest and most determined design students soon to enter the market. Advisory Council members also enrich the student experience by conveying their knowledge and professional expertise through accepting faculty invitations to speak at classes, participate in reviews, or by making the significant financial commitment to sponsor a studio course.
Generous pro-bono and financial contributions by Advisory Council members ensure that Wurster Hall facilities meet the needs of current and future students and faculty. Members have played an important role in helping improve Wurster Hall — contributing to the Gallery, first and second-floor lobbies, Flex Studios, and the Digital Fabrication Lab which houses new digitally controlled equipment. The new Materials Store, where CED students can purchase fabrication supplies, was also realized through the generous financial support of a Council member.
One of the most essential contributions the Advisory Council makes is in supporting the dean in strategic planning. Members played an active role in developing the 2012 Strategic Plan, supporting the implementation of a road map that will be the touchstone for planning and fundraising for the next 5 to 10 years.
In addition to their fundraising support for several key initiatives built into the strategic plan such as Flex Studios — the campaign to update Wurster’s studios with multiple platforms for creativity, research, and design collaboration — the Dean’s Advisory Council is also called upon to encourage others to give to the CED Annual Fund.
Over the last several years, this group’s commitment to the CED Fund has made a significant difference to the college. An essential resource as CED faces critical issues that challenge today’s public educational institutions, the CED Fund provides the college with crucial support for a variety of activities, including educational programming and opportunities such as lectures, exhibits, and international studios; the research efforts of our outstanding junior faculty; and CED’s Career Services, an office dedicated to helping our students launch their professional careers.
Contributors of $1000 or more to the CED Fund become members of the Wurster Society. For the past three decades, members of the Wurster Society have provided leadership gifts to meet high-priority needs and to allow CED to capitalize on unexpected opportunities.
“I am honored to serve on the Dean’s CED Council in an effort to stay engaged and help support the Wurster Hall community. I owe so much of my own success to Berkeley and CED that it is a pleasure to help sustain its great future.”
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, M.Arch ’96
Principal, SHoP Architects, Professor, Columbia University
“We applaud the incredible efforts that the Dean’s Advisory Council has made on behalf of CED, the successes they’ve achieved, and their essential role in helping ensure that the college can meet the needs of current and future students” said CED Dean Jennifer Wolch. “The personal friendships that develop from Advisory Council collaborations are one of most rewarding aspects of my service as dean.”
“Being a part a of the Dean’s advisory committee is both an honor and fulfilling. It gives me an opportunity to stay connected to the school in a meaningful way and make a contribution to its continued success. Jennifer’s leadership has been great for the school and I am grateful for the opportunity to help.”
— Fred Blackwell, M.C.P. ’96
CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Current members of the Dean’s Advisory Council include:
- Kofi Bonner, Regional Vice President, Lennar Urban
- Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
- Ricardo L. Capretta, President, Capretta Properties Inc.
- Vishaan Chakrabarti, Principal, SHoP Architects/Holliday Professor of Real Estate, Columbia University
- James R. Crawford, Partner, Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP
- Brian Dougherty, Founder, Dougherty and Dougherty Architecture
- Gray B. Dougherty, Partner, Dougherty and Dougherty Architecture
- William Fain, Founder, Johnson Fain
- David Friedman, Principal and Chairman, Forell/Elsesser Engineers
- Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli, Founder, Hernandez-Eli Architects
- Jackson Hsieh, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley
- Scott Johnson, Founder, Johnson Fain
- Chris Kent, Principal, PGA Design
- Sylvia P. Kwan, Founder, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning
- Michael Lin, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial Services
- Tom Mead, Vice President of Construction Management, Equity Residential
- Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR
- Michael Painter, President, MPA Design
- Lydia Tan, Senior Vice President, Development for the Western U.S., Bentall Kennedy
- Barbara Wachsman, Director of Health Management, The Walt Disney Company
- Judd Williams
- John Wong, Managing Principal and Chairman, SWA Group
- Joseph O. Wong, Founding Principal, JWDA
- Paul Woolford, Design Director, Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK)
“I have really enjoyed contributing to the Dean’s Advisory Council. In return it has given me a lot. My understanding of the college’s educational focus has been broadened and clarified. I also have a much better appreciation of the expertise of the faculty. After each meeting/event I find my mind spinning with ideas — reminiscent of being a student again.”
— Chris Kent, M.L.A ’93
Principal, PGA Design
“The Advisory Council exposes me to the accomplishments of CED’s faculty and students, as well as the college’s initiatives and aspirations; it’s invigorating. I am emboldened to make meaningful contributions to the professional trajectory of our young alumni and strengthen the CED community in New York, where I practice.”
— Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli, B.Arch ’02
Founder, Hernandez-Eli Architects
“The UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design is of vital importance to our Northern California design community; it creates a place for critical thinking and discourse, and fills our design studios with emerging talent. Our practices depend upon UCB to fill this role, and as such it’s been a privilege to serve on the Dean’s Council at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It’s an honor to be able to give something back in return.”
— — Paul Woolford
Each year, since 1998, CED has honored a select few outstanding professionals who have made notable accomplishments in their careers. It was with pride that Dean Jennifer Wolch presented awards to this year’s distinguished honorees during the March 7th ceremony at the California Memorial Stadium’s University Club.
Kofi Bonner (M.C.P. 1986, M.Arch. 1987)
President, Lennar Urban
Born in Ghana, Kofi Bonner is responsible for a number of development projects that promise to significantly transform aging industrial sections of the Bay Area into thriving urban communities. The redevelopment plan for Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay received the Clinton Global Initiative Sustainable Development Award. His current project, The Hunters Point Shipyard-Candlestick Point revitalization — possibly the largest mixed-use urban redevelopment project in the country — was honored with a Grand Award from the Pacific Coast Building Council, the Best Land Plan 2010.
Throughout his career Bonner’s roles in major redevelopment initiatives have led to the revitalization and economic growth of areas including Emeryville, Oakland’s downtown neighborhood, and San Francisco’s Mission Bay. Bonner served as Chief Economic Policy Advisor under Mayor Willie Brown, and from 1998 through 2004, was the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for the Cleveland Browns. Kofi Bonner currently serves as President of Lennar Urban, overseeing all land acquisition and urban development activities in Northern California.
Professor and Chair of City & Regional Planning Paul Waddell noted, “Kofi Bonner has been a major force in the planning and revitalization of key Bay Area urban neighborhoods. His accomplishments are a credit to planning practice and an inspiration to students and practitioners in our field.”
Daniel Iacofano (PH.D. Environmental Planning, 1986)
Founding Principal, MIG Inc.
Daniel Iacofano is a founding principal of MIG, Inc., known worldwide for its results-oriented creative projects and innovative research and development initiatives that enhance community livability, support revitalization, and connect people with places.
His award-winning projects — addressing issues in dense urban planning and community design and transit-oriented development — have included campus development plans for UC San Francisco’s new Mission Bay Campus, the University of California at Davis, and California State University at Monterey Bay; the Napa River Flood Protection Project, which will provide flood protection to much of the City of Napa; and an unprecedented health and wellness element for the City of Richmond’s General Plan.
Iacofano is the author of Public Involvement as an Organizational Development Process (1990), Meeting of the Minds (2001), The Inclusive City: Design Solutions for Buildings, Neighborhoods and Urban Spaces (2007), and What is Your Construction Management EQ (2014).
“We are privileged to honor our colleague Dan Iacofano for his groundbreaking work in engaging communities in the planning and design of vital and equitable environments in which to live, work, and play,” said Louise Mozingo, Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning. “His advocacy for effective citizen collaborations has transformed the design and planning professions and public policy. He is an outstanding example of the CED legacy of social responsibility.”
Allison Williams, FAIA (M.Arch. 1976)
Vice President and Director of Design , AECOM
Allison Williams is Vice President and Design Director at AECOM, leading the Western Region practice and the San Francisco studio. Her portfolio of award-winning work spans the globe comprising civic, corporate, and cultural facilities; places for research and education; and mixed-used and high-density urban development. Notable projects include: CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise) a 690,000 GSF Greenmark Platinum research campus and innovation hub in Singapore; the Princess Nora Abdulrahman University (PNU) Health Sciences and Research Campus in Riyadh Saudi Arabia (for 40,000 Islamic Women); the acclaimed San Francisco International Terminal; and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Computational Research Theory Facility, slated to complete early this year.
In 1997, Williams was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She is a current member of the Harvard Graduate School of Design Visiting Committee and on the Board of Directors of SPUR.
Professor and Chair of Architecture, Tom Buresh, acknowledged William’s contributions, saying, “Allison William’s talent, vision, and leadership in design and education, and her significant body of work place her in a category unmatched by others. She is a singular and exceptional model of CED Architecture alumni achievement.”
“Jeff Koons’ Split-Rocker is a marvel,” explains Matt Donham (MLA ’03), principal at RAFT Landscape Architecture. This giant flowering topiary with over 50,000 flowering plants — half toy dinosaur, half rocking horse — is at the same time cutely irresistible and almost monstrous in its looming scale. “The sculpture expands our understanding of where landscape can exist and what it can look like.”
It is also somewhat of a metaphor for Donham’s approach to his work: the need to zoom in and out between technical detail and the larger overall goal to deliver on a vision; a love of form; and a passion to build landscapes which are both progressive and expressive.
In 2012, Donham was hired by Glenstone, a private museum and sculpture park outside of Washington D.C., to reimagine Koons’ Split-Rocker as a permanent installation. The sculpture was first exhibited in Avignon in 2000, and subsequently in Versailles (2008) and Basel (2012). Donham conducted extensive research on Koons’ previous topiary installations — talking to gardeners and engineers, and creating structural models and planting palettes — in order to modify the piece to thrive year-round.
In the spring of 2014, Koons tapped Donham to develop the “living systems” for the sculpture’s newest installation in Rockefeller Center, which opened in June. With just 7 weeks to complete a normally 20-week installation process, Donham and RAFT worked closely with Jeff Koons, Public Art Fund, Gagosian Gallery, Tishman Speyer, engineers, contractors, irrigation consultants, and local nurseries to maximize the project’s success.
Research is an integral part of Donham’s work and this project benefitted from the previous research he’d done for Glenstone. The Rockefeller Center installation required the production and delivery of 50,000 plants in full bloom, specialized soils, breathable surface materials, and highly-tailored irrigation and drainage to help the plants to flourish, regardless of their orientation.
Prior to founding RAFT, Donham was a partner at PWP Landscape Architecture and project manager for the National September 11th Memorial. During the project, he came to understand the critical role of the landscape architect as design advocate. “Everybody has their individual interest, especially with public works projects. It’s our responsibility to understand the goal of the project vision and advocate for that,” he explains.
Donham’s proximity to the leaders of PWP and lead role in the ongoing conversations with players in virtually every aspect of the Memorial project was transformative, shaping his current approach with clients. He believes strongly in holding to the galvanizing narrative that manifests the vision, while also articulating confidence and caring. “Working for Pete Walker I became adept at delivering on his ideas. It takes political skill to work with a big name, but it translates well to delivering on your own vision.”
Today at RAFT, Donham along with fellow CED classmate Rebecca Hill (MLA ’03) are generating a new form language, where shape making and space defining combines with ecological sustainability. Last spring, the firm installed a landscape in the Hudson Highlands where a gentle S-curve designed into an existing road makes room for planted swales that filter runoff while enhancing the overall composition of the landscape. It’s a small example of landscape productivity and form working together. Currently Donham is collaborating with Walter Hood, David S. Woo Chair of Environmental Design, on the garden at the Cooper Hewitt in New York which begins construction this fall.
Donham has also just begun teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. This has inspired him to reflect back on his experience at CED and what he wants his own students to take away. “CED challenged me to determine, believe, and express my personal convictions about how the built environment should be formed,” he said. “When I am speaking with clients and trying to convince them to invest in my solutions, I find that the strength of my conviction is important. People can feel it.”