A lecture by Alison Mears + Jonsara Ruth
Moderated by Catherine Murphy
Alison Mears is the current Dean of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design. Alison teaches interdisciplinary studios in SCE and in SDS projects in the BS Urban Design program. She is a registered architect who has worked in both large corporate firms and partner in her own architectural practice Paci + Mears Architects ( Formerly: Mitchell/Giurgola and Thorpe, Australia; Pei Cobb, Freed and Partners, NYC.). Past projects have been located in a number of US urban contexts, often in a partnership with the New School (Milano graduate students) and Parsons design students (graduate and undergraduates) and with a range of nonprofit organizations. Others include the New Orleans Chase competition, community based programs (part of the Solar Decathlon project) in Deanwood, Washington DC, in Skid Row, LA with the Skid Row Housing Authority and in Greensboro NC. Alison is also leading a team of designers working on the design and construction of the St. George’s school in Gondar, Ethiopia and advisor for Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Vocational Center for Artisans in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Jonsara Ruth is a designer, artist and Design Director at Healthy Materials Lab. She is Founding Director of the progressive MFA Interior Design program at Parsons School of Design. Charged with provoking change in the field, she leads AFTERTASTE, an annual symposium drawing from perspectives from a wide spectrum of disciplines to bring new definition to the field of interiors. In her teaching, she draws from practices at both their cutting edges and their ancestral roots to inform design approaches. Her ideas about designing interior environments focus on exploring and understanding human experience. As a designer she is committed to using materials and processes that maximize worker, end-user and planetary health. Currently Jonsara leads Salty Labs, a collaborative design studio founded in sustainable thinking and testing experimental methodologies. She was the first lead designer for the Martha Stewart Signature Furniture Collection and her work is seen in hundreds of retail venues, thousands of homes, exhibited in galleries and museums, featured in publications internationally, and has received multiple awards. Jonsara is a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, received a Masters of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design.
Tech Talks is a new annual event series hosted by the Building Science and Technology Sequence at GSAPP focusing on the implications of materials, cities, and ethics. The talks are followed by a Q/A panel and showcase work on healthy materials, integrated city systems and sustainable activism in order to solve the profound technological and human challenges of the 21st century.