Faculty from left to right: Sara Bronin, David Costanza, Leeza Meksin, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Jennifer Newsom, Michael Jefferson, Suzanne Lettieri, Florian Idenburg, Jesse LeCavalier, María González Pendás, Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Tom Carruthers.

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Cornell AAP welcomes new faculty

Cornell AAP faculty teach and practice architecture, fine arts, and city and regional planning as creative and powerful forces with the potential to improve the world and support students to address the complex problems of the 21st century. From award-winning research and design engaging cross-disciplinary collaboration to innovative teaching and practices investigating issues of coloniality, the body, and digital design tools, AAP's new faculty bring scholarship and research that will support this mission and prepare students to take up their roles as world citizens in a diverse and inclusive society.


Department of City and Regional Planning

Sophie Oldfield

Professor, Incoming Department Chair (Spring 2022) 

Internationally recognized urbanist Sophie Oldfield comes to Cornell AAP from a joint appointment as chair and professor of urban studies at the University of Cape Town and the University of Basel. An experienced global leader in urban studies, Oldfield brings a record of excellence in collaborative research practice and writing to the department. She is known for her theoretical and primary research on cities and communities that is informed by empirical and epistemological questions focused on housing, informality and governance, mobilizing and social movement organizing, and urban planning and politics, particularly in the Global South. Oldfield served as president of the Society of South African Geographers from 2012 to 2014, co-edited the Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South (2014), and founded the Southern African City Studies Network in 2007. For her consistently forward-thinking engagement, leadership, and research, Oldfield was recently awarded a fellowship from the Society of South African Geographers. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. 

Oldfield officially joins the department on January 1, 2022.

Sara Bronin

Professor; Associated Member, Cornell Law School

Sara Bronin is a Mexican American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in property, land use, historic preservation, and climate change. Bronin's interdisciplinary research focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. She was recently nominated by the Biden administration to chair the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). The council advises the president and congress on decisions and policies that promote the preservation and enhancement of national historic resources. Bronin currently advises the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code, serves on the board of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, leads Desegregate Connecticut, and regularly consults for public and private entities. Before coming to Cornell, she held the Thomas F. Gallivan Endowed Chair of Real Property Law at UConn School of Law and served as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, the Sorbonne in Paris, and universities in Switzerland and Korea. She holds a doctor of law degree from Yale Law School (Truman Scholar), a master of science from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), and a joint B.Arch. / B.A. from the University of Texas–Austin.

Bronin officially joins the department on July 1.


Department of Art

Paul Ramírez Jonas

Professor and Incoming Department Chair

Brooklyn–based practicing artist and educator Paul Ramírez Jonas's work has been exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally with solo exhibitions at Museo Jumex, Mexico City; the New Museum, New York City; Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo; the Aldrich Contemporary Museum, Connecticut; and the Blanton Museum, Texas, among others. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at venues such as MoMA PS1, Queens; the Brooklyn Museum; the Whitechapel, U.K.; the Irish Museum of Modern Art; and Kunsthaus Zurich. Ramírez Jonas has participated in biennial exhibitions in Johannesburg; Seoul; Shanghai; São Paulo; Venice; and Mercosul, Brazil, and his work is part of museum collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others. Before coming to Cornell, Ramírez Jonas was an associate professor of art at Hunter College in Brooklyn, where he taught for nearly 15 years. During his time there, he pioneered a public art studio course to address issues specific to various kinds of public space and to look at how artists have worked within these spaces. Currently, he is working on a large-scale, socially engaged art project for the 2022 Commonwealth Games that will engage the entire host city of Birmingham in the U.K. Ramírez Jonas graduated with a B.A. from Brown University in 1987, and earned an M.F.A. in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989.

Ramírez Jonas officially joins the department on July 1.

Leeza Meksin

Assistant Professor

Leeza Meksin is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, installation, textiles, public art, and multiples. She has created site-specific installations for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the National Academy of Design, Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts, and elsewhere. In 2013, she cofounded the artist-run gallery and curatorial collective Ortega y Gasset Projects (OyG) in Brooklyn, which she continues to codirect. In 2015, Meksin received the emerging artist grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and in 2019 was awarded an artist residency at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Her work has been featured in BombThe New York Times, Hyperallergic, Chicago Tribune, and The Village Voice, among other publications. Before joining the art department faculty, Meksin taught in the Visual Arts program at Columbia University School of the Arts (2015–21); at Mass Art; Ohio State University; Denison University; Temple University Tyler School of Art; Purchase College; and Yale University, among others. Meksin holds a joint B.A. / M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Chicago, a B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art. 

Meksin officially joins the department on July 1.


Department of Architecture

Sean Anderson

Associate Professor, Director of the Bachelor of Architecture Program

Sean Anderson's (B.Arch./B.S. '96) areas of research and expertise include history and theory of modern architecture, African art and architecture, and South Asian art and architecture. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome with a Ph.D. in African Art History, Anderson has practiced as an architect and taught in Afghanistan, Australia, India, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka, and the U.A.E. He has written books on South Asian ritual sculpture, the modern architecture of colonial Eritrea, and coedited a volume dedicated to contemporary architecture and design in Sri Lanka. Before returning to Cornell, Anderson was the Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In 2020, he cocurated the exhibition On Muzharul Islam: Surfacing Intention at the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At MoMA, he has organized the exhibitions Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter (2016–17); Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–89 (2017–18); and four iterations of the Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1. He has also been responsible for or collaborated on permanent collection galleries, including the ongoing Building Citizens and 2019's Surrounds. Earlier this year, Anderson co-organized with Mabel O. Wilson, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, the first exhibition ever at MoMA to highlight the work of African American and African Diasporic architects. 

Anderson officially joins the department summer 2021. 

Jesse LeCavalier

Associate Professor (AAP NYC, Ithaca)

Jesse LeCavalier (LeCavalier R+D) has held teaching positions in the University of Toronto Architecture, Landscape, and Design faculty, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Yale School of Architecture as the Daniel Rose Visiting Assistant Professor. LeCavalier uses the tools of urban design and architecture to research, theorize, and speculate about logistics and infrastructure. He is the author of The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), and his design work has been recognized by the Sudbury 2050 urban design competition, the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, the Oslo Triennale, and the Seoul Biennale. He has contributed writing to Cabinet, Public Culture, Places, Art Papers, and Harvard Design Magazine. He received the ACSA New Faculty Teaching Award in 2014, and his essay, “The Restlessness of Objects,” was the recipient of a 2013 Core77 Design Award. He holds a doctor of science from ETH Zurich (2012), an M.Arch. from the University of California–Berkeley (2003), and a B.A. from Brown University (1999).

LeCavalier officially joins the department on July 1.

David Costanza

Assistant Professor

David Costanza is principal of David Costanza Studio–DCS and director of the Building Construction Lab–BCL based in Ithaca, New York. Through practice and teaching, his research addresses the emerging digital and technical advancements reshaping the architecture discipline. His work aims to establish a dialogue between representation, computational design tools, digital manufacturing, and the innovative use of building materials. Costanza comes to Cornell from the UNC–Charlotte College of Arts and Architecture faculty. Previously, he taught at Rice University, University of Texas–Austin, and was a visiting critic in architecture at Cornell AAP in 2019. Costanza received a master of architecture with a concentration in computation and a master of science in architecture building technology from MIT.

Costanza officially joins the department on July 1.

Suzanne Lettieri

Assistant Professor

Suzanne Lettieri is a designer and educator, and coprincipal with Michael Jefferson of Jefferson Lettieri Office (JE-LE), an architectural design and research office they cofounded in 2014. Lettieri's work seeks to bridge the gap between aesthetics and socially conscious design at a range of scales including macro-scale investigations at the convergence of rapid urbanization and climate change. She was a Michigan‐Mellon Design Fellow at Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Additionally, she served as an assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where she taught interior design and initiated the pilot program Inclusive Recruitment Strategies. She was a visiting critic in the Department of Architecture from 2014 to 2016. Lettieri has worked at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), CODA (Caroline O'Donnell Architecture), and Biber Architects. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Detroit, and Boston and published in Project, The Cornell Journal of Architecture, The Plan Journal, and Plat Journal. In 2019, she received a residency fellowship at MacDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and in 2017 she received a Graham Foundation grant with Kunlé Adeyemi for their book project titled African Water Cities, based on studios taught at Cornell AAP, Harvard GSD, Princeton, and Columbia University. She earned an M.Arch. at Cornell in 2011 and a B.F.A. in interior design at FIT in 2007.

Lettieri officially joins the department on July 1.

Farzin Lotfi-Jam

Assistant Professor

Farzin Lotfi-Jam directs Farzin Farzin, a multidisciplinary design studio working across architecture, urbanism, computation, and media. His work explores the political implications of technology and computation through exhibition practice. From modeling the control matrices of smart cities to spatializing the cultural logics of social media, his individual and collaborative projects are research-based and multimediatic. Lotfi-Jam is the co-author of Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image, published by Columbia University Press in 2019. His work has been collected by the Centre Pompidou and the Sharjah Art Foundation, and he is the recipient of recent grants and support for his research from the Onassis Foundation (2019), the Graham Foundation (2021), M+/Design Trust (2019), and The Shed, where he was an inaugural Open Call Artist in 2018. Lotfi-Jam has exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture, MAXXI, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Seoul Architecture Biennial, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, and elsewhere. He holds graduate degrees in architecture from RMIT University Melbourne, Australia, and Columbia University in New York City.

Lotfi-Jam officially joins the department on July 1.

Jennifer Newsom

Assistant Professor

Jennifer Newsom is a licensed architect, artist, and principal of the design practice Dream The Combine, cofounded with Tom Carruthers in 2013. Newsom's research lies in the space between real, tangible bodies made of flesh, steel, glass, etc., and the perception of these bodies through vision. As an architect, she examines racial constructs in the context of built constructions, where these spatial metaphors act as mechanisms for connectedness and engagement. People are the activating agents in Newsom's work, and their presence is needed for a reconsideration of our bodies in relation to one another. Through her practice, Newsom has coproduced numerous site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada that explore metaphor, perceptual uncertainties, and the boundary between real and illusory space. Dream The Combine's awards include the 2021 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Artists, the 2020–21 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, and the 2018 Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1. The practice has exhibited at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in New York City; in Rome, Italy; and U.S. cities Seattle, Washington, East Haddam, Connecticut, Vancouver, Canada, and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; and will cocurate the 2023 Counterpublic Triennial in St. Louis, Missouri. Dream The Combine's work has been included in Metropolis Magazine, Architect Magazine, Log, Architectural Record, The Architect's Newspaper, and Dezeen. Newsom earned a bachelor of arts in architecture from Yale College and a master of architecture from the Yale School of Architecture, where she organized Black Boxes: Enigmas of Space and Race, which examined architecture and Blackness through the lenses of history, theory, and practice. These early investigations inform her teaching and practice to this day.

Newsom officially joins the department on July 1.

María González Pendás

Assistant Professor

María González Pendás is an architectural historian of modernity and coloniality of the Spanish transatlantic world whose research explores the intersections of aesthetics, technologies, ideologies, and power through the built environment. Previously, she taught at Vassar College, The Cooper Union, and the Art History Department at Columbia University, where she coordinated the Public Humanities Initiative of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities. González Pendás's current book manuscript titled Holy Modern: Technocracy, Theocracy and the Architectures of Hispanic Fascism studies the architectural workings of fascism, technocracy, and the imperial figment of Hispandidad in the second postwar and through the lens of Spain. Her other projects have investigated labor and race relations in México; the coloniality of concrete technologies and innovation across the South Atlantic; and the relationship between technology, religion, and secularism in global modernity. González Pendás has received grants and fellowships from the Society of Architectural Historians, the Graham Foundation, and the Fulbright, among others, and she was a member of Columbia University's Society of Fellows in the Humanities from 2016–19. She received her Ph.D. in architecture history and theory from Columbia University and her master's in architecture from the Polytechnic University in Madrid.

González Pendás officially joins the department on July 1.

Florian Idenburg

Professor of the Practice (AAP NYC)

An architect, writer, and educator, Florian Idenburg's imaginative ideas and intuition for the orchestration of form, material, and light infuse his work in a number of cross-cultural settings and institutional spaces. He is a cofounding partner of the award-winning New York–based architecture firm SO–IL, with Jing Liu. The practice spans architecture, installation, exhibition, and furniture design, serving public and private clients from France and South Korea to the U.S. and Mexico. Idenburg's aesthetic sensibility and approach to architecture is a synthesis of Dutch and Japanese traditions. Before cofounding his own design office, he worked with Tokyo-based SANAA, firm of Pritzker Prize–winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (2000–07), where he oversaw the design and development of the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art (2006) and the New Museum (2007). He is a recent visiting critic and guest speaker at AAP NYC, where he is well known for his infectious fascination and joy for architectural practice. He earned a master of science in architectural engineering from the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Netherlands.

Idenburg officially joins the department on July 1.

Tom Carruthers

Assistant Professor of the Practice

Tom Carruthers is an architect, artist, and coprincipal of the design practice Dream The Combine, cofounded with Jennifer Newsom in 2013. Through his practice, Carruthers has coproduced numerous site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada that explore metaphor, perceptual uncertainties, and the boundary between real and illusory space. Dream The Combine's awards include the 2021 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Artists, the 2020–21 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, and the 2018 Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1. Dream the Combine has exhibited at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in New York City; in Rome, Italy; and U.S. cities Seattle, Washington; East Haddam, Connecticut; Vancouver, Canada; and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; and will cocurate the 2023 Counterpublic Triennial in St. Louis, Missouri. The practice's work has been included in Metropolis Magazine, Architect Magazine, Log, Architectural Record, The Architect's Newspaper, and Dezeen. Carruthers is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture and Brown University, where he received a B.F.A. in drawing and sculpture.

Carruthers officially joins the department on July 1.

Michael Jefferson


Michael Jefferson joins the Department of Architecture faculty as Lecturer on July 1. He is the coprincipal of Jefferson Lettieri Office (JE-LE) with Suzanne Lettieri. Previously, Jefferson held appointments at The Cooper Union, Penn State University, the University of Michigan, City College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee where he was the 2019–20 Innovation in Design Fellow. His work has been exhibited in New York City, Boston, and Ithaca, and published in the Cornell Journal for Architecture; OfficeUS: Manual, Interiors, The Plan Journal; and Project. Prior to founding Jefferson Lettieri Office, Jefferson practiced at Adjaye Associates, Caroline O'Donnell Architecture (CODA), Studio SUMO, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Jefferson held an Innovation in Design Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (2019–20) and received a residency fellowship at MacDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire (2019). He earned an M.Arch. degree from Cornell AAP in 2012.

Jefferson officially joins the department on July 1.

This story first appeared in the News section of the Architecture, Art, and Planning website.

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