Architect, Educator and Community Leader Margaret Griffin to Speak at Norwich Architecture + Art’s Lecture Series


March 17, 2016

Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art presents “Back to Basics or Migrant Form?” a lecture by Margaret Griffin, FAIA, co-founder of the Los Angeles based firm Griffin Enright Architects.

A continuation of the spring 2016 lecture series, this event will be held on Friday, Mar. 25, at 4 p.m. in the Chaplin Hall Gallery and is free and open to the public.

Griffin is an architect, educator, and community leader who co-founded Griffin Enright Architects in an effort to establish a collaborative, creative, and forward-thinking practice.

The firm’s fluid and dynamic work combines innovative design and experimentation in a desire to explore cultural complexities relative to the built environment. Griffin Enright Architects’ work has been acknowledged on a local, national, and global scale receiving dozens of awards for design excellence from the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) and the American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum.

Griffin’s design education includes both a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Architecture degree from University of Virginia. Upon graduating, she was granted a fellowship from the American Academy in Rome to investigate the relationship between urban form and landforms, a subject she continues to examine in her architectural practice through landscape design.

While busy running her emerging practice, Griffin is also a practicing Professor at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), with twenty-two years of experience teaching at universities including Syracuse University, University of Southern California, and University of California, Los Angeles.

Griffin is also an active and participating member of her community, committing her time to service as an appointed member of Santa Monica’s Architectural Review Board and previously as a member of the AIA Board of Directors, Los Angeles chapter.

The NU School of Architecture + Art Lecture Series is supported by a generous grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation. For more than 10 years, the Byrne Foundation has partnered with Norwich University to bring eminent national and international architects, designers, artists, and writers to campus. Events are free and open to the public.

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
Mobile: (802) 595-3613

Norwich in the News: “Aspiring Architects Start Building Their Futures”

Norwich University Office of Communications

July 13, 2015

Burlington-based CBS affiliate WCAX-TV recently profiled Norwich University’s Summer Design Academy, a week-long residential architecture and design program for high school students sponsored by NU’s School of Architecture + Art.

“The budding builders are creating things large and small, tackling topics like scale, proportion, light and design, in a mix of studio, seminar and field experiences,” WCAX’s Keith McGilvery reported.

Burlington-based designer and Norwich alum Josh Chafe co-directed the design program. He told WCAX that Norwich’s Summer Design Academy offered participants experience relevant beyond the field of architecture, including how to work in a group, create on fly, and reject ideas without guilt in order to start over.

Watch the full video news feature here.

Photo by Norwich University.

Norwich professor selected to participate in special seminar on teaching interfaith understanding

Norwich University Assistant Professor Timothy Kent Parker, Ph.D., has been selected from a nationwide pool of nominees to participate in a faculty seminar on the teaching of interfaith understanding to be held in Boston later this month.

The seminar is offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Twenty-five faculty members will participate in the five-day Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar that will take place June 21–25, 2015, at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Parker teaches history and theory of architecture and art in Norwich’s School of Architecture + Art. His interest in this topic stems from a desire to promote interfaith understanding at Norwich University and to connect several disparate efforts that support that goal.

Although Norwich has both military and civilian students and programs, Parker feels that, in particular, Norwich students planning on commissioning into the Armed Forces can benefit from these conversations.

“Given the presence of religion—however variously interpreted—in areas and events of conflict, military personnel and their leaders should be among those most aware of world religions,” he said.

Parker is a practicing architect with a graduate degree in philosophy, a brief stint at an Episcopal Seminary and a doctorate in Architectural History and Theory that includes a dissertation on modern Catholic churches in Rome. His doctoral work employed interdisciplinary methods to relate theological and architectural conceptions of modern identity, and his most current work focuses upon the art and architecture of religious pluralism.

“Professor Parker has ongoing teaching and research initiatives that will be enriched by the seminar, and Norwich University is ideally situated to embrace and nourish the results of this timely opportunity,” said Guiyou Huang, senior vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “This seminar will in turn benefit Professor Parker’s students.”

The seminar will be led by two leading scholars: Catherine Cornille, Newton College alumnae chair of western culture, chair of the department of theology, and professor of comparative theology at Boston College; and Noah Silverman, director of faculty partnerships at IFYC. Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University, will be a special guest speaker.

The program aims to broaden faculty members’ knowledge and strengthen their teaching of interfaith understanding with the development of new courses and resources.

“Strengthening the teaching of interfaith understanding at colleges and universities is a high priority at a time when college enrollment—and American society—is becoming more diverse. Strengthening participation in American life with greater understanding of the distinctive contributions of different faiths is a key to America’s future success,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The number of institutions that nominated faculty members to participate in the interfaith understanding seminar is most impressive.”

For more information, visit

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 750 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conference of college and university presidents. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

A Chicago-based nonprofit organization, Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) mission is to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Since its incorporation in 2002, IFYC has worked on five continents and with over 200 college and university campuses, trained thousands in the principles of interfaith leadership, and reached millions through the media. IFYC has worked with partners including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the White House, and the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. Eboo Patel is the founder and president of IFYC.

Norwich Offers Architecture, Cybersecurity Summer Camps for Teens

Rising juniors and seniors will build their own computer and study cyberdefense in a free, week-long camp sponsored by the National Science Foundation, while budding architects explore design with top Norwich faculty.
Norwich University Office of Communications

April 10, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University is offering two new summer camps led by standout Norwich faculty and alumni for rising high school juniors and seniors.

The first program, GenCyber@NU, is a free, US government-sponsored camp for cyber security and cyber defense in which students will build their own computers to take home. The week-long pre-college program, to be held from June 21-27, is designed for students interested in information security, digital forensics, cyberattack defense, and personal online protection.

The camp is funded by a grant from the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation and is FREE for attending students. All expenses for the week-long program, including tuition, room and board, round-trip airfare and transportation to and from the Norwich University campus (as applicable), field trips, and other program fees are covered at no cost to GenCyber participants.

Applications are due May 1. Interested students should submit a letter of interest, a letter of recommendation and an unofficial high school transcript via email to For more information:

Norwich University undergraduate and online graduate programs are consistently ranked among the best in the nation for cyber security education and are certified by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). Norwich University has been a member of the National Science Foundation’s Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service program since 2002.

The second program is facilitated by Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art, which will hold a Summer Design Academy from July 5-11. During the weeklong program, students will grapple with design thinking and explore the communication of their ideas through various media and hands-on projects.

Workshops, lectures, demonstrations and off-campus experiences complement daily design studios. Students will gain a broader view of the field while developing skills and portfolio materials to add to their college applications. Students will also be advised on the college admission and portfolio-building processes.

Local designer and Norwich alumnus Joshua Chafe of Truex Cullins in Burlington, Vt., will join School of Architecture + Art faculty to provide design guidance and critique as students learn to design and build full-scale structures and spaces during studio time.

The cost, including room and board, is $750. Applications will be accepted through May 20. For more information:

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture. Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art is the only NAAB accredited architecture school in northern New England.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886, (m) 595-3613

Design Diaspora: Architecture Graduate Students on Summer Internships

Fanning out from California to Ghana, students interned in a host of settings, from traditional architecture firms to fabrication, construction, design-build, museum and university venues.
By Timothy Parker, 
Assistant Professor | School of Architecture + Art

October 22, 2014

Studying architecture while nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont has many benefits. Students may more readily focus on their work without the numerous distractions inevitably present in any urban environment. Cold winter months may further nourish the sense of common cause and solidarity that the studio setting seeks to manifest. And the palpable presence of nature in its seasons and textures may inculcate an awareness of how the real poetry of architecture remains rooted in the material richness of the earth.

But these sources of concentration, community and consciousness may also become instruments of isolation. After all, architecture is a complicated endeavor. Responsible conception and creation of the built environment involves comprehension of its global, interdependent and ever-changing nature. And an architectural education entirely limited to the academic studio culture is insufficient. This is why Norwich architecture students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities, field trips are routine and a great portion of curricular activity is oriented toward providing the broader perspective that a fully formed architect needs. This is also one reason why incoming graduate students are required to spend a summer working in a firm within—or closely related to—the architecture profession.

The summer internship is more than mere work experience. For concurrent with their work in a firm, students take a six-credit course that ensures they are not only receiving practical experience but also reflecting upon it in critical, productive ways. And this all happens through NUoodle, in an online course largely designed by Michael Hoffman, associate professor and director of graduate architecture. The aim is, as Hoffman puts it, “to develop a bridge between their academic experience and professional practice.” The course brings students together in small groups for online discussion, guided by faculty prompts yet open to topics of interest as they may arise. The course requires substantial weekly written responses to readings that range across the historical, theoretical, economic, political and cultural aspects of architectural practice.

I had the privilege of teaching the course with 15 students this summer, and the educational benefits were evident. The weekly readings and writing assignments fostered a culture of research and critical reflection as complimentary to the daily routines of professional practice. Students approached all aspects of the work environment in their writing, including project delivery, financial management, legal and managerial organization, marketing and more, in light of assigned readings and their own research, in order to take fuller ownership of their own education. And they frequently addressed the relation between their academic studies and the work they were doing—or hope and plan to do in the future. Katherine Anderson saw familiar elements included in the workflow while interning at New World Design Builders in Clifton, New Jersey. “It [was] reassuring to see that academic-related activities have seeped into the work environment, or vice versa,” she said.

Beyond these valuable lessons, however, the students mirrored in microcosm the rich diversity of architecture-related professional practice. Students interned at different kinds of offices and were scattered broadly. Several remained in the northeast. But others worked in California, Texas, the District of Columbia, and as far away as West Africa—Accra, Ghana, to be precise. Many employers were more-or-less traditional architectural firms. But students also served internships at fabrication, construction, design-build, museum, university and drafting-service venues. Their size and complexity varied greatly, from sole proprietorships to multi-office, multi-industry corporations.
Students experienced certain common threads during their internships, including some surprise as how much responsibility they were given from day one. The sheer amount and variety of projects under active development concurrently, day after day, was also an eye-opener. The varying kinds of organization and the variety of management approaches in practice across employers, however, meant that each student was also presented with unique challenges and opportunities to make the most of the internship.

For Alyssa Shramek, who interned with Hudson Design Group in North Andover, Massachusetts, consultation and collaboration were highlights: “I think that working with the engineers at my firm was the most useful skill I learned. It was interesting to learn about what they look for in designs and how to explain design concepts to them and work together to achieve the design you are trying to create.”

Jayson Sterba, who interned with MulvannyG2 in Washington, DC, found a chief benefit of the course to be the writing assignments. “I really enjoyed the depth this class went into and the multitude of ideas and prompts we had to criticize and write about. It helped me hold a critical stance to this firm and the field and kept me on my toes always thinking about how the company is serving me at the same time I am serving them.”

Rachel Opare-Sem, who interned at Modula Group in Accra, Ghana, perhaps took the broadest view of all: “I think as a designer the internship was useful, because it made me aware that there are many factors, outside of merely designing on a daily basis, that contribute to successfully practicing architecture. Business management, economic climate, culture and even politics affect the profession, and I think that it is important for an architect to balance all these, and others, in order to be successful.”

And for my part, I am now able to work with all of these students again as they pursue their own research topics and, this semester, develop and complete the written portion of their year-long thesis projects. I am encouraged by their maturity in tackling complex problems, seemingly incommensurable discourses or otherwise advance their own critical thinking about their project, their field and their future profession. I am eager to see where they go from here.

In Europe, Students Research Old London, Roman Concrete Mysteries

Using summer research grants to study primary sources, undergraduates Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson analyzed early London architecture and the stuff that made Roman buildings endure.
By Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson

October 22, 2014

This summer, two Norwich University architecture students researched intriguing historic puzzles in London and Italy.

Undergraduate architecture and history major Shaili Patel, a rising junior, researched the influence of Enlightenment philosophies on London city planning through the work of Christopher Wren and John Gwynn, luminaries of 17th and 18th century architecture.

Patel visited the English capital to study and analyze primary sources, most of which were original engravings of city maps and plans designed by Wren and Gwynn. At the same time, she experienced modern London; in many ways the opposite of the rational London proposed by the gentleman architects she studied.

Her research culminated in an in-depth paper with visual analysis of the plans and texts she studied. Patel plans to submit her paper for presentation at the Phi Alpha Theta (the national history honor society) undergraduate research conference.

“Wren presented a visual theory with his plans, while Gwynn took the theory and made it a practical application of the rationalism of the Enlightenment that is evident in the London of today,” Patel says. Consequently, more of Gwynn’s ideas are present in present-day London.

Roman Concrete

While Roman ruins are also present in London, undergraduate architecture student and rising junior Taylor Davidson traveled to Italy this summer to research the applications of Roman concrete and related designs as part of a Norwich University Summer Research Fellowship.

His research, entitled “Concrete: Looking at the Old to Improve the New,” looks for practical techniques that can be taken from Imperial Roman concrete and applied to modern construction.

“The longevity of these structures, such as the Pantheon and Coliseum in Rome, stand as a testament to the success of Imperial Rome’s concrete and design,” Davidson says.

“If we can apply some of the techniques that proved successful in Rome, perhaps we can increase the structural longevity of our own concrete, thereby reducing costs and CO2 emissions … from concrete production.”

Davidson visited Rome and Pompeii to examine remaining examples of Roman concrete. He spent weeks documenting and examining structures to extrapolate techniques and material use that contributed to the longevity of the structures.

“Rome is a treasure of architectural wealth. The fact that these buildings, some of which are more than 2,000 years old, remain standing provides us with the richest source for examining and understanding the past,” Davidson said.

Davidson documented sites using notes, detailed drawings and detailed photographs of each site he visited, all of which contribute to his culminating research paper.
These ancient Roman architectural structures preserve a record of invaluable information about the civilization from which they arose.

Davidson hopes to answer why modern structures have such a comparatively short lifespan, a problem that faces contemporary architects, builders and society overall.
Deducing the key techniques and designs from ancient Roman can inform the construction of the future, he says. It may be possible to create structures that endure beyond what we now consider the acceptable lifespan of a building.

Robust Slate for School of Architecture + Art 2014-15 Lecture Series

Upcoming speakers include Michael Gericke, partner at global design powerhouse Pentagram, and Kill Shakespeare graphic artist Andy Belanger.
By Tolya Stonorov & Timothy Parker, Assistant Professors
School of Architecture + Art

October 22, 2014

Over homecoming weekend, the School of Architecture + Art kicked off its annual lecture series, supported in part by the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation, with a Norwich focus. Two students who received the prestigious Summer Research Fellowship, Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson, each presented their research. They were followed by a lecture from Norwich architecture alumnus Jason Iacobucci, principal of Solus 4, an architecture, interior, and planning design and research firm which operates as a core group collaborative on a global platform.

The lecture series continued this October when Michael Gericke, a partner at Pentagram, self-described as the world’s largest independent design consultancy, who spoke on October 10. With offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin and Austin, Pentagram markets itself by stating, “We design everything: architecture, interiors, products, identities, publications, posters, books, exhibitions, websites and digital installations.”

Co-sponsored by the Norwich University Writers Series, Andy Belanger (Andy B.), the graphic artist for the comic book series Kill Shakespeare will talk about creating art and life as a comic artist at the Chaplin Hall Gallery on Friday, Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. Kill Shakespeare is a 12-issue comic book that deals with William Shakespeare’s characters and Shakespeare himself. These famous characters are brought to life and they either long to kill Shakespeare or to protect him. The first 12 issues of Kill Shakespeare were adapted into a live staged reading format in 2011, which the Norwich Pegasus Players will perform on Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, at 7:30 p.m. in Dole Auditorium.

Later on November 14, Whitney Sander of the international-award-winning Sander Architects joins us from Los Angeles. Sander’s work includes a Hybrid House that “uses components of prefab technology to create homes that are custom designed for each client. Homes that are not only green but also very high design.” This focus on prefab and green design choreographs well with Norwich’s recent completion of the Delta T-90 Solar Decathlon house.

In February, we are thrilled to host Michael Cotton, a senior architect with Snøhetta, New York, who will discuss a newly completed project. Snøhetta’s designs are cutting edge, internationally recognized as among the best in the world. Their work varies in scope from architecture to landscape to branding.

On March 27, the School of Architecture + Art co-sponsors a symposium with the Vermont Arts Council on modern identity in architectural history, theory and practice. Prof. Vladimir Kulić, Prof. Monica Penick and Norwich Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Art Prof. Timothy Parker are co-editors of Sanctioning Modernism: Architecture and the Making of Postwar Identities. The trio will convene and join a panel of practicing architects in a Sanctioning Modernism symposium that seeks to reflect on how modern identity touches present-day clients, architects’ own design principles and related contexts.

Norwich architecture alumnus Gavin L. Engler, an associate with Carol A. Wilson Architect in Falmouth, Me., whose work has been published and widely recognized for its excellence in design, will give the final lecture of the school year on April 10. Engler was named one of Maine’s “Forty Under 40” in recognition of his commitment to leadership, professional excellence and community involvement.

The School of Architecture + Art heartily invites you to join us for any or all of these events, which are all held in Chaplin Hall Gallery.