Talk Design

  • Matt Fajkus

    A native of Austin, Matt Fajkus holds a Master in Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he completed his thesis work with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo. Before going independent in 2010 and establishing MF Architecture, Fajkus achieved significant experience in architectural practice. While working for the world-renowned firm Foster + Partners in London for several years, he worked on the design of numerous high-profile, international large-scale projects. Starting at firms in 1998, he also worked on numerous small-scale award-winning projects while with Max Levy Architects in Dallas, Brinkley Sargent Architects, and Julie Snow Architects in Minneapolis. In 2012, Fajkus was awarded two AIA National Emerging Professional Awards.In addition to leading MF Architecture, Fajkus is a Tenured Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, where he teaches courses in design, technology, daylighting and integrated sustainability. He was awarded the 2022-2023 Faculty Award for Outstanding Studio Teaching in addition to being recognized with the University of Texas System Regents' 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award - the highest teaching honor awarded by the entire school system. Additionally in 2013, Fajkus was presented with the Faculty Scholarship Award for Innovative Practice, and the ACSA/AIAS National New Faculty Teaching Award. He has co-authored a book titled Architectural Science and the Sun [More info here], published by Routledge Publishers. Fajkus is a LEED Accredited Professional, a licensed architect, and a registered interior designer in the State of Texas. Fajkus was named the winner of the Engineering, Architecture and Design category at the 17th Austin Under 40 Award in 2015, and the winner of AIA Austin's Emerging Professional Achievement Honor Award in 2017.
  • Aaron Prinz

    Aaron Prinz is the host of the Design:ED Podcast and holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He was born and raised in the rural Northern California town of Red Bluff, just two hours south of the Oregon border. After one year of college, Prinz relocated to San Francisco to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. At age 26, he began studying architecture at Portland State University while interning at Studio Petretti Architecture led by Amanda Petretti. His professional contributions while at Studio Petretti were focused on a portion of the new Multnomah County Courthouse which is a prominent addition to the Portland skyline. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Roxanne where he continues to work as a designer.
  • Larry Speck

    Lawrence W. Speck is Senior Design Principal for the large (1400 person) architectural firm, Page, with offices in eighteen cities across the U.S.   He is also a well-known design educator having been a faculty member in schools of architecture at M.I.T, University of Western Australia and University of Texas at Austin for many years.  He served as Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin from 1992-2001.Speck has helped lead six major master planning projects for his home city, Austin, including master plans for a seven-mile stretch of the Colorado River as it moves through downtown, for a 40-block area around the Texas State Capital, and for the new Dell Medical School campus at UT Austin.  He has also been the lead architect for two major park projects in downtown Houston—Discovery Green and Buffalo Bayou Park.  In addition to designing many urban commercial buildings, Speck has been the lead designer for Austin Bergstrom International Airport Terminal (3 phases), Austin Convention Center (2 phases), and academic buildings on six university campuses.His work has been profiled in such popular publications as The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Business Week; in American architectural publications such as Architectural Record, Architecture, Architectural Digest, Architect, Interior Design, Contract, and Progressive Architecture; and in international architectural journals such as The Architectural Review (England), OFX (Italy), Design Community (China), Baumeister (Germany), Projeto (Brazil), Tasarim (Turkey), Ottagano (Italy), Nikkei Construction (Japan) and Architectural Design (England).In the last 25 years, Speck’s design work has won over 120 design awards—30+ from the AIA.  As an educator, he has received over 40 teaching and service awards including the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion.  He is a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects and served as chair of the jury to select fellows in 2005.  
  • Trevor Bullen

    Dunwoody College emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, fostering a creative sphere. Trevor Bullen, an architect and Dean of Design, found inspiration from physics, emphasizing the impact of design on people's feelings.Trevor Bullen, an architect and Dean of Design, was drawn to architecture due to a natural inclination towards tinkering and making things from an early age, inspired by the cause-and-effect relationship found in physics and the impact of design on how people feel.“Real-world experiences guide students to understand environments, regulations, and client needs for informed design solutions. The conversation highlights the purpose-driven design's elegant performance, using materials like DuPont Corian and Gore-Tex. It delves into discreetly integrated functional elements like bollards in architecture.”“Design's fusion with storytelling creates impactful spaces, as seen in Steve Jobs' approach. The responsibility of engaging and emotionally connecting users in spaces like a meditation room is stressed. It also explores sound's influence, historic significance, and community emphasis in design.”
  • Karmin Kenny

    Karmin Kenny's journey was ignited by her fascination with unique finishes of builds and designs leading to the foundation of Mineral Fox, filling a void in Australia's market for high-quality, natural finishes sourced from France.Business Evolution & Unique Challenges: Mineral Fox's evolution, a national company in three years, highlighted the dynamic synergy between key individuals. Challenges in achieving ambitious designs, like a Moroccan-style bathroom, are emphasized.Healthy Living Spaces & Sustainability: Emphasis on using breathable, natural materials like gypsum and lime plaster, managing air quality and humidity for healthier indoor spaces was a must from Mineral Fox. Crafting Emotional Spaces with Artistry: Delving into the versatility of these materials, their role in creating personalized spaces, and the need for skilled tradespeople to achieve both emotional and aesthetically appealing designs. The broader impact of design choices on health and living experiences was also touched upon, concluding with encouragement for further exploration.Join Karmin Kenny and Adrian Ramsay’s discussion on the eco-friendliness and biodegradability of materials, contributing to sustainability and the journey of Mineral Fox…
  • Duayne Pearce

    Duayne Pearce embodies the role of an authoritative voice that fearlessly imparts truths drawn directly from his lived experiences. With a genuine sense of ownership, his insights are free from any hidden agendas – they truly belong to the audience. While Duayne's personal journey holds remarkable value, the key now lies in harnessing its power effectively. He is dedicated to forging a fresh path within the residential building industry. Duayne's mission is to instill unshakable self-confidence in builders, empowering them to orchestrate prosperous, enduring, and lucrative enterprises that bring exceptional projects to fruition for their clients. His goal is to foster a deeper comprehension among clients about the identity and functions of builders, redefining their perceptions.
  • Zia Hansen

    Zia Hanson, a renowned senior executive with over 25 years of high-end hospitality design experience, boasts an impressive career shaping the world's top hotel brands. Beginning her journey in Scandinavia, her early passion for design excellence was nurtured by her exposure to a 200-year-old house. Zia's expertise spans luxury, lifestyle, and boutique hotels, with her portfolio even including 2000+ room resorts.With a Master of Architecture from the Royal Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen and postgraduate studies under revered architects in Italy and Germany, Zia's architectural prowess is internationally recognized. Not only has she excelled as a designer, but she has also donned the hat of a professor at prestigious institutions and earned numerous design awards.Architect Zia Hanson's global journey from Denmark to Africa, Asia, and America, inspired by her early exposure to a 200-year-old house, highlights her shift from neoclassical to avant-garde design thinking. She emphasizes the significance of open creative boundaries.Her work focuses on crafting narratives and spaces that take people on emotional journeys, found in casinos, hotels, and restaurants. By infusing local storytelling into hospitality, it enriches the guest experience and fosters an emotional connection, moving beyond mere accommodation.Transformational architecture is another hallmark of her approach, creating powerful emotional experiences through portable and environmentally friendly designs, leaving an indelible impact on the architectural and hospitality landscape.
  • Ingrid Spencer

    Discover architectural diversity, community engagement, and sustainable innovation at the AIA Austin Homes Tour with Ingrid Spencer. 1. The Austin Homes Tour offers a unique opportunity for the public to explore custom-designed homes and engage with architects, contractors, and designers. It's a chance to see beautifully executed designs and learn about the thought processes behind them. 2. The tour fosters a culture of collaboration among architects and designers, who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with each other and with tour attendees. It's a collegial environment that encourages learning and problem-solving. 3. The webinars associated with the tour provide valuable insights into the design philosophies of the architects and interior designers involved. These webinars are a great way for both the public and design professionals to gain a deeper understanding of the featured homes and the people behind them.
  • Matt Fajkus + Sarah Johnson

    Welcome to Descendant House, a home designed to accommodate multiple generations and foster harmonious coexistence within a single structure. The Descendant House encompasses three distinct family units, for grandparents, parents, and children. The design ensures that while each unit enjoys their individual space, they remain interconnected through shared cooking and gathering areas that serve as the heart of the home. At the core of this remarkable space is the kitchen, a space of utmost importance to this family, where they bond over a love for food, cooking, gardening, and beekeeping—which takes place in the outdoor garden.The design concept revolves around four primary materials: masonry, wood, glass, and stucco. Each material serves a specific purpose tailored to the unique identities within the household, and establishes a distinct relationship with the site. This intentional composition of volumes facilitates both the independence and interconnection of the family members. Descendant House embodies the values of privacy, shared experiences, and connection to nature, serving as a testament to the power of architecture in facilitating a harmonious and dynamic coexistence for the family who calls it home.The design work of Matt Fajkus Architecture is based on the belief that each project is unique and it should be driven by the client, the site, and the functional requirements, rather than a singular, preconceived aesthetic. The firm aims for clear and simple solutions to complex problems by blending expertise and experimentation. The practice brings collaborative energy to every project and is simultaneously an academic think tank directly connected to theoretical and technological research at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, while also practicing with a deep focus on realizing exceptional buildings.