State of the College & Annual Report

Stories of Resilience and Adaptation: 2020 State of the College and Annual Report

The stories we create here illustrate how, even in these challenging times, the creative spirit burns brightly at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

At no other time in my memory have our disciplines, professions, institutions and society at large been called on to provide such a creative response to so many systemic challenges. We know them well, confronting us on many sides—from health concerns and financial worries to social unrest and the impacts of climate change. Seems like an awful lot for one community to take on, but my hope in this chaos has been fueled by the daily stories of our creative response.

Our State of the College and Annual Report sums up the collective achievements of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture but I encourage you to read the subtext here—one of resilience, hard work and above all creativity. There are many stories to tell, but allow me to share three that illustrate the daily achievements of our whole CAPLA community.

There is a townhouse being built by a group of architecture students on the edge of university property, led by Professor of Architecture Mary Hardin. The students have soldiered through the worst heat of a Tucson fall term and worked fast to complete this design-build by the end of the semester. When I visited the site, I saw the students hard at work, proud of their achievements and learning so much about energy and water-conscious residential design. Here one finds the creative contributions of these CAPLA students to community making.

At another event, marking the virtual gathering of the dean’s advisory group—the CAPLA Futures Council—a riveting presentation was made by Kendra Hyson, a 2015 graduate of our Master of Landscape Architecture program. This remarkable woman spoke with compelling passion about co-founding The Urban Studio, demonstrating the power of the public realm to move us toward social equity. Using design as the message and the medium, The Urban Studio is engaging communities of color in co-creation, exposing young people to the possibilities and the power of this work. It showed to me the creative contributions our graduates can make to social justice.

Finally, I give you the Fall 2020 RESTRUCT Symposium, where several of our scholars and their collaborators presented research generated as a response to the current pandemic. The contributions are varied, from navigating our urban landscape based on the risk assessment of exposure to the contagion, to how we may safely re-enter hotels. In these presentations, I saw the creative contributions to new knowledge in the built environment.

In all of this work and so much more, hope is presented to us in the intellectual power of our colleagues. This report showcases some of that work and also reveals the dedication to community, the resilience to rapidly changing work and study environments and the courage in seeking to bring about societal change through design and planning. These stories illustrate how the creative spirit burns brightly at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

It is my honor to lead a design and planning college where I have the daily pleasure of witnessing the creativity of our community members—students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors and administrators alike. Thank you for being a part of our community.

Nancy Pollock-Ellwand
Dean and Professor of Landscape Architecture
College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture
The University of Arizona