rendering of Squirrel Hill main street by Zhuyun Jin

Zhuyun Jin, from “Second Year Option Studio: Once Upon a Pittsburgh (48–205),” 2022.

The Joseph F. Thomas Visiting Professorship welcomes early to mid-career practitioners, scholars and studio educators with focused research and/or creative work interested in teaching. As part of the two-year visiting professorship, the recipient teaches six classes: two required courses and the other four of their choosing. These can be design studios, lectures, seminars and/or technical workshops. Recipients also receive support for their research/creative activity through research assistance and/or discretionary funding.

About the Professorship

The Joseph F. Thomas Visiting Professorship was established by alumnus Joseph F. Thomas. Joe was born in Oak Hill, West Virginia in 1915 and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1938. In 1953, he and Don Neptune founded the firm Neptune & Thomas Associates, Architects & Engineers in Pasadena, California, where they both worked until their retirement in 1978. Together they earned over 30 design awards. Joe's institutional works in Southern California were often landmarks, including many universities and schools, hospitals, churches, banks, and other public buildings. His professional and community service work was extensive, including founding member of the Pasadena chapter of AIA; Pasadena Planning Commission; California Advisory Board, Architecture & Construction; Advisory Committee, Cal Poly Pomona School of Environmental Design; and Chairman, Pasadena Mayor's Council for Downtown Development. On a national level, Joe served many years on several committees and as Treasurer of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Among the recognitions he received were The Pasadena Arts Council Golden Circle Award for Visual Arts and, fittingly, the Pasadena-Foothill annual Joseph F. Thomas Founders Award. He was awarded a Fellowship in the AIA in 1970.


This position requires at a minimum a first professional degree in architecture (Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture).

Application Process

The call for applications for the 2026-28 visiting professorship will be announced in the fall of 2025.

Professorship Recipients

Joseph F. Thomas Visiting Professor 2022-24

  • Zaid Kashef Alghata is a Bahraini-Iraqi designer, researcher, and educator whose current interdisciplinary work is centered on architecture's ecological re-structuring. He is the founder and lead designer of House of ZKA, a collection of architectural explorations produced in the form of projects, exhibitions, and interviews. The work was exhibited at Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna. He practiced with several offices, including Gensler (Los Angeles) and UN Studio (Hong Kong) on theaters, residential towers, and mixed-use developments of various scales.

Joseph F. Thomas Visiting Professor

  • Priyanka Bista is a Nepali-Canadian architect and designer who has been a lifelong advocate for social and environmental justice. She is the cofounder and design director of KTK-BELT, the studio working with local communities in Eastern Nepal to create the “Vertical University,” a continuous forest belt that will conserve Nepal’s biodiversity and span the 8,000-meter vertical gradient from Koshi-Tappu Wildlife Reserve to Mount Kanchenjunga, the third tallest peak in the world. She earned an MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development in 2012, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Shelter after Disaster at the Oxford Brookes University in 2013.

Visiting Special Faculty

  • Jackie Joseph Paul McFarland's research and creative practice focuses on understanding and putting into context the experiences of African Americans' relationships to space and place. It asks the question, "Is it possible to have a Black architecture?" and aspires to a Black Praxis. By applying Black theoretical practices – Afropessimism, Afrofuturism, Necropolitics – he steps outside Eurocentric theory to better understand not only the Black experience, but the experiences of "othered" groups. His work allows space to be created for those who are “othered” by Eurocentric ideology to center themselves as complete human beings who have a voice and perspectives that add to the ability for architecture to create solutions for a diverse world. Jackie received his professional Master of Architecture degree from Portland State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Joseph F. Thomas Visiting Professor 2020-21

  • Trevor Ryan Patt's research argues for a retheorization of the relationship between the monadological objects of architecture and their extension across the urban realm. Informed by computational analysis, design and fabrication, a more bidirectional and co-responsive dialogue between architectural and urban design is possible: this research aims to thicken the moment of interface between architecture and the city. Previously, Patt completed a Docteur ès Science (Ph.D.) in the Media × Design Lab (le Laboratoire de Design et Media) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. His dissertation argues for a reevaluation of urban design and masterplanning that addresses the responsiveness, procedurality and openness of the city. Patt received an MArch from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he won the 2009 Digital Design Prize for his masters thesis, and a BS in Architectural Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he graduated from the Honors College with additional minors in Latin, Mathematics, and a certificate in the Study of Liberal Arts through Great Books.