The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced that Nicholas de Monchaux will be the new head of its School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) beginning July of this year, and will also maintain an affiliated faculty member position in the institute’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).
As a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome with degrees in architecture from Yale University and Princeton University, de Monchaux comes to the program after serving as a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Center for New Media at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 2006. During his time at Berkeley, de Monchaux authored Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an expansive study of the technology and design behind space exploration that later won the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and was shortlisted for the Art Book Prize. With Kathryn Moll, he maintains a principal role at modem, an architecture practice with a focus on social, ecological, and community-based projects.
The news comes two years after J. Meejin Yoon, a cofounding principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, stepped down at the head of architecture at MIT to become the dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. While in that position, Yoon advocated for the school to focus on the intersection between technology, design, and climate science. Professor Andrew Scott has maintained the role of interim department head while the school appointed a new permanent head, and will continue in that role through the end of the spring semester.
De Monchaux has not yet stated his goals as the new department head, but it is assumed that he will continue his focus on current environmental challenges and social shifts as he has addressed them in his professional and academic roles.