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lina ghotmeh image by gilbert hage

08.26.21 – Lina Ghotmeh announced as 2021-2022 Gehry Chair

The Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design is Paris-based, Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh.

Drawing inspiration from her lived experience growing up in Beirut, Ghotmeh approaches architecture as an “archaeology of the future” through her multidisciplinary, research-driven practice Lina Ghotmeh –– Architecture.

“We are extremely honoured and excited that Lina Ghotmeh will be joining us as our 2021-2022 Gehry Chair,” says Vivian Lee, director of the Daniels Faculty’s Master of Architecture program. “Her studio is a leading voice in the field, merging research of sustainable practices, typological play, local craft, and archeological inspirations into reality. Whether it’s in a rural or urban setting, the work of her studio is tactile,  scenographic, and engaged with its context. Lina’s projects are somehow old and new all at once, timeless but also essential to the current moment.”

During her appointment as Gehry Chair, Ghotmeh will lead a yearlong research studio for third-year Master of Architecture students. Additional public events will be announced in the fall. 

"It is with enthusiasm and excitement that I join the Faculty as a Gehry Chair, bridging between continents as a French architect of a Lebanese upbringing working with you in Toronto," says Lina Ghotmeh. "In our rapidly changing times, architecture as a space of diversity and cross-cultural hybrid thought is an essential platform for rethinking the way we relate and inhabit our world. I am eager to both share my experience and embody your lens to the world."

Over the course of two semesters, Ghotmeh’s studio, entitled “Potent Voids,” will examine the August 4, 2020, explosion and subsequent devastation at the port of Beirut as a post-traumatic landscape.

Ghotmeh writes: “While invoking a potent void, such landscapes solicit notions of time, memory and material. They hold a potential for change. They also bring with them new questions and invite us to think of other substantial ways of making and inhabiting our environment.”

Image credits: Estonian National Museum, photo by Takuji Shimmura; Hermès Workshops; Réalimenter Masséna.

Born in Beirut in 1980, Ghotmeh received the first prize for the Estonian National Museum Competition in 2006, just three years after graduating with distinction from the American University of Beirut. Her works are known for their symbiotic relationship to their environment – including “Réalimenter Masséna,” a wooden tower in Paris dedicated to sustainable feeding, and “Stone Garden Housing” in Beirut, where craft is at the heart of the building’s making.

Among other projects, her studio is currently designing and leading the construction of the new Hermès Manufacture, a passive building in Normandy, and the urban rehabilitation of the iconic Maine Montparnasse grounds in Paris.

Ghotmeh has lectured internationally: she previously taught at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture and currently teaches at Yale School of Architecture. She is copresident of the RST ARCHES Scientific Network and the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2020 Tamayouz “Woman of Outstanding Achievement” Award; the French Fine Arts Academy Cardin Award 2019; the French Academy Dejean Prize 2016; the Grand Prix Afex 2016; and the French Ministry AJAP Prize 2008.

Stone Garden by Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, Photo by Iwan Baan

Image credit: Stone Garden, Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, photo by Iwan Baan. Banner image: Headshot of Lina Ghotmeh courtesy Gilbert Hage.

About the Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design

Named in honour of Frank O. Gehry, this endowed chair brings a highly recognized international architect to the Daniels Faculty to deliver a public lecture and enrich the student learning experience each year. Heather Reisman, founder of Indigo Books and Music, and 45 other donors contributed $1 million, matched by U of T, to establish the chair in November 2000. It's named for the Toronto-born designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Experience Music Project in Seattle; and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. 

Past Gehry Chairs include: Daniel Libeskind, New York (2002-03); Preston Scott Cohen, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2003-04); Merrill Elam, Atlanta (2004-05); Diane Lewis, New York  (2005-06); Will Bruder, Phoenix (2006-07); Jürgen Mayer H, Berlin (2007-08); Wes Jones, Los Angeles (2008-09); Mitchell Joachim, New York (2009-10); Nader Tehrani, Boston (2010-11); Hrvoje Njiric, Zagreb, Croatia (2011-12); Josemaría de Churtichaga, Madrid (2013-14); Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, Los Angeles (2016-17); Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, New York (2017-18); Aljoša Dekleva and Tina Gregorič, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2019-20); and Douglas Cardinal, Ottawa (2020-21).