Deborah Berke, architect and founder of the New York-based design firm Deborah Berke Partners, will be the next dean of the Yale School of Architecture, announced President Peter Salovey in a message to the Yale community. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2016.
“As a practicing architect and a long-time faculty member in the School of Architecture, Professor Berke is ideally positioned to lead it toward a successful future as it begins its second century,” said Salovey. “For more than 30 years, she has dedicated her career — in equal measures — to education and practice. She has taught architectural design using disciplinary approaches both integral to and less commonly associated with the world of architecture. This perspective, in her own words, helps students to understand they are part of a larger cultural conversation.”
Berke has been an adjunct professor of architectural design at Yale since 1987, and will be the first woman to lead the School of Architecture, which in 2016 is celebrating the 100th anniversary of architecture being taught as a formal discipline at the university.
Her expertise ranges from preservation and adaptation of historic buildings to urban landscape and sustainability. In her professional practice she designs private residences, hotels, residential and commercial developments, and institutional art and music buildings, including the renovation and expansion project that created the Yale School of Art’s Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Hall. The firm is led by Berke, her two partners, and eight principals; Berke will maintain her active role in the creative direction of the practice.
Berke has previously taught at the University of Maryland, the University of Miami, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of California-Berkeley, and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, of which she was a fellow. In addition, she serves as a juror in numerous architecture and design award programs and lectures throughout the United States and Canada.
Berke is a trustee and vice president of the Forum and Institute for Urban Design, a James Howell Foundation board member, and serves on the Yaddo board of directors. Over the past two decades, she has also served as trustee and vice president of desigNYC; founding trustee of New York City’s Design Trust for Public Space; trustee of the National Building Museum; chair of the board of advisors for the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University; trustee of the Brearley School; and a vice president of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. She is a LEED accredited professional.
In 2012 she was awarded the inaugural Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Prize by the University of California-Berkeley College of Environmental Design, and received the Professor King-lui Wu Teaching Award from the Yale School of Architecture.
Berke is the co-editor, with Steven Harris, of “The Architecture of the Everyday,” (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997). In 2008, Yale University Press published “Deborah Berke,” a book focused on the firm’s work, which was also the first book on a contemporary American architect to be published by Yale Press. A new book on her firm’s work will be published by Rizzoli in 2016.
Berke received a B.F.A. and a B.Arch. from the Rhode Island School of Design, which in 2005 awarded her an honorary doctor of fine arts. She pursued an honors thesis at the Architectural Association in London and holds an M.U.P. in urban design from the City University of New York.
She succeeds Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the School of Architecture since 1998, who will step down on June 30. President Salovey praised Stern’s tenure as dean.
“His leadership has raised the school to new heights, and we look forward, as a community, to recognizing and celebrating his legacy on our campus in the year ahead,” he said.
President Salovey also thanked the members of the search committee for their thoughtful work. Keller Easterling, professor of architecture, chaired the committee, which included Michelle Addington, Steven Harris, John Jacobson, and Bimal Mendis; and staff liaisons Emily Bakemeier and Martha Highsmith.
Berke lives in New York City with her husband, Peter McCann, an orthopedic surgeon. Their daughter, Tess, graduated from Yale in 2015.