Dean of School of Art and Architecture UCLA
previously director of Architectural Association School of Architecture
Brett Steele is the first architect appointed as Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts). He is a frequent visiting lecturer, presenter, and critic at universities, cultural centers, and offices worldwide, and a recognized leader in arts and architecture education. Brett is a teacher, writer, and leading voice on architecture, cities, and education and has served on overseas arts and architecture commissions, juries, and policy planning initiatives. He has been appointed reviewer and advisor of arts and architecture schools by university presidents in the U.S. and abroad, and is a regular contributor to print, radio, and television programs. His academic experience and scholarly interests focus on the modern and contemporary conditions of arts education and culture, and he has written extensively on the expansive circumstances of today’s electronic, computational design studios.
Prior to his appointment as Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Brett was the Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London, where he led a decade-long transformation and expansion of one of the world’s most renowned schools of architecture. The AA’s alumni include many Pritzker Prize, RIBA and AIA Gold medal winners including Lord Richard Rogers, Cedric Price, Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, with whom Brett collaborated closely early in his professional career.
In 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the most influential 20th century architectural project, Le Corbusier’s Maison Dom-ino, Brett commissioned a 1:1, building-sized working model of the prototype structure, which was installed at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Brett has convened and hosted 24-hour public marathons at art and architectural biennales that have included the world’s leading designers, artists, philosophers, curators and architects. He launched the AA Visiting School in 2008, which today operates design workshops, short courses and public programs in more than 50 countries and cities world-wide as part of an innovative educational experiment that seeks to embed the arts and architecture in wider communication networks promoting learning, exchange and experience.
Brett is the editor and author of Negotiate My Boundary (2002); Corporate Fields (2005); Design as Research (2005); First Works: Architectural Experimentation of the 1960s & 1970s (2009); Supercritical: Peter Eisenman Meets Rem Koolhaas (2009); 014: Projection & Reception (2012); Net Works: The Rise of Collaborative and Distributed Architecture (forthcoming, 2019); and Machine Works: The Rise of Modern Architectural Automation (forthcoming, 2020). Brett’s articles, interviews & lectures have appeared in ARCH+, ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW, A+U, ARCHIS, AA FILES, HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE, HUNCH, WORLD ARCHITECTURE, LOG, DOMUS, MARK, FRAME, JAPAN ARCHITECT, MONOCLE, ICON, DAIDALOS, AREA, and other journals; on CNN and the BBC, in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FINANCIAL TIMES and other media. Brett is the founder and series editor of ARCHITECTURE WORDS, which since 2009 has published the critical writings of Denise Scott Brown, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, Max Bill, Sylvia Lavin, Detlef Mertins, Kengo Kuma, Toyo Ito and others.
Brett grew up in Oregon and Idaho and attended art and architecture schools on the West Coast before moving to, and founding his own office in New York and later London. He is married to architect Natasha Sandmeier with whom he has two small children. Brett’s pastimes include long-distance running and fly fishing. He is the first member of his family to attend university, and is an advocate for the vital role of higher education in fostering not only the arts, but also the arts’ role in promoting social mobility and cross-cultural exchange.