Robert A.M. Stern has indicated he will step down as dean of the Yale School of Architecture in Spring 2016, according to the Yale Daily News. During his tenure, Stern has reinvigorated the School, restored its home, expanded its faculty, and brought through a roster of prominent guest critics from around the world. Stern has taken an eclectic view of architecture, bringing in practitioners of various styles and pedagogical viewpoints, and reinvigorated the study of architectural history with a new Ph.D. program.
As dean, he has also helped guide the University’s building program, including the restoration of Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery with an expansion by Ennead, a new home for the School of Management by Foster + Partners, and a highly sustainable building for the School of Forestry by Hopkins Architects, among many other projects. He also helped select the late Charles Gwathmey to lead the restoration of Paul Rudolph’s Art + Architecture building, which was applauded, though Gwathmey’s addition for the History of Art Department proved controversial. His own firm—which has expanded exponentially in during his 16 years as dean—is designing two new residential colleges (Oxbridge-style dorms), which will allow the undergraduate population to expand for the first time in decades.
Though located in provincial New Haven, Connecticut, Stern has made the school a social and cultural hub, hosting and organizing ambitions exhibitions and symposia, always followed by martini-fueled receptions and private dinners in his stylish apartment. Students are encouraged to mingle with faculty and visiting guests—indeed developing the social aspects of the school, as training for the profession, has been one of the hallmarks of his deanship. Alternately imposing and highly personal, Stern’s personality marks each event, and has left an indelible mark on the school.