The School of Architecture, founded by Frank Lloyd Wright as the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, is honored to announce two newly-elected board members: Nader Tehrani and Tim Wright. Their addition to TSOA’s Board of Governors marks a significant moment in the school’s recent transformation, just over one year after its relocation to Arcosanti and Cosanti. Both Tehrani and Wright bring long-term academic knowledge, expertise, and support for the continuation of the school’s renowned experimental and immersive culture of learning.
When the school departed Taliesin and Taliesin West, it expanded its board consisting of a wide range of talent in architecture and the arts, academia, business, public advocacy, and philanthropy. The additions of Tehrani and Wright to the board assert a renewed connection to the contemporary practice of architecture, to architectural pedagogy, and to the continuity of The School of Architecture’s unique contributions to both.
Tehrani and Wright each possess deep familiarity with periods of transformation in academic institutions. Nader Tehrani has been the Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union since 2015, and has led an award-winning firm NADAAA that has evolved over three decades. NADAAA’s impressive portfolio of work includes the design of three architecture schools at the University of Toronto, Georgia Tech, and the University of Melbourne. Tehrani’s many achievements in both pedagogy and practice were recently recognized in his election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Tim Wright is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer who has residences in Chicago and Spring Green. His decades of experience with The School of Architecture from working with his grandfather, Frank Lloyd Wright, to teaching courses in visual studies and film at TSOA in recent years, affirms the school’s continued legacy and its holistic, interdisciplinary approach to forward-thinking design education. Both Wright and Tehrani have promoted the unique opportunities offered to students within the school’s hands-on, experimental pedagogy situated within an immersive culture and landscape.
Speaking to both the rich history of the school and its future, Tehrani sends a clear message of optimism: “TSOA reminds us of the opportunities that arise out of crisis, and how moments of cultural upheaval need to be re-envisioned as critical and positive change. Institutions, when seen in the longer arc of history, play an important role in maintaining discursive balance, even when things seem awry. It is for this precise reason why we must look at the history of this great institution, not so much to look back at it, but to project forward and imagine the many narratives it could yet unleash.”
Tim Wright describes the importance of new avenues in collaborative learning that TSOA advances as it looks ahead: “The idea of reorienting ‘learning by doing’ toward actually researching and relating to existing communities, then designing with them rather for them, is very ambitious but refreshing. In this respect, Frank and Olgivanna Lloyd Wright’s idea of a learning fellowship of students living and working together is more vital than ever. I hope in some small way to help the school move further in these general directions.”
Nader Tehrani is founding principal of NADAAA and Dean of The Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. His research focuses on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications, and the development of new means and methods of construction, especially through digital fabrication. Tehrani’s work has received many prestigious awards, including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and eighteen Progressive Architecture Awards. Prior to becoming Dean at the Cooper Union, he taught at RISD, Harvard GSD, Georgia Institute of Technology, and MIT. His office, NADAAA, for the past seven years in a row, has ranked in the Top eleven design firms in Architect Magazine’s Top 50 Firms in the United States, ranking as first three years in a row. For his contributions to architecture as an art, Nader Tehrani is the recipient of the 2020 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, to which he was also elected as a Member in 2021, the highest form of recognition of artistic merit in The United States.
Tim Wright is a teacher, lecturer, writer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Wright has had a long-lasting relationship to The School of Architecture, stretching back to the time he spent in the 1950s as a non-architectural apprentice to his grandfather Frank Lloyd Wright. From 2006 to 2017, Wright taught courses to TSOA students, including ‘Film and Architecture’ and ‘Visual Literacy’. His documentary film Conservation of Matter, about the recycling of Boston’s elevated railway, won the 1997 New England Film and Video Festival. He has lectured widely on Frank Lloyd Wright’s life and work for the likes of the Lancaster Historical Society and Taliesin Preservation Inc. He has studied at Columbia University, the University of Chicago and was a Prize Fellow at Harvard University. He is currently working on the restoration of a prairie house with his wife on land near the Taliesin West estate.