Yale Appoints Robert A.M. Stern to Next Dean of Architecture

President Richard C. Levin announced today the appointment of Robert A. M. Stern as the next dean of Yale's School of Architecture. Stern, founder and senior partner of Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York and a noted scholar and author as well as a graduate of Yale's Architecture School, has also been on the faculty of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 1970. He has written or edited more than a score of books about design, including a highly respected series on New York City's architecture and urbanism. Stern is a practicing architect whose projects, ranging from private residences to notable commercial and civic buildings worldwide, have garnered national and international awards.

President Richard C. Levin announced today the appointment of Robert A. M. Stern as the next dean of Yale’s School of Architecture. Stern, founder and senior partner of Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York and a noted scholar and author as well as a graduate of Yale’s Architecture School, has also been on the faculty of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 1970. He has written or edited more than a score of books about design, including a highly respected series on New York City’s architecture and urbanism. Stern is a practicing architect whose projects, ranging from private residences to notable commercial and civic buildings worldwide, have garnered national and international awards.

Stern has made a specialty of buildings for schools and universities, including the Ohrstrom Library at the St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire; the William Gates Computer Science Building at Stanford University; the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia; the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University; and the new Brooklyn Law School Building. Currently his Moore Psychology Building at Dartmouth College and his Smith Student Center at Pomona College are under construction, and designs are being developed for a residence hall at Columbia University; for the Spangler Student Center at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration; and for the Arts, Media and Communication Building at California State University, Northridge. Stern’s Feature Animation Building in Burbank, California, for the Walt Disney Company has become a notable Los Angeles landmark.

Stern’s work is characterized by commitment to buildings that adapt well to the aesthetic and cultural values of their surroundings. His firm has been known for its emphasis on continuity of tradition and creating buildings which are at once appropriate to the project at hand and take into account the spirit of the places in which they are located. While perhaps best known for his houses, he and his partners over the years have expanded their practice to include many building types: his Mexx Headquarters in Voorschoten, the Netherlands, offers a challenging juxtaposition of new and old, while his 222 Berkeley Street office tower, despite its size, blends into the historic architecture of Boston’s Back Bay.

A graduate of Columbia College in 1960 and Yale’s School of Architecture in 1965, he was the host of an eight-part documentary television series on PBS titled “Pride of Place: Building the American Dream.” He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Company.

Eight books on Stern’s own architectural work have been published, and his designs are exhibited in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many other museums.

In announcing the appointment, President Levin said: “Mr. Stern is not only a distinguished architect, he is an outstanding scholar and an inspiring teacher. He is devoted to Yale, and I am delighted that he has agreed to commit his exceptional energy and intelligence to its betterment.”

In accepting the position of dean, Stern stated: “I am honored by the appointment and emboldened by the faith President Levin and the faculty have shown in asking me to become the School of Architecture’s new dean. I intend to raise a strong voice among many others within the School in support of the art of architecture at its responsible best.”

Yale has been awarding degrees in Architecture since 1942 and has had a department of architecture since 1916. The School has been housed since 1963 in a distinctive building designed by Paul Rudolph, who was the head of Architecture at Yale during Stern’s student years and one of his teachers.

Another teacher of Stern, Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Yale, greeted Stern’s appointment by noting: “This is exactly the right appointment. Of all the many distinguished graduates of the Yale School of Architecture, Robert Stern best understands its history and values its special traditions. His career up to now, with its unique integration of architectural design, historical scholarship, executive ability, and devoted academic service, especially fits him to be our new dean. The School can confidently expect a fresh and powerful burst of creative energy under his direction.”

Tom Beeby, former dean of the School and a member of the Search Committee for the new dean, expressed his delight with this appointment, “Bob Stern is a brilliant individual who has devoted his entire energy to the profession of architecture as a practitioner, teacher and historian. He directs an architectural practice that is highly successful and internationally recognized. As a teacher at Columbia University, he has educated several generations of architects who have benefited from both his criticism and counsel. His continuous loyal support and understanding of Yale’s School of Architecture since his graduation prepare him well for this job. I am certain Bob will have a positive and dynamic tenure as dean and the School will benefit greatly from his passion for architecture, his entrepreneurial skill and his devotion to the institution.”

Levin also announced today a significant increase in the financial aid budget of the School of Architecture and a commitment to invest in computer equipment, software, and support staff. In addition, he has augmented the resources available to the dean for bringing visitors and part-time faculty to the School.

The School currently awards the degrees of Master of Architecture and Master of Environmental Design. An undergraduate major in architecture is also offered exclusively to Yale College students.

Stern’s appointment takes effect immediately.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325