The Foster Chair was endowed by Norman Foster, a 1962 graduate of our School, who is a model for excellence in our profession. On many occasions Lord Foster has acknowledged his debt to Yale, where he encountered great teachers, in particular Paul Rudolph, Serge Chermayeff and Vincent Scully, and, in his own words, “experienced a studio atmosphere which was highly creative, competitive” with the kind of “‘can-do’ approach [that] has influenced and inspired [his] practice for more than 40 years, and continues to do so.”
The Foster chair is intended to attract top teaching talent to our advanced studios and in particular to ensure the continuing presence at Yale of international visiting faculty. Previous Foster Professors have been David Chipperfield, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Bijoy Jain, John Patkau, David Adjaye and Niall McLaughlin. In Spring ’16 the Foster chair was held by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher as well as by with Wolf Prix.
Tonight’s speaker, Marianne McKenna, received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Art History from Swarthmore College, Philadelphia and the Master of Architecture from Yale. She, along with Bruce Kuwabara and Shirley Blumberg, is a founding partner of the Toronto-Based firm, KPMB Architects, an award winning, internationally recognized practice. KPMB is notable for its unique hybrid form of architecture and practice, developed to respond to a multi-cultural, dynamically changing world. The work of KPMB is manifested in the diversity of the portfolio for culture, education, healthcare and paradigm shifting climate responsive design.
KPMB has over received over 250 awards, including from the American Institute of Architects, Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business Awards, the Urban Land Institute, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Professor McKenna’s experience as an architect can be found in a range of project typologies, inclusive of spaces for higher education, workplace interiors, hospitality and master planning. She has completed projects for the University of Toronto, McGill University, Concordia University, Torys LLP, and Goldman Sachs. For the past 20 years, Marianne’s special focus has been the architecture of concert halls and how design is used to engage community. Projects include the Orchestra Hall Renewal for the Minnesota Orchestra and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, including the renowned Koerner Hall. In 2011, Marianne was made an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Conservatory. Current projects include an expansion and renovation of iconic Massey Hall, the Kellogg School of Management, the workplace strategy for The Globe and Mail offices, and an expansion for The Brearley School in New York City.
Along with her founding partners, Professor McKenna is an invested Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2013 and was recognized as one of the 50 most powerful people in Canada by Maclean’s magazine.