Design After Oil Bios

Keynote Speakers

David Gissen

Professor of Architecture
California College of Arts
San Francisco, CA

David Gissen is a historian and theorist of architecture and urbanism. He is assistant professor of architecture and visual studies and coordinator of the history/theory curriculum for architecture at the California College of the Arts. His recent work specifically focuses on developing a novel concept of nature in architectural thought—considering what nature might become in architecture, or what architecture might be “after nature.”

David is the author of the book Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009); editor of a forthcoming issue of AD Magazine “Territory”; and editor of the book Big and Green (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003). His essays are included in journals and books such as AA Files, Grey Room, Log, Volume, The Journal of Architecture (UK), The Journal of Architectural Education, Models and Drawings (Routledge) and Writing Urbanism (Routledge). His curatorial work has been staged at museums and galleries including the National Building Museum, Yale Architecture Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art and The Museum of the City of New York.

David studied architecture at the University of Virginia, Columbia University, Yale University, and recently completed a PhD at the University of London under the direction of Matthew Gandy and Adrian Forty. He is the recipient of two Graham Foundation grants, the Richard J. Carroll Lectureship from Johns Hopkins University, and the Chalsty Award at CCA.

Sheila Kennedy

Professor of Architecture, MIT
Kennedy and Violich Architecture
Director of Design & Applied Research: KVA MATx

Sheila Kennedy is a founding Principal of KVA MATx, an interdisciplinary design practice that explores relationships between architecture, technology and emerging public needs. Kennedy creates design concepts, products and building projects that integrate a new class of sustainable and energy harvesting materials in architecture, textiles and building materials.

KVA MATx has developed new technology applications for Dupont, Siemens, Osram, Herman Miller, Saint-Gobain, The North Face and the United States Department of Energy, winning the Chicago Athenaeum’s prestigious Good Design Award and the Grand Prize for Building Innovation Award from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2007.

The MATx Portable Light Project, a non-profit global clean energy initiative for the developing world, has been recognized with a 2009 Congressional Award and a 2008 Tech Museum Award for clean energy technology that benefits humanity.
Portable Light is a non-profit interdisciplinary research, design and engineering project to provide de-centralized, sustainable lighting and electrical power to serve the large number of people—more than 2 billion—who do not have access to electric light or power. The Portable Light Project began with an idea created and developed by MATx, the materials research unit of Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. The MATx team developed design strategies to leverage the extraordinary energy efficiency of low cost, large market HBLED technology, optomize it with digital electronics to work efficiently with flexible photovoltaics and integrate it into energy harvesting textiles that are small, smart and shippable. The goal of the portable light project is to create fully autonomous, off-the-grid light “engines” that can provide durable, energy-efficient illumination to enable better options for household economic self-sufficiency, community based education and health care.

KVA MATx work has been exhibited at the National Design Museum, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the TED Conference in California and was featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 2008 exhibition on breakthrough designs for new technologies, “Design & the Elastic Mind”. Kennedy’s work has been featured in journals of architecture, design culture, anthropology and optoelectronics, as well as National Public Radio, United Nations Radio, BBC World News, CNN Principal Voices, Wired, Science News, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and The New York Times.


Dan Colbert

Executive Director
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Prior to joining the Institute for Energy Efficiency Dan was Chief Technology Officer and a principal at NGEN Partners, a Santa Barbara-based venture capital firm focusing its investments  in “cleantech”- products and services that positively affect the environment.

Colbert earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Cornell University and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at The University of Wisconsin-Madison; he did postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley and Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory. He then joined the Chemistry faculty at Rice University in Houston, where he worked closely with nanotechnology pioneer and Nobel laureate Professor Rick Smalley on carbon nanotubes. That work led to a founding role, with Smalley, in Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. (CNI). He left CNI for the position at NGEN.

Marc Fisher

Senior Associate Vice Chancellor,
Administrative Services & Campus Architect

Marc Fisher joined UC Santa Barbara as Associate Vice Chancellor in 2002.
As Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, Administrative Services & Campus Architect, his responsibilities include Physical Facilities, Design and Construction Services, Campus Planning and Design and Parking and Transportation Services. He has a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the American Institute of Architects.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Marc is involved in the planning for 3000 units of new faculty, staff and student housing, Campus Sustainability Plan which will provide guiding principals for campus sustainability over the next 50 years, Infrastructure Master Plan, Campus Vision Plan, $800 million Capital Program, Long Range Development Plan, and a Transportation Alternatives Program.

Lorelei K. Moosbrugger

Professor of Political Science
Chair of the Academic Senate’s Sustainability Work Group

Lorelei Moosbrugger received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego. She is a comparative institutionalist focusing on industrialized countries, with regional expertise in Europe. Her primary research agenda is concerned with how the structure of political institutions affects the quality of democracy.

Moosbrugger recently completed a book manuscript in which she details how different institutional designs either inhibit or promote the production of public goods in the face of concentrated costs. Her current research examines the relationship between party competition, information, and political sophistication.  She also writes on the role of institutions in ethnic conflict and the policy impacts of the institutional structures of the European Union.  She chairs the UCSB Academic Senate’s Sustainability Work Group which is charged with integrating courses and programs on environmental sustainability into the undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Ken Radtkey

Founder of Blackbird Architects
Santa Barbara, CA

Blackbird Architects practices the sensitive and sustainable design, using common sense and an economy of means.   Blackbird values radiant space and light over expensive materials and difficult details. To these ends, the firm aspires toward the innovative use of proven technologies.

Blackbird Architects has been recognized both locally and nationally for design achievements where beautiful spaces are realized that conserve resources and are sensitive to our environment. Their office building has won several local design awards for design excellence and environmental responsibility. Blackbird has also been been recognized nationally for design excellence in several master planning design competitions.

Ted Rose

Principal of Rose Carbon
Boulder, CO

Ted Rose works in the carbon offset and renewable energy markets. As a renewable energy developer, he is associated with NexGen Energy Partners, an owner and operator of third-party commercial-sized renewable energy developments around the country. He is responsible for business development and public affairs at the firm.

Prior to founding his own company, Ted served as vice president of business development of Renewable Choice Energy, working with companies including Whole Foods Market, Google, and Citi. In 2008, Ted led the conception, development and execution of the first corporate sponsorship of a wind farm. Before that, Ted worked closely with Whole Foods Market to develop the Wind Power Card, the first renewable energy product designed for purchase at the checkout counter. The New York Times called it “Phase II” in corporate environmental action.

Before establishing a career in renewable energy, Ted worked as a journalist for thirteen-years and frequently reported on energy, politics, and business. His reportage appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and Wired. Ted graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.

Dennis Thompson, AIA, LEED AP

President, Thompson Naylor Architects
Santa Barbara, CA

Dennis Thompson is the founder and president of Thompson Naylor Architects, a firm that has been practicing environmentally and socially responsible architecture for over twenty years. Dennis has a strong history of leadership in the Santa Barbara environmental building community. He served on the Community Environmental Council board of directors, was a board member and the president of the Sustainability Project, and was the founder and first president of the Green Building Alliance.

As part of the Green Building Alliance of Santa Barbara, Thompson Naylor is committed to increasing public awareness of the importance of sustainable design. To this end, Dennis has been active as a teacher and public speaker. He organized the Santa Barbara Solar Design Conference in 1982 and was instrumental in planning the “Designing for Sustainable Communities” and “Green Building Now” conferences in 1994 and 1996. He helped bring Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030 and the “2030 Challenge” to speak in Santa Barbara in order to raise community awareness about global climate change. After the most recent Tea Fire, he has been a spokesperson for energy efficient rebuilding.  His work has been recognized with numerous Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards, as well as awards from the Santa Barbara Contractors Association and the American Institute of Architects.   The Thompson Naylor firm was awarded the Green Award for exemplary businesses in 2001.

Susan Van Atta

President of Van Atta Associates
Santa Barbara, CA

Susan Van Atta’s professional career and community participation have long reflected her concern for environmental quality and planning. In 1977, she graduated from the UCSB with a degree in Environmental Studies. This lead to a career in coastal planning and environmental impact assessment. Susan received a BS in Landscape Architecture in 1983 from CPSU, San Luis Obispo and founded her own firm in 1985.

Since that time, Susan has dedicated herself to environmentally appropriate landscape design, habitat restoration, and the use of native plants. She is often called upon to give lectures on topics of design and sustainability at seminars, colleges, and other community forums.
Design is the hallmark of Van Atta Associates’ work, and the firm has been recognized for these efforts with many design awards including honors awards from the California ASLA and the AIA. Our projects have appeared in books and other publications such as Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, Architectural Digest, Sunset Magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine, and Elle Decor.

Volker M. Welter

Professor of the History of Art and Architecture
Director of the Program in Architecture and Environment

Volker M. Welter received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He has worked as architectural historian in Berlin, in Scotland (University of Edinburgh and Strathclyde University, Glasgow), and in England (University of Reading). A recipient of awards from the Getty Grant Program, Los Angeles; the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London and Centre Canadien d’Architecture, Montreal, he is the director of the Architecture and Environment Program in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.

He is the author of Biopolis-Patrick Geddes and the City of Life (MIT Press, 2002, reprint 2003). More recent publications have focused on mid-20th century urbanism. He is currently working on a book on bourgeois and middle-class modern architecture in the Weimar Republic as exemplified in the oeuvre of Ernst L. Freud, the architect son of Sigmund Freud.

Kim Yasuda

Professor of Studio Art
Co-director of the UC Institute for Research in the Arts

Kim Yasuda is a visual artist and professor of spatial studies in the Art Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. She has served as department chair and is currently co-director of the multi-campus research unit, the U.C. Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA) a major platform for presenting, discussing and advocating for the arts-centered research across the 10-campus U.C. system.

Yasuda’s projects investigate links between identity and place. Yasuda works collaboratively with her students on spatial demonstration projects, including the 2006 student-homeowner public art collaboration with residents of a 52-unit, affordable farm-worker housing complex in Oxnard, California and the 2007-8 recycling and repurposing of used shipping containers into mobile art studios to serve as satellite sustainability labs for campus research to take place within a publicly-accessible realm.She has commissioned projects throughout California, including a subway station and bus shelter facility for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Los Angeles and permanent commemorative installations for the City of San Jose and Hollywood.

Yasuda has exhibited her work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Camerawork, London; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Connecticut and MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston. She is the recipient of visual arts fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, US/Japan Foundation, Howard Foundation, Art Matters, Joan Mitchell Foundation and Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation.