Taubman College welcomes Antje Steinmuller as new Architecture Chair

The skills of architects are essential for society to achieve so many of its goals, in addressing climate change, social justice, health and wellness, housing, and construction. Engaged in local, national, and international conversations to advance ideas, Taubman College at the University of Michigan has recruited a new leader who places the agency of design and community involvement at the center of tackling grand challenges that affect Detroit, Michigan, the U.S., and the world.

Following an international search, Dean Jonathan Massey has named Antje Steinmuller as the next chair of the architecture program at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She will join the faculty and begin her three-year appointment beginning July 15, 2024, pending approval by the Board of Regents. Taubman College faculty, students, and staff see Steinmuller as the leader best poised to strengthen the research and practice, teaching and learning that make Michigan a leader in architectural education.

Across the Architecture Programs at Taubman College, faculty and students research and develop new low-carbon building materials and methods, strategies to make housing healthier and more affordable, ways to integrate new technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and aesthetics that express emergent forms of culture and sociability.

“It is an honor to have been selected as chair of architecture at Taubman College. I am drawn to the breadth of perspectives among the faculty in the architecture program, and to the potentials for interdisciplinary connections that University of Michigan offers as a renowned research institution,” said Steinmuller. “As architecture programs across the country examine architecture’s disciplinary core in relation to climate change and social justice, Taubman College is perfectly positioned to bring new voices to the table through its fellowship program, which has launched the careers of some of the most interesting academics in the U.S. I am excited to join the amazing group of students and faculty in the continued development of innovative work and pedagogies that explore architecture’s agency vis-à-vis today’s most pressing issues.”

Steinmuller is an associate professor at California College of the Arts (CCA), where she has taught for the past 17 years. She currently chairs the Bachelor of Architecture program and co-directs the Urban Works Agency, CCA’s urbanism research lab. Her research explores the role of design at the intersection of citizen-led and city-regulated processes in the production of urban space – from new typologies of urban commons and new forms of collective living to the agency of architecture in the housing crisis.

“The students, staff, and faculty who engaged in the search process appreciated Steinmuller’s extensive achievements in practice, research, education, and leadership,” said Massey. “They highlighted her interpersonal strengths, collaborative values, and insight into the present state and potential future of our architecture program, along with her commitments to climate and social justice, engagement with DEI, and nuanced work on common futures. We look forward to her joining the Taubman College community.”

Steinmuller holds a Diplom-Ingenieur in Interior Architecture and Furniture Design (Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart), a Vordiplom in Architecture (Technische Universität Berlin), and a Master of Architecture (University of California Berkeley). She is co-founder of ideal X, a design consultancy focused on the collective potentials of urban spaces in transition, and previously was a principal at Studio URBIS in Berkeley. Most recently, her work has been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, SPUR Urban Center, and the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Steinmuller recently completed a three-year term in the elected position of secretary/treasurer on the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Board of Directors.

“In her thoughtfulness and presence, Antje signaled to us a truly committed and deep respect for the role of the chair, and a vision for collaboratively establishing the ongoing evolution of architecture pedagogy,” said Catie Newell, chair of the search committee and associate professor of architecture.

Taubman College students who shared input on Steinmuller’s candidacy emphasized her ability to work collaboratively and expressed excitement for her connection to students and to organizations beyond the college. “Professor Steinmuller exhibited such care, compassion, and consideration during her candidacy, with students, faculty and staff,” said Tara Mehta, Master of Architecture ‘24, a student representative on the search committee. “It was clear she deeply values collaboration, and with her demonstrated commitment to learning about Taubman and her skills as an active listener and effective communicator, I am excited to see her as a thoughtful and empathetic leader at Taubman College.”