Mohsen Mostafavi named new GSD Dean


Mohsen Mostafavi, an international figure in the fields of architecture and urbanism, will become the dean of the Faculty of Design beginning in January 2008, President Drew Faust announced today (Aug. 10).

An accomplished academic leader, architect, and scholar, Mostafavi is currently the dean of Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning, where he is also the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture. Formerly an associate professor of architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD) and director of the Masters of Architecture I program, he served for nine years as chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, one of Europe's foremost schools of design, before his appointment at Cornell.

So, former dean of the progessive AA now to take the reins of the (supposedly) conservative GSD...Does this mean the GSD will be heading in newer, more progressive directions?

Aug 10, 07 7:07 pm

oh i think this is great... and i dont think GSD was specially conservative, and i dunno if Mostafavi wants to build up an American version of the AA, they're both completelly diff institutions, but still i think is great, i consider Mostafavi a great educator, lets see what happens...but i think is good news

Aug 10, 07 7:15 pm

i think GSD is going to face great changes,
and yes, Mostafavi is considered a progressive architect and scholar, a common character amongst well-known iranian architects (Mostafavi, Homa Farjadi, Farshid Mousavi, Hadi Tehrani, so on...)
i don't think mostafavi intends to turn GSD into an american version of AA, as he didn't do so at Cornell, but as University President Drew G. Faust said:
"His leadership style is marked by an openness to new ideas and an instinct for crossing boundaries in creative ways,"
i think we all know what that means....

Aug 10, 07 8:11 pm
"His leadership style is marked by an openness to new ideas and an instinct for crossing boundaries in creative ways,"
i think we all know what that means....

I can finally get away with wearing tights, a lifesaver, a top hat, and holding a pink umbrella while hopping on one foot turning around in circles, mumbling "interfaces...materiality...convergent strategy..." as my thesis design?

Aug 10, 07 8:34 pm

He is perfect for Harvard. They can have him. At Cornell all his "innovations" were ultimately superficial.....graphic even. His goal was the destruction of the undergraduate program which was once based on an academic rigor and discipline. His legacy..Milstein Hall, embodies the shallowness and and brand-slavery that only Harvard can satisfy. This generation of Cornellians should wake up and see that this is good thing for them and the faculty of the school should also wake up and see that it also needs to get with the program and remember how to prepare students for success in the profession. Few are sorry to see him go.

Aug 10, 07 8:40 pm

so who does cornell get?

Aug 10, 07 8:53 pm

last time this happened we had an interim dean for about a year, then an in-house faculty was elevated to dean for about 4 to 5 years.
Whoever it is, he/she will be touted as the One who will return the school to glory. It's kind of like how the Miam Dolphins are looking for the next Dan Marino. The next Colin Rowe, architectural genious, ideologue and academic is just not into us anymore.

Aug 10, 07 8:58 pm

have heard wigley may be leaving columbia soon - can any one confirm ?

Aug 10, 07 9:03 pm

jeez, wasn't that rather short [wigley i mean]? how long has he been there, 2 - 3 years?

i don't know anything about mostafavi's academic career, but i thought his books 'on weathering' and 'surface architecture' [too lazy to link] were rather good... and not what i would consider 'crazy progressive' but rather good old fashioned tectonics and attention to detail. the sort of thing that would sit well with office d'a and toshiko mori. i'd be interested to know in what way was he considered superficial or graphic. seems like the appointment makes sense and hopefully end up a good thing for the school. good also to have a more architecture oriented dean [previous dean was alan altshuler]

Aug 10, 07 9:31 pm

boo...Now Cornell has to go through the whole dean process again. I thought he was really good for the school. I guess the whole GSD draw was too strong to ignore.

Aug 10, 07 11:08 pm

actually, the point is, that it was Mohsen who tried to turn the AA into a version of Harvard in London. in spite of this, the AA retained its adventurous edge.

he was good with the money and this will be his true legacy from the AA, and should serve him and the institution well at the GSD.

i would dispute his "educational" greatness. he is ultimately conservative in his approach to architecture, but he enjoys the perks of Deanship in getting to rub shoulders with Rem, and Peter and Zaha and Bernard, etc. his used this position at Cornell to get rid of a perfectly good design by Barkow Lieblinger and replace it with the big name of OMA. he certainly enjoys power.

Aug 11, 07 12:05 am

cornell architecture seems to be imploding itself so suddenly.

first with an email sent out to all students TWO WEEKS prior to the start of school saying that 50-60 45th, 5th, m.arch students will be moved to a studio in downtown ithaca with no shop or laser cutter and shuttles running only during the day for the next three years.i find it unbelievable that they couldn't find extra space on the cornell campus and that they told us so late.

second, mohsen in my opinion, moved cornell in a good direction. He got milstein hall back on track, attracted a lot of good visiting faculty, raised a lot of money, and created studios in NYC. without him, milstein hall will now never get built. i am so upset

Aug 11, 07 3:20 am

I have to say that I will miss Dean Altshuler, his doors were always open to listen to students with their quixotic projects and give support. I am now looking forward to see what Mostafavi will be like. The GSD seems to be going through some major transitions and he seems to be good in that context. I think that another challenge will be for him to become deeply involved with the students themselves fostering a culture of greater interconnectedness between students, faculty, and administration.

Aug 11, 07 8:30 am

you guys can have him...

...Cornell thesis (MArch and BArch), fourth and fifth year students found out last week (two weeks before classes begin) that we would not be returning to our studios in Sibley Hall and would instead be expected to have our spaces in a location on Esty Street in downtown Ithaca, two miles away from which a shuttle may or may not provide us with transport.

we say shove it. thanks for the two weeks notice....

...proper action is being taken, stay tuned.

and join our facebook group against the insanity if you feel like it. we welcome all who have an aversion to stupidity and back-stabbing.

Aug 11, 07 12:04 pm

Amazing story about the graduate studios. I am a BArch alum and have met him several times in so called alumni gatherings. The man had a plan to expand the graduate school at the expense of Ithaca and the UG program. All signs pointed in that direction. The NY studios, getting rid of Barkow, Rem, the MArch programe, etc. I don't know what the reasoning is for the switch whether its construction or what, but it clearly is showing that this was probably in the works (the move to Harvard) for a while. Grad students have few advocates among the faculty.

Aug 11, 07 12:42 pm

Doesn't sound like Mostafavi's move is the source of Cornell's administrative problems... four years as Dean in Ithaca doesn't amount to 'betrayal' and who in their right mind would turn down a chance to be a dean at Harvard?

He's definitely an intelligent, competent administrator and advocate that understands the wider value of architecture and design. Add his international profile and Harvard's resources to the mix and there would seem to be a great deal of potential.

Aug 11, 07 3:09 pm

wow...I can't believe they actually did that with the downtown studio thing. When I was a student there they threatened to do that to us because they were cooking up some Rand renovation scheme to feed to the accredidation board. We had a fit-how the heck is that supposed to work? What about your other classes? I'm angry just thinking about it.

Aug 11, 07 5:20 pm

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