Dean’s Letter

Dean’s Letter

Last semester was remarkably fast-paced and full of accomplishments. First-year MArch students completed the first Jim Vlock First Year Building Project in partnership with our new client, Friends Center for Children, to provide housing for early childhood educators. The Advanced Design Studios produced work of the highest caliber. Our distinguished guest speakers included world-famous artists Ai Weiwei and Isaac Julien, as well as leading architects, theorists, and engineers. The symposium “Hybrid Urban Factory” gathered together renowned experts on urban manufacturing, with special appearances by Kristiaan Borret, Bouwmeester Maitre Architecte (BMA) for Brussels, and Lindsay Greene (MBA ’11), CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, along with Connecticut-based entrepreneurs and nonprofits. David Sadighian (BA ’07, MED ’10) joined the faculty as an assistant professor specializing in architectural history; Ife Vanable became an assistant professor after terms as KPF Visiting Fellow and Presidential Visiting Fellow; and Ana María Durán Calisto started as the Daniel Rose (1951) Visiting Assistant Professor following several semesters in the role of critic.

We also mourned the losses of both Anthony Vidler and Kent Bloomer (BFA ’59, MFA ’61). Key to the success of the Yale PhD program in architecture, Vidler taught at the school several times, first as a lecturer in 1981–82 and then as the Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History, from Spring 2015 to Fall 2019. A sculptor and expert in architectural ornament, Bloomer is known to almost all alumni, having served as director of undergraduate studies in architecture at Yale College for twenty years as well as, more recently, teaching the required visualization course for the Master of Architecture program. His philosophy of ornament—informed by the cosmos and its intricate dance of atoms made legible at the building scale—will influence generations to come. A memorial celebration in honor of Kent Bloomer will take place in New Haven on April 28. As this issue of Constructs was going to press, we learned about the death of Kurt W. Forster, formerly Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History (2005–9) and Visiting Professor Emeritus (2009–21). A vibrant and spirited member of the YSoA community, he was instrumental in the development of the PhD program in architecture. Forster was celebrated for his brilliant lectures in the survey course “Modern Architecture” and taught seminars on Karl Friedrich Schinkel as well as the houses that architects build for themselves, among other courses. He will be greatly missed.

The Spring semester is off to a great start with lectures by Tatiana Bilbao, Esther Choi, Bjarne Mastenbroek, Carie Penabad and Adib Cúre, Nader Tehrani, and Sara Zewde. Other events include presentations by Anthony Acciavatti, Enrique Norten, Olúfemi O. Táíwò, and Võ Trọng Nghĩa. This semester’s symposium is “Scales of Time” (April 11–13), convened by Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen (MED ’94), Anthony Acciavatti, and Morgan Ng. The forum will examine different ways time is imagined and perceived in the arts and humanities, especially as explored by key Yale figures of the twentieth century such as Henri Focillon, George Kubler (BA ’34, MA ’36, PhD ’40), and Vincent Scully (BA ’40, MA ’47, PhD ’49). The Thursday-night keynote address will be delivered by Alice Casey and Cian Deegan, of Dublin-based TAKA Architects, and on Friday night Dipesh Chakrabarty will be the keynote speaker.

The Spring Advanced Design Studio faculty includes Bjarne Mastenbroek, teaching with Isaäc Kalisvaart, Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Architecture Fellow; Adib Cúre and Carie Penabad, William Henry Bishop Visiting Professors; Sara Caples (MArch ’74) and Everardo Jefferson (MArch ’73), William B. and Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Visiting Professors; Võ Trọng Nghĩa, Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor; Tatiana Bilbao, Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice; Alan Ricks, Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professor; Nader Tehrani, Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor, with Ghazal Abbasy-Asbagh; and George Knight (MArch ’95), Robert A.M. Stern Professor, teaching with Bryan Fuermann. On the administrative side, Martin Finio will transition into the role of associate dean for curriculum when Sunil Bald steps down this summer, after serving for six years in the position.

This Spring semester we have a great roster of alumni events around the country: in Miami on February 8; in Los Angeles on March 20; and in Washington, D.C., on June 6 in conjunction with the AIA Conference on Architecture. I hope to see you soon at one of these events or on the Yale campus.

Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP
Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor

Constructs Spring 2024