Balfour named new dean of Architecture

Alan Balfour was named the new Dean of the College of Architecture, which includes music, industrial design, and architecture majors, effective July 1.

Balfour will replace former dean Thomas Galloway, who passed away March of last year. The search for a replacement stretched over a year, with professor Douglas Allen serving as the interim dean until one was found.

“I have known Alan as a colleague and friend for 30 years, and have long held a deep admiration for his commitment to higher education in design, in architecture, in construction, planning and the arts. He has both a broad vision for the role of our disciplines in the construction of sustainable futures as well as deep administrative experience both at Georgia Tech and at significant peer institutions. I look forward to his arrival and to a bright and exciting future building upon the strengths within the College and the Institute,” Allen said in a press release from the College of Architecture.

After searching for over a year, the College of Architecture officially named Balfour as the new dean. Previously, Balfour had held the role of dean of the architecture schools at universities such as Rice University in Houston, Texas. and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he increased programs, technology usage, and interdisciplinary curriculums. In addition, Balfour has also served as the Architecture program director at Tech from 1977 to 1987.

Balfour received his Diploma in Architecture from Edinburgh College of Art in Edinburgh, Scotland and his Masters in Architecture from Princeton University as a Fulbright Scholar. He began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

From MIT, he came to Tech serving as the director of the architecture department at Tech, prior to the creation of the college. While serving as the director of the Tech’s Architecture department, he established the structure for an interrelated curricula between Tech and the Institute Technologie, Architecture et Urbanisme (ITAU) in Tunisia.

As Balfour enters as Tech’s newest Dean of Architecture, he brings with him his work from previous director and dean positions at other schools.

While at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, England, he increased enrollment, resolved the school’s debt, established the Graduate Design program, and refocused the staff by adding well-known designers to their lectures.

He also formalized the curriculum, overhauled facilities, and re-equipped a computer lab located in the school. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he has rebuilt facilities and established a strong Doctoral program. Balfour will bring his ideas for interdisciplinary learning and cooperation with him to Tech.

“Think of the stimulus of being surrounded by designers, musicians, planners, builders… these are the disciplines that come together in the College of Architecture. Though very different, they do have some characteristics in common… Because of this they all combine problems that may have finite answers – many which require creative interpretation. It is this which makes learning in the College of Architecture so personally satisfying,” Balfour said in his learning statement for Tech.

“[The disciplines] all exist within the complex process of representing and embodying culture – a city is as much a cultural artifact as a building or a musical composition,” Balfour said .

He plans to further the work and vision begun by Dean Thomas Galloway through technological and global innovations.

“Graduates must have complete mastery of the tools of digital technology, they must be empowered to predict the impact of their designs—at the social level as well as the energy and resource level—and they must view their knowledge, creativity and skill as being relevant to global as well as local practice. The world city of the future is of enormous concern to me. This College has within its culture all the major fields of knowledge that can be applied to this problem,” Balfour said in a press release.