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Warren Wake
M.S. Carnegie Mellon 1982
Doctoral of Design, Harvard University, 1992

Dr. Wake is an Associate Professor of Integrative Arts and Architecture at Penn State University. He is author of the books: Design paradigms: a sourcebook for creative visualization, Wiley, 2000. Before joining Penn State, he was was the Director of the Institute for Design and Architecture (IDEA) at the Boston Architectural Center (BAC) where he also taught and directed the academic computing department.

Excerpt from Penn State's College News -

"I can keep one hand on the keyboard and one hand in the clay," says Wake, who also practices ceramic art. Wake, associate professor of architecture and integrative arts, joined Penn State's faculty at the start of the fall 2001 semester to coordinate the implementation of the new joint Integrative Arts and Information Sciences and Technology minor in the College of Arts and Architecture and to teach design and architecture classes.

Wake has a broad range of interests. He is an author, computer hardware and software designer, corporate founder, educator, and organic farmer, to name just a few of his past and present vocations. In 1982, while working at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he pioneered the Department of Fine Art's new computer-based graphic design initiative, for which he developed one of the first computer-aided graphic design systems. He did everything, including writing programs, serving as sole technical support for the department, leading research efforts, and teaching design classes.

In 1985, Wake and his partners spun off the system and software into a company called Contex Graphics Systems, and he holds patents for both the software and the system designs. This system predates Macintosh computers and software like QuarkExpress, which have since become standard graphic design tools. Large companies like Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Proctor and Gamble and Coca-Cola bought and implemented the Contex system, which they used to design and market their products. In fact, the extremely recognizable "Coke wave" packages were first created using this system and software.

After starting Contex, Wake, seeking a new challenge, enrolled at Harvard University, where he studied cognitive neuroscience (brain function) and how those functions enable the creative process. He developed theories of how to utilize the information learned from brain studies to develop better computer systems. In 1992, he graduated from Harvard's Graduate School of Design with a doctorate in design and went to work at the Boston Architectural Center. For three years, he taught a course titled "Virtual Architecture Studio" and other computer and media courses while also beginning research on his first book.

In 1996, he co-authored Intelligence: Multiple Perspectives with leading educational psychologist Howard Gardner and Mindy Kornhaber, Wake's wife and a new faculty member in Penn State's College of Education. The book focuses on how intelligence comprises a broad spectrum of an individual's intellectual and social skills, diminishing the old concept of a simple IQ measure based on testing just math and verbal skills.

Today, Wake continues to take advantage of the best of both worlds by incorporating traditional methods and "old school" ways into his teaching while developing new and innovative design processes. Wake recently researched and published his second book, Design Paradigms: A Sourcebook for Creative Visualization, which deals with creativity and problem solving and ways to apply solutions to a variety of design situations. The book builds an understanding of design fundamentals underlying a variety of everyday objects and natural organisms and explores how these principles can be used in problem solving. He intends the book "for anyone who is interested in how things work."
    Penn State University
    Integrative Arts and Architecture
    College of Arts and Architecture
    009 Brumbaugh Hall, University Park, PA 16802

last updated 11.7.2004 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do