Fall 2023 Message from Dean Berke

Fall 2023 Message from Dean Berke

Dear Friends,

There are over 3,800 alumni of the Yale School of Architecture around the world today, and one month ago, I welcomed the newest members of this community. Eighty-one aspiring architects and scholars, representing sixty-nine different undergraduate institutions and twenty-six countries, joined our ranks. They are yet another cohort who will spend many hours bonding in the studio, creating lifelong friendships and professional networks that will reach far beyond New Haven.

The pandemic had a significant impact on enrollment and attendance during 2020-2023, so in May, we graduated our largest class ever, sending 100 new YSoA alumni out into the world. Our goal is to return to a comfortable size of 225 students in Rudolph Hall, and with the growing popularity of Yale Architecture, this was the most difficult year yet to be admitted. Every year since my arrival we have been able to increase financial aid for students with need, this year 90% of our students received some support and 17% of incoming students are given full support for tuition. I established the Dean’s Endowed Scholarship Fund to one day meet full tuition needs for our students, and I’m grateful to everyone who contributes towards this goal.

In addition to the new students that we welcomed, we have an impressive roster of new and visiting faculty members. Leading YSoA Advanced Design Studios for the first time are Kim Holden, Marina Tabassum, Alberto Kalach, Carlos Zedillo, and Chat Travieso. We also support emerging voices in the field—I’m pleased to have Ife Vanable and David Sadighian as a new Assistant Professors and Jordan H. Carver as our KPF Visiting Scholar. I give my thanks to all the alumni and friends who continue to donate toward named positions and faculty research funds.

This past year, we continued to see an influx of reunions and were happy to host groups from single class years and multi-year groups including 1987, 2013, and 2015-2019. Later this month, we will see members of the classes of 1993 and 1994 as they mark 30 years since graduation. I’m grateful to the alumni who spearhead and organize these (with a little help from our one-and-only Richard DeFlumeri!). One thing is common regardless of whether it’s been five, ten, or thirty-five years: people pick up conversations as those they had seen each other yesterday. (Click here for information on how to plan a reunion.).

I’m also happy to see alumni where they live and work while I’m traveling. This past year, I was able to gather with more than fifty years of alumni at events in San Francisco, London, and Berlin. Yale University is hosting programs in Washington, DC, Boston, South Florida, Fort Worth, and Seattle as part of the For Humanity Illuminated series, which offers insight on a variety of topics of which Yale faculty and alumni are on the leading edge. Past Illuminated programs have featured YSoA faculty members Mae-ling Lokko, Bimal Mendis, Joyce Hsiang, and Gavin Hogben. In June 2024, we’ll host an event in DC during the AIA National Conference, and we’ll be sure to reach out as we add events during the months ahead. Those of you in New York City—I’m sure we’ll bump into each other on the sidewalk or in the subway—please do stop me to say hello. And please make a trip to visit New Haven; see our calendar of lectures, symposium, exhibitions, and events to plan your visit.

As you may have heard, the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project is making headlines this year as we a new partnership with Friends Center for Children in New Haven. The students are learning about the needs of early childhood educators as they create teacher housing. (View press.) Among the 14 of students who remained this summer to work full-time on the project, Alice Cochrane ’25 was selected as the inaugural Paul Brouard Fellow, an honor created in his memory last year with gifts by more than 200 alumni and friends.

You can read about this and much more in this fall’s issue of Constructs and in YSoA email blasts. Please continue to share your news for inclusion there, too. Submit your updates to constructs@yale.edu.

I am proud to count you all among our alumni and friends and thank you for continued engagement and support.

Best regards,

Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP

Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor, Yale School of Architecture