Kathryn A. Dean, director of the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, was installed as the JoAnne Stolaroff Cotsen Professor of Architecture. The ceremony was held Dec. 2, 2011, in Steinberg Auditorium.
Among the special guests were alumna Corinna Cotsen and her husband, Lee Rosenbaum, who established the professorship in memory of Cotsen’s mother; members of the Cotsen and Rosenbaum families; Corinna’s friends and fellow alumni; and Dean’s daughters, nieces, sisters and professional colleagues.
In his welcoming remarks, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton thanked the donors and reflected on the gift’s importance.
“Your generous gift will impact the world of architecture now and well into the future, for this professorship ensures that the school continues to attract and retain the most outstanding scholars and professional architects at Washington University,” Wrighton said.
Stolaroff Cotsen attended Washington University’s School of Art, now the Sam Fox School’s College of Art, but earned her undergraduate degree from the Parsons School of Design in New York.
After settling down in Los Angeles, Stolaroff Cotsen became a patron of the arts. Among her lasting contributions was co-founding the Los Angeles Friends of the Junior Arts Center, a public teaching center open to all children interested in art. She also volunteered as a docent for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Corinna Cotsen chose Washington University for her graduate education and earned two master’s degrees, in architecture and in construction management, from the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering & Applied Science, respectively.
After graduating, she founded the Edifice Complex, a LEED-certified design and engineering firm based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., which specializes in creating sustainable living spaces within built environments.
Rosenbaum, who specializes in entertainment law with the Los Angeles firm Wyman, Isaacs, Blumenthal & Lynne, earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a juris doctorate from Harvard University.
A devoted alumna, Cotsen currently serves on the university’s Board of Trustees. She also has served as chair of the Los Angeles Regional Cabinet and has been on Architecture’s National Council for 15 years. In 2006, she received the Dean’s Medal from the Graduate School of Architecture in honor of her service.
A commitment to WUSTL passed from mother to daughter, and the pattern now is repeating itself: Corinna’s daughter, Chiara, now in her first year at the university, represents the third generation to matriculate here.
In addition to Wrighton, the installation ceremony included remarks by Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts; and Bruce Lindsey, dean of architecture in the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome Corinna and Lee here today to express my deep gratitude for their commitment to the school of architecture,” Colangelo said. “This professorship gives us an extraordinary opportunity to honor both a distinguished faculty member and to honor the memory of JoAnne Stolaroff Cotsen.”
“As an outstanding educator and celebrated architect, Kathryn Dean brings to Washington University the experience and passion to help our students become leaders in enriching our cultural, natural and physical environments,” Lindsey said.
Dean came to WUSTL in 2008 and now divides her time between St. Louis and New York, where she and her husband, Charles Wolf, head up Dean/Wolf Architects. Wolf earned his undergraduate degree in architecture from Washington University. Their daughter, Carolyn, is a WUSTL freshman, and she and Chiara Rosenbaum are friends.
Dean earned a bachelor’s degree in 1981 from North Dakota State University and then earned a master’s degree in architecture two years later from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts.
In 1986, she was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship and spent the year as a resident fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Other honors include Progressive Architecture’s Young Architects Award; an Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York; and an Alumni Achievement Award from North Dakota State University.
Dean began teaching in 1991 as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. In 1998, she was a visiting assistant professor at Harvard University, and, in 2000, she returned to Columbia as an assistant professor. She also has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, University of Virginia and University of Florida.
Since its inception in 1991, Dean/Wolf Architects has garnered a national reputation for its innovative designs in contemporary residential architecture. Many of the firm’s major projects have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects and have been widely praised for turning architectural constraints into powerful generators of form. One of its hallmarks is a novel manipulation of light and space.
The company’s work has been featured in several exhibitions and in more than a dozen books, including Forty Under Forty and The New City Home. Last year, the monograph Dean/Wolf Architects: Construction Continuum was published by Princeton Architectural Press.