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Home » News » Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Yelena McLane

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Yelena McLane

Published January 9, 2019

Dr. Yelena McLane

“I grew up in Russia and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian linguistics and literature at Moscow State University. Moving to the United States in 2000 offered me the opportunity to shift my career from the structures of language to the built environments of interior architecture and design. One of my mentors was former FSU IA&D faculty member, Tock Ohazama, with whom I worked for as an architectural assistant, spent project after project measuring buildings, and drafted my first architectural plans and elevations.

In January 2002 I joined a museum and exhibition design firm where I worked for twelve years on projects across the U.S. and the Caribbean. The project that I most enjoyed was the Cayman Islands National Museum. The project was complex in scope from its architecture (the museum occupies the oldest surviving public building, which dated to the early 1800s) to exhibition content and production.

During my time in design practice, I also returned to school, and in 2013 I received a Doctorate Degree from FSU’s Department of Art Education. My dissertation focused on learning theories and spatial analysis of educational interior environments.

As a new faculty member, I pursue two lines of research. The first is the morphological analysis of complex built environments, and more specifically, analysis of transitional housing facilities for people who have experienced homelessness. I conduct this research together with Dr. Jill Pable. My second research area is in the history of the twentieth-century modernism, with a particular focus on Soviet architecture and design. In a forthcoming chapter titled ‘Kul’ttovary: Bringing Culture into the Soviet Home’ (part of Design History Beyond the Canon) I explore key examples of kul’ttovary (Russian for ‘cultural goods’) as objects of purposeful, and at times quite modern, design.

I am thrilled to have joined FSU’s Department of Interior Architecture and Design and to be teaching the undergraduate history sequence and the graduate research methods course. I am developing a special upper-undergraduate level or graduate seminar which will familiarize students with Space Syntax theory and methods, applying it to the analysis of historic and contemporary built environments.

I love our students. They are creative, hardworking, and uninhibited in their enthusiasm for great design. It gives me great joy to see how they mature as designers, and I am proud of each of them. I try to encourage all students to be keen observers of their surroundings, to watch closely how people engage with the designed world (for better and for worse), to be attentive to client’s and user’s needs, and, most importantly, to be critical and empathetic thinkers. As one of my professors said some time ago: think, take your time to think, but think fast.”