Adèle Naudé Santos

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  • Architectural Association, 1961
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design, 1963
  • University of Pennsylvania, 1968

Years of practice

1965– (estimated)


  • Santos Prescott and Associates

Professional organizations

  • Became AIA fellow in 1996

Related websites


California, San Francisco


Career in Architecture

Adèle Naudé Santos, FAIA, is an architect and planner whose career combines professional practice, research and teaching. Her work is widely known for design excellence. Ms. Santos has won international design competitions, published work in journals world-wide, and has worked in cultures as diverse as Japan, Africa and the United States.

Ms. Santos takes a holistic approach to architecture, supported by her belief that people need more from the built environment than accommodation of functional requirements. Her architecture seeks to create environments that satisfy the human spirit. Her belief that architecture be socially, as well as contextually, responsible can be seen in all of her projects, and particularly in her design of housing, a subject to which she has devoted much recent professional and academic effort. In her more than thirty years of practice she has been involved in the construction of hundereds of dwelling units on four continents.

Adèle Naudé Santos was appointed dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004.

Previously, she was professor at the University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design where her academic focus was the design of housing environments. Her interdisciplinary courses in urban design encouraged architecture, landscape, and urban design students to collaborate and address unsolved problems in the urban environment.

Before Berkeley, she was the founding dean at the University of California at San Diego School of Architecture and professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania where she was also chair of the architecture department for six years. She also taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and at Rice University. She has had numerous visiting appointments through out the United States and the world, including Italy and in her native South Africa.

Professor Santos holds an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London. She also received a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University as well as a Master of Architecture and a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her academic work, she is principal architect in the San Francisco-based firm, Santos Prescott and Associates. Her architectural and planning projects include affordable and luxury housing and institutional buildings in Africa; affordable housing in Japan; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; the Center for the Arts at Albright College, Reading, PA; the Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Center in San Francisco; City Links, A Vision Plan for San Diego; and Franklin/LaBrea Affordable Housing in Hollywood, CA. She recently exhibited in a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Dean Santos has received numerous awards and honors including being named Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1996. She has won numerous competitions for projects including the Perris Civic Center (CA), three facilities at Arts Park (CA), the Affordable Prototypical Multi-Family Housing for Franklin/LaBrea in Los Angeles, and Penn Children’s Center (PA).

She serves as a juror for numerous national and international design competitions and award programs and has published extensively in journals and books.

She holds NCARB Certification, is a registered architect in Massachusetts, and is a Member of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects, the American Institute of Architects, and the Architect’s Registration Council, in the United Kingdom.

Press and Awards

Women in Design Award of Excellence (2006)
Topaz Medallion (2009)

Institutional Affiliations

Massachusetts Institute of Technology