Alejandro Zaera-Polo Named New Dean of Princeton’s Architecture School

March 27, 2012

By Fred Bernstein

Alejandro Zaera-Polo
Photo © Princeton University/John Jameson
Zaera-Polo’s appointment takes effect on July 1, 2012.

Princeton University’s School of Architecture, long known for a focus on architectural theory, has chosen a theorist and practitioner as its next dean. Alejandro Zaera-Polo, 48, will replace Stan Allen, the Brooklyn-based architect who has held the position since 2002. The new appointment takes effect on July 1, 2012.

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Allen, who recruited Zaera-Polo to teach at Princeton four years ago, said, “We were looking for somebody who worked at a very high level as a designer-practitioner, but also approached architecture as an intellectual activity. There aren’t a lot of people like that out there.” Allen said that after a year’s sabbatical, he will return to the Princeton faculty full-time.

The search committee was headed by Elizabeth Diller, a longtime Princeton faculty member and principal at Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Other committee members included Barry Bergdoll of MoMA and Beatriz Colomina of Princeton.

Zaera-Polo first became known in the 1980s, writing for publications like El Croquis, and has taught seemingly everywhere. His practice, Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture, has offices in London and Barcelona. Established in 2011, the firm was formed—in the language of its own websiteóby the “demerger” of Foreign Office Architects, which Zaera-Polo ran with Farshid Moussavi for nearly 20 years. Its most acclaimed project was Japan’s Yokohama International Cruise Terminal, completed in 2002. The portfolio of Zaera-Polo’s new firm includes a hospital in Lleida, Spain; a ferry terminal in Santander, Spain; and residential and commercial projects in Korea and the United Kingdom.

Frederic Schwartz, a Manhattan architect who has known Zaera-Polo for nearly 30 years, said the appointment is great not just for Princeton, “but for the New York architecture community, because he’ll be close by.” Princeton, with about 120 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs, is the smallest of the Ivy League architecture schools.

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----