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Updated 4:00 PM May 15, 2008




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New dean for Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning

Monica Ponce de Leon, professor of architecture and director of the Digital Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, has been named dean of the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning (TCAUP). Her appointment, announced April 29 by President Mary Sue Coleman and Provost Teresa Sullivan in review and discussion with the Board of Regents Personnel, Compensation and Governance Committee, will take effect Sept. 1 pending full board approval.

Ponce de Leon also is a principal in Office dA, an internationally known design practice that she launched with Nader Tehrani in Boston in 1991.

"Professor Ponce de Leon's work addresses the critical importance of digital production to the future of the profession and the re-establishment of the architect's role in the construction industry," Sullivan wrote in an announcement to TCAUP faculty. "Through her strong commitment to teaching and her successful practice she has proven her ability to link the profession and the academy."

Ponce de Leon received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1989 from the University of Miami and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1991.

She joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design faculty in 1996, following appointments on the faculties of University of Miami, Northeastern University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

She has held visiting professorships at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has received honors from the Architectural League of New York and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her practice has received more than 30 design awards, including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award (2007), the AIA/LA Design Award (Helios House, 2007), the I.D. Magazine Award: Environment (2007), and the AIA/ALA Library Building Award (2007) for the Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design, and 10 Progressive Architecture Awards. Most recently Office dA was awarded the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment's Top Ten Green Projects for 2008 for the Macallen Building in Boston.

"Because she is recognized as a leader in the field of design, she will infuse the college with energy and currency in architecture and urban planning." Sullivan wrote. "President Coleman and I are confident of her ability to articulate a vision for TCAUP that will position it as a leader in architecture and design education and practice on such important issues as sustainability, digital technologies, diversity and social consciousness."

Ponce de Leon says the fields of architecture and urban planning are "poised to undergo dramatic changes over the next decade."

"It is clear that our patterns of consumption have led to a disastrous impact on the globe," Ponce de Leon says.

"Buildings and their planning have played a critical role in the creation of the problem, and must take responsibility if a true solution is to be achieved. We must radically change the way that buildings are designed and constructed, and we must substantially reassess current patterns of land settlement if the globe is to survive its current crisis and endure for future generations."

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