Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65 was appointed to a second five-year term as Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, University President Richard Levin announced this week. Stern’s colleagues praised the reappointment, citing the many improvements Stern has brought to the school.
“Bob — as we all call him — has brought a lot of energy to this school,” said professor James Axley. “He’s made a good school a great school, and made a huge difference.”
Specifically, Axley praised Stern for the large numbers of applicants in recent years that have allowed the school to be more selective. He said the lecturers, courses and symposia that Stern has brought in have been of superior quality. Axley said Stern’s reappointment was “great,” but added that while the improvements are welcome, they create a lot of work for the staff.
“We all work like hell because of it,” he said.
In announcing the reappointment, Levin praised Stern for his energy and ambition for the school.
In a press release he cited: “[Stern’s] presence, his availability and his commitment to stimulate thinking about architecture. Through an ambitious program of lectures, conferences and social occasions, he has built a renewed sense of community.”
Stern said he was pleased with his reappointment, but stressed that his work is far from over.
“It’s great to have a vote of confidence from the president,” he said. “There are lots of things that still need to be done.”
Stern said one of his major concerns is the much-needed renovation of the architecture building. He said the renovation is a “long overdue process.”
However, Axley said he is confident that Stern is able to handle the job.
“He’s an expert on the building that we’re in,” he said. “It is very likely he will be dean during the renovation, which is really critical.”
Other improvements Stern hopes to bring to the school are to develop more endowments to support “exhibitions, publications, and other programs,” including bringing in young architects to work at the school as “sort-of interns.”
The efforts Stern has made to improve the school have not gone unnoticed by his colleagues.
“He has brought the school back to the forefront of education,” said professor John Jacobson. “He’s raised the bar tremendously.”
Stern said he is confident that there will always remain room for improvement.
“There’s lots to be done, but I’m sure tomorrow I’ll have a new idea,” he said.
Before becoming dean, Stern had an impressive academic career. He was a professor and director of the Historical Preservation Department of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, and was its first director of its Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture.
Stern also maintains active projects as a senior partner and founding member of the New York based firm, Robert A.M. Stern Architects. His building designs include the Casting Building of the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Fla., and the Spangler Campus Center at Harvard Business School.
Stern also has writing credits to his name, including the books “New Directions in American Architecture,” “George Howe: Toward a Modern American Architecture,” and “Architecture for Dummies.”