Never Standing Still (Preview)

An Interview with Adèle Santos

Whether Adèle Santos is transforming the MIT School of Architecture and Planning into a world-renowned institution, designing clothes and coats, creating public housing, re-building cities that have fallen victim to natural disasters, gutting and re-imaging her warehouse home that was once the site of a children’s circus, starting an architecture school, or merely being the wonderfully stylish and magnanimous force of energy that she exudes, she is never standing still.

Photo by Ben Gebo

Interviewed by Sarah Merion

She first started her design education by gaining a diploma from the Architectural Association in London before moving on to Harvard, where she completed her Master of Architecture in Urban Design. After these, she concluded her formal education by completing her Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning University of Pennsylvania.

Adèle has held various leadership roles in academic institutions and most recently was the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was recruited in 2003 to come to lead the school, which she did for a decade from 2004-2014. In a testament to her ingenuity, the MIT School of Architecture and Planning received the esteemed award of #1 School of Architecture by QS World University Rankings in the final year of her deanship. Since stepping down from being Dean, she has continued to be a valued MIT facility member, co-director of the Levinthal Center for Advanced Urbanism, and active in continuing her private practice, Santos Prescott and Associates, which has garnered international reputation. Adele is an advocate for gender and racial diversity and has spoken on various lectures about the importance of representation.

I sat down with Adèle to talk about her life dedicated to forging new paths in design….

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From Design Museum Magazine Issue 015