Oculus Newsletter
Winter 2020 - 2021
The Gibbs Spotlight
The Gibbs Spotlight: Melissa Park, Interior Design Alumna 

Meet OU interior design alumna Melissa Park and learn about her career in the interior design field! 

The Gibbs Spotlight: Jessica Langsdon, Regional + City Planning Student 

Meet Jessica Langsdon, a Regional + City Planning graduate student! Jessica shares information about her journey to OU and the RCPL program with us and talks about her recent projects and accomplishments.

The Gibbs Spotlight: Negar Matin, Interior Design Faculty 

Meet new OU interior design faculty member, Negar Matin! In this interview, we discuss her career as a design researcher and her goals at Gibbs.

Student & Alumni Highlights
University of Oklahoma American School Archive Receives Significant Donation of Donald MacDonald Collection  

The American School Archive, part of the OU Libraries’ Western History Collection, recently acquired the Donald MacDonald Collection, including thousands of items representing the life’s work of prominent San Francisco-based architect and OU alumnus Donald MacDonald.

OU Landscape Architecture Alumna Presents at ASLA Conference  

This year, the annual American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) national conference was held virtually, with the theme reVISION ASLA. University of Oklahoma landscape architecture alumna Amanda Thomas was selected to present her topic entitled “Considering Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Playground Design” during a “Game Changer” session. 

University of Oklahoma Alumna Named a 2020 LEED Fellow  

Founder and President of C-Wise Design and Consulting, Martha Norbeck (M.Arch ’02), has been named a 2020 LEED Fellow by Green Business Certification Inc. Norbeck is among 25 professionals who represent exceptional practitioners and leaders within the green building community and have demonstrated mastery of the technical application of LEED. Norbeck is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

OU Environmental Design Student Serves as Fall 2020 Convocation Representative  

Shobha Pathmanathan, senior environmental design student, was recently selected as the Gibbs College of Architecture student representative for the December 2020 Convocation! This student representative is normally a college banner carrier during commencement but it was adapted this year due to the virtual format.

OU Construction Science Student Collaborates on UN Hydropower Development Report   

University of Oklahoma construction science graduate student Samira Rasolkhani recently collaborated on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s 2019 World Small Hydropower Development Report. Based on her contributions, Samira has been asked to contribute to the report again, when it is updated in 2022.  

OU Construction Science Students Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity   

The “Introduction to Construction Management” course offered by the Haskell & Irene Lemon Division of Construction Science requires students to spend four hours doing community service related to the built environment, but students Daniel Nieto, Agustin Trujillo and Christian Sanroman decided that an afternoon working with Habitat for Humanity wasn’t enough. These students salvaged some materials and built a shelter for a homeless man in their community. 

OU Urban Design Students Design Movable Bathroom Fixtures to Explore Aging-In-Place Solutions    

Urban Design students Samiul Haque and Virginia Paiva recently completed a project for the college’s Community Health and Environmental Design Initiative. With the guidance of faculty members Michael Birkes and David Boeck, the students designed movable bathroom fixtures for the OU-Tulsa Occupational Therapy Simulation Lab.  

OU Alumni Contribute to Success of 2021 AIA Architecture Firm of the Year, Moody Nolan     

Moody Nolan has been selected as the AIA National 2021 Firm of the Year. Two members of their staff, Drew Deering, AIA, LEED AP (B.Arch ’99) and Richard Plontick, RA, LEED AP (BS.ED ’74, M.Arch ’76), are OU Architecture alumni. Drew and Richard work together out of MNI’s Chicago office.  

Research + Outreach
Gibbs College Faculty Present During “Understanding Inequity, Advancing Equity” Event 

The University of Oklahoma hosted a free, two-day symposium on “Understanding Inequity, Advancing Equity.” Gibbs College faculty participating included Vanessa Morrison (Institute for Quality Communities), Deborah Richards (Architecture), Aujean Lee (Regional + City Planning), and Laura Harjo (Regional + City Planning Affiliate Faculty).

University of Oklahoma Construction Science Professor Invited to Serve on ENR Mentoring Panel 

Associate professor of construction science Somik Ghosh has been invited to serve on a panel that will explore mentoring during the Engineering News-Record “Top Young Professionals” Virtual Conference, which will be held February 24-26, 2020.  

University of Oklahoma Architecture Professor Named Finalist in UCSD Border Innovation Challenge, Receives Audience Choice Award    

University of Oklahoma Herb Greene Teaching Fellow Rene Peralta was recently named a finalist in the University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) Border Innovation Challenge. Peralta’s proposal entitled “Tijuana Solar River” received the “Audience Choice” award. 

OU Architecture Professor Co-Presents “Culture of Creation” During International Congress on Ambiances  

University of Oklahoma assistant professor of architecture Tiziana Proietti recently co-presented “Culture of Creation: The atmosphere of objects” with Satyendra Pakhalé during the 4th International Congress on Ambiances, hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

OU Architecture Professor Lectures During Acoustical Society of America Conference  

Associate professor of architecture Daniel Butko recently lectured during a dedicated acoustics education session at the 2020 Acoustical Society of America conference. His 45-minute invited lecture, titled “Over a decade of decibels – celebrating teaching architectural acoustics within an architecture curriculum to students with various majors and minors,” was given as a result of his recent Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education award, announced earlier this year. 

"Renegades” American School Exhibition Reviewed in Journal of Architectural Education   

The “Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture” exhibition, a collaboration of the Gibbs College of Architecture and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, recently received a favorable review in the Journal of Architectural Education by architectural historian Dr. Elizabeth Keslacy of Miami University. 

Events & Engagement
OU Design and Construction Virtual Career Fair to be Held March 18, 2021 

The Spring 2021 Design and Construction Career Fair will be held online from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m CST. on Thursday, March 18. Spots are still available for employers to sign up to recruit Gibbs College students!  

Library Highlight: Get to Know the Lt. Orville S. Witt, Jr. Collection 

The Witt Collection was established in 1946 as a memorial for University of Oklahoma student Orville S. Witt, Jr. who had completed four of the five-year architecture program before being sent to war.  

“Bruce Goff’s Design Vocabulary: A Synthesis of Music, Art and Architecture” Available at a Discount to OU Students, Faculty and Alumni 

Bruce Goff’s Design Vocabulary: A Synthesis of Music, Art and Architecture, by OU alumnus Ernest E. Burden, is a 350-page full-size, full-color e-book available in a PDF format at discounted price of $19.95 for OU students, faculty and alumni.  

In Memoriam
Remembering Robert L. (Bob) Faust, 1932-2020  

Robert L. (Bob) Faust, who was born on March 15, 1932, passed away peacefully at his home after a brief illness on November 11, 2020. Faust, who was professor emeritus at Auburn University, is an important figure of the OU American School.

Remembering Charles Ward, 1924-2020 

Charles W. Ward, Jr. passed away on November 23, 2020 in Tulsa. He was 96. Charles served Gibbs College as member of one of its first Board of Visitors, and later received the University of Oklahoma Regent’s Alumni Award in 2007 in recognition of his service. He remains a most distinguished alumnus of our college. 

Remembering Katie Wing, OU Urban Design Alumna 

The OU Urban Design Studio community was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Katie Wing. A 2019 graduate, Katie’s optimism, determination, and joy were an inspiration to all who knew her. While at the Studio she fed her passions for community placemaking, environmental sustainability, and social justice. 

Oculus is distributed by the University of Oklahoma Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture during the fall and spring semesters. It features news about student, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments, as well as events that may be of interest to our community. Note that there is a weekly version of the newsletter for a local audience, and a monthly version for a broader audience.
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