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Vol 57 No. 15 : July 29, 2005
Vol 57 No. 15 | July 29, 2005

Ottolia to be Recognized by American Institute of Architects

Design’s Dorothy Ottolia, a member of the university since 1999, will be recognized in October by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) with their Educator of the Year Award. The award honors Ottolia as the department’s director of interior architectural design and Design’s Tor Hovind for his leadership as chair. 

Ottolia is the first instructor at CSULB to receive the prestigious award which recognizes excellence among the state’s top design instructors.

“It is a great honor,” said Ottolia, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident. “At first, I was puzzled about why I ought to be recognized as an educator. Then I found out the judges were impressed with the level of improvement shown by CSULB’s Design students in recent student design competitions and exhibitions. They raised the bar. Now the design community feels that CSULB’s Design Department is in the same league as private universities and the University of California.”

Ottolia is especially proud of the award for the opportunity it offers CSULB Design majors to compete at the highest levels. “I am absolutely confident we offer our students at CSULB the best education available and this award speaks to that,” she said. “I get e-mails from students all over the world asking how they can get into this program. That says to me our Design program is on the right track.”

Hovind, who joined CSULB in 1989, thinks the recognition acknowledges the progressive spirit he believes is distinctive of CSULB’s Design program. “CSULB’s interior architecture program has a strong reputation within the industry and this kind of recognition furthers that reputation,” said the San Pedro resident.

The recognition is part of a tradition of excellence at CSULB, Ottolia believes.

“In the past, department chairs like Jerry Yates strove to make our students as good as they could be. Our current chair Tor Hovind works to expose our students to real-world design environments,” she said. “I believe in promoting our students. I want to get the name of CSULB into the design community and this award helps make that possible.”

The rewards for the recognition do not end with the October festivities. “Students will have the opportunity to network with top industry professionals and find mentors among the designers and architects in Los Angeles,” she said. “Plus, the AIA President Stephen Kanner is coming to campus to speak. This kind of recognition serves as a big steppingstone for our students. It lends them an opportunity to become better connected with the profession and other students in the industry.”

Hovind earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic arts at CSULB in 1987 before acquiring his MFA in advertising from Syracuse University in 1991. The San Pedro-based Tor Hovind Design has clients nationwide and offers Design students the opportunity to interact with clients as different as Landor Corp. and Nissan. 

The AIA’s Long Beach/South Bay Chapter presented its Honor Award in 2003 to Ottolia and her husband Domingo Ottolia for their design of a honeybee’s heaven called the Honey Hut created by Ottolia & Barnes Architecture for her parents Nancy and Donald Barnes in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from CSULB in 1994 and Master of Architecture Degree from Cal Poly Pomona in 1997.

“We are already a bright star but faculty members like Dorothy Ottolia raise that star into a new galaxy,” said Hovind. “We pride ourselves on faculty like Dorothy and on alumni throughout the industry who are our best ambassadors.”

“This has been a pleasant surprise from the very beginning,” said Ottolia. “Two of our students won second place at the AIA’s Los Angeles Interior Architecture 1:2 competition. Our students have exhibited their work at the A+D museum and the Armory and this award serves as an extension of that.”  


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