Associate Professor R. Gary Black is retiring at the end of June after a 30-year teaching career in the Department of Architecture. Gary has taught generations of architects and engineers in structural design while maintaining his practice, Integrated Structures, Inc. ISI offers structural engineering, master planning, and construction management services, designing projects that scale from the size of furniture to houses, university buildings, land-marked historic structures, and seismic retrofits. ISI seismically retrofitted Hobart Hall, a building on Julia Morgan’s American Baptist Seminary campus. Throughout his career, Professor Black has pioneered the “project pattern language” approach within master-planning. In addition, Professor Black is a member of the Publications Committee of the Journal of Architectural Engineering and has written many articles on teaching methods, structural design and analysis.
Many undergraduate and graduates remember Gary for both his introductory courses and advanced structural design.
"On a field trip, for Arch 154, to visit and document the John Balshaw River Walk Bridge in Petaluma, on a different bridge, approaching San Rafael coming down onto the lower causeway, a group of us were riding in Gary’s van. Off to the left a large imposing building not unlike the Claremont hotel came into view. I asked, “Is that some kind of hotel over there?” Gary smiled and said something like, “You could sort of say that.” Chuckling to himself, probably thinking … ‘Oh my, they get younger every year! How did I let this numbskull into my class?’ I realized sometime later that I had been asking if San Quentin were a hotel. Despite my cluelessness, Gary’s classes in the fall of ‘93 inspired me to later pursue and complete the joint program. Also, I very much remember the lecture in Arch 150 when he discussed the Japanese concept of wa about harmony and peace. Thank you Gary!," Brendan Beazley, M.Arch/MS in Structural Engineering, 1997.
"As a professor, and as an architect, engineer, and construction manager, Gary built a life around advancing the discipline of architecture. His message to students was clear: by having a deep understanding of structural principles and the building process, the capacity of making great spaces could be furthered through the integration of structure, construction, and space. As an undergraduate in the architecture department, I was fortunate to take three small seminar classes with Gary that were composed of both architecture and engineering students. It was here where I witnessed Gary’s mastery of structural concepts and his unbounded curiosity toward the subject. He showed students how to use structure to advance an architectural idea, as well as the potential for small-scaled details and material constraints to generate a larger architectural whole. In the seminar classes, quick-paced design charrettes were used to explore the design of building components such as wood trusses or braced steel frames. Gary used these exercises to demonstrate the limitless architectural potential of designing necessary structural components that are too often unconsidered or underutilized by architects to inform space-making. His enthusiasm during these discussions were palpable and for someone just starting their architectural career, the enthusiasm was infectious. I want to thank Gary for years of teaching, mentoring, and advancing the discipline, and say that torch has been passed.," Chris Lesnett, BA in Architecture, 2012.
"A passionate architect, engineer, and educator, Gary has dedicated over decades in synthesizing architectural design and structural engineering both in practice and academia. He always says in classes that "A building built by only architects will fall down; a building built by only engineers will be torn down." With a great sense of humor and a caring personality, Gary's unique approach to designs and teaching methods have helped many CED graduates becoming better architects and building designers.," Richard Kuo, M.Arch/MS in Structural Engineering, 2018.
"Professor Black has inspired me to achieve at a level higher than I thought possible. He has always encouraged me to do my best to find success. During the past 4 years, he has been more than just my professor, he was a guide and mentor to me. I clearly remember my first day at his class, even though I was a new international student who joined the class a few weeks late, he was so skillful in creating a welcoming atmosphere and helped me to quickly adjust to the whole new world at Berkeley. When I was in doubt about continuing my graduate studies towards my second Master’s in Civil Engineering, he was very supportive and gave me the courage to think further, work harder and not give up on my dreams easily. Without such support, I would not have been able to achieve what I have thus far. I will always be grateful to Professor Black for his unconditional encouragement, kindness, and his great impact in my life.," Yasaman Yavaribajestani, current PhD, M.Arch/MS in Structural Engineering, 2019.
Please join us in congratulating Professor Black on his accomplishments and career at CED.