Distinguished Alumni Award

Alumni 2016


Karen Alschuler, FAICP, LEED AP (M.C.P. '69)

Global Leader for Urban Design, Principal
Perkins + Will

Karen Alschuler is a principal of Perkins + Will, and serves as a Global Leader for Urban Design. Leading the firm’s vanguard urban design practice in the San Francisco office, Alschuler and her teams have built a legacy of urban places, waterfronts, and transportation centers unique to their settings and welcoming to diverse populations.

Karen Alschuler

Karen Alschuler Work Samples


Over the last twenty years, first at SMWM and now at Perkins+Will Alschuler has overseen a portfolio of over 400 planning and urban design projects. In San Francisco alone, her plans frame the development of 30,000 new housing units and over 2000 acres of urban district transformation. Alschuler is the inventor of the much touted “planning game,” inviting informed, substantive involvement by communities and client teams.

Under her leadership, Perkins+Will’s planners and designers work in places of magnificent urban opportunity that demand creativity in tackling growth, transformation, leadership challenges, and community passions. They take on projects and seek out places where real transformation is desired but the path is treacherous. They blaze their way toward new zoning approaches, real sustainability (in density, energy, ecology, and society), and protection of public rights and access. They steward well-loved places amidst districts of change, and foster design excellence in all aspects of city-building.

A selection of recent projects includes Alschuler’s engagement in leading edge urban design guidelines for Toronto’s downtown waterfront, a net-zero 178-acre plan for a former steel site in Pittsburgh, and a sea level rise resilient 3 million square foot mixed use district on the San Francisco waterfront.  Signature award-winning projects include Treasure Island, Mission Bay, Panama Pacifico, Mission Rock, Boston’s Central Artery Corridor, and The Yards in Washington DC.

Alschuler is an active contributing member of the Urban Land Institute and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She has served as an officer and President of Commercial Real Estate Women CREW in three cities, Boston, New York and San Francisco.  Among numerous civic panels and boards are two decades as a member of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission BCDC Design Review Board and as a founding member of Boston’s Civic Design Commission.

Prior to joining SMWM/Perkins+Will in 1992, Alschuler led planning teams at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Boston and New York, held public planning positions in California, and received degrees from Brown University and UC Berkeley.

In April, the American Planning Association (APA) announced that Perkins+Will’s Global Planning Practice earned their top honor – the 2015 National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Firm!

Kim Wilkie (MLA 1984)

Royal Designer for Industry
Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute

Kim had an intense introduction to landscape. He grew up in the Malaysian jungle and Iraqi desert before being sent to school in southern England. Having studied history at Oxford and landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, Kim set up his landscape studio in London in 1989. He now works from his farm in Hampshire, collaborating with architects across the world, while still keeping his feet firmly in the mud.

Fascinated by the link between land and culture and between memory and imagination, he has projects across the Americas to Europe and Russia. Kim specializes in reading the patterns and stories of the land as inspiration for new design. Current projects include the redesign of the grounds for the Natural History Museum in London and a new city for 250,000 people planned around 2 miles of agricultural terraces in the Omani desert. The project will be entirely irrigated by recycled grey water.

Kim Wilkie

Kim Wilkie Work Samples


Kim has sat on a number of United Kingdom government bodies, including the Mayor of London’s Public Realm Advisory Group and the Royal Parks Advisory Board. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2002 and made a Royal Designer for Industry in 2009. He published Led by the Land in 2012.

Kim’s practice has a reputation for bold new designs in complex historic and ecological settings, exemplified by the Orpheus landform at Boughton Park in Northamptonshire, UK. The project created a huge inverted pyramid for musical performances at the centre of a rare seventeenth-century park.

In London projects include a 100-year landscape strategy for the Thames through London, the Victoria & Albert Museum Garden, the central Hyde Park Corner interchange and projects for Imperial College. Abroad Kim has advised on the World Heritage Sites of the Solovki Archipelago in the Russian Arctic Circle and the Transylvanian Saxon Villages in Romania. He is currently working for New York University at Villa La Pietra in Florence and for Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia.


Scott Johnson, FAIA (B.A. Arch '72)

Design Partner, Johnson Fain

Scott Johnson is a founder and the Design Partner at Johnson Fain, an international design firm based in Los Angeles.  His collegiate education began at Stanford University, continued at the University of California at Berkeley where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Architecture, followed by a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  His early professional career included periods at The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the firm founded by Walter Gropius, Skidmore Owings & Merrill in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the office of Philip Johnson and John Burgee in New York City.  Mr. Johnson returned to California in the mid-1980s to take over the office of William L. Pereira with his former classmate, William H. Fain Jr., later to become Johnson Fain. 

Mr. Johnson has been a prolific designer of residential, institutional and commercial buildings, many of which are landmarks in their communities and have been widely published.  Memorable projects include Fox Plaza, the headquarters for 20th Century Fox in Century City, California, Nestle USA in Glendale, California, The Capitol Area East End in Sacramento and Museum Tower in Dallas, Texas.  Mr. Johnson has traveled extensively, with projects throughout the United States, the Far East, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.  Current work includes the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City, Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, an expansion of his design for the Opus One Winery in the Napa Valley and multiple mixed-use projects in Asia.

He is active in the arts community and has taught and lectured at the university level in both design and in criticism and theory.   He has served as the Director of the Master of Architecture Programs at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. 

Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson Work Samples


Apart from earlier monographs on the firm’s work, Mr. Johnson has authored a number of books on the architecture of tall buildings, most recently, Performative Skyscraper:  Tall Building Design Now.  One of his first books, The Big Idea, Criticality + Practice in Contemporary Architecture  explored the duality of architecture as critique and as practice, articulating the often uneasy relationship between the two.   

The firm’s work has garnered many awards for design excellence and he is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Gold Medal Award and a past president of the chapter.  He serves on the Board and is the past president of CALA, the Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles.

Mr. Johnson is married to Dr. Margaret Bates, a gynecologist and currently, the Chief of Staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Los Angeles.  Dr. Bates is also a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.   The couple has two children, Max, currently doing medical research in reconstructive plastic surgery in Los Angeles and Zoe, an operatic artist in New York.  Mr. Johnson and Dr. Bates divide their time between Los Angeles, Ojai and New York City.