At UCLA, a New Digital Presence

Recently, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (UCLA A.UD), one of the most prestigious programs in the nation, approached David Lai, principal and creative director at Hello Design, with the goal of communicating the school’s program and mission through a new digital presence.  Led by renowned architect Hitoshi Abe, the school believes in the power of research to redefine the architecture and design industry. Through a collaboration with Hello Design, UCLA A.UD launched a redesign of its site to reflect this innovative direction.

Using the latest technology in HTML 5, students and faculty are able to access the site across all platforms – including tablet and mobile devices – to learn about the array of course programs and classes. The faculty is given a place in the spotlight, since it is comprised of influential and active members of the global architecture community such as Neil Denari, Benjamin Ball and Thom Mayne.

A+A recently interviewed Hitoshi Abe and David Lai to learn more about the new website:

What’s the intent of the site? The target audiences? The inspiration? Challenges?

The goal of the UCLA A.UD site was to communicate the school as a leading architecture institution with a world-class and influential faculty including architects Hitoshi Abe, Neil Denari, Greg Lynn, and Thom Mayne. The target audience includes students, faculty and the international architecture community. The challenge was to create a site for prospective students but also to become a daily destination for a broader audience of architecture and design enthusiasts.

What did Mr. Abe want to communicate with it?

“At UCLA, we are deeply immersed in a research environment that anticipates change and can move from the realm of ideas to their application, from present situations to emerging new realities.” – Hitoshi Abe

Mr. Abe wanted to communicate how UCLA is different from other architecture schools in that their students learn not only how to design innovative concepts but also integrate a firm understanding of how to build and make them a reality. The UCLA A.UD program has a close connection to industry where they partner with companies such as Disney Imagineering, as well as international programs around the world. Also being in LA, it is a unique hub where different cultures, technologies, and people come together.

How is it different from other schools’ sites?

Other schools’ sites focus primarily on the curriculum while the UCLA A.UD site has a 3 tier interface that focuses on its world-renowned faculty, courses, news and events, programs, and student work – all constantly changing on the home page. The News and Events section of the site encourages browsing and exploration as new content is posted regularly with a dynamic sort functionality. Video brings the energy of the school to life and helps to tell the UCLA A.UD story as part of the bigger community. The site isn’t just for the school itself but for anyone interested in the impact of architecture.

To see the site, go to

For more on Hello Design, go to

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