Fall 2022 Message from Dean Berke

Fall 2022 Message from Dean Berke

Dear Friend, The YSoA community–our alumni, students, faculty, and staff–shares an interest and a commitment to architecture and architectural education. We are fortunate that our unique differences–our backgrounds, experiences, and current concerns–make dialogue and exchanges rich. I have been reminded in so many ways over the past academic year that our community begins in the studio but continues well beyond.

In May, after two years of delay and planning, members of the Classes of 1980-1985 gathered for our first in-person reunion in more than two years. It was also our first multi-class reunion, and it was all the better for celebrating the cross-class friendships formed over late nights in Rudolph Hall. More than 140 people from this six-year span toured recent additions to the campus, heard an update on YSoA 40 years later, and remembered classmates and faculty who have died. As part of this initiative, the Classes raised funds toward the MJ Long Scholarship Fund, recognizing the huge impact that MJ had on this generation of Yalies, as one of the few women architects teaching and nurturing her successors. I am grateful for the more than $120,000 that the class raised to augment this scholarship which is currently held by Faith Pang, who is entering her 2nd year in the M.Arch I program. We also welcomed a group of alumni who graduated around 1972, celebrating their 50th reunion. This group included a tour of Horse Island, our regenerative building collaboration with the Peabody Museum, in their busy itinerary. And this semester, we look forward to hosting another multi-year reunion being organized by the Class of 2017. It’s wonderful to see friendships and professional collaborations continue long after alumni leave Rudolph Hall.

We also had a reunion of sorts for the alumni of 2020 and 2021 when Yale offered an on-campus “alumni commencement” in May for those who didn’t experience the Yale traditions due to the pandemic. I was excited that so many of these recent students were able to return to campus, and I appreciated the enthusiasm they had for the pomp and circumstance. The 2022 graduation ceremony the following weekend also included fantastic weather and lots of cheering by family and friends.

This fall, a new cohort of M.Arch I, M.Arch II, MED, and PhD students descended on Rudolph Hall to follow in the footsteps of students before them while still creating their own path. I am happy to say that this class comes from a wide range of undergraduate colleges and universities around the country and the world and bring with them many different life experiences. With some creative arrangements of the desks, we have fit 285 students in Rudolph Hall. We are also offering the most financial aid in the School’s history, for which I am grateful to the many donors—alumni and friends—for making possible.

And to make sure these students continue to have the highest quality of education, we have the largest faculty ever. This semester there are eleven Advanced Design Studios with topics for every interest. We have two recipients of the Pritzker Prize on our faculty—Frank Gehry who has taught at YSoA for decades is co-teaching with Peter Eisenman; and Francis Kéré is returning as our Louis Kahn Visiting Professor. Francis delivered a wonderful kickoff lecture for the semester that you can watch here.

We have been fortunate to have wonderful faculty throughout the history of the School. This fall, we will gather for a symposium on November 11 and 12 to celebrate Peter Eisenman, our inaugural Charles Gwathmey Professor-in-Practice, in his last year of teaching at Yale. Peter has influenced and debated generations of architects, and I anticipate a lively program as his peers and mentees conduct a “formal analysis” of his research and work.

Over the past year, we marked the passing of two longtime faculty members: Alex Garvin and Paul Brouard. On October 6 and 7, YSoA will host the symposium “What Works: The Planning and Development Legacy of Alex Garvin.“ The students from his five decades of teaching span every aspect of urban planning, real estate development, public policy, law, architecture, and academia using the lessons they learned in his urban studies courses. Many of them are presenters at the symposium.

We are also remembering Paul Brouard who graduated in 1959 and led the Building Project beginning in 1973 and continuing for forty years. He gave many architects their first hammer, and many have carried forward using the design-build approach in their own practices. We will mark the inspiration that Paul was to so many at the opening of the 2022 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project house on October 2. This year’s collaboration with Columbus House, led by faculty member Adam Hopfner, would have made him proud.

It brings me joy to see Rudolph Hall bustling again with students at all hours and to welcome alumni back to New Haven. The sense of connection to Yale and one another begins as a student and continues after graduation. Thank you for keeping YSoA in your life.

Deborah Berke
Dean and JM Hoppin Professor