Professor Linda C. Samuels will serve as interim director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis for the 2023-24 academic year, effective August 1, 2023.
The College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, part of WashU’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, was established in 1910 as the School of Architecture, and is one of the ten founding members of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.
“Linda is deeply committed to students and understands the importance of interdisciplinary creative research and practice, collaboration, community, and sustainability,” said Carmon Colangelo, the school’s Ralph J. Nagel Dean. “I look forward to working with Linda in her new leadership role over the coming year as we continue to advance our school and university strategic plans.”
Samuels joined the Sam Fox School as an associate professor in urban design in 2015, achieved tenure in 2016, and was promoted to professor in 2023. She teaches architecture and urban design studios as well as seminars on infrastructural urbanism, urban history and theory, and alternative sustainability metrics.
Samuels is the founder and director of Infra_OPTS, an independent consulting firm working in St. Louis and Los Angeles focused on the design, mapping, and metrics of public infrastructure to create more equitable cities. She is currently developing an infrastructure equity scorecard pilot project with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering and Mayor’s Office. Samuels was co-principal investigator on a grant from The Divided City initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, entitled “Mobility For All By All,” which aims to increase the social and environmental benefits of the multibillion-dollar proposed St. Louis MetroLink expansion for residents living along the alignment. Emphasizing innovative challenges and real-world collaboration in her teaching, recent studio partners have included the Land Art Generator Initiative at Fly Ranch, Virgin Hyperloop One (Los Angeles/Las Vegas), Food Forward (Los Angeles), and local partners Bi-State Development Research Institute (St. Louis) and Dutchtown South Community Corporation (St. Louis).
Samuels has a number of publications to her name, including her latest book, Infrastructural Optimism (Routledge, 2022). She has lectured widely on infrastructural urbanism and next generation infrastructure, most recently at the AIA in Baltimore and the RailVolution conference in Miami, Fla.
Prior to coming to WashU, Samuels was the inaugural director of the Sustainable City Project, a multidisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach initiative of the University of Arizona where she worked with public and private partners on multi-scaled sustainability efforts in Tucson and the larger southwest megaregion. She earned her master of architecture from Princeton University and her doctorate in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was a senior research associate at cityLAB, an urban think tank in UCLA’s department of architecture and urban design.
Heather Woofter, the current director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, will step down to become dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, effective August 15.
In addition to her appointment as interim director, Samuels will serve as chair of urban design, beginning a three-year, renewable term also effective August 1. She succeeds Associate Professor Derek Hoeferlin, who has held the role since 2019. Hoeferlin will retain his position as chair of landscape architecture, leading the school’s upcoming master of landscape architecture reaccreditation process.
A search for a permanent director will begin this summer.