Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk ’74MArch: rising tide

One of her best-known projects is Seaside, the Florida town famous for its New Urbanist design and as the filming location for The Truman Show. So it is perhaps no surprise that Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk ’74MArch, ending her long tenure as architecture dean at the University of Miami, will focus on “an emerging area of practice and research: how cities and towns can cope with rising seas and other effects of climate change.”

Plater-Zyberk will step down as dean on July 1, the Miami Herald reports this week. She’ll continue teaching at Miami—whose fledgling architecture school gained stature during her 18-year deanship—and practicing with her husband and Yale School of Architecture classmate, Andres Duany.

At Yale, Plater-Zyberk and Duany studied under Vincent Scully ’40, ’49PhD, the art historian and New Haven native who championed both modernism and tradition. In a 2007 Yale Alumni Magazine profile of Scully, the pair credited their mentor “with helping them appreciate ordinary vernacular houses on the streets of New Haven”: old urbanist houses, often built side-by-side with neighborhood markets or dry cleaners, where front porches and sidewalks promote neighborliness. Scully’s teaching, Plater-Zyberk said then, "allowed us to develop a project like Seaside,” the planned community that aimed to re-create traditional, walkable neighborhoods.

Despite her own New Urbanist zeal, Miami was “open to all approaches to architecture,’’ Plater-Zyberk tells the Herald. “We’re the only school of architecture that doesn’t forbid anything.’’

Filed under Eliabeth Plater-Zyberk, school of architecture, Andres Duany, New Urbanism, Vincent Scully
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