Tolya Stonorov, associate director of Norwich University’s School of Architecture+Art, received a master's degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded the Chester Miller traveling fellowship, the Howard Friedman Thesis prize and multiple grants.
Stonorov has practiced design-build since 2006, when she co-founded her firm, Stonorov Workshop. Eighteen years of professional experience inform Stonorov’s courses, which marry the theoretical and poetic, with concrete grounding in technical and professional realities. Her classes explore the nature of fabrication, examining the relationship between digital and traditional methods of making, with a focus on materiality, process and craft. Stonorov, whose professional and student work has been published in national magazines, teaches second-year and advanced-level studios and a course on professional practice and construction documents.
Stonorov’s design-build studios center around experiential service learning and solving important societal problems. Through these studios, she provides a thorough overview of the architecture profession and works to instill in her students a profound understanding of the implications of design decisions. Students find this work fundamentally fulfilling, as the design-build model is an ideal way to experience how architecture can specifically aid underserved populations. Professional expertise and research combine with enthusiastic student engagement and ideas to create true experiential learning immersion. Where work is the medium to address social justice, students experience the tangible results of how their designs and labor have the power to aid communities in need.
Stonorov’s firm, Stonorov Workshop, a design-build collaborative founded on the belief that good design makes life better and that that making and designing are intrinsically intertwined, strives to use sustainable materials and methods in honest, simple expressions to create spaces that outlast their original use. Stonorov Workshop’s designs are developed with careful consideration of client needs, rigorous study of site and an open and involved creative process tempered by ecological sensibility. Stonorov’s professional design-build work ensures that her teaching is fresh and current and that she, too, is continually growing as a designer.
Tolya Stonorov has received multiple awards for excellence for her professional and academic work from the American Institute of Architects’ New England and Vermont chapters among others. In addition, Stonorov received the Vermont Women in Higher Education Peggy Williams Award for her teaching and scholarship. She gives lectures and participates in symposium panels nationally and internationally.
Stonorov’s latest book, The Design-Build Studio | Crafting Meaningful Work in Architecture Education, was published in 2017. The book examines 16 international community-driven design-build case studies through process and product. The Design-Build Studio received praise from a leading national magazine and is being taught at seven-plus institutions internationally. Her new book, FABRIC[ATED], Fabric Innovation and Material Responsibility in Architecture, is expected to be published in 2022 by Routledge, a Taylor & Francis Group.