Architecture+Design News

September 15, 2017

Award-winning architect: computers changed everything, but human touch still crucial

Technology has forever altered the practice of architecture, but architects will always need a deep human connection with their clients to make projects successful. That was the word Thursday night from John A. Vitale, president of Royal Oak-based Stucky Vitale Architects, as he received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Lawrence Technological University’s College of Architecture and Design.
LTU event.jpg
September 14, 2017

Lawrence Tech event showcases people using technology to unite, empower

At a time when technology is all too often used to divide and exclude, who is using technology to unite and empower? Lawrence Technological University will explore the topic and provide positive examples in “Inclusive Technology: Seeking to Do Good” in the annual President’s Symposium Series.
LTU Quadrangle
August 14, 2017

Lawrence Tech listed as top Midwestern school

Lawrence Technological University has again been named one of the best in the Midwest, according to the Princeton Review. Only 156 colleges and universities in 12 Midwestern states made the list for 2018.
Paige Webb of Rochester Stoney Creek High School
June 16, 2017

FCA Drive for Design winners show the Dodges of 2047

Long, flowing shapes accented with razor-sharp edges, inlets and exits that tap into cooling airflow with minimal drag, and wheels sized to leave little room for anything else – these are the design keys for Dodge three decades from now.
Bike Park Rendering
May 12, 2017

LTU students raising money to highlight culture in Detroit parks

Students at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Studio are raising money for a bicycle park project in conjunction with Detroit’s West Grand Boulevard Collaborative.
May 11, 2017

Lawrence Tech breaks ground on new residence hall

Lawrence Technological University Thursday held a groundbreaking on a new 95,000-square-foot residence hall on its Southfield campus. About 75 staff and friends of the university attended.
shrouded sculpture
April 24, 2017

Lawrence Tech to dedicate sculpture of Henry Ford at main campus entrance

Henry Ford’s Highland Park complex was the birthplace of more than just modern manufacturing. It was also the birthplace of what today is Lawrence Technological University, founded in 1932 in a building adjacent to Ford’s factory.
M2 TechCast
February 3, 2017

New LTU Incubator, Science Center, SBAM On Monday's M2 TechCast

The M2 TechCast podcast will launch two new segments with its Monday, Feb. 6 program.

In the first new segment, Tonya Matthews, director of the Michigan Science Center, kicks off her STEM education focused segment. She’ll be visiting the TechCast monthly.

Also a future regular guest is Michael Rogers, communications director for the Small Business Association of Michigan, who will talk about SBAM and the products and services it offers Michigan’s business community.

Also on the show to talk about the new Lawrence Technological University Design Incubator and co-working space – at LTU’s new Detroit Center for Design + Technology at 4219 Woodward Ave. in Midtown Detroit – will be Christopher Stefani, the incubator’s director.

Rounding out the show will be Greg Doyle from Tech248, the Oakland County-based tech business group, talking about the new Oakland Entrepreneurs Alliance.

The M2 TechCast airs live on the internet from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time each Monday at And you can listen to past episodes by clicking on

The M2 TechCast is hosted by Mike Brennan, founder and publisher of Michigan Technology News,, and Matt Roush, director of the university news bureau at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield. Both have covered high-tech in Michigan as journalists for more than 20 years.

The M2 TechCast is part of Podcast Detroit, a network of more than 50 locally produced podcasts on a wide variety of topics, anchored by IT in the D. the nation’s No. 1 tech podcast, which regularly draws more than 500,000 listeners a week. IT in the D airs live Monday nights from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time.


ltu campus quad
February 3, 2017

Leaders and Innovators event at LTU Feb. 16, 'Starting a Business'

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – If you’re ready to start a business, an event Thursday, Feb. 16 at Lawrence Technological University will help you figure out how.

LTU is hosting the next WWJ Newsradio 950 “Leaders and Innovators” breakfast session Feb. 16 on the topic “Starting a Business: Entrepreneurism.” The event begins with networking and a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The discussion and a question-and-answer session runs from 8 to 9 a.m.

This event will feature expert advice on the steps would-be entrepreneurs need to take to get their businesses up and running. Attendees will find out what resources are available to new companies in the Detroit area.

The event is hosted by WWJ Business Editor Murray Feldman. Panelists are to include Jack Aronson, founder of Clean Planet Foods and Garden Fresh Gourmet, and Karen Evans, director of LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology Business Accelerator.

To register, visit The event is free.

Future Leaders and Innovators events include “Social Media and the Small Business” on Thursday, March 16, and “Work-Life Balance” on Thursday, April 13.

Albert Kahn
January 24, 2017

The man who built Detroit:Lawrence Tech offers Albert Kahn exhibits, events

Albert Kahn, the man who designed Detroit’s powerhouse industrial buildings, is the focus of several events and exhibitions at Lawrence Technological University this winter.

In the first half of the 20th Century, Kahn (1869-1942) revolutionized the design of industrial buildings around the world, and his prolific architectural office also saw the production of many commercial, institutional, and residential structures of lasting significance. As the centennial of numerous Kahn landmarks draws near, there is renewed and well-deserved interest in Kahn’s work.

The Albert Kahn Research Coalition is collaborating with the LTU Library and the LTU College of Architecture and Design’s Lectures and Exhibitions Committee to present exciting public programming to highlight this innovative period in architectural history. Other partners in this coalition are the University of Michigan, the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Society, and the Detroit-based design firm that bears the founder’s name, Albert Kahn Associates. The purpose of the coalition is to preserve Albert Kahn’s legacy and educate the community on the importance of his work.

The exhibitions open at Lawrence Tech on Friday, Feb. 3 with “Albert Kahn under Construction,” on display in the UTLC Gallery, 21000 W. Ten Mile Road, Southfield. This digital exhibition focuses on the remarkable archive of construction photographs assembled by Kahn’s firm as they built the powerhouses of American industry, from Highland Park to Willow Run. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and admission is free. This exhibit is curated by Claire Zimmerman, University of Michigan associate professor of architecture and history of art, and the LTU College of Architecture and Design Exhibitions and Lectures Committee, chaired by Dierdre Hennebury, assistant professor of architecture and design.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., Joel Stone, Senior Curator at the Detroit Historical Society will speak on “The Ubiquitous Mr. Kahn: Albert Kahn’s Architectural Legacy” in the A200 Auditorium of Lawrence Tech’s Architecture Building. This presentation will examine Kahn’s career and the vast legacy of architectural treasures he created for the people of southeast Michigan. A gallery viewing and reception will follow. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

A partner exhibition will run from Friday, Feb. 17 through March 10 at LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, 4219 Woodward Ave., Detroit. In this midtown show, LTU’s College of  Architecture and Design is partnering with the Belle Isle Conservancy for an exhibit titled “Albert Kahn at the Crossroads: The ‘Lost’ Belle Isle Aquarium and Horticultural Building Blueprints.” This compelling exhibit features several rediscovered blueprints from a private collection. Opened in 1904, the Belle Isle Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in North America and the oldest aquarium-conservatory combination in the world. Independent architectural history scholar, Chris Meister and the Belle Isle Conservancy Historic Preservation Committee will provide a gallery talk Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Detroit Center for Design + Technology. The talk will be part of a ticketed evening event called “Deeper Dive: Albert Kahn” hosted by the Belle Isle Conservancy and will discuss the development of the public aquarium and botanical conservatory as building types. Ticket information is available at

The culminating program of the Albert Kahn series is the Albert Kahn Research Symposium from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at Lawrence Tech. During the morning, Zimmerman will moderate a series of presentations on current research about Kahn. After a luncheon, another panel examines “Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of Kahn Buildings,” moderated by Dawn Bilobran, who has roles with three organizations – the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Preservation Detroit. Panelists include Chris Meister; Alan Cobb, CEO of Albert Kahn Associates; and Donald Bauman, Director of Architectural Development and Historical Preservation at Albert Kahn Associates. The symposium will also include exhibit viewing, and an open house in LTU’s Albert Kahn Collection, which consists of Kahn’s personal library, originally part of Kahn’s New Center office. Its components were disassembled, moved, and reassembled inside rooms of the LTU Library in 1982. Visit or call (248) 204-3000 for information and registration.

PAWS, shelter image
January 5, 2017

LTU student architects design animal shelter

An animal shelter in the Flint suburb of Swartz Creek has plans for a new building thanks to a pair of Lawrence Technological University students.

PAWS Animal Rescue is the beneficiary of a site plan and building design for a 32,000-square-foot shelter on 3.6 acres of land the nonprofit owns in Swartz Creek, thanks to LTU seniors Gjeorgjia Lilo and Sarah Britain.

Lilo, from Greece, and Britain, from Kalamazoo, were both involved in an LTU program called Activist Architecture Studio, part of a senior design course, which this semester was concentrating on the Flint area.

“What the professors had us doing was going to Flint and finding organizations that need help to achieve a goal, and figure out how design will help them achieve that goal,” Lilo said.

Added Britain: “I was thinking about the water crisis and who was affected by it other than people, and I thought about pets. I made a list of the animal rescues and pet stores in Flint. PAWS was the first one I visited, and they said they were raising money for a new building, and it just kind of worked out that they needed a designer.”

The two students spent the fall semester visiting the site and coming up with basic plans for the building, which will be able to house about 20 dogs and 40 to 50 cats.

“They want to raise money from grant applications and fundraisers, and we gave them all the materials they need to do that,” Lilo said.

The students also designed the building so it could be expanded in the future.

Roxanne Beckwith, who chairs PAWS’ building committee, said she was impressed with the talents of the Lawrence Tech students. “I am amazed at their knowledge, their ability to complete that project under all the specifications I gave them, the questions they asked,” Beckwith said. “They were so knowledgeable and so caring about what we needed and how important this project is to us.”

Britain had praise for the PAWS folks, too: “They were super easy to work with, and it helped that they were just as excited about the project as we were. They gave good feedback to our design – they really led our design.”

The animal shelter will use the design to continue its fundraising effort, called “Raise the Woof.” PAWS, an acronym for Pets Are Worth Saving, has operated since 2011. Shelter officials have already raised about $40,000 for the new building. Their goal is $385,000.

Lilo and Britain were one of seven LTU senior design teams that worked with Flint-area clients in the fall semester. Other projects included developing elementary school food gardens, building a modular front lobby system for a homeless shelter, and developing water collection systems for public and home gardens. The projects were supervised by Edward Orlowski, associate professor of architecture, and Michael Styczynski, adjunct professor of architecture.

Orlowski said they chose Flint as the focus for last fall’s projects because “We’re already heavily involved in Detroit, and Mike and I saw Flint as an area that wasn’t getting as much attention from the design schools.”

Orlowski said the senior design project has students doing designs for real-world applications. “They get experience working with non-architects in a process of participatory design,” he said. “It’s like working with a client, creating a design team.”

Lilo and Britain, who are to graduate in May with Bachelor of Science degrees in architecture, said they plan to stay in touch with the PAWS group as the project progresses. To donate to the project, visit

LTU's Detroit Center for Design + Technology
December 12, 2016

LTU's Detroit Center for Design + Technology launching Design Incubator

Starting in February 2017, Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) will be launching a new Design Incubator, funded by the Hudson Webber Foundation.

The new incubator will boast four major programs that look to expand on opportunity in the creative and tech based industry in Detroit. Programs will include a business development accelerator course, coworking space, a student-run design firm, and a fellowship program open to graduates of accredited art and design schools.

“Designers of the future need to be skilled in design, able to work with diverse clients, and be able to apply knowledge of business and management,” said Karl Daubmann, dean of the LTU College of Art and Design and executive director of the DCDT. “This ambitious outreach component of the DCDT allows us to greatly extend the LTU mission of ‘Theory and Practice’ to the education and training of young designers and architects.”

The Design Incubator will provide a dynamic, collaborative space for students, faculty, designers, and professionals, as well as community innovators and entrepreneurs. It will be a place in which to work and engage in order to create new ideas and form business and service opportunities. The incubator will educate young, creative talent and foster innovation, design thinking, and the commercialization of design and tech ideas through active coaching and collaboration with industry professionals, in addition to providing access to state-of-the-art technology. The incubator will be managed by Christopher Stefani, DCDT assistant director.

“The DCDT Design Incubator is going to offer opportunity and a safety net for the growing number of emerging entrepreneurial design and tech startups in Detroit,” Stefani said. “We see the social, economic, and political potential in Detroit with regards to the transdisciplinary practice of these disciplines, and are excited to be able to aid in the positive development of our city, its economy and its people.”

It is the DCDT’s mission to act as an inclusive platform for the advancement of Detroit’s educational, economic and communal development efforts with regards to design, technology and sustainability.

Lawrence Excellence Awards
October 19, 2016

LTU's Best Honored With Lawrence Excellence Awards

Lawrence Technological University honored six of its employees and a distinguished alumnus Wednesday, Oct. 12 during its annual Lawrence Excellence Awards program.

Two winners of the Mary Ann Marcum Customer Service Award were honored: Tracy Kash, administrative assistant to the dean of the LTU College of Arts and Sciences, and Chevette White, graduation and scheduling coordinator in the LTU Office of the Registrar. Both were praised for going above and beyond the norms for customer service in their respective roles, maintaining precise work and a positive outlook while dealing with demanding schedules.

Winning the 2016 Henry B. and Barbara J. Horldt Excellence in Teaching Award was Mark Farlow, an adjunct faculty member in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design.

Farlow is director of design at Hamilton Anderson Associates in Detroit, leading the development of the firm’s projects, with an emphasis on mixed-use, hospitality, commercial and residential process. He has been an adjunct professor at LTU since 1995. Farlow earned three degrees from LTU: a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a Bachelor of Architecture, and a Master of Architecture. Earlier this year, he was also selected to receive the 2016 Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award by the Architecture Cabinet of the Lawrence Technological University Alumni Association.

Three LTU employees received the 2016 Mary E. and Richard E. Marburger Fund for Excellence in Achievement Awards.

Winning the Marburger Staff Person of the Year Award was Anne Dandar, administrative assistant in the Transportation and Industrial Design program of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design. Dandar earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from UM’s Ross School of Business. She spent 15 years in design, development and manufacturing at Ford Motor Co., then worked as a consultant in business planning, project development, human resources and fundraising. She joined Lawrence Tech in 2014 and has since earned rave reviews for her work with the program’s students.

Winning the Marburger Faculty Member of the Year Award was Andrew Gerhart, professor of mechanical engineering. A graduate of the University of Evansville (Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering), the University of Wyoming (Master of Science in mechanical engineering) and the University of New Mexico (Ph.D. in mechanical engineering), Gerhart teaches fluid mechanics, thermal sciences, engineering design and creative problem-solving at Lawrence Tech. He serves on numerous LTU committees, as faculty advisor to the LTU SAE Aero Design Team and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Chapter, and facilitates workshops worldwide on active, collaborative, problem-based and entrepreneurially minded learning. He also led an LTU effort to commemorate the French and Indian War by helping students design and build a long-distance cargo canoe that students paddled from Southfield to Pittsburgh, Pa., just as fur trappers did centuries ago.

Winning the Marburger Administrator of the Year Award was Elin Jensen, associate dean of graduate studies and research in LTU’s College of Engineering. A graduate of Aalborg University in Denmark and the University of Michigan, Jensen joined the LTU faculty in 2003. She became associate dean in 2010. She has served as thesis advisor to 19 master’s degree students and has published some 40 journal and conference papers. As a researcher, she has secured $720,000 in research awards, including a $400,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award, given to promising young researchers. She has been recognized by her peers for her work ethic, dedication, and warm human touch to students and fellow faculty members.

The final award of the day, the Marburger Champion for Institutional Excellence and Preeminence, was bestowed upon Kirk T. Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. Steudle, a construction engineering graduate of LTU, has served as state transportation director under Republican and Democratic administrations. He is a national expert on connected vehicle technologies and has received several national awards from transportation organizations. He has been generous in providing time and counsel supporting LTU students and programs.

Ford C3 grant
October 5, 2016

Ford C3 grant to Lawrence Tech aims to cut affordable housing cost in half

Lawrence Technological University has received a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge grant that could revolutionize the production of affordable housing – starting with one new home in Pontiac.

The grant will help fund the construction of HOUSE02, a proof of concept home that will use the techniques developed over the past two years by LTU architecture professors Scott Shall, Jim Stevens, Ayodh Kamath, and Brian Oltrogge, and LTU architecture graduate students.

The goal is to build a home at a cost of $50 to $65 per square foot. That would put the cost of a modest, 1,000-square-foot home at $50,000 to $65,000 – not the $110,000 to $150,000 achieved through traditional construction methods, Shall said.

The techniques will make it more likely for affordable housing to attract financing on a large scale, as well. For a video of Lawrence Tech students and faculty discussing this issue, visit

The LTU professors and students worked with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County on the research.

In addition to the Ford grant, an anonymous philanthropist has donated $6,000 and a city lot in Pontiac for the construction of HOUSE02.

“We’ve been working with students and professionals to figure out how digital fabrication can more rigorously inform the building delivery process used to make affordable housing,” Shall said. “Through our research, we have found ways to use computer simulation, digital fabrication, and products such as structural insulating panels and reclaimed material to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of affordable housing, as well as the time required to build the home.”

The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a grant competition launched in 2008 when Ford Motor Company Fund reached out to its national network of colleges and universities and invited them to compete for grants based on local sustainability projects. Ford C3 works with partners in higher education that are focused on the critical areas of business, design and engineering. Ford C3 is designed to use school and company resources in creative ways, challenging schools and students to design projects that address pressing community needs and make more relevant connections with students. Ford C3 differs from many traditional college grant programs by requiring significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end. As a result, winning proposals have a distinct student perspective on what it means to have a sustainable community. Ford C3 is an educational initiative of Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. More details about the program and previous winners can be found at

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