Ben Benedict

Tradition says architects design buildings and builders build them. Architecture teachers teach them—and students study them.

But your courses turn those notions upside down. Students spend late nights in the design studio, and long, inspiring weekends building the structures they’d designed.

At a firm you and Carl Pucci co-founded 40 years ago—called, improbably, BumpZoid—your work was known for being subtle and witty. You bring the same sense of style and humor to your courses. Yet you also teach with a seriousness of purpose and craft. Former students who went into architecture appreciatively remember your critiques as “biting.” Yet they were also inspired by your care. One remembers presenting a project that he didn’t feel was his best work. Yet you picked out elements that you liked, and told him that you knew he wasn’t proud of it … yet.

They also remember your parting remark at the end of your courses: “If you ever get arrested, call me.”

You’ve taught about solar angles and brought in leading professionals from a range of perspectives. You’ve challenged students to rethink your past projects and to develop their own vernacular. Then you’ve swapped the books in their hands for hammers and taught them what it’s like to take an idea from concept to construction.

You’ve even taught them a mnemonic pronounced as “kiss-lips.”

Tradition says this isn’t how architecture is taught. Tradition also says professors don’t take their students go-karting in their backyard. Thank goodness you didn’t get the memo.

I hereby declare you Senior Lecturer in Art, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 5, 2022