York Architect Karen Van Lengen Is Named Dean Of U.Va. Architecture
19, 1999 -- Karen Van Lengen, an award-winning architect
who is currently chair of the architecture department at the Parsons
School of Design in New York, has been named dean of the University
of Virginia's School of Architecture, effective July 1, U.Va. President
John T. Casteen III announced.
Lengen succeeds William A. McDonough, who is stepping down after
serving a five-year term as dean at U.Va., ranked among the country's
leading architecture schools.
associate with internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei before
establishing her own practice in New York in 1986, Van Lengen has
won numerous awards for her design work throughout the world and
has written, taught and lectured widely about architecture and design.
She has chaired the architecture department at Parsons in New York
Van Lengen's innovative work and many accomplishments both as an
educator and architect make her an ideal choice to head our School
of Architecture," Casteen said. "In addition to her international
reputation as a designer, she has been a leader in integrating technology
into the design process. And like Bill McDonough, she is a strong
advocate for the importance of artful design in creating socially
and ecologically sensitive environments."
internationally respected for his environmentally conscious design,
announced last year that he would step down as dean at the end of
his term to devote more time to teaching, to his family, and the
school's Institute for Sustainable Design, which he founded.
Lengen's many highly praised architectural projects include the
Rye Nature Center, to be built in Rye, N.Y.; the American Memorial
Library in Berlin, which won first prize in an international competition
in 1988-89 at the end of the cold war; the Fragrant Hill Hotel in
Beijing, which won an American Institute of Architects Honor Award
in 1984 during the period she worked with Pei; and numerous private
residences here and abroad. She has been honored in many other competitions,
including being a finalist in the 2000 Olympics competition in Berlin,
and with awards including a Fulbright Fellowship in architecture
in Rome. She has served on numerous AIA design juries.
everything she has done, Karen Van Lengen has shown an ability to
make things happen, encouraging the unusual combination of productive
collaboration and rigorous design," said William Sherman, associate
professor of architecture and chair of the committee that conducted
a national search to fill the dean's position. "She has been catalytic
in her academic leadership, crafting and implementing curricular
initiatives at Parsons such as a student design program that built
projects for communities in New York City and renovated the school's
own facilities. We expect that this ability to work creatively alongside
the faculty and students will allow U.Va.'s already significant
strengths to be developed and recognized more broadly in the University
has a deep commitment to the relationship between the arts and architecture,
has built international ties through her work in both Berlin and
China, has developed programs for student and faculty involvement
in community construction projects and directs a program that is
emerging as a leader in the application of digital technologies
to both the design process and the representation of information.
In her professional commitments, and as a juror on a number of local
and international competitions, she has been supporting and developing
a strong voice for the profession of architecture in the challenges
of urban development in places as diverse as New York, Berlin and
the Cayman Islands."
Lengen's art and architectural drawings have been exhibited in many
shows both here and abroad. In addition to Parsons, which is a division
of the New School for Social Research, she has taught at several
institutions including City College of New York, Columbia University,
Cornell University, Notre Dame University, Yale University, the
University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas. She has
lectured at universities around the United States and abroad.
received her master's of architecture from Columbia University in
1976 and a B.A. from Vassar College in 1973.
am deeply honored to have been selected to lead this distinguished
school of architecture with such dedicated and renowned faculty,"
Van Lengen said. "I hope to build on the initiatives of Dean McDonough,
who has raised very important environmental issues. I support these
themes and hope to broaden this view by emphasizing the ecology
not only of materials but an ecology of social and cultural relationships,
expressed in the formal language of planning, architecture and landscape
architecture and understood within the context of our cultural history."
among the country's foremost architecture centers, the U.Va. School
of Architecture includes separate but closely interrelated departments
of architecture, landscape architecture, architectural history,
and urban and environmental planning, as well as nationally recognized
programs in preservation, urbanism and environmental mediation.
The school draws deeply on the legacy of University founder Thomas
Jefferson, whose design of the original buildings is considered
one of the most significant achievements in American architecture.
Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856.