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Dean's Message

Robert Fishman, Professor of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning, serves as interim dean, as of January 1, 2016. View details about Dean Search

It is my distinct honor to serve as the interim dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.  As a world-class center of architecture and planning education, Taubman College aspires to be a leader in interdisciplinary education and research to create a more productive, beautiful and inclusive built environment for generations to come. 

Our architecture, urban design, and urban planning students benefit from the research and scholarship of our award-winning faculty; our renowned digital fabrication lab; and soon our new state-of-the-art A. Alfred Taubman Wing, opening in fall 2017, with new space for our students and faculty to meet and study.  But as we work to truly develop a deep and creative awareness of the built environment and enhance our ability to imagine alternatives in an effort to create a more equitable and sustainable world, we must go beyond just the faculty and the facilities.  We must converse, debate, discuss, and imagine new possibilities for challenges we face. 

Colleges of architecture and planning are in the unique and enviable position of convening the large and sometimes challenging conversations around the built environment.  At Taubman College we have a diverse faculty whose research interests and expertise provide a variety of options for approaching today’s societal concerns.  Combined with a robust lecture series that brings in guest speakers from all over the world, our students and faculty come together on a regular basis to build community through shared intellectual exchange – we learn from experts, reflect on our own experiences, and debate the merits of the various options and ideas presented.

This January we are delighted to have a lecture by Dennis Crompton, one of Archigram’s founders, as well as the Archigram Exhibition on display at the Liberty Annex.  In the 1960s a group of unknown young architects in London started an insurgent movement they called “Archigram” whose revolutionary concepts of “plug-in/clip on” buildings and cities continue to define avant-garde theory and practice.  Their graphics were as original as their architecture and urbanism, as they brought the energy of sci-fi comics and pop art to the staid world of established modernism.  With rare and original graphics from the Archigram Archives, the lecture and exhibition will show how this archetypal 1960s movement with its explosive mixture of the carnival and the computer continues to define the future.

In February we will continue the dialogue we started this fall around the speculative projects our faculty exhibited at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.  The exhibition entitled The Architectural Imagination is focused on Detroit, a city that challenges all our hopes and fears for what a city is and what it might become.  The work returns in February and will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD).  I hope you will join us for the opening on February 11 where we will further our discussion of the role of art and architecture in revitalization efforts. 

The University of Michigan is also celebrating its bicentennial this year and throughout this semester we will be reflecting on the past 200 years as we simultaneously prepare for the future. As one of the leading research institutions in the world, we are called to critically examine, question, define and create solutions for future generations. We have a college legacy to be proud of, and we are committed to moving forward and continuing to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusion academic environment so our students can build the just and sustainable society which is the aim of all of our work. 

We invite you to join us in these important conversations.

Robert Fishman
Taubman College Interim Dean
Professor of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning