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New PennDesign Dean Plans Upgrade for Meyerson Hall

Frederick Steiner says he wants to upgrade the design school and bring in more faculty

spring semester day ☝ ️

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University of Pennsylvania's new dean of PennDesign made headlines last week when he cited his main reason for leaving University of Texas. It wasn't that Frederick Steiner was unhappy, and it wasn't about the money. He simply didn't want to have to enforce the state's new law that allows professors to carry guns on campus.

But now that Steiner's main motive for leaving is out of the way, it's time to focus on what the PennDesign alumnus will be bringing back to Philly when he takes on the deanship on July 1. Steiner, who studied landscape architecture and city planning at PennDesign, tells Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron that his first task will be to fix the "problematic" Meyerson Hall.

On every floor there's a moon.

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Meyerson Hall is the home of PennDesign, which touts alumni like Robert Venturi and Louis Kahn, who rumor has it refused to teach in the building because it was "without merit."

The 93,780 square foot concrete structure was built in 1967. Admittedly, it's not exactly the transparent, stunning building one imagines for students of architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and design.

Its studios recently underwent renovations, but more funds are needed for an ideal expansion.

Whether the expansion happens or not, it sounds like Steiner's happy to be back. He tells Saffron, "I saw an opportunity to help an institution I have deep affection and love for."