ITHACA, N.Y. (April 14, 2004) -- Mohsen Mostafavi has been named dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University President Jeffrey Lehman announced today. Mostafavi, a U.S. citizen who studied at London's Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) and at the University of Cambridge, has served as chairman (equivalent to dean) of the AA since 1995. His Cornell appointment will begin July 1, 2004.
Lehman said: "Mohsen Mostafavi is a true intellectual and a talented academic leader. He brings to Cornell an international reputation built upon an impressive track record of success on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the respect of some of the world's most renowned architectural practitioners and theorists. I am delighted he is joining Cornell's academic leadership."
On the heels of two successful terms as chairman of the AA, London's leading school of architecture, Mostafavi's Cornell appointment crowns an already prestigious career that includes a stint as director of the Master of Architecture 1 Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. A much-recognized author, he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Cambridge and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts (Staedeschule). A member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects' Registration Board of the United Kingdom, Cornell's new dean served on the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal Selection Committee and is a member of the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
P>Provost Biddy Martin, who oversaw the search, stated: "I am enthusiastic about Mohsen Mostafavi's appointment and look forward to working with him. The committee that recommended him worked hard to find the best candidate for this important position. Their work has yielded a new dean who will not only be a strong and creative leader of the college, but also will play a significant role more broadly across the university. I am confident that the college and university will achieve a great deal under his leadership." Commenting on the news of the appointment, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, who did graduate work at Cornell, said, "After establishing the AA as one of today's greatest schools, Mohsen Mostafavi, I am sure, will help to write an exciting new chapter for Cornell."
Mostafavi is credited with bringing breadth and innovation to the highly influential London school, which has produced such stars as Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, among others. Colleagues and peers agree that Mostafavi brought the British school up to speed technologically, instilled financial stability and forged critical alliances with other leading institutions. Koolhaas called him "an excellent academic leader on campus, open to developments, sharp, respectful and respected."
Sharing much of the same enthusiasm about his colleague of nine years, Paul Hyett, vice president of the Architectural Association Council and past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, summed up his views by saying, "Mostafavi is not only a great teacher and innovator with a fine publications record, but also a trustworthy administrator with excellent financial management skills."
Mostafavi's projects and writings underscore a keen interest in building surfaces and how they change over time. He has a preference for "landscape-sliding borders," rather than rigid ones. Surface Architecture , a book by Mostafavi with David Leatherbarrow (MIT Press, 2002), received the CICA Bruno Zevi Book Award 2003 for the most significant contribution to architectural criticism. His book On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time , also with Leatherbarrow (MIT Press, 1993), won the American Institute of Architects commendation prize for writing on architectural theory. He is the coauthor of Delayed Space , with Homa Farjadi (Princeton Architectural Press, 1994).
Mostafavi edited and contributed to a number of publications, among them Approximations: The Architecture of Peter Märkli (MIT Press 2002) and Logique Visuelle , a book on architecture and fashion. He has published in such prestigious journals as Architectural Review , Arquitectura andDaidalos . He edited and contributed to Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (2004) and the forthcoming Structure as Space , on the work of the Swiss engineer Jürg Conzett (both with AA Publications).
Mostafavi attended Clare Hall, the University of Cambridge, from 1981 to 1984, the University of Essex Department of Art from 1976 to 1981 and the AA from 1972 to 1976.
When he assumes his new responsibilities as dean of Cornell's College of Architecture, Art and Planning on July 1, 2004, Mostafavi will succeed Porus Olpadwala, who, having served in this capacity since 1999, will return to his former position of professor in the college's Department of City and Regional Planning. Founded in 1871, the College of Architecture, Art and Planning has three academic departments -- Architecture, Art, and City and Regional Planning -- and approximately 50 faculty members, 500 undergraduate and 200 graduate students. Under the organizing umbrella of the "built environment," it offers programs at the Ithaca campus and in Rome that range from urban policy and planning to architectural design, history, and theory; from art practice in every medium to cultural and visual studies.