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Richard Sommer concludes his appointment as dean of the Daniels Faculty

The Daniels Faculty has announced the completion of Richard Sommer’s term as the school’s dean as of June 30, 2020. Sommer will remain at Daniels as a professor, taking on the directorship of the school’s Global Cities Institute.

Photo courtesy of daniels.utoronto.ca

Sommer arrived at the Daniels Faculty in 2009 from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he taught for more than a decade and was director of the school’s urban design program.

According to the school, Sommer mobilized talented colleagues, quadruped the size of the school, built an inventive undergraduate foundation in architectural studies, renewed the school’s three graduate professional programs, created a unique PhD in architecture, landscape, and design, and attracted new faculty to help catalyze these initiatives.

“He furthered the Faculty’s disciplinary reach by incorporating programs in art, curatorial studies, and forestry, and he helped found various research initiatives, including the Global Cities Institute,” says the Daniels Faculty.

Sommer’s most visible achievement as the school’s leader is the creation of the Faculty’s new permanent home: the Daniels Building at One Spadina Crescent.

In 2019, Sommer presided over the opening of the Daniels Building’s first major expansion: the 7,500-square-foot Architecture and Design Gallery, located on the building’s lower level.

In addition to leading the creation of the gallery, Sommer co-curated and designed its inaugural exhibition, New Circadia (adventures in mental spelunking) — an immersive, cavelike installation that quickly garnered widespread attention and became a favourite destination for students and members of the public.

The search for a permanent successor to Sommer has been temporarily halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, Robert Wright, associate professor in landscape architecture and former dean of the Faculty of Forestry, has been appointed interim dean for one year.

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