September 15, 2021 Wu and Oyler Named 2021 BarberMcMurry Endowed Professors

headshot of Jenny Wu

headshot of Dwayne Oyler
The unique and innovative BarberMcMurry Endowed Professorship has brought acclaimed architects to the college since 2013, and this year is no exception. The College of Architecture and Design is pleased to announce Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler, founding partners of Oyler Wu Collaborative, as the 2021 BarberMcMurry Endowed Professors.

An internationally known firm, Oyler Wu Collaborative focuses on design at all scales, from jewelry to urban infrastructure. The partners approach the architecture discipline through many lenses—from drawing and building to digital fabrication and augmented reality—that challenge the typical vision of the built environment.

Wu and Oyler are teaching the studio in-person and virtually throughout the fall 2021 semester. The studio, comprised of 5th-year and graduate-level Architecture students, is focused on a tectonic study of parts to a whole. Over the course of the semester, students’ work will progress from the analysis of a physical puzzle to the design of a museum, and through these experiences, students are learning to understand mobility through space, the interplay of solid and void and the material language of assembly and tectonics.

“We are excited to share our interest in complex architectural assemblies and look forward to getting our hands dirty building some amazing models,” said Wu.

In early October, students in the studio will travel to the Oyler Wu Collaborative offices in Los Angeles, an opportunity funded by the BarberMcMurry Professorship. While there, they will experience a critique of their work by LA-based academics and professionals as well as explore the architecture and urbanism of the city.

In 2021, Oyler and Wu won the prestigious Arts and Letters Award in architecture from The Academy of Arts and Letters. This award is given to an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.

In addition to teaching, Wu and Oyler will present a public lecture on October 14 at the Art + Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Blvd.

Enjoy some of the astounding puzzle forms from Oyler Wu Collaborative:

screenshot of an instagram post

Find more posts on Wu’s Instagram account.

Jenny Wu received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a member of the design faculty at Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Prior to partnering with Wu, Oyler worked for Toshiko Mori Architects and collaborated with Lebbeus Woods on numerous projects. An experienced teacher, Oyler received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University and a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

“As acclaimed architects and teachers, Jenny and Dwayne model a practice that embraces the past as it projects into the future,” said Scott Wall, interim director of the School of Architecture. “Oyler Wu Collaborative is a 21st century practice built on a foundation committed to drawing and making but expanding into digital design and fabrication, a model we are thrilled to demonstrate for our students.”

The firm has been published globally and is recognized for its excellence in architectural design, research and fabrication. Their recent projects include the competition winning entry for the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan, The Exchange for Exhibit Columbus, the Los Angeles River Greenway/Bikeway project and The Monarch Tower, a 16-story residential high rise in Taipei, Taiwan. It has received numerous awards such as the 2013 Design Vanguard Award from Architectural Record and Taiwan’s ADA Award for Emerging Architect.

“Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler are beyond category,” said Jason Young, dean of the college. “Their practice and teaching are characterized by processes that are digital and physical, giving their work a unique rigor. We are excited that our students will be able to learn directly from their hybrid approach to design. This kind of opportunity for our students is made possible by the visionary generosity of BarberMcMurry Architects. Their gift has enriched our students’ education for many years and will continue to do so well into the future.”

barbermcmurry logo in blue

Since 2013, the BarberMcMurry Professorship has funded five internationally recognized architects as teachers and researchers for the benefit of students at the College of Architecture and Design.

The professorship was established by Knoxville-based firm, BarberMcMurry Architects, to promote design excellence through teaching and research by a prominent visiting professor who is an internationally or nationally recognized practicing architect. It is the result of a bequest from Blanche Barber and a match by BarberMcMurry Architects to produce the $1 million endowment.

Previous BarberMcMurry professors have included Lawrence Scarpa in 2013; Wendell Burnette in 2015; Billie Faircloth in 2018; and Mitchell Squire in 2020.


Editor’s note: Travel for the studio is pending the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Tennessee and the college continue to closely monitor the conditions and CDC and other guidelines to keep students’ health and safety highest priority.