Robert Geddes has simultaneously pursued three careers for more than fifty years.
Geddes #1 is an architect. He co-founded a collaborative practice, Geddes Brecher Qualls Cunningham: Architects in Philadelphia and Princeton, which won many national and international competitions and awards. He almost won the Sydney Opera House design competition, and his essay, “Second Thoughts” was recently published by Powerhouse Museum. He designed many buildings for colleges and universities, and is probably best known for the Dining Hall and Birch Garden at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was awarded the highest professional honor of the American Institute for Architects, for “design, quality, respect for the environment, and social concern.”
Geddes #2 is an educator. He studied architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the post-war Gropius era. He is now the Dean Emeritus of the Princeton University School of Architecture and Henry Luce Professor of Architecture, Urbanism, and History at New York University. In teaching architecture, he pioneered in making connections with the humanities and social sciences, and with public affairs and urban design. Probably his best teaching was an undergraduate course called “Buildings, Landscapes, and Cities” at Princeton and NYU. He won many awards, including an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from CUNY City College of New York.
Geddes #3 is an urbanist. He was the urban design consultant for the Center City Plan of Philadelphia 1988, and the Third Regional Plan of New York for the Regional Plan Association 1996. Recently, he has been working with the CUNY Newman Institute on alternatives for the Hudson Yards and the Midtown Manhattan District. For the New York Institute for the Humanities and the United Nations Center for Human Settlements, he directed the “Conference on Cities in North America” and produced its report “Cities in Our Future” published by Island Press. He wrote “Metropolis Unbound: The Sprawling American City and the Search for Alternatives” which was published in American Prospect.