Award-Winning Architect/Urban Planner Monica Ponce de Leon to Speak at UB on Feb. 25

Release Date: February 17, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Architects and urban planners-in-training must know a good deal besides how to lay out a design or articulate a possibility.

Their projects may have to satisfy several clients and mandate programming, management and budgetary facilitation involving multiple-client agencies. They likely will deal with feasibility analyses and community interaction workshops with focus groups, design review meetings with city agencies and project coordination sessions. It is a demanding profession, a nightmare for the unprepared.

Venezuelan-born Monica Ponce de Leon is an up-and-coming young architect and urban designer who has done it all, and done it extremely well. In fact, her career path is currently at a 45-degree angle from earth -- an artist and professional whose acute intellectual curiosity imbues her designed spaces with complexity and meaning beyond their evident function.

On Feb. 25, as part of its annual lecture series, the UB School of Architecture and Planning will offer its students, faculty and the public-at-large the opportunity to meet Ponce de Leon and discover what she has learned from her extensive experience with institutional and residential clients in many cultural and geographic contexts.

She will speak at 5:30 p.m. in Crosby Hall, UB South (Main Street) Campus. Her talk will be free and open to the public.

A professor in the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Ponce de Leon also is a partner with Nader Tehrani in the prize-winning Boston architectural firm of Office dA, whose work ranges from the broader scale of urban design and infrastructure to architecture and furniture design.

The firm has received numerous awards and honors, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award for Architecture in 2002; yearly Progressive Architecture Awards for The Mill Road House, Casa La Roca, The Zahedi House, The Toledo House, the Master Plan for the Town of Wayland and The Tongxian Art Center in China.

In 2000, I.D. Magazine presented the firm with two awards for the ORO/Lazslo Furniture line, and for the Northeastern University Multifaith Spiritual Center. In 1997, Ponce de Leon and Tehrani received Young Architect's Awards from the Architecture League of N.Y., and Young Architect Awards from the Boston Society of Architects in 1999.

Ponce de Leon herself has served as principal-in-charge for a wide range of stunning, award-winning projects from the Northwestern center to the renovation of a historic downtown Boston bank into a restaurant, from a 140-unit apartment building in South Boston to unique furniture design.

In her building projects, Ponce de Leon says she works to forge a unique relationship between architectural design and the construction industry. She often serves as a liaison between manufacturing and construction trades, working directly with craftsmen to develop new methods of construction assembly. These collaborations have been manifest in the development of imaginative responses to the relationship between old and new structures, as well as the integration of state-of-the-art building technologies within existing structures.

Ponce de Leon received a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami followed by a master's degree in architecture and urban design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she now serves as an associate professor. She also has taught at Northeastern University, the University of Miami and the Rhode Island School of Design.

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