Mohsen Mostafavi

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Mohsen Mostafavi (born 1954 in Isfahan) is an Iranian-American architect and educator. He studied architecture at the AA (1976) and undertook research on counter-reformation urban history at the University of Essex (1981) and the University of Cambridge (1984). He is a former chairman of the Architectural Association in London and dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, where he is now Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design. Also, He would teach at Cambridge University, the Städelschule, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. From 2008 through 2019, Mostafavi served as the school’s dean. His work focuses on modes and processes of urbanization and the interface between technology and aesthetics. He had previously been the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean and Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture at the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

Mohsen Mostafavi

Mostafavi also serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He has served on the design committee of the London Development Agency and the Royal Gold Medal. He was Chair of the 4th Holcim Forum 2013 on “Economy of Sustainable Construction” in Mumbai. He was also Head of the Holcim Foundation Awards 2005 jury for Europe and of the Awards 2008 jury for North America. Also, he was a member of the design committee for the London Development Agency (LDA), the judging panels for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal and Annie Spink Award, and the advisory board for campus planning at the Asian University for Women. He is a consultant on several international architectural and urban projects. His research and design projects have been published in many journals, including The Architectural Review, AAFiles, Arquitectura, Bauwelt, Casabella, Centre, Daidalos, and El Croquis.

Head of the Holcim Awards jury for North America – presentation of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes.
Head of the Holcim Awards jury for North America – presentation of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes.
Holcim Foundation Awards 2011 jury for North America
Rem Koolhaas, Mohsen Mostafavi, Zaha Hadid
Rem Koolhaas, Mohsen Mostafavi, Zaha Hadid

His academic background includes studying architecture at the AA and researching counter-reformation urban history at the Universities of Essex and Cambridge. Furthermore, he has experience as the Director of the Master of Architecture I Program at the GSD and has taught at various prestigious institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Cambridge, and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts (Städelschule). Mostafavi holds the position of Trustee at Smith College, is an Honorary Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation, and has been involved with the Van Alen Institute Board, and the Steering Committee, he has led the panel of judges for the Mies van der Rohe Prize for Architecture. Also, he is a member of the trustees of the Van Alen Institute and serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture.

Mohsen Mostafavi
Mohsen Mostafavi

At Harvard, he is a co-chair of the Harvard University Committee for the Arts, a member of the Smith Campus Center Executive Committee, the Harvard Allston Steering Committee, and has co-chaired the Steering Committee on Common Spaces. Additionally, he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Harvard Innovation Lab Advisory Board, the Executive Board of The Laboratory at Harvard, and the Committee on Middle Eastern Studies.

Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, left, chats with architect Rem Koolhaas before Koolhaas' lecture April_25, 2005.
Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, left, chats with architect Rem Koolhaas before Koolhaas’ lecture April_25, 2005.

His books include On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time (co-authored 1993), which received the American Institute of Architects prize for writing on architectural theory. He has just edited Modern Architecture in Japan, a book written in 1964 by the great Italian architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri, translated into English for the first time by David Kerr and published by MACK Books.

Books written by Mohsen Mostafavi

Delayed Space (co-authored 1994).
Approximations (2002).
Surface Architecture (2002).
Logique Visuelle (2003).
Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (2004).
Structure as Space (2006).
Ecological Urbanism (co-edited 2010 and recently translated into Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish).
Implicate & Explicate (2011).
Louis Vuitton: Architecture and Interiors (2011).
In the Life of Cities (2012).
Instigations: Engaging Architecture, Landscape and the City (co-edited 2012); Architecture is Life (2013).
Nicholas Hawksmoor: The London Churches (2015).
Architecture and Plurality (2016).
Portman’s America & Other Speculations (2017).
Ethics of the Urban: The City and the Spaces of the Political (2017).

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