AD Interviews: Ila Berman

A few months ago I had the chance to interview Ila Berman, director of the Architecture program at the . She holds a doctorate in architectural history, theory, and criticism from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Dr Berman created New Orleans: Urban Mappings for a Future City, an exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2006 International Architectural Biennale in Venice.

I visited the school by the end of the semester, and had the chance to see the final projects by the students and an exhibition on building technologies that was currently being assembled on the main hall. I really liked the atmosphere of the school, the students were very into it. I also meet a group of young teachers who are doing interesting work professionally, such as Douglas Burnham (envelope A+D), Mona El Khafif ( CCA URBANlab, IG Architecture), Craig Scott (Iwamoto Scott) and David Gissen.

My architect friends from San Francisco are always mentioning the lectures at CCA, as they have done a very good work inviting some of the best architects around the world to their lecture series: Alejandro Zaera Polo (FOA), Paul Lewis (LTL Architects), Bernard Tschumi, Winy Maas, Toyo Ito, etc (you can download some at iTunes U).

A school to keep an eye on…

Cite: Basulto, David. "AD Interviews: Ila Berman" 26 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Somchai

    I appreciate Archdaily’s use of videos in your blog. For me, whenever I see there is a video to watch, I almost instantly grab my headphones and look for the play button.

    As a relatively “new” student of Architecture, I find these interviews extremely insightful in my quest for more and more information.

    Keep it up Archdaily!

  • bjorn

    I had her as a professor at Tulane. Not only was she incredibly good at it but she cared about your work. She opened my eyes to theory and how to tap into my ability to design.

    She also was great at reviews and pinup. Helpful with out being mean. Great teacher and those students are lucky for her.

  • John

    Sounds like a nice, intelligent lady but I don’t agree with the comment that architects redesign the world, mentioning that 90% of the things around us are designed – and that architects are involved in this practise.

    Being immersed in multi-disciplinary creative practise, with a background in architecture (indeed with some of the most forward thinking and successful), it’s shocking to me that architects can be the most inward facing and mono-disciplinary out of the creative industries. They are not involved in designing 90% of the things around us. Most lose enthusiasm if you take the dialogue away from cladding, structure and vanity building forms.

    Probably a ‘red rag to a bull’ but there you go…

  • theSelector

    She doesn’t say that architects are involved in 90% of the design work, but that 90% of the elements we come into touch with (phones, buildings, books, cars, etc) are made and designed. She states architects participate in this practice, but does not note what percentage of these designed items/elements architects touch.

    Seems like a reference to the same ideas as Bruce Mau’s Massive Change exhibit with the Institute without Boundaries:

    Seems like a very good point, especially in regards to her other points and in relation to beginning architecture students?