James Doerfler, award-winning educator and architect, named director of Philadelphia University’s Architecture Program

James Doerfler, AIA, CSI, professor and interim head of the architecture department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), will join Philadelphia University August 26, 2013 as professor and program director of architecture and architectural studies.

Doerfler is an award-winning educator and architect with more than 25 years of international practice and academic experience. He is a leader in developing award-winning interdisciplinary design studios and using software to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration. His design work and research focus on connecting conceptual design to digital fabrication methods using digital tools to supplement the design process.

At Cal Poly, ranked as one of the nation’s top architecture programs, he helped expand its leadership in building technology curriculum, and his teaching responsibilities included design and building technology courses, as well as electives in integrated practice, prefabrication and digital production.

“Jim is a perfect fit for PhilaU,” said Barbara Klinkhammer, Dipl.-Ing., executive dean of Philadelphia Univerisity’s College of Architecture and the Built Environment. “We couldn’t be more excited to have him on board. His leadership and innovative approach to architecture education will help us take PhilaU’s architecture program to the next level.”

“I was very attracted to Philadelphia University as an early adaptor of new ways of teaching and learning, creating deep interdisciplinary initiatives across the University and reaching out to the world promoting this strategy,” Doerfler said. “By crossing the barriers between disciplines, it is possible to solve complex problems of our time. I very much look forward to working with the faculty to further develop these initiatives and continue to build the University’s position as an innovative leader in this field.”

Doerfler has expertise in leading multidisciplinary, collaborative teams in practice and academia. At Cal Poly, he co-teaches interdisciplinary classes with architectural engineering faculty and has presented this teaching approach at national and international conferences. His classes taught with engineers at the firm Buro Happold and Arup have received numerous awards and grants.

He initiated Cal Poly’s graduate research studio, which conducts sponsored research focused on real-world projects with a special interest in sustainable water systems. Since joining Cal Poly in 2005, Doerfler helped expand the program’s technology offerings and collaborative studios, and oversaw the graduate architecture and cooperative education programs.

Throughout his career, Doerfler has been a strong proponent of interdisciplinary learning,
winning multiple awards for teaching a collaborative, fourth-year interdisciplinary design studio. His research has focused on the use of advanced architecture technology and how architects and designers can work in teams. His expertise in interdisciplinary program development complements the ambitious goals of PhilaU’s College of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Doerfler has practiced as an architect and taught in New York, California and Australia. He has completed projects in China, Spain and Switzerland, bringing a wide range of international experience to PhilaU. In addition to maintaining his own practice, Doerfler has worked with acclaimed architectural firms Raphael Vinoly, Richard Gluckman and Fox & Fowle in New York and PTW in Sydney, Australia. He is a registered architect in New York and New South Wales, Australia.

Previously, Doerfler served as director of the architecture program at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, where he incorporated new technologies and collaborative, team-taught courses into the undergraduate architecture program.

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