Lisa Iwamoto, founding partner of San Francisco-based architecture and design studio IwamotoScott alongside Craig Scott, has been appointed as Architecture Chair at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design (CED), where she has served on the faculty as a professor for nearly two decades. Although Archinect first reported on the appointment yesterday, the formal announcement was made by the university on November 29 with Iwamoto stepping into the chair role effective December 1. IwamotoScott also shared news of the appointment on the firm website, noting that Iwamoto will “continue to balance her time between her dual passions for academia and practice.”
“I am pleased to appoint Lisa Iwamoto as the next chair of the department,” said Renee Y. Chow, Dean of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, in a statement. “She has dedicated her career to balancing practice with academia and enters the position with a well-rounded approach to architectural education that can meet the contemporary environmental challenges and opportunities we face.”
In 2013, Iwamoto was named as the inaugural Doris and Clarence Malo Collegium Teaching Chair in Design, holding that chair until 2018. The university noted that in her new role as chair of the CED’s architecture department she “plans to foreground and strengthen the profile of architectural design as the synthesis of the social, cultural, and technological research for which the department is historically known.”
Iwamoto succeeds Chow as architecture department chair after Chow, principal of Studio URBIS, officially assumed the role of dean in early November shortly after the unexpected departure of Vishaan Chakrabarti in late September. Chakrabarti, founder of the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), was named to the position in June of 2019, and stepped down due to a family medical issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic that required he return to New York. He will retain his faculty position within the department of architecture at the CED but, as previously reported by AN, won’t return to teaching until January 1, 2023. Chow served as acting dean prior to Chakbarti’s appointment from 2019-2020, executive dean from 2020-2021, and as acting dean for the Fall 2021 semester.
A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Colorado, Iwamoto is the author of Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques (2009, Princeton Architectural Press), a title that the CED refers to as a “popular primer in architectural education.” IwamotoScott’s work has been bestowed with a number of prestigious awards and accolades including a 2019 National Design Award in the interior design category from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices (2007) and League Prize (2002), and Interior Design Hall of Fame (2018), and more. One of the firm’s more recent projects, a new campus building for Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, Indiana, is slated for completion next fall.