Ellen Dunham-Jones Awarded Plym Distinguished Professorship

Headshot of Ellen Dunham-Jones
Wes McRae | October 6, 2023 - Atlanta, GA

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has conferred the Plym Distinguished Professorship on Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor in the School of Architecture and Director of the Urban Design Program. The Professorship will be for one semester, Fall 2023.

"I'm super excited to be teaching this semester both at Georgia Tech and at University of Illinois!" Dunham-Jones said. "At Illinois, I will co-teach an architecture studio with Didem Ekici."

"We'll be retrofitting suburbia for today's households asking how homes and neighborhoods can be better designed for smaller, older, more diverse households and the needs of working women, single-parents, and children."

“The subtext I’m asking the class is 'What Would a Non-Sexist Suburb Be Like?' This is a riff on Dolores Hayden’s well-known 1980 essay 'What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like?'" Dunham-Jones said. "Despite all of the social changes since the 1950’s, we’re still building subdivisions based on an out of date model that assumes a stay-at-home Mom, several kids, and a commuting Dad."

"Yet, 80% of women with children in the home have full-time jobs and more women than men are graduating from college today. Too many of those women don’t realize how much they tend to limit their job opportunities to a much smaller radius from that big house so that they’re closer to their childrens’ schools and after-school activities. Can we design neighborhoods that are both less gendered and more inclusive of care infrastructure?”

Dunham-Jones said she is looking forward to discussing these questions with Dolores Hayden, professor emeritus at Yale, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Professor at the University of Miami and partner in DPZ Co-Design at back-to-back lectures in November at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC and at the University of Illinois.

According to the Illinois School of Architecture website, the "Professorship is conferred on an architect who has a prominent record of achievement and can make a positive contribution to the enrichment of the professional education of students in the School of Architecture." As part of the Professorship, Dunham-Jones will serve as a lead critic for a design studio in the Master of Architecture program.

After Dunham-Jones's term ends, the School will publish a monograph on her work and the studio course she led.

Made possible by a gift in 1981, the Professorship brings nationally and internationally recognized architects to the school. Plym Professors may serve for a semester or an academic year.

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