Asian American Designers: Aki Ishida and her Practice

  • Date

    Wednesday, May 25 2022

  • Time

    12:00pm - 1:00pm

  • Location


The work of architect Aki Ishida, in both writing and design, center around aspects of architecture that are temporal, impermanent, and ever-changing, including aging of buildings over the course of their lifespan, and mutable readings of architecture. Aki will present her book Blurred Transparencies in Contemporary Glass Architecture: Material, Culture, and Technology (Routledge, 2020), which examines the architectural material glass in broader cultural and social contexts. Written from the perspectives of a practitioner, the six essays in the book challenge assumptions about fragility and visual transparency of glass. She argues that glass is rarely crystal clear but is blurred both materially and metaphysically, revealing complex readings of ideas for which glass continues to stand.

Learning Objectives:


  • Identify Ishida's contributions to deeper understanding of material, culture, and technology in glass architecture
  • Explain the thesis of Ishida's book Blurred Transparencies in Contemporary Glass Architecture 
  • Describe multi-variant readings of clear glass buildings, specifically the Toledo Glass Pavilion by SANAA.
  • Explore possible Asian influences in the design of the Toledo Glass Pavilion by SANAA.

Presenter Bio:

Aki Ishida, AIA, LEED, Associate Professor of Architecture and Interim Associate Director of School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tec. Over the past ten years, Aki has taught design studios and Building Materials course, and also led study abroad programs in Europe and Japan. She founded Aki Ishida Architect PLLC in New York City, and prior to that, she worked at the offices of Rafael Vinoly Architects, James Carpenter Design Associates, and I.M. Pei Architect. Aki’s work has been supported by grants from Japan Foundation New York, the Graduate Kinne Traveling Fellowship from Columbia University, Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant from the American Institute of Architects NY, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Baer Art Center. She has served three times as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grants. She has been recognized nationally with a 2017 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) New Faculty Teaching Award and as one of 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016 by DesignIntelligence.

Organized by:

AIA|DC Asian American Designers Union