Richard M. Sommer
Richard Sommer is an architect and the Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, where he also serves as Professor of Architecture and Urbanism. Prior to his appointment at University of Toronto Sommer was, for more than a decade, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he has also served as the Director of School’s Urban Design Programs.
Sommer’s design practice, research and writing take the complex physical geography, culture, politics and historiography of the contemporary city as a starting point for a speculative approach to architecture and urbanism. Since 2005, Sommer has been the O’Hare Chair of Design and Development and Visiting American Scholar at the University of Ulster’s faculty of Art, Design and Built Environment. In this capacity he is working with government agencies, academics, and other groups to develop new models for the design of Northern Ireland’s cities and towns as they emerge from “The Troubles.” In addition to his focus on design in the context of broad trends in urbanization, Sommer has been collaborating with Glenn Forley on a long-term multi-faceted research project that will culminate in the publication of the book: The Democratic Monument in America: A Twentieth Century Topography.
Sommer has also held visiting teaching appointments at The University of Leuven, Belgium and Washington, Columbia and Iowa State Universities. From 1995-98 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the California College of the Arts.
His writngs and projects have been published in Perspecta, ANY Magazine, Metropolis, JAE, Arcade, The Harvard Design Magazine, and the books Shaping the City: Studies in History, Theory and Urban Design, Supernatural Urbanism: the L.A. River Studio, Urban Design, and Hell's Kitchen South: Developing Strategies, among others. Support for Sommer's research has included awards and grants from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, The Tozzier Fund, The Wheelwright Fellowship,The LEF Foundation, and The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.