Sean Anderson, an architect, scholar, and curator widely recognized for timely and provocative exhibitions of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, begins a dual role as Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Bachelor of Architecture program at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning this summer.
"Sean Anderson brings a breadth of experience from academia as well as from the world of art and curation," says Caroline O'Donnell, Chair of the Department of Architecture. "His expertise in areas of South Asia and Africa, combined with his commitment to actionable possibilities for a spatial approach to reparations and restorative justice, will add valuable perspective to urgent global issues. As director of our foundational bachelor of architecture program at this particular moment, when the discipline is evolving to embrace more just and equitable approaches to design, these perspectives will make a real difference to the designers of the future."
Anderson comes to Cornell from the MoMA where he was associate curator in the museum's Department of Architecture and Design since 2015. His exhibitions include Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter; Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959-89; and most recently, the highly acclaimed exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, the first at MoMA ever to highlight the work of African-American and African Diasporic architects, that he co-organized with designer and historian Mabel O. Wilson. Anderson also led the vision for four iterations of the Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1 and, in 2020, cocurated On Muzharul Islam: Surfacing Intention at the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Anderson commented: "I am overjoyed to return to the university and college! Cornell has always been at the forefront of exploring the limits and meanings of architecture. I foresee unprecedented possibilities to collaboratively reimagine the narratives and experiences of architecture across interconnected communities of exceptional students, faculty, and the public to build visions of the world we wish to inhabit and reflect who we can become."
An AAP graduate of the B.Arch. program and 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 authored 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 his most recent appointment to the faculty and directorship, Anderson has held a number of visiting faculty positions at AAP. This spring, he co-organized the Department of Architecture's Preston Thomas Memorial Symposium titled Acts of Repair that invited artists, architects, designers, educators, and students to a series of public discussions that both addressed historical and current inequities in the design disciplines and proposed new visions of ethical architecture, urbanism, landscape, and geographies.
This story first appeared in the News section of the Architecture, Art, and Planning website.