Mostafavi, who was born in Iran, received a degree in architecture from the Architectural Association in 1976, and later went on to research architecture and urbanism at the University of Essex and at the University of Cambridge. He then taught at various design schools, eventually landing at Cornell. Mohsen Mostafavi, architect and educator, is the Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design. His work focuses on modes and processes of urbanization and on the interface between technology and aesthetics.
He was formerly the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University where he was also the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He studied architecture at the AA, and undertook research on counter-reformation urban history at the Universities of Essex and Cambridge. He has been the Director of the Master of Architecture I Program at the GSD and has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts (Städelschule).
Mostafavi sits on the board of the Van Alen Institute, serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and is a member of the Urban Council Board of The Skolkovo Foundation. At Harvard, he co-chairs the Harvard University Committee for the Arts and co-chaired the Common Spaces Committee, and continues to serve on the Advisory Committee for Common Spaces Projects, the Smith Campus Center Executive Committee, the Harvard Library Board, and the Harvard Allston Steering Committee. He is a member of the Executive Committees of the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Harvard Innovation Lab, the Laboratory at Harvard, and the Standing Committee on Middle Eastern Studies.
Mostafavi has chaired the jury of the Mies van der Rohe Prize for Architecture and both the European and North American juries of the Holcim Foundation Awards for Sustainable Construction. He served on the design committee of the London Development Agency (LDA), the juries for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal and Annie Spink Award, and the advisory committee on campus planning of the Asian University for Women.
He is a consultant on a number of international architectural and urban projects. His research and design projects have been published in many journals, including The Architectural Review, AAFiles, Arquitectura, Bauwelt, Casabella, Centre, Daidalos, and El Croquis. His books include On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time (co-authored 1993), which received the American Institute of Architects prize for writing on architectural theory; Delayed Space (co-authored 1994); Approximations (2002); Surface Architecture (2002); Logique Visuelle (2003); Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (2004); Structure as Space (2006); Ecological Urbanism (co-edited 2010);Implicate & Explicate (2011); Louis Vuitton: Architecture and Interiors (2011); In the Life of Cities (2012); Instigations: Engaging Architecture, Landscape and the City (co-edited 2012); and Architecture is Life (2013).
Source: Harvard Graduate School of Design