Fashion Design Grad Talks Life at The North Face

    It’s been almost 20 years since Ray Bercilla graduated from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University, and to come back to speak to students on Nov. 28 at the Northpoint building was a little surreal.

    Bercilla, a fashion design graduate, is a product developer at The North Face. He and his colleague, Senior Materials Developer Samantha Pinnock, tagged along with Director of Color Lisa Cram at The North Face’s parent company, VF Corporation (VFC), to visit the Academy. They gave a special presentation on color, textile chemistry and what it’s like to work for the outdoor company based in Alameda.

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    Building Conscious Urban Architecture


    Internationally renowned architect and owner of Neil M. Denari Architects, Neil Denari. Photo by Doron Serban.

    A big name in the world of architecture stopped by Academy of Art University on Nov. 14, but he didn’t start his lecture by talking about architecture. Neil Denari, internationally renowned architect and owner of Neil M. Denari Architects, kicked off the night speaking about The Ramones, modular synthesizers, along with horses and zebras.

    Denari dished out metaphors to introduce the main message behind his two-hour lecture—that sameness comes in many different forms and that architecture in the urban setting can have an unconventional dialogue with its surroundings.

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    Founder of Bionic Landscape Joins Fall Speaker Series


    Bionic Landscape Founder and Design Director Marcel Wilson. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several of the world’s top architects, and the School of Landscape Architecture (LAN) at Academy of Art University is fortunate to know and work closely with so many of them. LAN Director Jeff McLane calls the city “ground zero for landscape architecture,” and over the past few weeks, students have heard a handful of top-notch designers speak at the department’s Fall Speaker Series, one of whom is recognized as “a leader of a new generation of architects.”

    Marcel Wilson is the founder and design director of Bionic Landscape, a landscape architecture planning and urban design firm based in San Francisco. Founded in 2009, Wilson said the firm works on a lot of “interesting, challenging projects.” His clients tend to be “ambitious” with difficult sites, places, programs and motives.

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    Rethinking Architecture


    School of Architecture Undergraduate Director Jennifer Asselstine, guest speaker Madeline Schwartzman and Graduate Director Mark Mückenheim. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Human-fungi hybridization, three-foot eyelashes and body robotics were among the many esoteric topics discussed at the premiere of the Fall Lecture Series for the School of Architecture (ARCH) on Oct. 5.

    Madeline Schwartzman showed over 400 stunning and obscure images to a packed audience in the atrium at 601 Brannan St., each introducing a new way of thinking about human’s relationship to architecture. The writer, filmmaker and architect from New York City spoke passionately to the audience about the importance of out-of-the-box thinking and always trying to see the world from a different point of view.

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    Tuesday Tunes Hosts MarlonB!


    School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media student Marlon Britton performs at a recent Tuesday Tunes. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    For the month of November’s first edition of Tuesday Tunes, (UKR) turned to one of Academy of Art University’s own to headline the weekly showcase.  

    Singer/songwriter Marlon Britton, who goes by “MarlonB!” on stage, is a student from the School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media and runs track and field for the Academy. Originally from Chicago, Britton has been writing songs since he was 10 years old but only started recording music at the age of 16. Now with 12 years of experience of making music, he said he’s ready to start sharing it with a greater audience.

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    Artful Teaching


    School of Art Education alumnus Ryan Kurada with his first grade class at University Elementary School at La Fiesta. Photo courtesy of Ryan Kurada.

    Sitting in his history of art education class at the Academy of Art University, Ryan Kurada was inspired by a philosophy that would shape his future as a teacher. Kurada graduated from the School of Art Education in Fall 2013 and has been a full-time teacher at University Elementary School at La Fiesta in Rohnert Park, California, for two years.

    It was at the Academy where he learned about an education philosophy that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy. A philosophy that integrates art across the curriculum to teach all types of learners.

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