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“I’m Proud To be Able to Represent the LSU School of Architecture on a National Level”

LSU School of Architecture students have won honors at a national design competition yet again: Bryce Humbrecht, BArch 2022, won third place in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2022 Steel Competition for his project “The California Shotgun House.” The third year in a row that LSU architecture students have placed as winners in the national competition, Humbrecht’s faculty sponsors for the project were professional-in-residence Gary Gilbert, associate professor Kristopher Palagi, and instructor Tara Street.

Administered by the ACSA and sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the program is intended to challenge undergraduate and graduate students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction. Steel must be used as the primary structural material and contain at least one space that requires long-span steel structure, with special emphasis placed on innovation in steel design. The ACSA 2022 Steel Competition winners included architecture undergraduate students from across the United States.

Humbrecht’s innovative project received high praise from the competition judges. “The California Shotgun House is a structurally sound design that brings forward an inventive solution for needed housing,” the ACSA jurors said. “The signature architectural elements on the façade with the wide columns are both functional and expressive. The student took a holistic approach to the structural creativity and made the graphics visually compelling.”

“This project was the product of my final semester’s studio work and the culmination of what I learned from my five long years at LSU,” Humbrecht said. “Early in the fall semester, our professors gave us a site in Napa California which straddled a creek and sat between a suburb and a vineyard. Our only solid guideline was to design housing on this site and to do it with a particular focus on the material of steel.”

Bryce Humbrecht

Bryce Humbrecht

He divined inspiration from a Louisiana architectural standard, the “shotgun” house, which inspired the title for this California adaptation, The California Shotgun House. “Through data-driven climate research, I discovered buildings in this region of the world actually require heating just as much, if not more, than cooling. As a Louisiana native, this information was very exciting to me as I’d hardly even thought about how to design a building to stay warm… With careful consideration of all the factors effecting the site, I developed a design which achieves multiple goals while acting as one cohesive system.”

Humbrecht had fun with the creative project. “For me every aspect of this project had to be bold and risky,” he said. “There’s a certain freedom in school that is enjoyed by very few designers in the real world. Here, and in our imaginations, we are not limited by budget, client demands, or any other restraints that would make building a project ‘realistic.’ This being the final semester of my final year, I determined early on that whatever I designed, had to take advantage of this unique freedom design. This attitude permeated throughout my process as I pushed myself to create a design and graphical style which I felt was uniquely exciting.”

“Encouragement from my section professor Gary Gilbert and my other two professors Tara Street and Kris Palagi saw me through to the end of this project. Putting full energy into a fifth-year project at the height of senioritis is not easy and I truly have them to thank for keeping me on track. I’m very grateful to be placed among the excellent designs submitted from across the nation for this design competition.”

“I’m proud to be able to represent our school like this on a national level. I truly couldn’t ask for a better conclusion to my time at LSU and to this era of my life.”

He has always loved that architecture is a “truly practical art,” Humbrecht said. “It has a definite use, it is absolutely needed, and at the same time it can be elevated to achieve far more than just keep out the rain. A carefully crafted space can illicit the entire range of human emotions while simultaneously serving very pragmatic needs. It is the backdrop for our memories and the setting for our lives. It both defines culture and reflects it. It’s something that every one of us at every level has a real stake in.”

Bryce in fountain in purple grad robes“Good architecture, and good design in general, I honestly believe can solve any problem. Furthermore, who wouldn’t want to pursue a career where creativity is the product?”

At the moment Humbrecht is working full-time in Baton Rouge as an architectural associate. “I’m very excited to be pursuing my long-time passion of preservation while working on projects like the restoration of Louisiana’s State Capitol building as well as Louisiana’s Old State Capitol Building. These places are so important to the people of Louisiana and to what defines the state and city. It’s honestly a dream to be able to study these beautiful buildings in such detail and ensure that they remain available to the people of Louisiana for years to come.”

LSU Supports Moon Mission and Beyond

As NASA launches the Artemis mission which will send a spacecraft into orbit around the moon, LSU prepares for the next critical mission: to train a new generation of space scientists and engineers. 

LSU will produce the first real-time virtual representation of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where NASA’s core rockets including the Orion Crew Capsule, the core space launch system and enhanced upper stage were built. The digital twin of the facility will mirror its real-life counterpart and replace the physical trial-and-error approaches with computational data-driven modeling to improve design, reduce cost and improve quality. NASA has awarded LSU $5 million to create a digital twin of the main factory at the Michoud Assembly Facility.

Michoud Assembly Facility “Digital Twin” 

LSU will utilize the same technology used by the entertainment industry. LSU College of Art & Design faculty members Derick Ostrenko and Marc Aubanel, who is also the director of the LSU Digital Media Arts & Engineering program, will lead the construction of the digital environment that will eventually be housed at the Louisiana Space Campus in New Orleans.

Read more.

By: Alison Satake

Art and Artificial Intelligence

Harnessing the power of robots for art, landscape, mental health wellness


Faculty from the LSU College of Art & Design are using robots and artificial intelligence in combination with art and landscape.

A robot with a paintbrush with a woman sitting on the floor holding a bowl of paint

In the project “Contingent Dreams,” compositions were generated by algorithms and then drawn together by the artist and robot. 

Associate professor of digital art Hye Yeon Nam and assistant professor of landscape architecture Brendan Harmon are collaborating on two different projects.

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Haley Blakeman Named Associate Director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Haley BlakemanHaley Blakeman, FASLA, has been named the new associate director of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. She holds the Suzanne L. Turner Professorship as an assistant professor of landscape architecture. Blakeman received her BLA from LSU and her Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from the University of New Orleans. She is a licensed landscape architect and a certified planner, with over 20 years of professional experience.

Prior to teaching at LSU, Blakeman was the vice president for the Center for Planning Excellence, where she helped define organizational strategy in order to maximize the non-profit’s impact, oversee workflow and optimize staff productivity. She has practiced urban planning and landscape architecture at a variety of scales, from comprehensive planning to detail site design. She has been involved at all levels of design from concept to construction details, project and client management, and the creation and direction of a for-profit implementation program for a private non-profit. Throughout her career, Blakeman’s design work has incorporated both natural systems and community engagement into every project despite the scale or location. Her varied work experience has given her a variety of perspectives and the context needed to be a creative problem solver.

Blakeman has a progressive view of the role of landscape architects as community leaders and is passionate about communicating our profession’s value on local boards and committees, in universities and schools, and nationally through the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

She is nationally recognized for her leadership in the profession and has served the ASLA at the national level as the vice president of communications, chapter president council chair, annual meeting host committee co-chair, and on various committees. She has also served the local chapter as the chapter president and involved committee member.

Blakeman was recognized as one of Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Forty Under 40” and Baton Rouge Area Leadership.

Monique Bassey Named 2022-23 Marie Bickham Chair

Monique BasseyMonique Bassey has been named the 2022-23 Marie M. Bickham Chair in the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. A driven and talented landscape designer, Bassey’s education and work experience has taken her to Hong Kong, and Palestine. She is enthusiastic about bringing diverse perspectives to her project teams, contributing to more innovative and creative design solutions. Her versatile project skills include master planning, conceptual design, rendering and modeling, and construction documents.

Her experience spans a variety of project types, including neighborhood plans, university campus plans, community engagement, site design, streetscape design and outreach initiatives. Regardless of the type projects, from plaza design to district framework plans, Bassey brings valuable and unique insights, strong technical skills, and a passionate effort. In addition, she has also received national recognition as the winner of the high-profile “Give a Park, Get a Park” Design Competition for the City of Detroit. In 2018, she was selected to be a participant of the UNESCO World Heritage Young Professionals Forum in Manama, Bahrain. In 2019, she was selected to be a participant of the UNESCO Biennale of Luanda, Pan-African Culture of Peace Forum in Luanda, Angola.

Bassey is an active member of the Black Landscape Architects Network and also serves as the United States diaspora lead on the UNESCO Pan-African Youth Ad-Hoc Committee; and a passionate member of ASLA. She serves on the ASLA Northern California Chapter Executive Committee as the vice president and chair of the Emerging Professionals and Student Chapter committee. Nationally, she serves on the ASLA Committee on Education, collectively working to increase student chapter and faculty support, advocate for landscape architecture to become a STEM discipline and address the gaps of structural racism that occur within university programs and curriculum.

She is “hopeful that these necessary changes in academia will empower the next generation to build a legacy of activism, advocacy and leadership that speaks to a diverse and unified voice of the future.”

Bassey is a Los Angeles native and has been a landscape designer at MIG in Berkeley. She holds both a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona.

Wafaa Bilal, “Performing Change”

Wafaa Bilal, artist, will present a Paula G. Manship Endowed Lecture titled “Performing Change” at the LSU College of Art & Design at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, in the LSU Design Building Auditorium (room 103).

Kristen Kelsch Mauch named Associate Dean of Student Services

Kristen Kelsch

Kristen K. Mauch (née Kelsch), NCARB, has been named Associate Dean of Student Services for the LSU College of Art & Design. Mauch is an Associate Professor of Practice in the LSU School of Architecture. She received her BA in History of Art and Architecture and Classical Civilization from Boston University and her Master of Architecture from LSU. Since joining the LSU faculty in 2010, Mauch has taught in both the Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture programs. Prior to her appointment as associate dean, she served as the School of Architecture’s undergraduate coordinator and spearheaded the LSU Architecture Camp, a residential summer camp for high school students. Mauch is also a licensed architect in the state of Louisiana and serves as the Architect Licensing Advisor for LSU.   

Mauch’s research focuses on design pedagogy and beginning design education. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Water Literacy Project, an environmental education nonprofit that builds water literacy through in-school instruction. She currently serves as Ripple Effect’s Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships and oversees two National Academy of Sciences-funded projects for elementary and high school students in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

As Associate Dean of Student Services, Mauch will engage with architecture, art, landscape architecture, and interior design students in addition to assisting with undergraduate student recruitment.

“Supporting students, current and prospective, is what drew me to administration in the first place. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to work with students across the College of Art & Design,” she said.

Learn more about the LSU College of Art & Design.

Learn more about the LSU School of Architecture.