Matt Ziff has been Interior Architecture Area Chair from 2002 – 2014, one of the longest reigning Chairs in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University. During his tenure as Area Program Chair, he oversaw a plethora of activity in dedicated service to the department.
Matt’s dedication to the program began before he became chair, when in 2000, he assisted in the physical relocation of Interior Architecture into Grover Center from Tupper Hall. From his early days until 2009, the program was part of The School Human and Consumer Sciences, in the College of Health and Human Services. As Chair, Matt led the program through two major transitions. The first, moving the Interior Architecture program from the School of Human and Consumer Sciences to the School of Art + Design. The second, working with faculty to update the curriculum during the University’s shift from quarters to semesters. Following the addition of the Interior Architecture program to the School of Art, it was Matt’s voice, as an active and dedicated faculty member, who prompted the discussion, and eventual decision to incorporate “+Design” into the renaming of the School from “The School of Art,” to “The School of Art + Design.”
Under Matt’s leadership the Interior Architecture program has also completed three successful CIDA reviews. These program reviews assure quality and confirm adherence to national industry standards within the program’s curriculum, making this accreditation valuable to the University, as well as to current and future students.
Behind the scenes, Matt is always a constant, friendly presence. When he’s in the building his office door is open. At least 70% of the time you’d find someone sitting conversing with him about a concern, or discussing exciting ideas related to design. Sometimes on the weekends, you might even catch him with a broom and dustpan picking up the studio, or changing a projector light bulb.
Matt has been a significant face for Interior Architecture at Ohio University, and has worked hard to ensure an active, dynamic program. For most students, it was often Matt’s warm greeting and hospitality that made them feel at ease and excited about the IA Program when they first visited. He dedicated countless hours providing tours for visiting prospective students and their families as well as counseled students interested in design.
So honestly Matt was the main reason I came to OU. I applied to many schools but OU was not one of them (I applied after meeting Matt). When I was at CCAD an interior design professor told me about the program at OU and to talk to Matt. So my mom, my dad and I decided to go to OU to check out the program. Well we got very lost on the campus but eventually found/arranged time to meet with Matt. He walked us through the program and gave his ever so famous ‘fact’ that water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot (at room temperature). He was so inviting and passionate that everything he said was intriguing and made me want to be in the program. It sounded challenging and invigorating at the same time. My parents also loved him, which was a plus. I went to many art schools, no liberal art school before OU and couldn’t picture my self in the atmosphere. I do not know exactly what it was that Matt did to get me to go to OU but he did a good job and I am glad he did! I will always be thankful that I met with him. — Caitlyn Rudolph
I first met Matt in his lecture on “Aesthetics of Architecture” Freshman year. Right away I noticed Matt’s enthusiasm for architecture. He had passion for what he was teaching, and his ability to elaborate with a philosophical story is iconic. Ziff taught me the fundamentals of architecture in that lecture. What “good” design and architecture is as well as, how to view the difference. I had a passion for architecture coming in but, after the class I knew I had found a home in the IA major. — Brandon Holmes-Evans
In my first semester of freshman year I took Matt’s aesthetics of architecture class, being the confused freshman I was this was the closest to the major I had gotten. Thanks to Matt’s very friendly and welcoming approach I felt more than comfortable asking him for advice. He was able to show me the path and requirements needed to make it into the major as well as helping me select classes to knock out both general courses and major required classes. I know it’s not a huge deal but it meant a lot that he would help and get me going in the right direction. — Sam Bonnell-Kangas
At the close of the Spring semester, 2014, Matt concluded his tenure as Interior Architecture Program Chair. His work and leadership is greatly appreciated by colleagues and students alike. During the Spring semester of 2014-15 academic year Matt will be on sabbatical taking time to develop new directions in his research as he travels in France.
Matt Ziff is succeeded by Vincent Caranchini as the Interior Architecture Program Chair.