Prominent planner and architect Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk has stepped down as dean of University of Miami’s (UM) architecture school after an 18-year-long tenure. Plater-Zyberk will continue to teach at UM, whose faculty she joined in 1979. During Plater-Zyberk’s term, UM’s architecture school became closely associated with traditional and Classical design and New Urbanism. The celebrated dean and her husband, planner and architect Andres Duany, are co-founders of Arquitectonica and planners of the pedestrian-friendly Seaside, a Florida panhandle town and setting of the movie Truman Show. Associate Dean Denis Hector will serve as acting dean.
Under Plater-Zyberk’s guidance, UM’s fledgling architecture school achieved nationwide recognition as a unique center for classical design and community engagement. The architecture school was just over a decade old when Plater-Zyberk became dean in 1995, and since then she helped the university create “an identity that ran counter to all trends in architectural education at that time,” according to a UM statement.
Before becoming dean, she guided UM’s efforts in preparing the 1992 reconstruction of South Miami-Dade County after Hurricane Andrew. She also lead the university in improving Greater Miami through its Center for Urban and Community Design and impressive projects such as a scheme for West Coconut Grove that resulted in the reconstruction of Grand Avenue as a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly avenue.
Plater-Zyberk will continue to leave her mark on the university by focusing her teaching on an up-and-coming aspect of practice: how cities and towns manage the rising seas and further consequences of climate change.