Campus News - September 4, 2001

Architecture appoints Gutierrez associate dean

By Carolyn Gonzales

Gabriella GutierrezDean Roger Schluntz recently named Gabriella Gutierrez Associate Dean for the School of Architecture and Planning at the UNM. This makes Gutierrez, a three-year faculty member, the second highest-ranking Hispanic woman on the UNM campus, behind only College of Education Dean Viola Florez.

Gutierrez replaces Ric Richardson who is returning to a fulltime teaching position in the planning department. After 11 years as an administrator, serving as interim dean and then associate dean, he wants to teach, conduct research and he has a sabbatical planned in the spring.

Gutierrez says the time was right for her to assume an administrative position. “A discussion I had with Ric, who was very encouraging, was a decisive moment,” she says, adding that previous discussions with Schluntz had her thinking about taking on more responsibility, possibly as a chair or program director.

“As a member of the architecture faculty, I view the design studio as the heart of the program. As associate dean, I will have the opportunity to broaden that perspective and get involved at a greater level with the community and regional planning program as well as the new landscape architecture program,” she says.

Developing the school’s research component is also on Gutierrez’s priority list.

Increasing communication at all levels is a key issue with Gutierrez. “I want to advocate for all three programs and communicate the many positive aspects of our programs with our various constituencies,” she says, adding that much of their work is community-based and people need to understand the effects of it.

She will also serve as primary communicator between the various centers in the department: the Institute for Environmental Education, the Design and Planning Assistance Center and the Resource Center for Raza Planning.

Gutierrez says she’s “action-oriented,” and realizes with a new building for the school still a few years away, that some changes need to be made in their current physical environment. She started with her office, painting it a “soothing green” and creating a meeting area in her office since the building features no conference room.

“I get the students in my design studio involved in maintaining their space,” she says, adding that she is still teaching the demanding first-year studio, a class that meets three times weekly for four hours each day. “The studio environment can be chaotic, but we have worked together to make the space more pleasant, enjoyable and workable,” she says.

Gutierrez is a native of Albuquerque, graduating from Albuquerque High School. She’s a 1984 graduate of the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, and says, “Many of the faculty members – Anne Taylor, Baker Morrow and Dick Nordhaus were some of my instructors.” She earned her master of architecture from Columbia University and was a partner in Morris Gutierrez Architects in Houston. Although her current responsibilities have forced her to step away from private practice, she does maintain ties there.

She is a licensed architect in Texas and plans to apply for reciprocity in New Mexico. She’s also applied to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Additionally, she taught at the University of Houston from 1991-98 before joining the UNM faculty.

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