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Get to know our distinguished faculty and see why we’re one of the top art schools in the country.
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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.

Gloria Jew

Graduate Assistant Director, School of Architecture

Gloria 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. Gloria 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 Gloria 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. Gloria 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 YunJin 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

Full-Time Faculty, School of Architecture

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.

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.

Dora Epstein Jones

Graduate History Theory Coordinator, School of Architecture

Dora Epstein Jones, Ph.D., is an architectural theorist, historian and curator whose work advocates for the central role of building in architecture. She has published widely on the history of the architectural discipline, including works for Log, ArcCA, Art Papers, multiple anthologies, and on behalf of the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture. She is the former Coordinator of History and Theory, and the former Coordinator of General Studies at SCI-Arc, and the Executive Director of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles. She is a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a regular guest critic at the Ohio State University, USC, UC Berkeley and Harvard.

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 Collaboration, Communication & ARH 210 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.

Maria Paz De Moura Castro

Graduate Thesis Coordinator, School of Architecture

Maria Paz is a founding partner of Rizoma Arquitetura ( with Thomaz Regatos. Her office has worked on award winning buildings and projects, which are widely recognized through numerous international publications, among them, Wallpaper, Azul Magazine, AU, Vogue Brazil, Designboom, Arch Daily, L’architecture D’aujourdhui France, and the Financial Times, London England.

Her work is exhibited internationally. Recent venues include the Brazilian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the German Architecture Museum. Maria Paz and Thomaz regatos presented their work in numerous lectures in South America, Europe and the US. Their many awards include a nomination for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize.

Paz was a teaching assistant at Cornell University, a guest critic at Columbia University, New York, and the Universidade FUMEC in Brazil. Other academic activities include a Seminar at CONARQ Maceió and a roundtable discussion at Yale School of Architecture. Maria Paz has also worked as a researcher in the curatorial team at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2014/2015. Since 2013 she has been a member of the Architecture Council at Inhotim in Brazil.

Maria Paz received her Bachelor in Architecture and Urbanism from FUMEC University (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) and her Master of Architecture from Cornell University (Ithaca, United States). Her undergraduate thesis was awarded the national contest "Opera Prima".

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.

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.

Sameena Sitabkhan

Community Outreach Coordinator, School of Architecture

As a licensed architect, Sameena has designed and managed a range of building typologies over the past 15 years. A competent Project Architect, she is focused on pushing the boundaries of design through engagement and problem solving. Her practice and research looks at the intersection of architecture and conflict, and she's been an artist and curator in residence in Mexico, Decolonizing Architecture in the West Bank, and most recently as a fellow at the YBCA. Formerly an Associate at David Baker Architects, designing and managing affordable housing projects, Sameena is currently studio faculty and the B.Lab Coordinator. She is focused on creating opportunities for student engagement in community based projects, including making with an emphasis on advocacy. Sameena has an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Architecture from SCIArc in Los Angeles.

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 Master of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. Working 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.