AUSTIN, TexasDr. Frederick Steiner, professor and director of the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University and an internationally renowned expert on environmental planning, has been named dean of School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. The appointment is effective Aug. 1.
Dean Fritz Steiner
Photo: Marsha Miller
Steiner has spent his career focusing on the need to balance the interests of conservation and development. In addition to his tenure at Arizona State University, he also has taught planning, landscape architecture and environmental science at Washington State University, the University of Colorado-Denver and the University of Pennsylvania. He also has worked on research projects in the Netherlands, Sardinia and Cremona, Italy and Valladolid, Spain.
In 1998, Steiner was the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome.
“Fritz Steiner will bring strong, creative leadership to the campus,” said UT Austin Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson in announcing the appointment. “His interest and expertise in sustainable communities and environmental studies provide important additions to well-established strengths in the School of Architecture. We are quite excited about his joining our faculty.”
Steiner replaces Dean Lawrence Speck, who stepped down as dean but will remain on the UT Austin faculty in architecture. A committee headed by Dr. Steven P. Nichols in mechanical engineering conducted a national search to fill the position.
“Fritz Steiner is going to make an extraordinary dean,” said Speck. “He seems to me to be exactly what the UT School of Architecture needs at this juncture. His statures as an environmentalist, as well as someone strongly committed to building cities and places and not just individual monuments, mesh well with the longstanding direction of his school. We look forward to his strong new leadership.”
Through the years, Steiner has worked with local, state and federal agencies on diverse environmental plans and designs. His research efforts have affected the urban development and preservation policies of the National Park Service, the state of Arizona, the city of Phoenix and numerous endangered landscapes.
Building communities, said Steiner, is essential for the future of architecture education and practice. To build good communities, the intersection of four processes often linked to sustainability environment, economics, equity and esthetics must be considered, he said.
“Austin is a leader in sustainable development,” said Steiner. “It also faces daunting challenges of growth and environmental quality. Viewing the Austin region as an urban laboratory has implications for rapidly growing regions elsewhere in Texas, the nation and around the world,” he said, adding that UT Austin possesses “the greatest storehouse of knowledge about the region.”
Steiner said he believes architecture, interior design and planning can assist people to achieve a creative equilibrium. “The future viability of communities and regions rests on the design of places that are creative, healthy and just.
“I view myself as an academic practitioner who has worked in the territories between architecture and planning as well as those between science and art. My scholarship is a result of reflection about that territory.”
Steiner received his Ph.D., a master’s degree in city and regional planning and another master’s degree of regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a master of community planning and a bachelor of science degree in design from the University of Cincinnati. He has received numerous awards and is the author of several books, including The Living Landscape, To Heal the Earth (with Ian McHarg) and Soil Conservation in the United States.