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Blaine Brownell appointed as University of North Carolina’s new director of the School of Architecture

Eastward Bound

Blaine Brownell appointed as University of North Carolina’s new director of the School of Architecture

Blaine Brownell will leave his current position at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. (Courtesy of University of Minnesota School of Architecture)

Last week, the University of North Carolina College of Arts + Architecture announced that Blaine Brownell will become the next director of the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture. Brownell will be coming to the school following his position as the director of graduate studies and interim director of the Master of Science in Architecture–Sustainable Design Program at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

As an architect, former Fulbright scholar, and recently added member to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, Brownell has extensively written and taught classes on contemporary materials in relation to current sustainability initiatives. A Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Certificate in East Asian Studies from Princeton University provided Brownell an initial and longstanding interest in both fields. According to his academic biography, Brownell’s research “considers emergent materials and applications with three particular areas of focus: technology, sustainability, and East Asia, with an emphasis on Japanese architecture and design.”

One of the first books he authored, Matter in the Floating World(2011), compiled his conversations on contemporary material practices with leading Japanese architects and designers that include Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Kazuyo Sejima, and Kengo Kuma. His most recently authored book, Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future (2017), mines the revolutionary building materials of the past to predict which might be next to transform the building industry. 

“We enthusiastically welcome Blaine Brownell as next director of the School of Architecture,” said Brook Muller, dean of the College of Arts + Architecture, in a press statement. “Professor Brownell is a nationally recognized leader in sustainable design research and education, having published extensively on advances in building materials that will have revolutionary impacts on the profession and industry. He brings significant experience with consensus-based curriculum redesign and a deep understanding of the social and cultural context of sustainable design imperatives.”

Brownell’s appointment will become effective July 1, at which point Dr. José L.S. Gamez will step down as interim director.