BEIRUT: Lebanese architect Amale Andraos has been appointed as the new dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning at Columbia University in New York City.
Andraos, who has been teaching at Columbia since 2011, is the first woman to become a dean at the architecture school, according to the statement released by the university Tuesday.
Before Columbia, she taught at Princeton, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S., and at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
“The university is very focused on global questions and global issues, and Amale’s background sort of bespeaks globalization,” Lee Bollinger, the university president, said in an interview with the New York Times. “It’s not a theory or buzz word, it’s who she is, and that’s very important.”
Born in Beirut in 1973 and now based in NYC, Andraos previously worked in Montreal, Paris and Rotterdam.
During her stay in the Dutch city, she met Dan Wood, who eventually became her husband. The couple has now been operating an architectural design firm called Work Architecture Company in NYC since 2002.
NYT said that Andraos’ selection, which came after Mark Wigley had announced his retirement last year, was unexpected. Sitting on a search committee to find a new dean for the faculty, Andraos was originally not considered for the position. However, the university’s president said he was so impressed with her work on the committee, that he “realized the next dean was sitting right in front of us.”
Andraos and her husband designed the crystalline Diane von Furstenberg headquarters as well as the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York and a new library in Kew Gardens, Queens.
Her firm was also behind the creation of an Assembly Hall in Central Africa, and numerous other projects in Lagos, Nigeria and Shenzhen, China.
“How do we build, at what scale do we build, does it even make sense to build? These are the questions I want every student to be asking,” Andraos said to the NYT. “We must be thinking about what the impacts will be.”