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Architecture+Design News

News Releases

Tiffany Brown Feature
June 15, 2020

LTU Alum speaks on leadership to Architectural Record

Tiffany Brown, BS Arch 2004 + M Arch 2007 + MBA 2015, recently spoke to Architectural Record about inclusivity in the architectural field.

As a leader in the architectural community, Ms. Brown provides information on how her initiative 400 Forward works to provide Black women with mentorship in the architectural profession.  She is also an executive board member for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), through which she advocates for diversity and fellowship in the architectural community.

You can read the full article here.

Broekman News Item
June 15, 2020

LTU Alum Ian Broekman featured in AutoWeek Review

Ian Broekman, Chief Innovation Officer at MI-Spec Automotive (MSA), was featured in AutoWeek.  Broekman focuses on design and branding at MSA, an aftermarket specialist based in Auburn hills. Their Ford F-150 package features an improved engine, a molded fiberglass front fender, new grille, logo, pushbar and lights as well as many other new graphics.

You can read the review here.
MAF News item
June 12, 2020

LTU Students awarded MAF Scholarships

The Michigan Architectural Foundation awarded scholarships to two LTU students in 2020.

The 2020 American Institute of Architect’s Scholarship of $1,500 was awarded to Ryan Johns, a rising graduate student at Lawrence Technological University. He was also awarded the 2020 Katherine and John Banicki Scholarship. The national AIA provides funds for an exemplary architecture student. 

The 2020 Daniel W. Toshach & AIA Saginaw Valley Chapter Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 was awarded to Jessica Brethour, a first year graduate student at Lawrence Technological University. This award is given to a deserving student with a well-rounded application and portfolio with preference given to applicants from the area served by the AIA Saginaw Valley Chapter.

You can learn more about these awards >here.

June 4, 2020

LTU Alum Featured in Hulu Documentary About Inclusive Design

Tiffany Brown, BS Arch 2004 + M Arch 2007 + MBA 2015, is featured in the Hulu documentary Design For All. This documentary discusses how an inclusive approach to design affects our culture, our communities & our lives. You can watch the trailer here. Tiffany Brown is a leader of 400 Forward and a founding member of the Detroit Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.  

Daubman news item
May 30, 2020

CoAD Dean Karl Daubmann Speaks with Archinect About the Online Master of Architecture Degree Program

In an interview with Archinect, Daubmann unpacks the program's decade-long experience in providing an accredited online masters education. In the interview he discusses common misconceptions about choosing an online degree, online studio culture, and building trust with students. You can read the interview here.

TD news item
May 28, 2020

LTU Alum Featured in Muscle Car Month

Transportation Design Alumni, Daniel Kangas, had a redesign for the Porsche 911 featured in an Auto Revolution article. Kangas has worked on the design of the Bronco R, Mustang Shelby GT500 and a few police vehicles. To read the feature and see his re-design click here.

May 10, 2020

LTU's Stefani named to Crain's '20 in their 20s'

Christopher L. Stefani, BAr’14, MAr’16, was named to the 2020 list of ’20 in their 20s’ early career high achievers in the May 4 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business.
LTU Campus
April 21, 2020

Registration open for summer classes at LTU

Students can register now for summer semester classes that begin Tuesday, May 26, at Lawrence Technological University, including fast-track certificate programs in rapidly growing career fields. In keeping with social distancing guidelines imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, all classes will be offered online in the 2020 summer semester, which ends Friday, July 31.

3D printed pieces
April 17, 2020

LTU's Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Centrepolis Accelerator support alumni donating 3D printed face shields to area hospitals

Two Lawrence Technological University alumni, who work together at Neumann/Smith Architecture, are making a difference during this difficult time.

When Designers John McGarry and Trent Schmitz—both LTU College of Architecture and Design graduates—and their colleague, Clayton Wenrick, heard about the shortage of personal protection equipment, or PPE, at hospitals and medical clinics, they couldn’t sit still and let it happen. In less than a week, the team made 1,000 new face shields to donate to health care facilities for additional protection.

“My colleagues and I felt compelled to use our knowledge of 3D printing and advanced modeling to design and 3D print face shields for nurses, doctors and first responders,” said John McGarry, designer at Neumann/Smith. “We are fortunate enough to have access to two large 3D printers. With permission from our office, we were able to take home these 3D printers and set up our own makerspace.”

John McGarry is a designer at Neumann/Smith. He leads its Computation Group, assists in managing Makerspace and is a professor of practice at Lawrence Technological University, where he teaches simulation and prototyping. These days, he’s making face shields to donate to health care workers around Detroit. | Photo courtesy of John McGarry

McGarry leads Neumann/Smith’s Computation Group, assists in managing Neumann/Smith’s Makerspace and is a professor of practice at Lawrence Technological University, where he teaches simulation and prototyping.

He and his colleagues are collaborating with AIA Detroit and sharing resources with a larger network of architecture firms and individuals throughout the region. LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) was able to provide six new 3D printers to assist in this project.

“When we heard about this effort we were thrilled to be able to support in ramping up production output,” said Christopher Stefani, associate director of the DCDT. “This is a perfect example of the power that our students, and creative industry in general, has when we engage design and technology collectively.”

The team now has a total of 12 printers and is producing 700 or more face shields each week, according to Clayton Wenrick, designer at Neumann/Smith.

“Our team is working with AIA Detroit to encourage others to help in any way they’re able by providing resources and expertise,” said Wenrick, who oversees the Neumann/Smith fabrication lab and visualization departments. “This collaboration is helping us produce PPE for hospitals, clinics, and first responders in our community where we are being hit the hardest.”

Trent Schmitz is among the designers working daily to make face shields for health care workers who need them. He is also pursuing his master’s degree at Lawrence Technological University. | Photo courtesy of Trent Schmit.

Wenrick, McGarry and Schmitz have been leading the project on behalf of Neumann/Smith. They are not only making the 3D printed face shields, but dropping them off in bulk to Beaumont Hospitals, DMC Medical Group, Henry Ford Hospitals, and the University of Michigan health system, at times and locations specified by each organization. But that’s not all.

“Another way we’re donating them are through friends and family recommendations or people reaching out to us directly for need of the PPE resources,” McGarry added. “A lot of the hospitals are receiving federal assistance. However, smaller clinics, nursing homes, and police departments are not receiving this level of assistance. We’re hoping to get in touch with these places and provide any assistance we can.”

McGarry, Wenrick and Schmitz thanked family and friends, the Neumann/Smith team and their families, LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, LTU’s Centropolis Accelerator, a business incubator for manufacturing companies on LTU’s campus, the Rochester 3D printing dealership Delray Systems, and the virtual reality company Mirari,  a Centrepolis Accelerator client, for donations and assistance.

McGarry added: “It’s been incredible to see such care and generosity people have during these difficult times.”

If you would like to help the team at Neumann/Smith with its 3D printing effort to help those in health care, please contact McGarry at jmcgarry@ltu.edu or AIA Detroit for resources. He assures us “there is plenty to do including if you do not have a 3D printer.”

To view more on the DCDT blog, visit https://detroit.design/blog.html

LTU Quadrangle
March 27, 2020

A week in, LTU proves nimble in shift to online-only classes

Lawrence Technological University’s buildings may be closed, but the education of thousands of students is humming along online.

In a week, LTU’s eLearning Services office and faculty moved nearly 700 courses to an online format. Approximately 350 faculty members made the move.

How was this done? “With very little sleep,” said Lynn Miller-Wietecha, LTU’s director of eLearning Services, with a laugh. But seriously: “The biggest thing is that our faculty didn’t miss a beat. Even those who were not big fans of teaching online have stepped up.”

Miller-Wietecha, who has directed LTU’s online learning programs since 2011, said LTU’s laptop program, which gives every undergraduate student a top-of-the-line laptop computer and all software required for their courses, also played a key role.

LTU announced during its spring break week March 9-13 that it would extend that break a week, and move to online education March 23. Online classes will continue through the end of the semester May 15, and LTU’s scheduled May 9 Commencement was postponed to December.

“The faculty have done an amazing job,” Miller-Wietecha said. “We already had a fairly good percentage who were comfortable with online teaching techniques and tools. But the rest of them have been tremendous in working with us in learning those techniques and have become comfortable with the tools. Most of our classes are going on in Zoom as regularly scheduled, and faculty members are recording their lectures for students ot watch later.” Assignments and exams have also moved online.

But what about laboratory classes, so important to a technological school like LTU? Students can’t run a chemistry experiment from home. During that extended spring break, Miller-Wietecha said,: “Our Media Services and Media Production departments dropped everything they were doing, met with faculty in the labs, and video recorded faculty performing labs.” Examples: Associate Professor Yawen Li, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering building tiny machinery for biological analysis in a class on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), or a first-year chemistry experiment.

"You want students to learn how to do the procedure in the lab, and second, learn how to analyze the results,” Miller-Wietecha said. “We’re trying to come as close to executing those elements as we can.”

As for architecture, Miller-Wietecha said, “we’ve been running architecture programs online for years. Our entire Master of Architecture program is online.” The only thing that’s changed is, now the undergraduates are too.

As for those with connectivity programs, she said, the university has been working with internet service providers to work out extending service and providing hotspots for all students and faculty.

Overall, she said, “Faculty who have not used LTU technology tools have been thrown into it with very little time to become comfortable with it, and the faculty has risen to the challenge. The laptop program really helped, but we also had many faculty who were already comfortable with teaching online to serve as guides for their colleagues who may have been less ready.”

One of those is Andrew Gerhart, professor in LTU’s A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical, Robotic, and Industrial Engineering. Gerhart described himself as “a digital resister… I just got a smartphone a year ago.”

But once the decision to move online was made, during LTU’s extended spring break, Gerhart contacted his students about using the Zoom videoconferencing app for classes, and practiced with LTU physics professor Scott Schneider on the technologies. “With the capabilities of Canvas (LTU’s online learning software) and the capabilities of Zoom built into Canvas, and knowing everybody already had the same computer, it was amazing how quick and easy it was,” he said.

Gerhart is teaching two courses online this semester, a standard junior-level fluid mechanics course that’s all lectures, and a final-semester senior science lab. “The lecture course took some thought, but doing the class periods live in Zoom, and being able to share my screen and use Power Point slides and white boards, no problem,” Gerhart said.

He was worried the lab would be harder, but he set up a camera and did the experiment while students watched remotely—metal plates monitored for temperature that are heated and cooled, and students collect the data and measure rates of heat transfer.

“I ran the experiment while they were watching on Zoom and posted the data on Canvas,” Gerhart said. “When I asked them afterward, the students actually said in certain ways it was better (than being in the lab). Instead of multiple people standing around, they had a direct view from my camera, so they could all see, and their view was really good.” Students in the class are also broken up into teams of four, who got their own private Zoom breakout rooms for discussion.

Overall, Gerhart said, “It’s not exactly the same, but it was surprisingly seamless. It’s really kind of been a fun adventure if you approach it with the right mindset.”

Bahman Mirshab, dean of the LTU College of Business and Information Technology, said for business classes, “the move online has been virtually seamless. There were only a few of our faculty who had no experience teaching online, and the instructions we received from eLearning allowed them to move flawlessly. One good thing to come out of all this is that now all the faculty knows they can use this technology to enhance their classes.”

Karl Daubmann, dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, said that “the LTU laptop program is a huge part of our success. I’m talking to colleagues at other institutions where students don’t have computers or don’t have software and they’ve had major challenges. With us, we have a group of students, and we say, go to this area on the screen, and click this button, and we’re all talking about the same thing., It makes it so much easier.”

Daubmann noted that architects and engineers have long been accustomed to remote work and collaboration. As far back as 2010, when he worked for BluHomes, a prefabricated housing company, “I led a design team that was 1/3 in Boston, 1/3 in Michigan, and 1/3 in California.”

And, Daubmann said, LTU faculty has been using Zoom to keep in touch personally as well as professionally. “A group of faculty had a cocktail over Zoom last Thursday. We’ve never done that in person before… We’re doing a faculty search right now using these tools.” What faculty members are discovering, he said, is that “if you’re a good teacher, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a classroom or online.”

Philip Plowright, a professor of architecture who teaches classes ranging from freshman-year design to advanced graduate courses, also said “the laptop program helps so much—everybody’s got the proper hardware and tools…I took 100 first year students online Monday, with six faculty, and there wasn’t a single glitch.”

LTU’s Master of Architecture program has been online since 2010, and Plowright said “it’s part of our accreditation that we have to prove that the online and in-person experiences are exactly the same. We told the students that there will be zero change to the expectations of the class, whether you’re in a classroom or online. All we did was change modalities. You’re still in class, you have to be fully present, you can still raise your hand and ask questions.”

In some ways, Plowright said, online classes are superior. “There are advantages in flexibility and documentation. In our graduate program, every single session with every single student and every single class is recorded and made available to the student, so they can go back and watch a class from three weeks ago or five weeks ago and make sure they’re on track. At no point is it inferior to being in a physical space.”

Plus, he said, with students required to turn their laptop cameras on, “there’s more accountability. You can’t have a student sleepin’ in the back. In a classroom you might miss that. You won’t online.”

Physics professor Schneider said he had already been doing some class work online, with physics and astronomy presentations students could watch at their convenience, followed by meetings to discuss the lectures. Now, he said, those discussions are on Zoom. The only drawback? “It doesn’t have the immediacy,” Schneider said. But overall, he said: “I think it’s going well. I think we as a school are relatively agile. We did need that second week of spring break to get everyone up to speed.”

Still, Schneider said: “I’ll be very happy to go back to students in the classroom.”