Paul Helmle Fellowship

Professor Emeritus Paul Helmle (Image courtesy of Nicholas Pyle)

The Paul Helmle Fellowship was named for Professor Emeritus Paul Helmle, who taught studio in the CPP/ARC program for three decades until his retirement in 2001. This fellowship program was established in part by a gift from alumna Juliana Terian.

Each year's appointed Helmle Fellow conducts a workshop during the Winter Session with a select group of students, who confront a significant issue in architecture. The Fellow and student participants are selected annually by the CPP/ARC faculty of architecture.

Fellows are selected based on both their professional/academic accomplishments, and recognized interaction with design students. In particular, the selected Fellows emulate the qualities of Paul Helmle, who guided students to better understand their design intentions in the larger landscape of architectural notions, including the works of highly regarded masters, past to present. Paul Helmle was an engaging, conversational, and enthusiastic teacher, respected by his peers and loved by many generations of Cal Poly Pomona architecture students.

Students offered the opportunity to participate are those who have distinguished themselves in the program for their design work and academic record.

Outcomes from the workshop are displayed in a public exhibit and documented in a monograph published by the Department of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona.

2020 - Lawrence Scarpa

profile picture of Lawrence Scarpa

Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, Principal at Brooks + Scarpa Architects, the 2020 Paul Helmle Fellow.  Mr. Scarpa is internationally recognized for his leadership in sustainable design and his creative  use of conventional materials in unique and unexpected ways. 
Mr. Scarpa has received more than 200 major design awards including twenty-one National AIA Awards, Architect Magazine’s HIVE 50 Innovator Award, National AIA Collaborative Achievement Award, AIA Los Angeles Chapter Gold Medal, Architect Magazine’s Top 50 Architecture Firms (ranked 2nd, 4th and 9th respectively), AIA California Council Lifetime Achievement Award, Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, Record Houses, Record Interiors, Rudy Bruner Prize, six AIA COTE “Top Ten Green Building” Awards and was a finalist for the World Habitat Award, one of ten firms selected worldwide. His work has been exhibited internationally including the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. He has been Featured in NEWSWEEK and  appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2009 Interior Design Magazine honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, his firm Brooks + Scarpa was awarded the National and State of California Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects. Mr. Scarpa is currently on the faculty at the University of Southern California and has taught and lectured at the university level for more than two decades. Some of those institutions include Harvard University, UCLA, SCI-arc, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Florida, University of Michigan, University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley. He is a co-founder of the A+D Museum, Los Angeles, Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute and Livable Places, Inc.; a nonprofit development and public policy organization dedicated to building mixed-use housing and to help develop more sustainable and livable communities.

2019 - Nader Tehrani

 Profile Picture of Nader Tehrani

Nader Tehrani, the 2019 Helmle Fellow has enjoyed a distinguished record as both an academic and practitioner. Nader Tehrani is currently the Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union in New York. He was previously a professor of architecture at MIT, where he served as the Head of the Department of Architecture from 2010-2014. He is also Principal of NADAAA, a practice dedicated to the advancement of design innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and an intensive dialogue with the construction industry. Tehrani has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as the Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Architecture, Landscape and Design as the Frank O. Gehry International Visiting Chair. Tehrani’s work has been recognized with many notable awards, including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture (2007), the United States Artists Fellowship in Architecture and Design (2007), and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture (2002). 

Professor Emeritus Paul Helmle (April 27, 1936 - Dec. 3, 2015) taught design studios in the Architecture Department for many years. Hundreds of students had their work looked at, questioned, discussed, encouraged and made better by Paul. He helped them to understand what they were doing, or trying to do, and laid the foundations upon which they would build careers. His constant probing for the best his students had to offer helped them in ways that were not restricted to architecture.

Paul’s own education was firmly founded at the University of Illinois in the 1950s and polished by the graduate school at Princeton. He worked in a small, unsung office in Illinois while he was an undergraduate, and a large, storied one in Connecticut after graduate school. He was hired out of Princeton by Eero Sarrinen, whose office was at the time the most desirable in the country for young, talented graduates. He left the Saarinen, later Roche and Dinkeloo, office to teach at Yale, then started his own practice, and ultimately accepted the offer of a position teaching at Cal Poly Pomona.

Paul’s work as an architect was individual and distinctive, combining the modernist rigor and historical exposure of his education with his own unique aesthetic. His outgoing personality and openness to other people’s viewpoints gave his work and his relationship with his clients deep personal dimensions. These same qualities helped him to sail unscathed through sometimes difficult waters as a member and chair of the architecture faculty. And they inspired generations of students to value his guidance and to enjoy his ebullient and charismatic personality. He was admired and loved by those privileged to work with and to study with him, and it is most fitting that his name should live on in this generous gift from one of his grateful and affectionate students. - Nicholas Pyle