Ila Berman, director of Architecture at California College of the Arts and principal of Studio Matrixx, is an architect and architectural theorist who holds a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Dr. Berman is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Design, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowships, and the J. P. Herndon Traveling Fellowship where she conducted research on contemporary urban and architectural landscapes in Paris and Barcelona. In 2005 she was the recipient of the President’s Award at Tulane University, where she was a Favrot Professor and the Associate Dean of the School of Architecture until December 2007.
Ila Berman was also the founding director and Principal Investigator of URBANbuild—an outreach architectural and urban design program for which she received a $300,000 HUD/URAP grant, the work of which was exhibited at the Ogden Museum and recently published in her book URBANbuild local global (coauthored with Mona El Khafif) winner of an AIGA award for the top 50 books of 2009 and a Communication Arts 2010 Award of Excellence.
Ila Berman’s design work, which ranges in scale from objects to cities, includes projects such as bodyworks—a research project and design installation series exploring the relationships between the human body and architecture, Greenscape a multiscaled housing project for the Global Green Competition, and the Reinventing the Crescent Riverfront Urban Masterplan Project Competition where she was on the invited collaborative team of Reiser + Umemoto, Olin Partnership and Arup.
Dr. Berman is currently a member of the Board of Regents of the California Architectural Foundation and has served on many boards, panels and design juries including those for the Pan American Biennale, and the AIA and ACSA design awards. In the months after Hurricane Katrina, she was appointed to the Urban Design Committee of the Mayor’s BNOB Commission in New Orleans, where she worked to support the development of design directives and strategies for the rebuilding of the city. During that time, she completed, with Joan Busquets and Felipe Correa, the collaborative book published by Harvard University: New Orleans: Strategies for a City in Soft Land.
Dr. Berman’s design research and publications, which focus on material models within contemporary architectural and urban practice, also include: From Grid to Matrix, a theoretical analysis of shifting paradigms in late 20th century architecture; bodyworks—an exhibition series published in PRAXIS; "Synthetic Nature” in Projects and their Consequences, a forthcoming monograph on the work of Reiser + Umemoto; “Amphibious Territories” in AD: Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment, “Paradoxical Matters” and other writings in Kuth/Ranieri Architects, “Folds + Crystalline Fractures.” in Next AEDS, a book series on global emergent practices in the field of digital, multimedia and net-based architectural design; and “Machinic Matters” in Intricacy: Art, Architecture and New Media, a symposium and exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art and University of Pennsylvania.
In addition, her work has been published in GAM Zero Landscape, the Cornell Architecture Journal, Cityscape, c3Korea, JAE, and Appendx among others.
Since becoming the Architecture director at CCA, Dr. Berman has founded three project-based R+D labs on urbanism, ecology, and digital, interactive and interdisciplinary media to expand networks for architectural research, design and practice. These labs have been involved in numerous research and design projects including the exhibition FLUX: Architecture in a Parametric Landscape (publication forthcoming) that opened in conjunction with the international Smart Geometries conference in March of 2009, the 10x10 Cities project on urban sustainability for San Francisco in collaboration with AIASF for the 2009 AIA national convention, the Jerusalem: Divided City/Common Ground urban study for the development of a mediated boundary territory, the Sustainable Skyscrapers publication on vertical ecologies and urban ecosystems, the Refract House project for the Solar Decathlon design competition and the Networked Urban Sensing research initiative among others.
She was also responsible for bringing the Cities of the Future panel and exhibition to CCA in February 2008. In addition to her design installations at the Contemporary Art Center, the Ogden Museum, and the Perloff Gallery among others, Berman also created New Orleans: Urban Operations for a Future City, an exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2006 International Architectural Biennale in Venice, Italy.
See also: [Meet the director][/academics/architecture/director]
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