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Tuskegee University announces annual visiting scholar partnership with Perkins+Will

September 07, 2017

Contact: Michael Tullier, APR
Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

instructor talks to students in architecture classroom
Seierup guides architecture students in the school’s design studio.

This week, Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science launched a new, ambitious partnership with the internationally recognized architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. Through this partnership, Nick Seierup, FAIA, joined the school’s architecture faculty as part of an intensive, two-week professional visiting scholar program.

“On behalf of the architecture faculty, I am honored to welcome Nick Seierup as our first nationally recognized visiting scholar,” said the school’s dean, Dr. Carla Jackson Bell. “Nick’s professional experience expressively redefines socially relevant public places and institutions through his committed focus on the fundamental issues of community, context and culture. We are proud to be one of the first HBCUs to introduce this type of innovation into our curriculum.”

Seierup serves as a principal of Los Angeles-based Perkins+Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935 and considered to be among the leading global architecture firms. He is a graduate of the Southern California Institute of Architecture and studied at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has taught at Southern California Institute of Architecture, the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles and Woodbury University.

His design work with Perkins+Will is recognized with more than 75 awards, including 50 from the American Institute of Architects. He recently led the $13.3 million revamp of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Metropolitan Division Facility, which has won numerous awards, which include the 2017 Westside Urban Forum Westside Prize, a 2017 National AIA American Academy of Justice Citation Award, the 2017 City of L.A. Green Building Award, Los Angeles Architectural Awards, Los Angeles Business Council and the 2016 AIA Los Angeles COTE LA Awards.

Nick Seierup

“For this inaugural session, I will be working in the design studio with upper-level students on their pre-thesis capstone project,” Seierup said. “By using case studies from the real world — such as our award-winning LAPD Metropolitan Division headquarters — this intensive curriculum will demonstrate how architects can successfully address the creation of architecture through pre-design programming, site analysis and precedent. It’s an example of how a successful program can transform a facility’s operation while also playing a transformative role in the surrounding community.”

Bell noted that the visiting scholar's program is expected to be the hallmark of an enduring relationship between the school and Perkins+Will, which ultimately will enhance its students’ academic experiences and the overall rigor of the school’s degree programs.

“Two-weeks is just the beginning,” Bell said. “We have a strong vision of strengthening and growing Booker T. Washington’s mission to ‘learn to do by doing.’ Having our first Perkins+Will visiting scholar on campus this fall will have a significant impact on our efforts to prepare for the National Architectural Accrediting Board’s accreditation team visit later this month.”

Perkins+Will supported the Visiting Scholars Program through additional funding to facilitate the two-week appointment. The university received additional support from the State of Alabama Board for Registration of Architects. The resulting partnership aims to further support the university’s commitment to advancing diversity in architectural education, which included a previous joint effort by the school and Perkins+Will Atlanta in spring 2016, which allowed the school to offer a student-focused career development workshop. Its ongoing partnership is a first for the historically black university and is part of Perkins+Will’s ongoing diversity, inclusion and engagement program, which strives to support and strengthen its firm-wide commitment to diversity in the industry.

“Nick’s appointment solidifies our commitment at Perkins+Will to advancing the profession by promoting talent and diversity through education,” said Eric Aukee, managing director at Perkins+Will Los Angeles. “We believe that it is more important than ever for private companies to play an active role in supporting the education of a diverse talent pool for future generations.”

In addition to Perkins+Will’s corporate-level support, the program is supported by Kevin Holland, a senior associate at Perkins+Will, who serves on the school’s Dean’s Architecture Advisory Board. Working in collaboration with Gabrielle Bullock, Perkins+Will’s director of global diversity, Holland researched potential candidates for career opportunities at the firm. Travis Armbrister, a 2016 Tuskegee graduate hailing from Nassau City, New Providence, Bahamas, was hired at Perkins+Will Atlanta in fall 2016, making him the first Tuskegee architecture graduate to be hired by the company.

© 2017 Tuskegee University