Areas of Expertise
Parametric Methods in Architecture
Design of Research and Development Environments
Computer Applications in Architectural and Urban Design
Research Methods in Architectural and Urban Design
Umut teaches architectural design studios, architectural practice labs and digital fabrication / parametric methods in architecture. His design teaching in the past years have covered second, third- and fifth-year architectural design studios and masters’ theses and projects. His current research focuses on parametric design and digital fabrication in architecture.
Umut’s experience covers architectural design, visualization, parametric design, urban design and design research in diverse environments. Umut received his PhD from North Carolina State University School of Architecture, College of Design. His PhD Dissertation, titled “Space for Innovation” focused on the design of research and development facilities, and was partially supported by the National Science Foundation. During his PhD studies and for a period following his degree, he worked on a variety of projects such as the Laguna Child and Family Education Center, Laguna in New Mexico and a Community Center in North Carolina.
In 2004-05, he worked in London, UK as the principal investigator for the “Space for Innovation” project in the Built Environment Innovations Center at Imperial College London. During this period he conducted research into the design of high technology research and development buildings around the country.
Umut also holds Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Urban Design degrees from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Since arriving at Cal Poly, he has completed numerous urban design and computer based design visualization projects for communities around California.
Umut’s research and scholarship has been published in journals such as the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Research Policy and METU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture. In 2012, his book on community design methods, titled “Making Community Design Work” was published. His second book, "Parametric Methods for Beginners: Architecture Applications" was published in 2023. Beyond his teaching, design work and research, he spends personal time on photography, music, sketching and furniture design.
- Bachelor of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 1996
- Master of City Planning in Urban Design, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 1999
- PhD, School of Architecture, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA, 2003
- Post-doctoral studies, Built Environment Innovations Center, Imperial College London, UK, 2004/5
- Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2017-present
- Associate Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2015-2017
- Visiting Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2014-2015
- Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2011-2015
- Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2005-2011
- Research and Teaching Assistant, North Carolina State University, 2003-2004
- Research and Teaching Assistant, Middle East Technical University, 1997-1998
- Urban Designer, TODCO San Francisco SOMA 4th / 5th Streets Concept Plan, San Francisco, CA 2009
- Urban Designer / Community Involvement Coordinator, Madera County, Madera Ranchos Avenue 12 Visioning, Madera, Co., CA 2008-09
- Visualization Consultant, San Luis Obispo 3D Computer Model, San Luis Obispo, CA 2006-07
- Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Built Environment Innovations Center, Imperial College, London, UK 2004-05
- Project Designer / Community Involvement Coordinator, Sandhills Family Heritage Association, Spring Lake, NC, Comm. Ctr. Project 2004
- Laguna Department of Education, Laguna, NM, Laguna Child and Family Education Center project 2003
- Project Designer, Turkish Association of Travel Agencies, Ankara, Turkey 1998-99
- Project Designer, Uygur Architects, Ankara, Turkey 1997-98
- Project Designer, YEG Architects, Ankara, Turkey 1996-97
- Licensed Architect in Turkey, International Union of Architects (UIA) / The Chamber of Architects of Turkey (Section of UIA in Turkey), Ankara Branch, Registration No. 27019.
- Member, Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).
- Member, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
- Member, The Honor Society of Tau Sigma Delta in Architecture and Allied Arts.
Selected Publications and Recent Research
- Toker, Umut. 2023. "Parametric Methods for Beginners: Architecture Applications". London, New York: Routledge.
- Toker, Umut. 2012. “Making Community Design Work: A Guide for Planners”. Chicago: APA Planners Press/Routledge.
- Toker, U. (2017). “New Frontiers in Teaching Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication” in NCBDS 33 | Begin W/ Why: Ethics and Values in Beginning Design - Proceedings of the 33rd National Conference on Beginning Design Student Conference (NCBDS33). University of Utah, College of Architecture + Planning: Salt Lake City, UT.
- Toker, Umut. 2003. “The Image of New Work Patterns in the Physical Expression of Office Buildings” in Gulersoy, N. Z., Esin, N. and Ozsoy, A. (Eds.) Quality of Urban Life: Policy versus Practice?, pp. 468 – 478. Istanbul Technical University Press.
- Toker, Umut and Gray, Denis O. 2008. “Innovation Spaces: Workspace Planning and Innovation in U.S. University Research Centers”. Research Policy.
- Toker, Umut and Toker, Zeynep. (Eds.) 2006. “Special File: Contemporary Interpretations of Community Design”. Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU-JFA), 23(2), 123-166.
- Toker, Zeynep and Toker, Umut. 2006. “Community Design in its Pragmatist Age: Increasing Popularity and Changing Outcomes”. Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU-JFA), 23(2), 155-166.
- Toker, Umut and Toker, Zeynep. 2006. “An Interview with Professor Nabeel Hamdi”. Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU-JFA), 23(2), 125-130.
- Toker, Umut. 2006. “Workspaces for Knowledge Generation: Facilitating Innovation in University Research Centers”. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 23(4), 181-199.
- Toker, Umut. 2005. “Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning by Henry Sanoff (Book Review)”. Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU-JFA), 22(2), 105-106.
- 2016 Hearst Award for Scholarship in Education. Awarded funding support by the College of Architecture and Environmental Design for the Research Project titled: “New Frontiers in Teaching Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication”.
- 2012-13 Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellow. Awarded funding support for integrating entrepreneurship into design curriculum.
- 2006-07 Verla and Paul Neel Faculty Scholarship. Awarded funding support for attending APA conference for a presentation.
- 2005-06 Center for Teaching and Learning Grant Program. Awarded funding support for course development.
- Design Consultant, San Luis Obispo HotHouse, Interior Layout, San Luis Obispo CA. 2013.
- Design Consultant, Cal Poly Ideation Lab, Interior Layout, San Luis Obispo CA. 2010.
- 2018 RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE NATION'S 25 MOST ADMIRED EDUCATORS (offering architecture, interior design or landscape architecture programs) BY DESIGN INTELLIGENCE.
- 2011-2012 CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARD. In recognition of outstanding performance and contribution to the university. Nominated by students, elected by the campus wide Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award Committee following observations in class.
- 2009 DOWNTOWN DELANO URBAN DESIGN PLAN - CAL APA ACADEMIC MERIT AWARD. Studio taught, student work received this award for their urban design plans in for Downtown Delano Fall 2009. The class was nominated by the Community Development Director, City of Delano, CA.
- 2006-2007 VERLA AND PAUL NEEL FACULTY SCHOLARSHIP. Awarded funding support for attending APA conference for a presentation in the Workshop Titled “Improving Planning Decisions Through Computer-based Visualization.
- 2005-2006 CENTER FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING GRANT PROGRAM, CTLGP 2005-06. Awarded funding support for course development (Community Design Methods).
- 2004 REVIEWER RECOGNITION AWARD, DESIGNSHARE INC. For the programming and design of the new Laguna Child and Family Education Center, Laguna, New Mexico. (With Henry Sanoff and Zeynep Toker).