Pratt names Quilian Riano dean of the School of Architecture


Pratt Institute has named Quilian Riano dean of the School of Architecture. After Harriet Harriss stepped down following a three-year tenure, the school assumed a national search to name a new dean, however, it didn’t have to look far as Riano has been the interim dean since Harriss’s departure in 2022. Riano will assume the position today.

Riano initially joined Pratt as an assistant dean in July 2021. He founded the design firm DSGN AGNC in 2009. The firm’s work includes interventions under highway overpasses in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and a resiliency garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Riano has also held leadership positions in establishing Architecture 2030, the nonprofit dedicated to addressing architecture’s complicity in the climate crisis, the Architecture Lobby, a workers’ organization that is seeking to overhaul working conditions in the field, and Dark Matter U, an education organization that works on creating anti-racist curriculum, including in design fields. Riano currently serves on the board of the Architectural League of New York, and on the board of Places.

Pratt provost Donna Heiland said: “Quilian brings to his role as dean a deep respect for the school’s historical strength as a leader in design, planning, and management of the built environment, along with a commitment to lean into a future that advances disciplinary excellence and to ensure that the school is a leading voice in addressing major issues of our time.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the new dean of Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture,” Riano said. “For the last couple of years, as both interim and assistant dean of the school, I have had the pleasure of seeing firsthand the great work of our students, faculty, and staff. The energy and passion I see coming out of studios and classrooms from students and faculty is palpable, as our community is busy addressing the most important social and environmental issues we face through design, technology, planning, and management—all while using both established knowledge as well as experimenting with the latest technologies, scholarship, methods, and models.”

Prior to joining Pratt, Riano taught at Kent State University, Columbia University, Syracuse University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, and served in the U.S. Air Force. 

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