PLAN 88: Article
Jarzombek Named Interim Dean

Architectural Historian Served as Associate Dean Since 2007

Mark Jarzombek has been named Interim Dean of the School of Architecture + Planning, effective July 1; he succeeds Adèle Naudé Santos, who stepped down at the end of June.

A renowned architectural historian, critic and theorist, Jarzombek has served as Associate Dean since 2007 and was Director of SA+P’s History, Theory and Criticism Program from 1996-1999 and again from 2002-2007. He is one of the country’s leading advocates for taking a global perspective in examining the history of architecture and has written, co-authored or edited seven books, as well as dozens of articles and book chapters.

His most recent book, Architecture of First Societies: A Global Perspective (Wiley Press, 2013), surveys building practices among societies in the distant past. He is the co-author, with Vikram Prakash and Francis D.K. Ching, of A Global History of Architecture (Wiley Press, 2006), and has written on topics ranging from the Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti to modern architecture — as well as a study of William Welles Bosworth, designer of MIT’s ‘main group’ of buildings dating to the Institute’s 1916 relocation from Boston to Cambridge.

Jarzombek is director of the Global Architecture History Teaching Collaborative, recently established with a $1M grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to promote the development and exchange of teaching materials for architectural history education across the globe. And, through EdX, he recently taught the first-ever MOOC (mass open online course) on the history of architecture with 25,000 registered students and 5500 active participants world-wide. It was among the most successful courses ever taught on the EdX platform to date.

Jarzombek began his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago before transferring to the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, where he received his architectural diploma in 1980. He received his PhD from MIT in 1986. After teaching at Cornell from 1987 to 1995, he spent the 1995-96 academic year as a visiting professor at MIT before joining the permanent faculty.

Anne Whiston Spirn, professor of landscape architecture and planning, has taken over Jarzombek’s role as chair of the committee leading the search for a permanent dean; the committee expects to conclude its work this fall.