Alexandra Schmidt-Ullrich's work and passions are fed by her BFA in Fine Arts, where she nurtures interests in photography, printmaking and ceramics, as well as a Master’s of Architecture that encourages spatial and humanistic solutions. She focuses her efforts on furniture design, interior space saving renovations/solutions, architectural model construction, as well as urban greening and social initiatives. Currently, she has returned to her love of clay and is creating slip cast functional work. In her personal work as well as in her teaching - fabrication, craft, precision and the interaction between these passions are vital components to her process.
Since 2005, she has been visiting faculty at Umbau Inc., where she co-instructs a five-week Design Intensive Summer Travel Abroad program in Vienna, Austria. The program includes visits to cultural institutions, design offices, project sites, and incorporates workshops with local designers. Students from several design programs nationally participate each year.
Alexandra continues to host events and exhibits during Design Philadelphia, an annual design festival in the city. For several years she hosted Philly Works events and exhibits as well as produced publications that showcase the local manufacturing and making communities of Philadelphia. Currently, she is honored to be a recurring Best in Design Show juror.
Her teaching specialties range from core studios in industrial/product design while focusing on 3D form, furniture design, materials and processes, food+design, as well as capstone and thesis work. In 2019, she also coordinated the annual conference for the DFGN (Design Factory Global Network) hosted by Thomas Jefferson University. This event brought together approximately 60 design educators from all over the world and it is an amazing network that supports international work across disciplines and continents for both faculty and students.
As principal of ASU Designs she enjoys working with firms, such as OLIN, on architectural models and memorial competitions.
Alexandra currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two children.
BFA, James Madison University
MArch, University of Pennsylvania
Vienna Studio Books, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015-2019
Philly Works Qualities of Life Publication, a collection of work, photos, and contributed essays, 2012
Philly Works Catalog, a collection of work, photos, and discussions based on the 2010 Exhibit, 2010
Class of 2008 Senior Book, a compiled collection of work from the graduating class, Lulu.com, 2008
Women’s Committee of the PMA Holiday Card Competition, work selected for production, 2004-2006
A House for Albrecht Durer Competition Catalog, 2003
MOVE Site Proposal, project and text in MOVE: Sites of Trauma by Johanna Dickson, Pamphlet #23 2002
Published photographs, sketches and text in Vienna Studio: 01, 1998
"Making in Industrial Design: the necessary un-learning across design disciplines" co-authored with Will McHale
Published in NCBDS 29 Proceedings, Actions: Making of Place, 2014
Brin, Joseph G. “Natural Imagination.” Metropolis Mag.com. Web. 14 Nov. 2012
Brin, Joseph G. “Ideas Emerge from the Endless Experiment.” Metropolis Mag.com. Web. 01 Nov. 2012
PW Staff. “Design Philadelphia Celebrates the City’s Many Creative Talents.” Philadelphia Weekly. Web. 10 Oct. 2012
Spolan, Sue. “philly works reveals city's hidden underbelly of makers.” Flying Kite. Web. 08 May 2012
Shapiro, Ilyssa. “Design Philadelphia 2011: Better Blocks Philly.” Core77. Web. 25 Oct 2011
Shapiro, Ilyssa. “Design Philadelphia 2011: Philly Works Qualities of Life Panel Discussion.” Core77. Web. 20 Oct 2011
My research passion is visiting existing creative businesses, studios, and workshops and it drives my continued participation in the Vienna Summer Abroad Studio coordinated by Umbau Inc. The program is not a typical studio with students doing design projects in a classroom, rather it is a deep immersion into a creative culture and the minds and attitudes behind it. The five-week program encourages students to find their creative voice and inspires them to have the confidence to move their own personal work forward in an innovative manner. Our daily schedule takes us from current exhibits at reputable museums such at the Kunst Historisches Museum Wien and the Albertina to office visits at some of the best design offices in the world, such as Coop Himmelb(l)au (architecture) and EOOS (product + social design). A large portion of our time is also spent visiting design and fabrication businesses such as Lobmeyr – a sixth generation glass manufacturer, Mühlbauer – a fourth generation fashion design and hat manufacturer, and Mischer’Traxler – an internationally recognized progressive design office. The program also includes cultural events, such as the opera, symphony, and ballet in addition to side trips for a change of pace and time for reflection.
Coming from a background in fine arts and architecture, in my personal work I focus on the intersection of details and space in a variety of media such as: photography, printmaking, clay and porcelain, wood, and mixed media. I also personally embrace continual learning and inspiration through visits to local manufacturers, fabricators, designers, and material handlers. At the essence of my physical design work is experimentation and problem solving. In earlier work, I pursued these principles through architecture, furniture, and lighting designs. Currently, my new collection of slip cast ceramic/porcelain work showcases my testing of methods and imagery through screen printing on wet clay. Everything I make is made with curiosity and through rigorous testing – it is what drives my creative process.
University of the Arts Faculty Popup Exhibit at the Art Alliance, May 2018
University of the Arts CAMD Faculty Exhibit, Montgomery Community College, Aug–Oct 2017
Small Favors: Think Inside the Box Exhibit, The Clay Studio, Feb-May 2017
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, UArts Faculty Exhibit, Oct 2016-Present
My Philadelphia Story, Philadelphia International Airport Terminal F, 2016-Present
PSCA Art Auction, Philadelphia PA, mixed media 2D work, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Blur exhibit, University of the Arts, mixed media 2D work, 2011
Philagrafika 2010, Print Based juried alumni show, 2010
Consequential, University of Pennsylvania School of Design faculty exhibit, Fall 2009
Objective Affection Exhibit, curated by BOFFO-NY, storage products exhibited, 2009
Philly (Heart) Design Exhibit, in conjunction with Design Philadelphia 2008, Rope lighting exhibited, 2008
Draw Philadelphia Drawing Competition, AIA Philadelphia, Honorable Mention, 2008
“The reality of the Unbuilt”, Temple University, process of thinking and explorative drawing exhibited, 2007
Philly (Heart) Design Exhibit, in conjunction with Design Philadelphia 2007, lighting selected, 2007
“…and the levee broke: meditations on the power of water”, work selected for national touring exhibit/best of show, 2006
Creative Change Center (C3), work selected for holiday show/sale, 2005
Recipient of “Bethlehem Steel Paint-out”: competition to access property and work selected for Exhibit, 2005
Selected Creative Works
These works are the compilation of an obsession and fascination with industrial and everyday objects in our surroundings of Philadelphia.
Slip Cast Porcelain
This series of boxes uses 3D printed volumes as formwork to create the mold. The final pieces are glazed to reveal the upper edge and where they touch a surface. The collection is intended to work in groupings or individually.
Kids Dining Set
Slip Cast Porcelain
This dining set for children contains a plate, small bowl, and cup. Comes in custom colors and each set can be personalized with an embossed name. All items nest to keep a small footprint in your kitchen and kids love the scale and playful quality while eating.
Slip Cast Porcelain with Screen Printed Graphic
A bowl and cup set that captures the graphics of foliage and highlights the glazed and unglazed areas. The tactile and visually textured surfaces support the ergonomics of these pieces.
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia PA
Site specific photographic installation
Baltic birch ply with photo transfers
Design, Construction (interior), Project Management, Dining Table design and fabrication.
Architectural / Landscape Models
War Memorial Proposal. Consultant for OLIN. CNC, 3D prints, hand assembly.
Philly Works Qualities of Life in Philadelphia Publication and Exhibit
The Philadelphia Art Alliance
A collection of screen prints