Linda C. Samuels, a professor of urban design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, will serve as interim director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design for the 2023-24 academic year, announced Carmon Colangelo, the school’s Ralph J. Nagel Dean. Samuels’ appointment is effective Aug. 1.
Samuels will succeed Heather Woofter, who is stepping down as director to become dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, effective Aug. 15.
“Linda is deeply committed to students and understands the importance of interdisciplinary creative research and practice, collaboration, community and sustainability,” said Colangelo, who also serves as the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts. “I look forward to working with Linda in her new leadership role over the coming year as we continue to advance our school and university strategic plans.”
Samuels joined the Sam Fox School as an associate professor in 2015 and was promoted to professor in 2023. She teaches architecture and urban design studios as well as seminars on infrastructural urbanism, urban history and theory, and alternative sustainability metrics.
She is the founder and director of Infra_OPTS, an independent consulting firm in St. Louis and Los Angeles focused on the design, mapping and metrics of public infrastructure to create more equitable cities. She is currently developing an infrastructure equity scorecard pilot project with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering and mayor’s office.
Samuels was co-principal investigator on a grant from The Divided City initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, titled “Mobility For All By All,” which aims to increase the social and environmental benefits of the multibillion-dollar proposed St. Louis MetroLink expansion for residents living along the alignment. Emphasizing innovative challenges and real-world collaboration in her teaching, recent studio partners have included the Land Art Generator Initiative at Fly Ranch, Virgin Hyperloop One (Los Angeles/Las Vegas), Food Forward (Los Angeles) and local St. Louis partners Bi-State Development Research Institute and Dutchtown South Community Corp.
The author of “Infrastructural Optimism” (Routledge, 2022), among other publications, Samuels has lectured widely on infrastructural urbanism and next-generation infrastructure, most recently at the American Institute of Architects in Baltimore and the RailVolution conference in Miami.
Prior to coming to WashU, Samuels was inaugural director of the Sustainable City Project, a multidisciplinary research, teaching and outreach initiative of the University of Arizona, where she worked with public and private partners on multiscale sustainability efforts in Tucson and the Southwest region. She earned her master’s in architecture from Princeton University and her doctorate in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was a senior research associate at cityLAB, an urban think tank in UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design.
In addition to her appointment as interim director, Samuels will serve as chair of urban design, beginning a three-year renewable term also effective Aug. 1. She succeeds Derek Hoeferlin, associate professor, who has held the role since 2019. Hoeferlin will retain his position as chair of landscape architecture, leading the school’s upcoming master of landscape architecture re-accreditation process.
Established in 1910 as the WashU School of Architecture, the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design is one of 10 founding members of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.
A search for a permanent director will begin this summer.