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Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

Promoting the highest level of design in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties

Selection Committee

This committee, along with Home Region Program Director Karen Minkel, will conduct an annual search for designers to create the pool from which the foundation can choose for upcoming Design Excellence projects. The selection committee was designed to have representation from an architect, a landscape architect, an urban designer, and the sitting dean at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas – all of whom have demonstrated promise and talent in their chosen career.

Karen Minkel

Karen Minkel
Home Region Program Director
Walton Family Foundation

Karen Minkel is responsible for work with grantees focused on quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Karen was previously a senior research officer in the Evaluation Unit at the foundation and provided analysis and evaluation of the Home Region Program’s grants and strategies. Before coming to the Walton Family Foundation, Karen worked for the City of Fayetteville as director of strategic planning and internal consulting, administering and evaluating myriad programs, policies and processes. She has also worked in public sector consulting and served as a Teach For America corps member in Harlem. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.

John Trelawney Hoal, Ph.D., RA (SA), AICP_CUD, CNU_A
Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis
Chair of Master of Urban Design & Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism Programs
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Public Health
Founding Principal, H3 Studio

John Hoal

John Hoal, Ph.D. is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, and the Chair of Urban Design at the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design of Washington University in St. Louis where he directs the Master of Urban Design Program and is the Founding Director of the Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism Program. Dr. Hoal is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute of Public Health.

Dr. Hoal teaches the Global Urbanism Studio program and conducts public space research masterclasses in cities throughout the world. With colleagues, Hoal has conducted a multi-year interdisciplinary international team based research program “Living with the Great Rivers - Climate Adaptation Strategies in the Midwest River Basins”. Hoal serves on the Administration Committee for the Divided City Initiative an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant over eight years that focuses on how segregation occurs in our cities, neighborhoods, public spaces and urban landscapes.

Dr. Hoal began his professional career in South Africa where he worked both in the private and public sector on major large-scale urban design projects as well as residential, institutional, environmental and recreational projects. Dr. Hoal co-founded the City of St. Louis’s first Urban Design department and was the Director of Urban Design for seven years. In 2000 he founded the design and research firm H3 Studio, a national and international planning, design and research firm based in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 2015 H3 Studio won the internationally Changing Course Design Competition to develop ideas for creating a sustainable, ecological performative and socially-just lower Mississippi River Delta. Recent international work includes transit corridor development planning in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the SEQ Water Futures: Climate Adaptation Strategies for the Brisbane Watershed, Brisbane, Australia, and projects in South Africa and Vietnam. In 2017 Dr. Hoal was invited to present a paper on the critical need for sustainable cities at the Workshop on Biological Extinction of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican, Rome, Italy. He has served on the International Review Team for the Development of the Hangzhou Central Business District, Hangzhou, China, and as an invited Expert Technical Reviewer for Land and Livability National Innovation Challenge by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA), Singapore.

Peter MacKeith

Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
University of Arkansas

Peter MacKeith is the dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He has been an associate professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as adjunct associate curator of architecture and design for the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. He served as associate dean of the Sam Fox School until June 2013.

MacKeith directed the international Masters Program in architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology from 1994-99 and previously taught in design and architectural theory at Yale University and the University of Virginia. He has worked in practices in both the United States and Finland and has written and lectured extensively in the United States, in Finland, and across the Nordic countries on the work of Alvar Aalto, and contemporary Finnish and Nordic architecture in general.

A past editor of Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal (1988), he is also the author and/or editor of numerous other publications, including Encounters: Architectural Essays, a selection of essays by Juhani Pallasmaa (2005) and Archipelago, Essays on Architecture (2006). MacKeith’s analytical drawings of Aalto’s buildings were included in the 1998 retrospective of Aalto’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2009, he co-curated the exhibition On the Riverfront: St. Louis and the Gateway Arch and was the venue coordinator for Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future. He also adapted the exhibition Design with the Other 90%: CITIES – organized by Cynthia E. Smith, curator of socially responsible design at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum – for the Kemper Art Museum.

MacKeith is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, research grants from The Graham Foundation for Advancement in the Visual Arts, and active in both the ACSA and the EAAE. He also has received two Creative Achievement in Design Education Awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in 2008 and 2014.

Elizabeth Meyer, Landscape Architect
Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor; Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture University of Virginia

Elizabeth Meyer

Elizabeth Meyer, a landscape architect, theorist and critic, joined the UVA faculty in 1993, and has served as Landscape Architecture Department Chair and Director of the Graduate Landscape Architecture Program. Previously, Meyer taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design and Cornell University. For the last three years, DesignIntelligence has recognized Meyer as one of the most admired design educators in the United States. Her teaching and scholarship have garnered honors, grants and awards from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Graham Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Virginia.

Meyer, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is a registered landscape architect who worked for EDAW Alexandria and Hanna/Olin (now, Olin Partnership) in Philadelphia before beginning her academic career. Since then, she has consulted with several landscape architecture firms including Chris Counts Studio, Michael Vergason and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and continues to advise firms working on significant historic and cultural landscapes. Meyer was part of the MVVA Team that won the City+Arch+River competition in 2010 that focused on revitalizing the context around the St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds, a modernist landmark designed by Eero Saarinen and Daniel Kiley. She has served on 10 national design competition juries over the past 20 years; most recently she served on the jury for Rethink. Restore. Rebuild, the Trust for the National Mall’s design competition for three sites within the monumental core landscape. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the design review board for Washington, D.C.’s monumental core as well as major public buildings and public spaces within the boundaries of the 1902 McMillan Commission plan for the District of Columbia.

Amale Andraos
Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Amale Andraos

Amale Andraos is Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and co-founder of WORKac, a New-York based architectural and urban practice with international reach. Since becoming Dean in 2014, Amale Andraos is shaping Columbia GSAPP as a laboratory for learning that fosters the development of new types of practices and strives to reimagine the future of architecture, cities and the environment. Columbia GSAPP is home to pioneering experimentation among its students and faculty, who unite cutting edge design skills with incisive critical thinking in a diverse and energetic context.

Prior to becoming Dean, Andraos was assistant professor at GSAPP and taught at numerous other universities including Princeton University School of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, University of Pennsylvania Design School, and American University in Beirut. Her recent design studios and seminars have focused on the Arab City, which became the subject of a series of symposia and the forthcoming book The Arab City: Architecture and Representation (April 2016). Other publications include the recently re-issued 49 Cities, a re-reading of 49 visionary plans through an ecological lens; Above the Pavement, the Farm! and numerous essays.

WORKac is focused on re-imagining architecture at the intersection of the urban, the rural and the natural. The practice has achieved international recognition for projects such as the competition-winning designs for Hua Qiang Bei Road, Shenzhen, the Centre de Conferences in Libreville, Gabon, the New Holland Island Cultural Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Edible Schoolyards at PS216 in Brooklyn and PS7 in Harlem, New York, as well as the New York headquarters for Wieden+Kennedy. Current projects include a new storefront for a Parking Garage in Miami, a residential conversion of a historic New York cast-iron building, and a Master Plan for seven university campuses for Weifang, China in collaboration with Studio Pei-Zhu, SLAB, and SCAPE. WORKac was named the AIA New York State Firm of the Year in 2015 and, among other awards, received a 2015 Honor Award from the AIA NY for the Beijing Horticultural Expo Master Plan (in collaboration with Studio Pei-Zhu, SLAB and SCAPE).