PARSONS appoints new directors

Andrew Bernheimer to direct Master of Architecture program;
Susan Yelavich to direct new Master of Arts program in Design Studies

NEW YORK, January 31, 2012—Parsons The New School for Design has announced the appointment of new directors for its Master of Architecture and Master of Arts in Design Studies programs. Architect Andrew Bernheimer, who has taught in the program the past four years, will lead the Master of Architecture program, succeeding David Leven of Leven Betts Studio; while noted design scholar and longtime faculty member Susan Yelavich will direct the new Master of Arts in Design Studies program, which launches this fall.

“Susan and Andrew are well poised to advance graduate art and design education at Parsons,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons. “Andrew will build upon the remarkable success that David achieved for the Parsons’ Master of Architecture program, and also bring a forward-thinking perspective to its continued evolution. Susan is the perfect person to lead Parsons’ new graduate program in Design Studies. As a scholar, she matches sharp criticality with dexterous interdisciplinarity, which will be the hallmarks of this new program.”

Andrew Bernheimer AIA is principal of Bernheimer Architecture, and was previously a founding partner in the award-winning practice Della Valle Bernheimer. Bernheimer focuses on New York's urban landscape through research and built work that includes civic, residential and affordable housing projects, including sustainable urban housing. For the past two years, he has served on the faculty at Parsons. He has taught and lectured at major universities and institutions around the world; and his work has been the subject of numerous articles and publications. In 2009, Princeton Architectural Press published “Think/Make”, a monograph on the first decade of his practice at Della Valle Bernheimer.

“Andrew is an exemplary architect, whose diverse experience engages both the practice and pedagogy of the discipline,” said Bill Morrish, Dean of the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, the first integrated school of architecture, interior design, product design and lighting design in the country. “In his work and teaching he has demonstrated a commitment to innovation, and expanding ideas about the practice of architecture and its connection to related disciplines.”

Susan Yelavich is a noted design scholar, educator, curator and writer, and has served on the faculty of the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons for the past six years. She is the author of numerous essays and books, including Contemporary World Interiors (2007), Inside Design Now, co-author (2003), Design for Life (1997) and The Edge of the Millennium: An International Critique of Architecture, Urban Planning, Product and Communication Design (1993). Her most recent exhibition is “Deep Surface: Contemporary Ornament and Pattern,” Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, N.C. Yelavich was awarded the Rolland Rome Prize Fellowship in Design from the American Academy in Rome in 2003-04; and co-curated the 2003 National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

"Susan brings a global perspective to the field of design studies. In her teaching, scholarship andcuratorial work, Susan's professional experiences exemplify the breadth of critical reflection and practice that are the focus of this new graduate program,” said Sarah Lawrence, dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons. “The new program will complement our graduate programs in Fashion Studies and in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, and takes a critical look at contemporary design practice and theory."

Master of Architecture at Parsons
The Master of Architecture program at Parsons focuses on a wide range of contemporary issues directly affecting the field of architecture. Design, history, theory, technology, and representation are taught to encourage experimentation with the logics of building, as they are understood within a multifaceted and diverse cultural and environmental context. The program is housed in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, where it engages with programs in lighting design, interior design and product design. The School also offers a dual graduate degree in architecture and lighting design. A signature project of the Master of Architecture program is the Design Workshop, one of the nation’s premier design-build programs. For more information, visit

Master of Arts in Design Studies at Parsons
Drawing on the breadth and depth of expertise in design theory and practice at Parsons, this new Master of Arts program is an opportunity to explore design as both a field of scholarly research and an agent of social change. Launching in Fall 2012, the program will critically examine theoretical, historical, philosophical, and social issues related to design practice, products, and discourses. Housed in the School of Art and Design History and Theory, the program draws on design theory, methodology, and philosophy; design history; design criticism and writing; material culture studies; fashion studies; architecture theory, urban studies, spatial studies; and sustainability; as well as disciplines offered at The New School, such as history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and politics. For more information, visit

Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit

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