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Visiting critic Dirk Hebel, left, and Caroline O’Donnell, the Edgar A. Tafel Associate Professor of Architecture, review student work in their advanced design studio course, Cyclo: Architectures of Waste.

Hans and Roger Strauch continue to support sustainable design practice at AAP

A gift of $250,000 from Hans (B.Arch. ’80) and Roger ’78 Strauch will enable the Department of Architecture at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning to continue offering studios focused on sustainable design led by prominent visiting faculty. This gift supplements the endowed fund the Strauches established in 2013 with a gift of $750,000.

The Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design was established by the Strauch brothers to ensure that Cornell architecture students and faculty are supported in their efforts to advance research and innovative design solutions associated with consequences of global climate change. Thanks to the endowment, the Department of Architecture will maintain its enhanced curriculum with annual advanced studios in which visiting instructors, often leaders in their field, emphasize the importance of environmentally sustainable practices in architectural design.

Roger, left, and Hans Strauch.

“AAP has done an excellent job developing the Strauch Sustainable Design Visiting Critic program,” Hans Strauch says. “We are pleased to provide additional financial resources to ensure the excellence and broaden the positive impact of this effort to empower Cornell talent with the capability to build environments that respond to the significant issues associated with global climate change.”

The Strauch brothers have pursued career paths that focus on their shared interest in exploring how innovation in design and entrepreneurial strategies can include environmental sustainability. Roger Strauch is cofounder and chairman of the Roda Group, an early-stage venture capital group in Berkeley, California, which prioritizes investment in startups that address matters of environmental consequence. Hans Strauch is principal at HDS Architecture, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based practice where environmental sustainability has been integral to building design and construction since its founding in 1989.

“The Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design has had an enormous impact on the central pillar of the architecture curriculum – the design studio,” says Kent Kleinman, the former Ira and Gale Drukier Dean of AAP. “Hans and Roger Strauch’s visionary gift has allowed us to invite global leaders and world-class instructors, significantly fortifying our commitment to sustainable practices in architecture. The students, the department and the college are truly grateful for their inspired generosity.”

Since the establishment of the endowed fund, visiting architecture faculty appointments have included Greg Keeffe, professor of architecture and urbanism at Queens University in Belfast; Rychiee Espinosa, co-founder of McDowell Espinosa, a New York City-based design office; and Dirk Hebel, professor of sustainable construction at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Felix Heisel, head of research in sustainable construction at KIT.

The Strauches have long supported the visiting critic position through annual gifts, culminating with their endowment in 2013. Their additional gift promises future appointments to the position and unlimited possibilities for studios the visiting faculty will lead.

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Lindsey Hadlock