Reflections on the Monterey Design Conference

Over the weekend, eight members of TLCD Architecture travelled down California’s coastline to the AIACC Monterey Design Conference. As a non-architect (though somewhat of a closet arch-geek) I was thrilled to be invited to attend the conference as a TLCD representative. After a couple of days back in the office and some time absorbing and reflecting, I thought I would share a little from my experience…

The Monterey Design Conference is held every two years at the epically beautiful Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove and draws some of the most renowned architects of our time.  As a first-timer to the event, one could image that I was a bit nervous.  Like a rookie ballplayer joining a team mid-season, I walked into the main hall with the knowledge that I was amongst a group of well-established friends and colleagues who have partnered, collaborated, and competed with each other for years.  Though I was admittedly somewhat tongue-tied and star struck by the talent surrounding me, I was quickly assured and encouraged by the general camaraderie and openness amongst all of the attendees.

The list of speakers was impressive to say the least.  From Tom Kundig’s exploration into the interaction between building and landscape to Dr. Dickson Despommier’s response to global food shortages and environmental degradation through vertical farming, the key focus of the conference seemed to orbit around the larger concepts of sustainability.


But for me, listening to Jeanne Gang was the true highlight of the entire conference.  As she began to show her work, Gang intricately guided us through a complexly deep and thoughtful approach to design (it is no surprise that she was honored as a MacArthur Fellow this September).  From finding balance in urban ecology to creating a vision of communities in a postindustrial landscape, Gang realizes projects that few could even conceive possible.

Looking back on the conference, I see how it has changed and expanded my understanding of the impact of design on our world and when Monterey Design Conference 2013 comes along, count me in!

-Bridgett McGrath, TLCD Marketing Team Member