Dana Buntrock, a UC Berkeley professor of architecture and chair of the Center for Japanese Studies, is one of five recipients of distinguished professorship honors as part of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2018 Architectural Education Award.
Her work focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations in Japanese architecture and construction, as well as East Asian studies.
Buntrock’s first book, Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process: Opportunities in a Flexible Construction Culture (2000), dealt with radical changes in structural design and their architectural outcomes after the 1995 Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake.
Buntrock, who joined the Berkeley faculty in 2000, has conducted fieldwork in Japan, the U.S., Taiwan and Korea, with support from fellowships provided by the National Science Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, and the Social Science Research Council. She taught in the U.S., Japan and Australia before coming to UC Berkeley and worked professionally in Japan and the U.S.
Since 2011, Buntrock has explored how energy supply and architecture create opportunities for new approaches to architecture in Japan. She has spoken on energy policy and building science to universities and private organizations, including the U.S. National Defense University, the University of Tokyo, the Architectural Institute of Japan, Tokyo Denki University and others.
In a submission to the ACSA, Buntrock recalled beginning her architectural studies in 1975, when women in that field were rare.
“I did not sign on to be a pioneer,” she said, “but it has been an inevitable part of my experience, especially as I began to concentrate my research and teaching in two areas where women remain unusual: construction and Japanese architectural practice. Many of our students at UC Berkeley, too, do not conform to the economic or racial outlines of the profession today. Like me, they did not recognize the profession they chose would be so different from the people they are.”
She highlights her approach to teaching architecture, and championing architecture’s potential to reduce inequality, create economic opportunity, and address a host of environmental, financial and ethical challenges.
“My role—and the role of the many other fine faculty who make up the ACSA — is to help students understand the exciting opportunities we enjoy also exist ahead for them—and are very much worth the effort to pursue,” according to Buntrock.
“Their challenge is to ignore their fears and society’s headwinds; to have the courage and drive to find their own place within our broad and intellectually diverse community. They, too, can advocate for and through the power of architecture.”