Revolving Dean Door: Schools Coast to Coast In Search of New Leadership

Clockwise from top left: Thom Mayne, Barry Bergdoll, Greg Lynn, Mark Wigley, Daniel Libeskind, Aaron Betsky. (Montage by AN)

Clockwise from top left: Thom Mayne, Barry Bergdoll, Greg Lynn, Mark Wigley, Daniel Libeskind, Aaron Betsky. (Montage by AN)

There is a rumor making its way around the West Coast that Thom Mayne may have more than a new building in New York. He may be headed east to become dean of Columbia University, replacing the departing Mark Wigley. But we have also heard—despite his protests that he is happy sailing to Catalina—that Greg Lynn may also be interested in the Morningside Heights position.

It could be that Lynn would join his wife, Sylvia Lavin, who has long coveted an East Coast deanship. How about if Mark Wigley and MoMA’s departing Barry Bergdoll simply swap positions? There seem to be no end to the rumors of who may be filling one of the vacant deans posts at Cooper Union, Columbia, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Cranbrook, or the University of Kentucky.

We hear that Cooper Union is assembling names and has created a short list (who would want that job now?) that includes the names of several current deans as well as alumnus Daniel Libeskind and philosopher poet Peter Lynch. Then what will happen in the next two years when deanships become available at Penn Design, Yale, and Sci-Arc? Now that Aaron Betsky has left parochial Cincinnati he may be looking for a more hospitable place to work.

10 Responses to “Revolving Dean Door: Schools Coast to Coast In Search of New Leadership”

  1. gimbels lover says:

    “Copper” Union?

  2. Michael Collins says:

    How does one come to deem a city of a half million people as being parochial? In labeling Cincinnati as such—presumably in solidarity with one of theirs, the blogger Aaron Betsky—the A/N editors evidently evoke the 1990 Mapplethorpe scandal, an event a generation old enacted by people long in their grave. In doing so the editors unthinkingly make use of the same stereotype systematically mobilized by Mr. Betsky himself to displace blame for his own shortcomings and missteps onto the city of Cincinnati and its citizens. Mr. Betsky would have us believe he is a misunderstood genius, rejected by a homophobic and anti-semitic city (Cincinnati Magazine, May 2013); his impotence in programming and inability to fundraise the result of Cincinnatians’ lethargic support of the arts (CityBeat, December 2013). Indeed, so myopic and unsophisticated—parochial—are Cincinnatians that they are at a loss for clear thinking regarding their public transit (, December 2013).
    But the proof will be in the pudding of Mr. Betsky’s professional future. And so it is at once strange and not surprising that he is known to be currently angling for a permanent post at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP, a quest far less certain in its outcome that Professor Bergdoll’s welcomed return to Columbia.

  3. The Truth says:

    This list seems to have been put together by a few NY media types who don’t really know that much about the architecture world at all, only a few big ol’ names.

  4. The Truth says:

    “There is a rumor that… ”

    “It could be that …. ”

    “We hear that …”

    Good god, what is this “architect’s newspaper” coming to. This is what happens when you don’t pay for editors.

  5. Esquisse says:

    Libeskind??? Cooper Union is considering Libeskind? For what? Are they looking for a new janitor? Surely no one will ever make the mistake of putting this over-rated non-event in charge of a design studio again.

  6. Borromini says:

    Hasn’t Libeskind done enough damage without letting hm influence a generation of younger architectural students?

  7. PWT616 says:

    Bergdoll is the only respectable candidate amongst them. At least he understands architecture and has written knowledgably about it.. The rest are pseudo-intellectual poseurs. At the lowest end of the spectrum, there’s Daniel Libeskind, the greatest nincompoop the profession has ever seen. God help this profession id he’s allowed to pollute the minds of students with his brand of garbage.

  8. MARK says:

    It is disappointing to read the Editors of an architect’s newspaper describe the city of Cincinnati as parochial, due to the fact that Aaron Betsky has joined the ranks of the unemployed. It is clear that a city who’s citizens discuss, commission, fund, build and use the works of architects such as Eisenman, Hadid, Mayne, Gehry, Cobb, Graves, Berke, and Tschumi are anything but parochial when it comes to the built environment. Cincinnatians refusal to embrace Betsky’s proposed Art Museum’s addition by his Dutch friends, by withholding donations for its construction, might just indicate an architectural sophistication in that city, that eluded Aaron. It is hard to argue that the proposed addition is that firm’s strongest work and the Cincinnati Art Museum’s supporters may have felt they deserve better. I am sure Aaron will be moving on to a more sophisticated, worldly city and will be able to continue his critically important work.

  9. Clark says:

    This must be the most unambitious, uninspired list of old white men I’ve seen lately.

  10. Alain Trouve says:

    I would not attend any school that had Daniel Libeskind on staff. The idea that this pretentious reptile might be in control of an architectural program is horrifying.

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