Renowned architect to lead graduate school

Acclaimed architect Kathryn Dean, founding partner of Dean/Wolf Architects in New York City, has been appointed director of the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. She previously served on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture.

Dean’s appointment, effective this fall, was announced by Bruce Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and dean of architecture in the Sam Fox School. The appointment follows from the work of an advisory committee chaired by Stephen P. Leet, associate professor of architecture.

“Kathryn brings incredible experience that spans practice and education to this important new position,” Lindsey said. “She will maintain her innovative architectural practice in New York City while building on her extensive teaching experience at Columbia University to help us envision, design and develop the future of our school.”

Dean launched Dean/Wolf in 1991 with her husband, Charles Wolf. Over the years, the firm has earned a reputation for breathing new life into contemporary residential architecture, completing dozens of homes and major interior renovations. Their work has been featured in several exhibitions and more than a dozen books, including “Forty Under Forty” (1995) and “The New City Home” (2002), as well as in numerous architectural journals.

In recent years, Dean/Wolf has completed a number of commercial and institutional developments, including gallery space for Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, a premier dealer in contemporary Asian art, and the Robin Hood Library P.S. 151, a pro-bono elementary school project conceived as a kind of “reading playground.” In 2007, the firm won an Excellence in Design award from New York’s Art Commission for EMS Station 50, located at the edge of Queens Memorial Hospital, which was praised for successfully bridging the differing scales of the hospital complex and the surrounding residential neighborhood.

A native of North Dakota, Dean earned a bachelor of arts in architectural studies from North Dakota State University in 1981 and a master of architecture from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 1983. Prior to launching Dean/Wolf, she worked as a designer for the New York firms Martha Schwartz, Landscape Architects; Cooper Eckstut; and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Dean joined the Columbia faculty in 1991 as an adjunct professor and was made an assistant professor in 2000. She also has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Architecture and was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and the University of Florida.

In 1986-87, Dean was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship and spent a year in residence with the American Academy in Rome. Other honors include the Young Architects Award from Progressive Architecture magazine (1993); an Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York (1997); and an Alumni Achievement Award from North Dakota State University (1998).