Zaera-Polo has been a visiting lecturer in architecture at Princeton since 2008. His appointment as dean, which requires approval of the University's Board of Trustees, will be effective July 1. He will succeed Stan Allen, the school's dean since 2002, who will step down at the end of this academic year to return to full-time teaching and architectural design.
"As a world-renowned designer and critic, Alejandro Zaera-Polo embodies a quality that is highly prized by Princeton's School of Architecture — a commitment to being at the forefront of the ideas that will drive both the theory and practice of architecture in the future," Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman said. "I am confident that with our extraordinary faculty and Alejandro as our dean, the school will continue to play its critically important roles of educating the next generation of thought leaders and incubating the next advances in the field."
Princeton Provost Christopher Eisgruber added, "Alejandro Zaera-Polo is not only one of the world's foremost architects, but also a respected intellectual and educator who has published on a wide variety of important architectural topics. During our interviews with him, he impressed us by his commitment to sustaining Princeton's role as a training ground for designers and theorists who will be innovative contributors to the field of architecture. Alejandro's talents and his breadth of vision make him a worthy successor to Stan Allen. His leadership will undoubtedly add to the luster of a school already blessed with outstanding faculty and students."
Zaera-Polo said he was honored by his selection as dean. "I am delighted to have been trusted to direct the School of Architecture and to join the Princeton community," he said. "Princeton has a tradition of intellectual leadership and experimental work across different fields that I hope to cultivate during my tenure at the school. This is the right time to be looking for new possibilities across different disciplines, especially in the field of architecture, design and urbanism. Princeton is the best place to develop this type of approach."
Zaera-Polo is the founder and principal of Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture, an international practice based in London and Barcelona. He was a founding partner of London-based Foreign Office Architects. His award-winning projects include the Yokohama International Cruise Terminal in Japan, which is noted for its use of dramatic form and innovative materials, as well as its interplay of architecture, landscape and nature. Among his other notable projects are a building for the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in the United Kingdom, the Carabanchel social housing project in Madrid, the Meydan retail complex and multiplex in Istanbul, the Spanish Pavilion at the 2005 International Expo in Aichi, Japan, and the Dulnyouk Publishing headquarters in Paju, South Korea.
Zaera-Polo has received many prestigious honors for his work, including the Enric Miralles Prize for Architecture, five RIBA awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Venice Architecture Biennale Award and the Charles Jencks Award for Architecture.
While maintaining his international practice, Zaera-Polo has played a significant role in the academic discipline of architecture. In addition to his teaching at Princeton, he has served as dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and currently occupies the Berlage Chair at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship of Architectural Design at Yale University. As a theorist, his writing has appeared in international publications such as El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+, Volume and Log.
Zaera-Polo is a graduate of the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and holds a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University.