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Architecture Faculty

Mimi Sullivan

Executive Director, School of Architecture

Mimi Sullivan is a registered Architect in California and a principal of Saida + Sullivan Design Partners (SSDP) a full service, award winning, San Francisco architectural firm.  Ms. Sullivan is just as passionate about the process of design as she is about the final built structure. She oversees community outreach, design team coordination, project management, sustainability, and construction supervision. Ms. Sullivan's 28 years of diverse architectural and interior design experience includes extensive work in award winning multi-family/mixed use/transit oriented housing as well as commercial, retail, civic building design and custom single family homes.  Ms. Sullivan’s work in affordable housing has been published in Architectural Record as well as the San Francisco AIA magazine, Small Firms – Great Projects.  She is both an architect and an educator. She has taught architectural design, media, and process at universities in the United States and in Japan. She was the founding director of the Graduate Architecture Program at Academy of Art University in San Francisco and achieved the initial NAAB accreditation for the program in 2007.

Prior to starting SSDP in 1999 with her partner, Ms. Sullivan was teaching Japanese architectural history at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan while acting as the Resident Director for the Oregon State System of Higher Education for study abroad programs at multiple universities in Tokyo.  Ms. Sullivan was a guest critic and lecturer at Daido University in Nagoya and Aoyama Gakuin in Tokyo, Japan.  Ms. Sullivan received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Rice University with a Minor in Fine Arts, and a Master of Architecture and Master of International Studies from the University of Oregon.

Mark Mückenheim

Graduate Director, School of Architecture

Mark Mückenheim Architekt AKNW BDA (Germany) is a licensed architect in Germany and the European Union, the principal of MCKNHM Architects, and the co-author of the book "Inspiration - contemporary design methods in architecture" released by BIS Publishers in 2012. Before establishing his own architecture practice in 2001, he worked and collaborated with different architecture firms in Germany, USA and England, gaining extensive experience from concept to realization on various projects of internationally recognized design excellence.

Mark Mückenheim has lectured and acted as a guest critic at numerous institutions in Germany, the European Union, and the US. Among other schools, he taught for more than six years at the distinguished RWTH Aachen before being appointed as a visiting professor at the TU Munich from 2009 to 2012. Since 2013, he is appointed as the graduate director of the school of architecture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His award winning work has been featured in various international book and journal publications and has also gained reputation through a number of exhibitions in Germany and abroad - most recently the house of architecture in Lille, France, the German Architecture center in Berlin and the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Educated in Germany, the United States, and England, sponsored by a Fulbright scholarship and a DAAD grand from the German government, Mückenheim received his Master of Architecture from Parsons School of Design, New York, and his Graduate Diploma in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Jennifer Asselstine

Undergraduate Director, School of Architecture

Jennifer Asselstine AIA has 30 years of experience in architecture and design and runs a design business in San Anselmo. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from University of Minnesota, where she received an award from the American Institute of Architects.  She studied at London’s Architectural Association and worked in the U.S., London, Malaysia and Australia on projects ranging from hotels and senior housing to an IMAX theater. She won a design award from the American Society of Interior Designers for the Red Cross Headquarters and Blood Processing Center.

Eric Lum

Online Director, School of Architecture

Eric Lum, AIA, Ph.D., LEED BD+C, is a licensed architect in the state of California and NCARB certified. He has worked for Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood Architects in Boston, Arthur Erickson Architects in Los Angeles, and Gensler in San Francisco, among others. He is a founding principal of his firm Architecture 3 (A3) and studied architecture at the University of California Berkeley, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he gained his doctorate in architectural history.

Yim Lim Jew

Assistant Graduate Director, School of Architecture

Yim Lim Jew has been teaching since graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a licensed architect in the state of Texas and also EDAC certified, Evidence Base Design Research. She has taught design studios in core, design fundamentals and studios to 5th year architecture. Recently, at UNLV, she taught a thesis level urbanism studio, positing typological ideas and cultural settings which act as a catalyst to the Downtown of Las Vegas. Yim Lim has taught inter-disciplinary studios in urban anthropology, exploring the cultural conditions that create an imprint to its urban context. She has collaborated with performance artists and along with students have created stage sets for Eth Noh Tec, and the poet Anne Carson. The students in this case are from architecture, interior design, animation, industrial design, fashion, painting, interaction design, graphics and film-making. In professional practice Yim Lim was design director at Gensler in a flex studio which garnered her expertise in workplace, hospitality, retail and healthcare. She groomed her professional experience with Bay Area practices including RMW, Anshen + Allen and HDR Architecture, where the project Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is currently under construction. She has worked in the Middle East and China and these locales have forged opportunities for design teaching. Yim Lim continues to act as a mentor to student graduates and young professionals. Racing a sailboat is her passion and this metaphor is used in her teaching and practice: that as navigator and practitioner. The primary focus and belief is fostering a creative design process which includes a focus on cultural context, informed by research, analysis and mapping.

Karen Seong

Undergraduate Assistant Director, School of Architecture

Karen Seong is a licensed architect in California and New York, a LEED accredited professional, and NCARB certified. She developed her professional expertise while with Skidmore Owings and Merrill in New York and in San Francisco. She held leadership positions working collaboratively with large international teams on awardwinning projects ranging from high-rise to institutional buildings in the US and in the Middle East. Driven by an interest in materials and systems innovations, she helped establish SOM LAB to conduct research in collaboration with industry leaders in an effort to develop new building materials. Karen’s teaching philosophy is stimulated by an interest in seeking innovation in the margins of established practices. Her pedagogy places an emphasis on materials studies and a process-oriented design method. She firmly believes that inventiveness is the most meaningful and relevant when it is grounded in an understanding of the current limitations in the building industry. Her design research is centered on crafting a conceptual strategy to draw out latent opportunities. Karen has previously taught at UC Berkeley and has been a guest critic at various institutions in the US and in Korea. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University with distinction.

Alberto Bertoli

Chair Emeritus

Mr. Bertoli has vast experience in different areas of the architectural profession. His work ranges from the planning of shuttle facilities for the space program to the designing of a performing arts center. He most recently designed the InterContinental San Francisco hotel. His work has also been recognized by multiple AIA Chapters, the Architectural Association of France, and at numerous international competitions. Mr. Bertoli started his formal education at the University of Buenos Aires, and continued at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He has his professional license through the State of California. Before joining the Academy he was a lecturer at Cal Poly SLO, UCLA Graduate School of Architecture, and taught for more than 20 years at SCIARC.

Eva Chiu

Undergraduate First Year Online Coordinator, School of Architecture


Benjamin Corotis

Graduate Systems and Technology Coordinator, School of Architecture

Benjamin Corotis is a licensed Architect and Engineer. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University in 1997. He went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley where he received Master's degrees in Structural Engineering and Architecture, focusing on how structure creates space.

He has worked for Endres Ware Architects and Engineers since 2001, where he continues investigation on the intersection of structure and architecture, leading the design and construction process for pedestrian bridges in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Denver.

Benjamin was part of the winning team for the West End Pedestrian Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His work also received a jury selection prize for the Groen Hoek East River Community Boathouse competition. Benjamin taught the Design Build studio course at the California College of Arts. Since 2014, he is teaching the comprehensive design studio together with David Gill and architectural tectonics at the School of Architecture at Academy of Art University. Besides coordinating the systems and technology track of the curriculum, he is instrumental in initiating a future design build option in the graduate school.

Kelton Dissel

Undergraduate First year Studio Coordinator, School of Architecture

While scaling a frozen chain link fence in the mountains of Vals, Switzerland to get a better of view a structure housing a quarry-like spa during off season, Kelton Dissel confirmed his choice of pursuing architecture as a profession. As Kelton has discovered during his own varied studies, an architect must truly be a well-rounded individual.

He received a Master’s of Architecture from Montana State University. While studying at MSU, he enjoyed a semester abroad in Europe where he was able to sketch, design, and absorb all he could from the rich history of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Poland. To further explore the history of architecture, he received a full scholarship to attend the Prince of Wales Summer School for the Building Arts. The program’s emphasis on classical architecture was a radical departure from Kelton’s Bauhausstyle training.

With more than 13 years of professional experience, Kelton has worked on a variety of projects that include: a LEED Platinum certified house in Russian Hill, an AIA honor award-winning low-income housing project in SOMA (Plaza Apartments), and an historic Stanford University dormitory remodel (Toyon Hall) which received an AIA merit award. Kelton is licensed architect and currently Senior Designer at John Maniscalco Architecture in San Francisco.

Mark Donahue

Undergraduate Comprehensive Design Coordinator, School of Architecture

Mark K. Donahue AIA LEED BD+C is the Undergraduate Comprehensive Design Coordinator at the School of Architecture. He is a licensed architect with more than 25 years of experience. He started his career with Antoine Predock Architect, and has worked at SOM, Gensler and HKS. He is currently a Director at Price Architects, Inc., as well as having his own practice. With a strong background in both design and delivery, his experience includes commercial core & shell, office interiors, multifamily residential, laboratories, airports, government, educational, retail, and performance facilities. He has always made sustainable building a central goal of design, and has been instrumental in achieving LEED ratings ranging from Silver to Platinum on a number of large institutional and residential projects, including Letterman Digital Arts Center on the Presidio and the Renovation of 50 United National Plaza in San Francisco's Civic Center.

Braden Engel

Undergraduate Architecture History & Theory Coordinator, School of Architecture

Braden Engel is a full-time faculty member and undergraduate history theory coordinator. He has taught internationally – at the Architectural Association, London, the University of Greenwich, London, and he was a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at California College of the Arts, Lecturer in Architecture at UC Santa Cruz and at the University of California Berkeley before joining Academy of Art University.

Braden received an M.A. in Histories & Theories of Architecture from the Architectural Association, London, and an M.Arch. and a B.S. in Philosophy from North Dakota State University. His written work has been published in the United States and abroad, including The Journal of Architecture (RIBA), Planning Perspectives, AA Files, and PLAT. Braden’s current research and writing focuses on the interval between aesthetic experience and modes of presentation in architectural historiography, framed by the mixing of continental European and American pragmatist philosophies in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

David Gill

Graduate Architecture Advisor & Full-Time Faculty, School of Architecture

David Gill is a licensed architect with over 20 years of practice. He received a Bachelor of Architecture with Distinction from California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA). He went on to work for Kuth / Ranieri, for Baum / Thornley Architects, and had his own practice in Berkeley. Gill is presently a project architect at Mark Horton / Architecture in San Francisco. Recent projects include Modesto Commerce Bank, House of Air SF, House of Air Mammoth Lakes, Computer History Museum, Temple Sinai, numerous custom residential projects and a conceptual proposal for the Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio. He is designing a community arts center for Shipyard Community Arts, an organization for which Gill also serves as a board member.

Gill is also currently a faculty member at the graduate school of architecture at Academy of Art University, teaching advanced design studios, thesis development and refinement, and materials and methods. He has also taught graduate design studios at CCA, and has been a guest critic at University of San Francisco, University of California at Berkeley and Cal Poly SLO.

David Gill's interests – both professional and academic – lie in the materiality of architecture; the tectonic, poetic and cultural meanings in fundamental materials. How these materials/meanings are perceived, in turn, inform the design process. Drawing connections is both a literal and a figurative pursuit; an endlessly evolving practice.

Nicole Lambrou

Graduate Midpoint Coordinator, School of Architecture

Nicole Lambrou received a Masters of Architecture from Yale University in the spring of 2006. In her final year at Yale she was selected as a Teaching Fellow for two graduate courses in the School of Architecture, Visual Representation and Independent Drawing Projects. Nicole is also the recipient of the Yale School of Architecture Drawing Prize, and architectural drawing continues to be an integral part of her design process.

During her work in Germany with Behnisch Architekten, Nicole had the opportunity to become immersed in design that is integrated with sustainable concepts while working on Harvard University's campus expansion. At the time she was also involved with generating graphics for a rotating exhibition, in collaboration with Transsolar, representing human impact on the planet and throughout history.

Since moving to San Francisco in August of 2007 and before founding her own practice, Nicole worked for several years at an architecture firm whose scope of work involved public housing in the city of San Francisco and public schools throughout the state of California. Through a collaborative partnership with AE Design she also completed several houses at Sea Ranch, CA. Most recently Nicole launched a green roof system that was included in the CitiesAlive Conference in San Francisco.

Nicole also participated in the AIAS conference in the Fall of 2012. She was awarded second place for the design of a public library in Gevgelija, Macedonia in an international competition sponsored by the United Nations Development Program, and has received accolades for various other architectural submissions throughout her design career. Nicole is a registered architect in the state of New York.

Alexandra Neyman

Undergraduate 210 Studio / Collaboration Coordinator, School of Architecture

Alexandra Neyman holds both a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan. She also attended School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, as well as Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, and Schusev’s School of Art and Design in Russia.

Alex’s academic interests and experimental research aim to integrate theoretical morphological studies, actively utilizing data from a wide range of sources and fields such as: biology, chemistry, medicine, critical theory, philosophy, and so on. Through operative research and mapped behavioral simulations, this work aims to generate new principles for design and invent new spatial logics and organizations that have an influence on physiologies of form. This kind of research tries to promote new materialism through spatial dynamics in the production of form and with distinct biases to differentiated repetition, variation, aggregation, unusual couplings, extreme hybrid systems and spatial anomalies. The work keeps with the spirit of critical generative matters and thinking, operative parametric design logics, actionable processes, complex form making and experimental urges.

Alex’s thesis project, “Mapping Heterotopia: accelerating Capitalist space” analytically explored the influence of capitalism on space making, seeking to exploit the emerging market logics in Russia, as a catalyst for new architectural possibilities. This project is a current and ongoing research of mapping processes. The research is dedicated to exploring speculative and practical rapid acceleration of the globalization, urbanism and capitalism and the convulsing conditions of the market economy, as well as developing new perspectives on critical issues in contemporary Russia and its various effects on design practices. The work is made primarily through drawings and explores the relational territory between drawing, narrative, and spatial occupation at an urban scale, scale of a section and a detail simultaneously. The production of drawn explorations here, lends the work another rich topical orientation: the very nature of the architectural representation. The work was chosen for publication in Dimensions 19, a University of Michigan publication.

Alex had previously taught at the University of Michigan. She is a co-founder of Meta:space, which explores both speculative and practical conditions and projects in architecture, industrial, product design and things of the like. She had previously worked for Mitchell+Mouat Architects in Ann Arbor, Designhaus in Rochester MI, and WETSU, a design+build practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While working for WETSU, Alex assisted in a traveling exhibition ‘Chicken & Fish” work of Jason Young and Neal Robinson, where managed the production of books for five projects and helped with the installation of the exhibit. “Chicken & Fish” was mounted at Edge-Studio Gallery in Pittsburgh, at the Taubman College Gallery in Ann Arbor, and at the Elmaleh Gallery at the UVA.

Hans Sagan

Urban Design & Research Coordinator, School of Architecture

Hans Sagan is a full time faculty member at Academy of Art University and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California - Berkeley. His research, "Specters of '68: Protest, Policing and Urban Space" investigates the role of the built environment in law enforcement and spatial control over political protest under neoliberalism. His teaching deals with urbanism, evidence-based design, architectural theory and 20th Century architecture history. In his research he investigates cities and spaces as cultural phenomena, based in specific social and economic contexts, critically examining both the practices of creation and using spaces and places. He received his Master of Arts in Communication Studies (with a certificate in Cultural Studies) from the University of North Carolina. His Bachelor of Arts degree is from the University of Minnesota in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. Hans has taught Evidence-Based Design and Design Theory at the University of California, Media and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina, and Media Studies and Cultural History at Duke University.

Vahid Sattary

Undergraduate Structures Coordinator, School of Architecture

Dr. Vahid Sattary is a California Registered Structural and Civil Engineer and the principal of Sattary Structural and Earthquake Engineering. He has over 25 years experience in structural engineering and seismic design including the state-of-the-art design of seismic protective systems, base isolation and energy dissipation application in buildings. He has been the structural engineer for many projects including new building designs, seismic retrofit of historic buildings, and structural evaluation studies.

Vahid Sattary received his BS in Civil Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and his MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he later also obtained his Ph.D. in Structural Engineering.

Dr. Sattary is affiliated with the Structural Engineering Association of Northern California (SEAONC) where he is an active member of the Seismology Committee. From 2006 to 2008, Mayor Gavin C. Newsom appointed him to the Building Inspection Commission of San Francisco.

Peter Suen

Graduate Emerging Technologies Coordinator, School of Architecture

Peter Suen received a Masters of Architecture from U.C. Berkeley, where he was an Eisner Prize and Henry Adams AIA Medal recipient. At Berkeley, he was also a member in the BIOMS group where he worked on multi-disciplinary teams that included engineers, physicists and architects. As a Research Specialist, he worked on advanced facades including self-regulating membranes and microlens arrays for greywater disinfection.

In his own research, Peter has been particularly interested in the role of the architect as a designer of information and how that can have a direct impact on how we live. He has focused on different systems of intelligence, from analog computation to living slime mold, and sought to understand how these systems can process information differently from human designers.

Before architecture, Peter worked both as an intellectual property attorney and as a software developer. He received a JD from Stanford Law School in 2002 and a Masters of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. Working as an architect in San Francisco, he has had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects from tiny micro-apartment lofts to large winery developments.

Doron Serban

Undergraduate Emerging Technology Coordinator, School of Architecture

Doron Serban is a full-time faculty member and the undergraduate emerging technologies coordinator. His research focuses on how the transdisciplinary role of visualization in architecture can reshape the boundaries between logical and intuitive decision processes.

Besides teaching, Doron Serban is a designer working in the Bay Area. Through Doron Serban Design, his professional work navigates building design, design competitions, photography, cinematography, motion design, branding, and architectural visualization. Outside of architecture, he is a co-owner and coach of CoCo CrossFit in Concord, CA.

He received his graduate degree in architecture from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and his undergraduate degree in music from the University of California, Riverside.