Previous Faculty Spotlights

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design wishes to highlight outstanding faculty accomplishments. Below we continue to highlight our faculty for their remarkable contributions to education and the built environment.

Image of Vicente del RioVicente del Rio, Ph.D. - Professor,  City and Regional Planning

Professor Vicente del Rio spent two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last September organizing and conducting a three-day planning charrete on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) for the Institute for Transportation and Development Policies (ITDP). Participants from state and city agencies in Rio de Janeiro and ITDP staff from its New York and Brazil offices worked on sustainable transit-oriented vision for the development of a district around one of the future stations of a Bus Rapid Transit route being implemented for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The charrete was based on ITDP’s eight principles for TODs: walk, cycle, connect, access, mix, densify, change, and public transit. Professor del Rio also presented the charrette's results during a one-day seminar on TOD promoted by the ITDP, the British Council, and local agencies in Rio.

Desenho Urbano Contemporâneo no Brasil is a new book by professor del Rio and fellow City and Regional Planning professor, William Siembieda, published through LTC Press in Rio de Janeiro. The book is a revised and updated version of Contemporary Urbanism in Brazil: Beyond Brasilia published in the U.S. by the University Press of Florida (2009, 2010). The book discusses twelve current urban design case studies in eight Brazilian capitals. The book signing happened in September and included professor del Rio participating in round tables at the Brazilian Institute of Architects in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paulo, and a lecture at Escola da Cidade, a new school of architecture and urbanism in São Paulo. Professor del Rio will also be delivering a key-note presentation and signing at the national congress of the National Federation of Architects in Goiania, Brazil in November.

Click here to see del Rio's biography and publications.

Image of John LawsonJohn Lawson, SE - Assistant Professor,  Architectural Engineering

John Lawson recently earned national recognition from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his effective and engaging teaching style.

He received the ASCE’s ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in June during the American Society for Engineering Education’s annual conference in Atlanta. The award recognizes outstanding engineering faculty who have five years or less full-time teaching experience.

Last summer, Lawson was invited to serve as an assistant mentor to faculty members from around the nation at ASCE’s Excellence in Civil Engineering Education workshop, held annually at West Point.

Architectural Engineering Department Head Al Estes said students appreciate Lawson’s engaging teaching style, dedication to their education, and genuine interest in them as individuals.

“John began teaching at Cal Poly in 2009 after 25 years in professional practice and has quickly established himself as a master teacher, a leader, a mentor, and an advocate for the students,” Estes said. “He has excelled in the classroom, interacted with students outside of the classroom, engaged in engineering education research, served with professional societies, and succeeded in every aspect of being a faculty member,” Estes said.

Lawson’s educational involvement with his students is not limited to the classroom. He routinely organizes field trips to local building sites. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the student chapters of the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) and Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) and accompanies the students visiting professional firms and touring high-profile constructions sites in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York City. Each year, Lawson accompanies students to the SEAOC Annual Convention and ASCE student leadership workshops.

Lawson is a 1983 Cal Poly architectural engineering graduate and an alumnus of Stanford University. Last year, he won the California Faculty Association’s Distinguished Educator Award, which honors and recognizes the best non-tenured teachers at Cal Poly.

Click here to see Lawson's faculty page.

Image of César Torres BustamanteCésar Torres Bustamante, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture

Representing Time and Space: DIY Investigations

‘Spatiality’ and ‘temporality’ are some of the phenomenological characteristics of landscape that present the greatest difficulty for landscape architectural drawing [Corner, James. Representation and Landscape, in Theory in Landscape Architecture: A Reader, 2002.]. The enormity of the landscape cannot be represented without reduction or subtraction: its vast immensity imposes restrictions for its depiction in a Cartesian geometry. The experience of duration and unfolding of events also resists illustration by subdividing temporality into infinite sequences: a static snapshot is nothing more than a frozen moment in time, deprived from a flow of befores and afters.

Today’s fascination with visual and moving images claims a three-dimensional depiction and experience of space and time by bringing them as close as possible to everyday perceptions. Visualizing a place should convey an impression similar to photography or cinema, and realistic simulations of this kind not only require appropriate technical facilities but also trained graphic design specialists, resulting in a considerable investment of time, money and effort [Mertens, Elke. Visualizing Landscape Architecture. P. 67.].

This paper presents the findings of implementing simple and inexpensive methods for recreating lifelike experiences of three-dimensional space and lapsed time in a technology class. In the first case, computer perspectives were created by using the conventional depth simulation with convergence and atmospheric perspective [Cantrel, Bradley and Wes Michaels Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture, 2010.], and the experience of three-dimensional space was achieved through two offset stereoscopic images seen through anaglyph spectacles. Students learned the anaglyph principle by replicating depth in site analysis photographs, and later simulated it in their own constructed perspectives. Images were edited in Adobe Photoshop to produce two differently filtered colored images that were perceived as a three-dimensional scene when seen through paper anaglyph filters (red and cyan glasses).

The use of video in landscape offers a new form of thinking that integrates the traveling continuum of space in time, instead of immutable frames. Students were able to create videos by panning frame-by-frame animations, make more evident processes that would normally appear subtle, and transforming imperceptible changes into a smooth impression of motion. This technique is generally used to document celestial motion, plants growing or the evolution of a construction project, and requires very precise motorized camera dollies. The paper presents student videos made by attaching cameras and iPhones to egg timers, resulting in investigations that not only offered a more complete understanding of the multiplicity of phenomena, but that helped students change preconceptions about their sites.

For contact information or to learn more about him, go to the web page for Asst. Professor César Torres Bustamante.


Image of people watching Torres-Bustamante presentation wearing 3-D glasses.

Audience at Torres-Bustamante presentation wearing 3-D glasses.

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