Bernal hired as new program director for CAED

Shelbie Goulding

From Bogota, Colombia, to Syracuse University, Ivan Bernal came from a long line of architect relatives and years of experience to be appointed the new director of architecture programs for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). 

Growing up in Colombia, Bernal experienced the art of architecture at a young age. His grandfather taught his father, then his father taught him and his sister. After moving to Miami, Florida, he finished high school and set off to Los Angeles to receive his Master’s of Architecture degree at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Soon after completing his Master’s, he was asked to teach at the institute ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­— kickstarting his career as an associate professor. Bernal then moved to the Northeast to work in a more cultural, research-based environment at Syracuse University, where he enjoyed teaching as a professor.

Bernal saw taking on the director of architecture programs position at Kent State as a new challenge full of opportunities. He accepted the position and moved to Ohio in the summer.

“The new building is beautiful and the college provides all the resources and facilities you could think of to help expand what the college is doing,” Bernal said.  

What attracted him to Kent the most is being able to participate in a multidisciplinary college.

“Architectural studies, interior design and construction management are all very different programs,” Bernal said, “but the programs intertwine and balance each other as a unit.”

Bernal said the CAED is planning to collaborate with other colleges — like fashion, physics, biology, etc. ­­­— at Kent State to expand the knowledge and skills of the students.

“This would be a good opportunity for the students to expand their field interests and expand their knowledge,” he said.

With the leadership of recently appointed Dean Mark Mistur, the CAED is transforming and Bernal couldn’t have joined the team at a better time. With his diverse and knowledgeable background, Bernal has much to offer at Kent State.

“I come from a diverse background and have looked into the impact of what architecture brings to the environment and culture at large,” Bernal said. “I don’t want students falling onto one single track of a profession-driven field. I want to help them know there is more to the profession than just being an architect. The possible impacts they can make measures in many different ways.”

Bernal said he wants to help students become sufficient leaders in a profession that’s constantly changing. He hopes to begin teaching again in the spring semester.

Shelbie Goulding is an assigning editor. Contact her at [email protected].