UWM Report
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Mo Zell, senior associate dean, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, zell@uwm.edu.



MILWAUKEE _ Debbie Chen has been named the 2021-2022 Architectural Activism Fellow by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. 

Chen’s fellowship research during the 2021-22 academic year will address issues of carbon reduction and architectural representation as she teaches in the school’s core studios, an elective studio and an elective seminar. In particular, students will have the opportunity to work closely with Chen on the issue of carbon neutrality.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Los Angeles, Chen received a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California. She is a licensed architect in New York, and recently finished the semester as a part-time instructor at the Syracuse University School of Architecture. 

Chen’s work often explores issues of scale, assembly and infrastructure where design overlaps with fields such as sociopolitical and economic networks, civic utilities and material ecologies. Chen has served as a project architect at Morphosis Architects for the design of a new academic building at the University of Toronto, as well as for the construction of a port-of-entry facility at the U.S.-Canada border. 

“With this opportunity at SARUP, I am thrilled to be able to explore the overlap of decarbonization and architectural representation alongside colleagues who are already invested in a holistic approach to addressing environmental justice through architectural agency,” Chen said.

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning established one-year Architecture Fellowships in 2013 in the areas of design instruction and architectural research. Fellows focus and expand design research and energize the architecture curriculum with current discourse while teaching studios and seminars. 

“Debbie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from architectural practice, including experiences at the offices of Morphosis and Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis,” said Mo Zell, senior associate dean. 

“Her research project, Drawdown, which interrogates regenerative agriculture, biofuel production, carbon capture and sequestration while imagining a carbon-neutral future, operates at the confluence of climate change and community engagement,” Zell said. “I look forward to Debbie positively disrupting the status quo.”

Past Architecture Fellows include: 
  • Sarah Aziz (2020-2021)
  • Lindsey Krug (2020-2021)
  • José Ibarra (2019 – 2020) 
  • Michael Jefferson (2019 – 2020)
  • Antonio Furgiuele (2015 – 2017)
  • Tao Sule DuFour (2014 – 2015)
  • Filip Tejchman (2013 – 2014)

About UWM

Recognized as one of the nation’s 131 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to 25,000 students from 83 countries on a budget of $677 million. Its 13 degree-granting schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses, information technology professionals and other specialized talent. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2021 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee