AMES, Iowa — Sharon Wohl, associate professor of architecture and urban design at Iowa State University, has been awarded the FRK Faculty Fellowship in Architecture for three years.

FRK Architects and Engineers established this fellowship to support Iowa State faculty in the areas of architecture, urbanism, society and culture whose research and teaching explore socially conscious design and the forces that affect the built environment in both urban and rural environments.

The fellowship funds will support Wohl in completing work she began in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies in Amsterdam as a research fellow in 2019. The University of Amsterdam established this institute to advance cross-disciplinary research in the field of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory.

Wohl’s research examines the relationship between CAS theory and urban design, seeking ways CAS can provide new tools to analyze and channel the forces of urban change. Through her work, Wohl aims to determine “how best to design cities and architecture in ways that unleash emergent capacities.” She teaches a course on the topic at Iowa State and has supervised master’s research work in this area.

She will use her fellowship to continue developing a website that explains the underlying principles of complexity thinking, while also relating the field to various urban discourses that have taken up the theme of complexity.

Wohl joined the ISU architecture faculty as an assistant professor in 2014 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2020. Since 2020, she has also served as the undergraduate coordinator for the architecture department.

Wohl is the co-editor of Warming Huts: A Decade of Art and Architecture on Ice (Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2021) with Lawrence Bird and Peter Hargraves and co-editor with Bird of Re/Imagining Winnipeg, a book initially published in 2016 through a partnership with Storefront MB, a design advocacy group that Wohl co-founded.

As part of her involvement with Storefront, she served as co-curator of “Cool Gardens,” an international exhibition of contemporary landscape design (2015), and the inaugural “Table for 1200,” a public pop-up dinner that has been hosted by the organization since 2014.

Wohl holds a bachelor of environmental design and a master of architecture from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in spatial planning and strategy from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). She previously taught architecture and environmental design (2001–2014) at the University of Manitoba.

Prior to joining Iowa State, Wohl worked as a lead designer and project coordinator with 5468796 Architecture, an internationally recognized Winnipeg-based practice. She was involved with several of the firm’s award-winning projects, including “Bloc_10” and “OMS Stage (The Cube).”

The FRK Faculty Fellowship in Architecture was established through a gift made through the Iowa State University Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.


Sharon Wohl, Architecture, 515-294-8913, swohl@iastate.edu
Deborah Hauptmann, Chair, Architecture, 515-294-7185, deborah@iastate.edu
Kim McDonough, Senior Director of Development, College of Design, 515-294-7272, kmcdonough@foundation.iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Communications Director, College of Design, 515-294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu