John J. Casbarian

John J. Casbarian, FAIA

John J. Casbarian, the Harry K. and Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture, is the interim dean of Rice Architecture.

The world has changed since I took charge of the school in June 2019. Now, into my second term of duty, the pandemic, that seemingly ebbs and flows, continues to wreak havoc and instill uncertainty. Simultaneously we face a cascade of social, economic, and political challenges that had been forced aside and are now emerging in new, urgent ways. Now more than ever, our collective efforts – from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends – are needed to design a future that keeps each other safe, addresses and overcomes the injustice of social and economic inequality, as well as the scourge of racism. We will implement long-term change in the ways we recruit, educate, and foster future generations of architects. We are actively drawing upon our architectural and political agency to work responsively toward our common goals, in this new context of limited resources, climate change, social upheaval, and political uncertainty.

Moving forward I am committed to transparency in how decisions are made in the school and will include, henceforth, all constituents on our action-based committees. We will continue to infuse the school with new voices through a search for two new Wortham Fellows. We will proceed in earnest on the design for our new 20,000 square-foot addition to our existing building, The William T. Cannady Hall for Architecture, and will conclude the search for a new dean. We welcome five new faculty this year in a variety of positions and an incredible group of matriculating students who have demonstrated their eagerness to participate in our shared enterprise.

In the face of an enormous confluence of complex issues I am extremely optimistic about the plans we have for the year ahead. I am most appreciative of the tireless and concerted effort the faculty has expended during the summer months to devise and implement innovative ways of teaching studios and classes, both in face-to-face and online modes. We are able to implement this fall semester’s plans with the stellar support of our dedicated staff who always keep us on track. We are also the beneficiaries of an incredible community of students whose talent, intellectual curiosity, and determination remind us constantly why we chose to be architectural educators.

Against all adversity our conversation will be full of optimism for the possibilities ahead. We will never lose sight of our common goal to nurture design leaders who have the transformational skills, means, and abilities to engage in their communities at the highest levels in shaping their environment for the benefit of society at large.

Join us as we continue to reshape our world.

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