Will and Nan Clarkson Visiting Chair

the clarksons.

Will and Nan Clarkson

For more than 25 years, Will and Nan Clarkson have generously supported the Clarkson Chair program, which invites distinguished scholars and professionals to campus for lectures and seminars that engage students, faculty, practitioners and members of the public in knowledge-sharing, scholarship and debate on critical issues in architecture, planning and design. 

The Clarkson Visiting Chair is an endowed visiting position awarded semiannually to a distinguished scholar or professional in the disciplines of architecture, planning and design. This award is in recognition of excellence in the pursuit of scholarship and professional application within these disciplines.

Clarkson Chair in Architecture (fall 2020)

Kunlé Adeyemi, Founder and Principal of NLÉ

Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, designer and development researcher whose works are internationally recognised for originality and innovation. He is the founder and principal of NLÉ.

Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, designer and development researcher whose works are internationally recognised for originality and innovation. He is the founder and principal of NLÉ – an architecture, design and urbanism practice founded in 2010, for innovating cities and communities. Adeyemi’s notable works include ‘Makoko Floating School’, a groundbreaking, prototype floating structure once located in the lagoon heart of Lagos, Nigeria. Makoko Floating School has since evolved into ‘Makoko Floating System (MFSTM)’ – a simple, prefabricated, building solution for developments on water – now deployed in 5 countries across 3 continents. This acclaimed project is part of NLÉ’s extensive body of work – the ‘African Water Cities’ – which explores the intersections of rapid urbanisation and climate change. In 2016 NLÉ was awarded the Silver Lion Prize for its second iteration of Makoko Floating School (MFS II – Waterfront Atlas) at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Other NLÉ projects include A Prelude to The Shed in New York, USA, the Black Rhino Academy in Karatu, Tanzania and the Serpentine Summer House at the Royal Kensington Gardens in London, UK.

Before founding NLÉ, Adeyemi worked closely with Rem Koolhaas at the world renowned Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), where he led the design and development of significant projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower in China, the Qatar National Library and Qatar Foundation Headquarters in Doha, Samsung Museum of Art and the Prada Transformer in Seoul.

Alongside his professional practice with multiple prestigious awards, Adeyemi is an international speaker and thought leader. He is one of UNDP’s Africa in Development Supergroup. He served as juror and nominator for distinguishing many industry talents including the RIBA international Prize, the AIA awards, Venice Biennale jury, and the Rolex Mentor and Protegé program. Adeyemi holds an honorary doctorate degree in Architecture from Hasselt University, Belgium, and a certificate in Real Estate Economics and Finance from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Clarkson Chair in Planning (fall 2019)

Vanessa Watson.

Vanessa Watson, Professor of City Planning, University of Cape Town

We are pleased to welcome Vanessa Watson as the 2019 Will and Nan Clarkson Chair in Planning. Vanessa Watson is Professor of City Planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, and founding member of the African Centre for Cities, both at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Her research and publications focus on southern perspectives on planning theory, African cities and urbanisation, urban food security, and currently on planning and corruption in Africa. More recently she has followed the new economic forces re-shaping African cities, in particular the private-sector driven property development initiatives. Her work unsettles the geo-politics of knowledge production in planning by providing alternative theoretical perspectives from the Global South. Recent projects also include studying governance of urban food systems in African cities. Watson is the Global South Editor of Urban Studies, an editor of the European Journal of Development Research, senior editor for Oxford Bibliographies Online: Urban Studies, and a member of the editorial boards of multiple national and international journals. She was the lead consultant for UN Habitat’s 2009 Global Report on Planning Sustainable Cities and is on their global reports Advisory Board. She was chair and co-chair of the Global Planning Education Association Network (2007-2011). She is a founder of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town and the Association of African Planning Schools.

Watson holds degrees from the Universities of Natal, Cape Town and the Architectural Association of London, and a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand. She is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town.

Previous Clarkson Chairs in Architecture

  • Sierra Bainbridge
  • Rahul Mehrotra
  • Yoshiharu Tsukamoto 
  • Alberto Campo Baeza
  • Eve Blau
  • Frank Barkow
  • Guy Nordenson
  • Anne Lacaton
  • Antoine Picon
  • Teddy Cruz
  • Yve-Alain Bois
  • Joan Ockman
  • Michele Addington 
  • Kenneth Frampton
  • Anthony Vidler
  • Glenn Murcutt
  • Peter Zumthor
  • Lars Lerup
  • Mark Wigley
  • Sanford Kwinter
  • K. Michael Hayes
  • Daniel Hoffman
  • M. Christine Boyer
  • Alberto Pérez-Gómez
  • Marco Frascari

Previous Clarkson Chairs in Planning

  • Lauren Bricker
  • Ann Forsyyth
  • john powell
  • Todd Swanstrom
  • Emily Talen
  • Lewis Hopkins
  • Edward Blakely
  • Thomas Daniels
  • Philip Berke
  • Donald Shoup
  • Michael Teitz
  • Michael Greenberg
  • Michael Batty
  • Lawrence Frank
  • Peter Dreier
  • Michael Kwartler
  • Gerrit-Jan Knaap
  • Alan Artibise
  • Andrew Isserman
  • Michael Storper
  • Robert Yaro
  • Patsy Healey
  • John Forester