It is now confirmed that the next dean at Princeton University School of Architecture will be Alejandro Zaera-Polo. The last lap of the race to take Stan Allen’s position as dean had narrowed down to three with odds on one of the several female contenders including Sylvia Lavin and Keller Easterling. But when the London-based, Spanish-born architect was called in London on March 18 and asked to fly to Princeton, where he is currently a visiting lecturer, the die seemed cast. And now Dean Allen confirms.
Reached for comment, Dean Allen wrote in an email, “I’m delighted by this selection; Alejandro embodies exactly the mix of sophisticated design expertise and intellectual acumen that architects need today. It also perfectly equips him to lead a School like Princeton that has a long history of both design innovation and critical inquiry.”
Zarea-Polo is best known for his work with his former wife and co-founder, Farshid Moussavi, at Foreign Office Architects particularly for the award-winning Yokohama International Cruise Terminal in Japan and a design and media building for Ravensbourne which was shortlisted for a 2011 RIBA Award. FOA was “demerged” in 2009 and in 2011, he founded Alejandro Zaera Pola Architecture, at the same time that Farshid Moussavi established Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA).
The 49-year-old architect has also taught and studied widely. After taking a degree at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in Madrid, he also studied with distinctions at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He worked in Rotterdam for OMA before opening FOA in 2003. He was dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and the first recipient of the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship at Yale in 2009.