Mark Lee to Lead GSD Architecture Department


Architect Mark Lee will serve as chair of the Graduate School of Design’s Architecture Department starting in July, the GSD announced earlier this week.

Lee holds a master’s degree from the GSD, where he has taught since 2013, and is a founder and leader of the architectural firm Johnston Marklee. He said in an interview Monday that he is “thrilled” to have been chosen as department chair.

“This is really an honorable position,” he said. “There have been many great chairs that have led the department. I’m excited to build on the achievements of my predecessors and take this department to the next level.”

Lee will take over as department chair from current interim Department Chair K. Michael Hays. In an interview, Hays said he is “excited” about Lee’s appointment because Lee has excelled as both a leader of an architectural firm and an academic.


“For GSD, which claims to be the best, the most globally important design school, to have those two dimensions—professional and academic—that's the most GSD could hope for,” he said.

GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi congratulated Lee in a statement earlier this week in which he called Lee’s firm “one of the most talented practices currently working in the United States and beyond.”

“Mark deeply understands the contemporary world of architecture,” he said. “His vision and leadership will enormously benefit our students and our School in the years to come.”

Lee’s appointment as department chair comes soon after GSD’s January announcement that Lee would serve as a professor of the practice of architecture. That appointment will also take effect in July.

While Lee said he is still “getting acclimated” to his new role as department chair, he said he plans to focus on efforts to narrow the gap between high-quality buildings and their less remarkable surroundings.

“There are great concert halls, great museums, great buildings in the public and private spaces being erected,” he said. “The gap between the exceptional buildings and the everyday buildings that make up our urban environment is getting wider. This general quality of the built environment needs to get much higher,” he said.

Past GSD architecture department chairs have included Walter Gropius, who founded the Bauhaus architectural school, and Rafael Moneo, who won the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1996.

—Staff writer Caroline S. Engelmayer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cengelmayer13



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