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Aaron Betsky appointed Director of Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design
United States Architecture News - Mar 13, 2020 - 13:51 7624 views
Acclaimed author, architecture and design critic, curator Aaron Betsky has been appointed as the new director of Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
Announced in a press release on March 10 on the school's website, Betsky will take on his role as of June 1, 2020, succeeding Hunter Pittman, who has led the School of Architecture + Design since 2016.
Pittman will now return to the school as an associate professor to pursue research and teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.
Aaron Betsky has served since 2017 as President of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, also known the School of Architecture at Taliesin (SoAT), which is in amidst of decisions of closing the school in Arizona and Wisconsin.
"I’m very excited about the opportunities offered by Virginia Tech," said Betsky.
"The School of Architecture + Design in particular has a stellar history of experimentation and leveraging its position within a land-grant institution to serve its many communities – particularly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also beyond."
"I look forward to furthering the school’s commitment to using technology as a tool to build better cities and steward the landscapes we inhabit in ways that are not only beautiful, but also deeply sustainable for our planet into the future," Betsky added.
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, where Betsky also served as dean from 2015 to 2017, was established by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1932 and has been instrumental in carrying forth its namesake’s visionary approach to design and architectural education.
"Aaron is a proven leader with demonstrated dedication to cross-disciplinary exploration, academic excellence, and educational innovation," said Richard Blythe, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
"His international standing and connections in architecture and design are considerable and will undoubtedly help the college expand its global reach, activities, and influence. Aaron’s career path exemplifies the Beyond Boundaries approach of disciplinary interconnectedness and depth, as well as breadth."
"I would like to thank Hunter for his leadership and service as director over these last several years," added Blythe.
"His dedication has led to valuable contributions in the school’s architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design programs."
Prior to joining the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in 2015, Betsky taught at a number of educational institutions, including the University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, the Taubman School of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, and SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture).
From 2006 to 2014, Betsky was the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. He previously served as the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute from 2001 to 2006 and was curator of architecture, design, and digital projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1995 to 2001. Betsky was named artistic director of the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy, in 2008, and has worked professionally for the firms Frank O. Gehry & Associates, as well as Hodgetts + Fung.
As a scholar and practitioner interested in the intersectionality of disciplines, specifically in the service of addressing large-scale and complex problems, Betsky was also drawn to Virginia Tech through its commitment to the Beyond Boundaries vision and related initiatives found in the university’s strategic plan.
"Virginia Tech has a strategic plan that is truly carried by the entire university community," Betsky said. "It’s rare to find faculty and staff investing in actions and initiatives in ways that engage every corner of the university. I think this level of commitment will have a true effect of driving the institution forward."
Active in professional service throughout his career, Betsky has served as a board member, councilman, and chairman for a number of art, architecture, and publishing organizations. He received his bachelor’s degree in history, the arts, and letters in 1979 and his master’s of architecture in 1983, both from Yale University.
Top image: Aaron Betsky. Image © Roderick La Foy for Virginia Tech.