SU Architecture Dean Mark Robbins appointed senior advisor for architecture and urban initiatives
SU Architecture Dean Mark Robbins appointed senior advisor for architecture and urban initiativesMarch 04, 2008Mary Kate O’Brienmcobrien@syr.edu
Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor today announced the appointment of Mark Robbins, dean of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, as the University’s senior advisor for architecture and urban initiatives. In this new capacity, Robbins, who will continue as dean, will advise Cantor and Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina on SU’s design and architecture initiatives in the City of Syracuse and on campus.
Robbins’ additional role underscores the importance of architecture, landscape architecture and planning in the revitalization efforts for Syracuse and the University’s commitment to the many collaborative initiatives taking place on campus and in the city.
The appointment also acknowledges and formalizes Robbins’ role in bringing innovative design to the fore, raising awareness about its significance and highlighting the importance of architecture, landscape architecture and planning in the University’s building and revitalization projects.
“This appointment recognizes the critical role that Mark has played, and will continue to play, in providing vision, expertise and intellectual capital to the University and the city in the many design, building and revitalization projects under way,” says Cantor. “Whether it’s the renovation of Slocum Hall, restoring homes on the Near Westside, transforming The Warehouse, or leading the design of the Connective Corridor, Mark’s excellence and dedication to the University and community exemplify our vision for Scholarship in Action.”
Robbins will serve in an advisory role on design and architecture initiatives both in the city and on campus, including such projects as the Connective Corridor, the Near Westside Initiative and the recently announced JPMorgan Chase Technology Center. He will be an advisor in architect selection and design decisions, working with SU personnel, community groups and private developers. Robbins will also act as SU’s liaison with city and county authorities and represent the senior administration on matters pertaining to urban initiatives and campus planning.
Robbins is excited about his new role as well as the opportunity to continue his duties as dean of the School of Architecture. “In only a few years, the Chancellor has established a climate in which the University truly excels as an intellectual enterprise, through its collaborative interdisciplinary work on campus and off,” he says. “The enhancement of the built environment is just one form that this takes. This work has been accomplished through the efforts of committed groups and individuals. The University and the region offer unique assets which strengthen the long-term revitalization project.”
Before assuming the position as ninth dean of the School of Architecture, Robbins was the director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., where he developed an aggressive program to strengthen the presence of innovative design in the public realm through New Public Works, a program that sponsored numerous national design competitions. He was the curator of architecture at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and an associate professor in the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University from 1990-99.
Notable among his awards are the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and a fellowship in the visual arts at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. His book “Households,” a series of portraits of people and their homes that presents a contemporary visual commentary on the complex social and political forces that contribute to the built environment, was published by The Monacelli Press in 2006.
The School of Architecture currently occupies a 140,000-square-foot warehouse in downtown Syracuse renovated by Gluckman Mayner Architects, soon to be the permanent home of UPSTATE: A Center for Design, Research and Real Estate created at the school in 2005 as a resource for the city, campus and region to address critical issues of urban revitalization. Numerous design studios have focused on Syracuse and the region, several of which have become projects on the Near Westside — such as the proposed new WCNY public broadcasting headquarters by Koning Eizenberg Architecture of Santa Monica. Many of these projects were featured in the recent “Syracuse Builds: After the Master Plan” exhibition at The Warehouse, a survey of new building, landscape and infrastructure projects in progress on the SU campus and in the City of Syracuse, including work by Hargreaves and Associates, Scogin Elam, Toshiko Mori, Richard Gluckman and faculty members of the School of Architecture.
UPSTATE recently received $2.5 million as part of the University’s debt reinvestment program that will support work for the Syracuse Arts, Technology and Design Quarter, part of the Near Westside Initiative.