April 15, 2004

Lehman Announces Mohsen Mostafavi as New AAP Dean

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In a ceremony held in Sibley Hall yesterday, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 announced that Mohsen Mostafavi will be the new dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. Mostafavi’s five-year appointment will begin July 1, 2004.

“I think this is one of the great moments for this college. This college has had to struggle over the last couple of years, but it has been a struggle with a purpose. And now we’re here to report that it is a struggle that has contributed to a great moment and what will be a great, great future for this college at Cornell,” Lehman said.

Lehman attributed his excitement to the positive impression Mostafavi has had on him throughout the selection process.

“From all that I read, heard, learned from conversations with others and also from my own interactions with Mohsen during the interview period, we are extraordinarily fortunate to have attracted a person of not only great intellectual distinction, creative distinction, accomplishment, presence in the world, but also a person of great human quality. This is a wonderful human being. He has a terrific human sensibility and he appreciates the value of this college. He appreciates its history and we are confident he will provide terrific leadership,” Lehman said.

Following Lehman’s announcement, Provost Biddy Martin, co-chair of the dean search committee that selected Mostafavi, offered her reaction to the selection.

“I’m extraordinarily excited about this appointment. Mostafavi has accepted the offer and he will be here this summer. I’m delighted for the college and the University,” she said.

Since 1995, Mostafavi has served as chair of London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture and was previously the director of the Master of Architecture program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In addition, Mostafavi has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts. As a student, Mostafavi attended Clare Hall, Cambridge University, the University of Essex Department of Art and the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

Mostafavi is the author of several award-winning books and articles in leading architectural journals. His 2002 book Surface Architecture, written with David Leatherbarrow, received the CICA Bruno Zevi Book Award 2003 for the most significant contribution to architectural criticism. In 1993, Mostafavi’s book Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time, also written with Leatherbarrow, received the American Institute of Architects’ commendation prize for writing on architectural theory.

Looking forward to Mostafavi’s position in the college, Martin said, “He is someone who is going to win the respect of the University. I found him to be an extraordinarily generous and kind human being.”

Lehman is enthusiastic about the work done to select Mostafavi. “I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the search committee and all those that participated in the process,” he said. Though Mostafavi was not at the ceremony, Martin passed on a message from him.

“Mohsen sends his regards. He is genuinely excited about this opportunity. He sees a lot of potential in the school and the University for the arts,” Martin said.

When Mostafavi begins this summer, the current dean, Porus Olpadwala, will return to his former position of a professor in the department of city and regional planning.

Archived article by Tony Apuzzo
Sun Senior Writer