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Design Weekly
News from the Weitzman School of Design
Critiquing the Carceral State
A man gestures while talking to a woman in a restaurant
Nearly 100,000 Pennsylvanians are under correctional control, earning the state an incarceration rate above the national average. What this means for Philadelphians is the subject of a spring course taught by Lisa Servon, Kevin and Erica Penn Presidential Professor and chair of city and regional planning, that brought together students from Weitzman, the School of Social Policy and Practice, and the Wharton School. Offered by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the course included several site visits, including one to Down North Pizza, the acclaimed Philadelphia restaurant that exclusively employs formerly incarcerated individuals.
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Designing a Career
Eleanor Shemtov
Eleanor Shemtov, a senior in the design major program offered through a collaboration between the Weitzman and the College of Arts and Sciences, co-founded a new student publication, t-art, and created a campus community focused on technology, art, and design. “I never would have imagined I would have created this,” she says. “I’ve learned so much about collaboration and about managing something that has so many moving pieces.”
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Undergraduate Design on Display
Installation of a design project with a long blue cloth and dress form
For the first time since design became an undergraduate major, Penn seniors in design created an in-person exhibition to showcase their final projects last month, interpreting this year’s theme “in search of” in a variety of mediums. Myahn Walker used graphic design and 3D modeling technology to re-create her favorite, long-lost childhood dress from memory.
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A blue hand with robotic apparatus
The Robots Are Coming
On Sunday, May 15, Beyond the Binary, a major new choral cantata composed by Andrea Clearfield and commissioned by the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia, will have its world premiere. Associate Professor of Architecture Simon Kim’s ARCH732 students produced the interactive robotic devices featured in the production in collaboration with Penn Engineering students led by Mark Yim, director of the GRASP Lab at Penn.
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Michelle Lopez watches a crane install her sculpture
Lopez Receives Tenure
Michelle Lopez, currently the Carrafiell Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, has been promoted to the rank of associate professor, with tenure, in the Department of Fine Arts. Lopez, who joined the faculty in 2016, is an interdisciplinary sculptor and installation artist whose work examines political and social structures by inverting cultural tropes through the process of building and exploiting industrial materials. An exhibition of Lopez's work was installed at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2019.
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A curving concrete modern building
Preserving the Recent Past
The latest in a series of roundtable conversations, which bring together faculty from the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, focuses on the preservation of modern architecture. Frank Matero, professor of architecture and chair of historic preservation, was joined by Lecturer Irene Matteini and Bill Whitaker, curator and collections manager at the Architectural Archives, to discuss the unique challenges in conserving the built heritage of the last century. “How do you create forms of communication and build bridges in a way that can allow the public to comprehend, dig into, explore, and value complicated histories?” Whitaker asks.
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The Role of Economics in Combating Climate Change (Audio)
On the latest podcast from the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Lord Nicholas Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the recipient of Kleinman’s 2022 Carnot Prize, discusses why traditional economics fail to capture the magnitude of threat presented by climate change, and how the discipline must adapt. “What we have to do is to take our problem, look at transforming cities, look at transforming energy, look at transforming transport, look at transforming land and say, ‘How do we change these big systems?’” Stern says.
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Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin, by Sonja Dümpelmann, professor of landscape architecture, has received the Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.

Bill Fleming, Wilks Family Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, has been appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education.

Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning Domenic Vitiello is the recipient of the Salvatori Award from the Penn Center for Italian Studies to support his research on the relationships between anti-mafia, anti-racism, and migrant solidarity movements in Palermo, Sicily.
“How to Stop Speeding Drivers? Scare Them.”
Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning Erick Guerra on the benefits of expanding the use of automated speed cameras to stop speeding
The New York Times (May 2, 2022)

“Philadelphia Thinks Big”
Julie Donofrio, managing director of PennPraxis, joined a public discussion to share the story of efforts to cap I-95 at Penn’s Landing, which will create a new park
The Philadelphia Citizen (May 2, 2022)

“Ken Lum”
An interview with Lum, the Marilyn Jordan Taylor Presidential Professor and chair of fine arts
Art World: Whitehot Magazine with Noah Becker (May 2022, audio)

“Designing Motherhood: From the Dalkon Shield to the BabyBjörn”
A review of an exhibition that included contributions from Weitzman’s Sarah Rottenberg and Orkan Telhan
Family Article (May 2022)
Imperative of Struggle
Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition for the Class of 2022
Opening Thursday, May 12, 6:00pm | In person; Crane Arts, 1400 North American Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Rendering of a park under an elevated highway
Year End Show
Friday, May 13–Sunday, June 5 | In person; Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(A virtual gallery will also go live on May 13)
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Drawing of the stairs of Weitzman Plaza
A Celebration of Stuart Weitzman Plaza
During Alumni Weekend 2022
Friday, May 13, 5:00pm | In person; 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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2022 Weitzman Commencement
Open to graduates and their guests with tickets. The event will be streamed on Weitzman’s YouTube.
Saturday, May 14, 6:00pm
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Glass Bridge Presentation
A panel discussion with Assistant Professor of Architecture Masoud Akbarzadeh. Organized by Eventscape
Thursday, May 12, 6:00pm | In person; 5-25 46th Avenue, Queens, New York
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David Leatherbarrow
Festschrift in Honor of David Leatherbarrow
An event honoring the professor emeritus of architecture
Thursday, May 19–Friday, May 20 | In person; Kleinman Energy Forum, Fisher Fine Arts Library, 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Are Cities Just Places? Rebuilding and Unbuilding Preservation
A talk by Aaron Passell, Associate Director of Urban Studies of Barnard College, presented as part of a series co-curated by Francesca Russello Ammon, associate professor of city planning and historic preservation at Weitzman, for the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia.
Thursday, May 19, 5:30pm | Online
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Yo! Modernism: The View from Philadelphia
The 2022 National Symposium of Docomomo US, a nonprofit dedicated to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the modern movement
Tuesday, May 31–Sunday, June 5 | In person; hosted by Weitzman
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Weitzman School of Design · 210 South 34th Street · 102 Meyerson Hall · Philadelphia, PA 19104 · USA