Natasha Case ’05

Case’s “aha” moment occurred as an undergraduate. When an architecture professor said her design of student housing looked like a layer cake, she baked her next model. “I’m sure (my peers) were thinking, ‘Do we get to eat the damn thing when she’s done talking?'” Taking it further in 2008, Case began making ice cream sandwiches with a friend and naming them after architectural legends — such as Frank Berry and Mies Vanilla Rohe. They revamped a dumpy postal truck and parked it at a music festival, generating a hungry following within hours. Coolhaus — a play on Bauhaus, the modernist movement of the 1920s and ’30s, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and “cool house” (the “sammies” look like tiny houses) — now has trucks in four cities, a store, and a sweet deal with Whole Foods, among other retailers. But the obsessed need not feel guilty. Committed to sustainability, Case uses local, organic ingredients whenever possible and wraps each delight in edible paper. Follow Coolhaus on Facebook or Twitter @Coolhaus. (photo courtesy of New York Street Food)


Design, Innovators

Julia Morgan 1894

Although Morgan is best known for designing the European-inspired Hearst Castle, she was a trailblazing definer of California’s distinct Arts and Crafts style. She studied civil engineering — before the architecture department existed — and became the first woman to earn a certificate from Paris’s prestigious Ecole de Beaux-Arts. After returning to the Bay Area, she worked on Berkeley’s regal Hearst Mining Building and Greek Theatre, among other gems. She then started her own firm and designed an estimated 700 buildings, including, most notably, many women-commissioned projects — cementing her reputation as California’s first prominent female architect and one of the West Coast’s greatest designers of all time. An unassuming woman, Morgan said, “My buildings will be my legacy. They will speak for me long after I’m gone.” View an online exhibition on her life through Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library.

Design, Innovators

Yung Ho Chang M.Arch. ’84

Like artists, architects have masterpieces, definitive works that perfectly capture their aesthetics and design vision. Frank Lloyd Wright’s was “Falling Water.” Chang’s is “Split House.” Since launching China’s first independent architectural firm, Atelier FCJZ, in 1993, Chang has become internationally recognized for his aesthetically intriguing and ecologically conscious marriage of traditional and modern design techniques in notable projects and installations worldwide. Chang founded the Graduate School of Architecture at Peking University in 1999 and later headed MIT’s Department of Architecture. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.

Design, Honors and Awards, Innovators

Kris Yao M.Arch. ’78

“People have to feel welcomed by the building and the building has to embrace people,” said Yao, speaking to Taiwan Today about his design philosophy. Internationally acclaimed, Yao won the National Award for Arts in the architecture category — the highest honor in the field of culture and art in Taiwan. His firm, Artech Architects, specializes in corporate, residential, and cultural structures, as well as educational, transportation, and hotel facilities around the world. World Architecture Magazine noted in 1999 that Yao and his firm are at the “forefront of the revolution” in architecture in Taiwan. Yao is currently collaborating with Rem Koolhaas on the design of the Taipei Performing Arts Center. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.

Design, Honors and Awards, Innovators

Jane McGonigal Ph.D. ’06

Jane_McGonigal3McGonigal has a vision that games will change the world. How? They take us on epic missions, present us with urgent challenges, and offer exhilarating rewards. A pioneer in alternate reality games that aim to improve real lives and solve problems such as poverty, hunger, and climate change, McGonigal includes EVOKE, Superstruct, and World Without Oil among her best-known projects. MIT Technology Review named her one of the top 35 innovators changing the world through technology. Follow McGonigal on Facebook or Twitter @avantgame.

Arts and Entertainment, Design, Innovators, Technology and Engineering

Kate ’01 and Laura ’01 Mulleavy

The Mulleavy sisters are the fashion design duo behind Rodarte, sold by more than 40 leading retailers worldwide. Melding elaborate details with imaginative shapes and textures, Rodarte’s masterful designs have caught the eye of international style icons, museums, even Hollywood — dancers donned their costumes in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan — and are reaping awards across the realms of fashion and art. Find Rodarte on Facebook or Twitter @officialrodarte.

Arts and Entertainment, Design, Innovators