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The Boston Architectural College Announces the Appointment of Three Design Heads

  • 12/07/2011

  • evan.gallivan@the-bac.edu

  • BAC News

  • Boston Architectural College

From Left: Karen Nelson, Acting Head, School of Architecture; Crandon Gustafson, Head, School of Interior Design; Maria Bellalta, Head, School of Landscape Architecture

From Left: Karen Nelson, Acting Head, School of Architecture; Crandon Gustafson, Head, School of Interior Design; Maria Bellalta, Head, School of Landscape Architecture

The Boston Architectural College announces the appointment of three new department Heads. "These accomplished educators bring a wealth of experience to the BAC's programs of practice-based design education," according to President Ted Landsmark. "As we diversify our programs to better anticipate the requirements of professional design practice, the need has grown for program leaders who collaborate across the disciplines of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture. Integrated design practice, virtual modeling of work over great distances, increased management expectations, and new career opportunities are transforming the design professions toward greater collaboration among clearly defined bodies of knowledge. These new program Heads have demonstrated leadership in their respective fields, and have shown the ability to grow student expertise through multidisciplinary work. They bring professional skills and foresight to the BAC and to the design professions globally."

Karen Nelson has been named Acting Head of the BAC's Architecture program. Educated at M.I.T. and Columbia, she has taught at RISD and at the BAC for over a decade where she has directed advanced studio education. A much revered teacher and mentor, she oversaw the College's Solar Decathlon studios, is managing the BAC's spring 2012 architecture re-accreditation process, and continues to recruit and manage adjunct architecture faculty. She has brought to the BAC many noted outside speakers including Snohetta, Steven Benisch, Hollwich Kushner, and Howeler Yoon to assist students in understanding the work of the most innovative designers working today. "We have enjoyed working across our disciplines in the past," she reports, "and the need for interdisciplinary research and practice is greater than ever before. Our graduates will create career paths unthought-of just a few years ago. As educators we will need to be increasingly creative in preparing students to enter fields that require open-mindedness and professional agility."

Crandon Gustafson has been named Head of the BAC's Interior Design program. He previously headed the Interior Design program at Harrington College of Design in Chicago, where he initiated their masters program. Trained as an architect at the University of Colorado, he worked for a number of years at the Chicago offices of Gensler, and Perkins + Will, and was managing architect for Chicago Public Schools. He is an ASID member, and was elected President of the Illinois chapter of the International Interior Design Association. He holds NCIDQ certification, and is LEED accredited. "Interior Designers have special expertise in space planning, lighting, ergonomics, health and wellness planning, addressing issues of aging, and evidence-based design. These skills contribute to our understanding of sustainability, and to the human factors engineering that is increasingly shaping our design decisions. It will be very stimulating to bring these specific perspectives to the education of architects and Landscape Architecture professionals, as well as to our emerging professional interior designers."

Maria Bellalta has been named Head of the BAC's Landscape Architecture program. Her professional credentials include practice with Sasaki Associates, Copley Wolff Design, and Martha Swartz Partners. She has worked on planning and landscape projects throughout the United States and Western Europe, with an emphasis on urban sustainability. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame, and from the Landscape Architecture program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has taught at Harvard, at the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, and at the Boston Architectural College. "Understanding the principles of urban ecology and landscape design is essential for designing and maintaining sustainable communities," she has said. "I am very excited about joining forward-thinking design peers in enabling future designers to address the issues of building environmentally sustainable cities."

BAC Provost Julia Halevy says, "We're thrilled to have assembled this group of thoughtful and collaborative designers. We are developing a new Foundation curriculum with their input, and we anticipate that our graduates will not only understand their responsibilities within the traditional design disciplines, but will also be highly innovative in shaping design practices into the future."