Jan 12, 2022

Rice Architecture is pleased to welcome four new faculty members this spring: Amna Ansari, visiting critic; Curtis Davis (B.A. ’75), lecturer; Yen Ha, Smith Visiting Critic; and Ann Lui, Cullinan Visiting Professor.

“We are delighted to welcome such an outstanding group of new faculty members to our school,” said Igor Marjanović, the William Ward Watkin Dean of Rice Architecture.” They bring a tremendous breadth of backgrounds and viewpoints to our community, bridging the local and the global in the most powerful ways.”

Amna Ansari is founding partner of Associates UltraBarrio, an urban design and architecture practice with a central goal to shape cities to be more civic, sustainable, and generationally connected by design. Ansari’s intentional multidisciplinary background aligns architecture, urbanism, landscape, and technologies towards socially vibrant, equitable, and enduring spaces. Her recent talks—"Eco-Altitude,” “Covert Landscapes,” and “Flight, Flows, and New Fields”— anticipate the overlaps of public space with technology. Ansari participated at the Aerial Futures think tank, “The Next Frontier,” as a speaker and panelist speculating on the future of commercial space flight and its urban impacts, among a select number of leaders in National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Houston Area Aviation.

Curtis Davis is an architect and urban planner specializing in regional planning, urban design, real estate development, community development, and facility capital program management. He is the founding principal of ReBuildit Collaborative, a city building advisory service, and served as project manager for the Emancipation Community Development Partnership, a strategic collaboration in Houston’s Third Ward between Project Row Houses, the Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, and the Emancipation Economic Development Council. Davis is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design. He has also been an adjunct professor in construction and design technology at Houston Community College and previously taught at Prairie View A&M University’s School of Architecture and Boston Architectural College. As project executive, he oversaw the planning, facility programming, and designer selection phases for the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Davis holds a master of architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a bachelor of arts in architecture from Rice University.

Yen Ha is an architect, artist, and writer. Born in Saigon, she lives in New York City, where she co-founded the architecture firm Front Studio. Ha has an architectural degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a graduate degree from L’École d’Architecture in Paris. Fluent in French and Vietnamese, she is a registered architect whose work has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, IFA Gallery in Berlin, The Building Centre in London, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture and featured in The New York Times and Interior Design. Previously a visiting critic at Washington University in St Louis, MO, Ha currently chairs the board of directors of play:groundNYC, a New York City-based non-profit organization seeking to transform the city through play.

Ann Lui is a founding principal of Future Firm, a Chicago-based architecture and design research practice. She is an assistant professor of practice at University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Future Firm designs spaces for changemakers, including residential, commercial, and cultural buildings. Future Firm was awarded the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize in 2021 and has exhibited at the Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Storefront for Art & Architecture, and the Chicago Architecture Center. The practice has been published in Wallpaper*Fast Company, and The Architect’s Newspaper. Lui’s work explores the intersections of professional practice, collectivity, and the built environment.


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