Karen Van Lengen
Career in Architecture
Karen Van Lengen is an internationally recognized, distinguished architect and educator. In her role as Dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture from 1999-2009, she championed cross-disciplinary education and research to address the complex environmental and cultural challenges that she dubbed “The Architecture of Urgent Matters.” She supported the post-Katrina reconstruction initiatives, the development of sustainable and emergency housing and a vibrant series of programs that encouraged a constructive dialogue between ethics and aesthetics. With other University scholars, she co-founded a pan-university initiative on the improvement of the environment. She also founded “Women’s Work,” a monthly lecture series at the University that promotes the scholarship of women. While dean, she initiated “Campbell Constructions”, a faculty design program to recreate Campbell Hall and its contiguous landscape using her own faculty and alumni as the designers. Her most recent book Urgent Matters: Designing the School of Architecture at Jefferson’s University, (2009) documents that decade long rejuvenation process. As Chair of Architecture at Parsons School of Design, (1995-1999), she founded the renowned Design Build Workshop, that celebrates the theory-to-building process, by redesigning the curriculum to emphasis this fundamental relationship. In 2010 she received the Zintl Award for Leadership at the University of Virginia. Van Lengen began her professional career at I M Pei & Partners where she became the first female Design Associate, before founding her own firm in New York City in 1987. She has won numerous design awards, competitions and honors including , a Fulbright Fellowship in Rome, Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects and the winner of the Amerika Gedenkbibliotek Competition in Berlin.Van Lengen received her B.A. from Vassar College, cum laude with departmental honors in Psychology, followed by a MArch from Columbia University, where she received the William Kinne Travelling Fellowship and the American Association of University Women Fellowship.
Her current research focuses on the exploration of sound and communication as an integral part of the new public realm and its evolving democratic culture. In 2010, The Art Institute of Chicago acquired her MIX HOUSE project (with Joel Sanders and Ben Rubin), for their permanent design collection. Another recent project, ‘Sound Lounge’, (with Jim Welty and Joel Sanders Architect) won Honorable Mention in Virginia AIA’s Design, Research and Scholarship Competition. She has built an archive of building soundscapes with the Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities at the University of VIrginia and as their 2-year Fellow, 2012-14 she developed ( with worthy Martin, Jim Welty and Troy Rogers) a new website on the sounds of iconic buildings in architecture. The site includes real and interpreted soundscapes as well as anlytical drawings to explain their qualities. Van Lengen has been invited to lecture extensively about his theme and has written several articles about our relation to the aural qualities of architecture.
Major Buildings and Projects
- 2007: MIX HOUSE (with Joel Sanders and Ben Rubin) Art Institute of Chicago Design Coll.
- Fragrant Hill Hotel, Beijing, with IM Pei Partners
- Museum of Fine Arts addition, Boston, with IM Pei Partners
Press and Awards
Van Lengen is the William R. Kennan Jr. Professor of Architecture. In addition to the many articles she has written she has published three books during her career as architect and educator.
- 1994: Finalist, Air Force Memorial Competition, Washington, D.C.
- 1992: Finalist, 2000 Olympics Competition, Berlin, Germany
- 1991: Finalist, Denver Urban Follies Competition, Denver, Colorado
- 1988-89: First Prize, Amerika Gedenkbibliothek Competition, Berlin, West Germany
- 1988: Third Prize, Formica 2000X Competition
- 1983: AIA Honor Award, Fragrant Hill Hotel, Beijing, China (I.M. Pei & Partners)
- 2013: Jefferson Trust Foundation Grant for “Listening to the Lawn” Project
- One of “26 BEST Virginia Professors”, by ONLINE SCHOOLS VIRGINIA2012-14
- Fellow, Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities
- University of Virginia Arts Grounds Grant
- 2010: Fellowship, American Institute of Architects
- University of Virginia Zintl Leadership Award
- Virginia Society AIA Honorable Mention, Design Research and Scholarship.
- 2009: Distinguished Achievement Award, Virginia Society of the AIA
- Boston Architecture Center Grant Award for “Hearsays” project with Joel Sanders
- 1998: Service Award, Faculty Design Projects, ACSA, 1998
- 1982-83: Fulbright Fellowship in Architecture, Rome, Italy
- 1980: Honorable Mention, Steedman Fellowship Competition for Rome Prize
- 1975-76: American Association of University Women Academic Fellowship
- 1976: William Kinne Traveling Fellowship, Columbia University
- Thrasher, Michael, “Experience Iconic Buildings Through Soundscape Architecture”, Design & Trend, online, Mar. 2014
- Massie, Caroline, “Sounds in the City”, Architect Magazine, on line, posted March 7, 2014
- “Soundscape Architecture- A New Way to Experience Famous Buildings”, ARCHDAILY, February 23, 2014
- Shute, Varick, “Fascinating Noise”, Urban Omnibus/Architectural League of New York, January 15, 2014
- 29 News Coverage of Sound Lounge, University of Virginia, March
- Hamilton, William, “The World of Sound”, Dwell Magazine, November 2012
- “Listen and Learn”, Interior Design Magazine, March 2010,
- Goff, Lisa, “Breaking the Sound Barriers”, Inform Magazine, September 2010
- Manaugh, Geoff, Building Blog, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2009, pp. 153-57
- Bromley, Anne E. “Off the Shelf: Karen Van Lengen”, UVA Today, November 3, 2009
- “Making Sense/ MIX HOUSE,” Architectural Design, May/June, p.16-19
- Mix House, Dwell Magazine, Spring 2007
- OPEN HOUSE: Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living, Vitra Design Stifture gGmbh, Weil am Rhein, pp. 86-92
- CHARLIE ROSE SHOW INTERVIEW, August 15, 2006
- Design Excellence Video, General Services Administration
- Garden Design PBS Series, Interview with Karen Van Lengen in Pavilion IX
- Designing Woman, 64 Magazine, April, pp. 38-47.
- McKee, Bradford, “Under the Spell of Jefferson”, New York Times, September 6, 2001, pp D1, 11
- Bell, PH, “Karen Van Lengen, Berlin,” Architectures de Metal, Fevrier/Mars 1993, p.24.
- Stephens, Suzanne, “The Fountainhead and the Female,” Oculus, vol.55, no.7, March 1993, pp.6.
- Progetti, “I campi sportivi nello Jahn Sport Park e il Parco del Muro, 1992.” (Concorso “Berlin Olimpics 2000”), Controspazio, 6/1993, pp.29-33.
- Breslau, Karen, “The New Face of Berlin.” Newsweek, February, 3, 1992, pp.60-62.
- Parks, Janet, Contemporary Architectural Drawings, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, 1991, pp. 132-133.
- Mays, Vernon, “Urban Prize.” Architecture, October, 1991, pp. 54-57.
- Grant Lewin, Susan, From the Counter Top to High Art, Rizzoli International Publications, 1991. pp. 140-141.
- Krau, Ingrid, “City at the Canal,” Architektur Ruhrgebiet, 1991, Jurgen Hausser, pp.66-70.
- Wettstein, Kay, “Ein Landhaus Im Upstate New York.” Atrium, Januar/Februar/Marz Nr. 1/1991, pp.34-40.
- Cullen, Michael S., “Berlin: American Memorial Library Addition.” Competitions, Vol.1, Winter 1991, pp.10-16.
- Giordano, Michele Bazan, “Un’ala sopra Berlino.” l’Arca, number 48, Aprile 1991,pp.54-59,
- Weir, Georgette, “With a Nod to Checkpoint Charlie.” Vassar Quarterly, Vol.86, No.4, Fall 1991, p.27.
- Staub, Alexandra, “Projects: Post-Wall Berlin.” Progressive Architecture, 12/1991, pp.95.
- Barriere, Philippe, “Karen Van Lengen.” L’Architecture D’Au Jourd’hui, Sommaire 271, October 1990, pp. 132-133.
- McNiff, Veronica, “Strong and Sure.” Elle Decor, November 1990, pp. 98-105.
- Quinn, Judy, “Berlin’s American Library Reflects Changes in the City.” Library Journal, May 15, 1990, p.11.
- Dorris, Virginia Kent, “Now you win it … then again, maybe not.” Engineering News Record, May 17m 1990, pp.27-28.
- Mathewson, Casey C.M., “Proposals for a Changing Berlin.” Architecture, September 1990, p.42.
- Branch, Mark Alden, “Switch in Berlin Library Competition.” Progressive Architecture, 2/1990, p.21.
- Blenznick, Susan R., “Give and Take on the Eastern Front.” Architectural Record, February 1990, pp.17.
- Wohlhage, Konrad, “Deutsch-amerikanische Freundschaft. “Archithese, Year 19, number 2, Marz/April 1989, pp.53-56.
- Stephen, Suzanne, “Showing off a New Material.” The New York Times, C3, February 2, 1989.
- Krau, Ingrid, “Bericht uber eine Akademie. “Bauwelt, Year 80, Nr.48, 22 Dezember 1989, pp.2298-2309.
- Feireiss, Kristin, “Karen Van Lengen,” 14 x Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek: Architects from the United States planning for Berlin, 1989, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, pp. 30-41.
- Van Lengen, Karen and Sanders, Joel, Re–envisioning Audio Techno-culture, The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society., 2010.
- Van Lengen, Karen, “Women in Architecture”, The Chronicle Review,, May 16, 2010
- Van Lengen, Karen, URGENT MATTERS: Designing the School of Architecture at Jefferson’s University, UVA, 2009
- Van Lengen, Karen, and Sanders, Joel, “Making Sense”, INTERIOR ATMOSPHERES, Architectural Design Publication, May/June 2008, pp.16-19
- Ethics & Aesthetics in Art and Architecture, Introduction, School of Architecture, UVA , 2008
- Van Lengen, Karen, In The Place of Sound: Architecture/Music/Acoustics, Mix House, Ryerson U., pp. 161-166, 2007
- Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture: The First Forty Years, Editor and Introduction, School of Arch. UVA, 2007
- Van Lengen, Karen and Reilly, Lisa, An Architectural Guide to Vassar College, Princeton Architectural Press, New York
- Van Lengen, Karen and Sheridan, Ted, “Hearing Architecture”, Journal of Architectural Education, November 2003
- Van Lengen, Karen, City Spaces, New York, Parsons School of Design, 2000
- Van Lengen, Karen, “By Design- Designing a house for her family”, Metropolis, September, 1998, p.51
- Van Lengen, Karen, “The Busy Woman’s Dream Home. An award-winning architect designs a one-of-a-kind house to organize and simplify our lives.” Ladies Home Journal, February 1996, pp.126.
- Van Lengen, Karen, “The structuring of a new architectural landscape.” Bulletin of The International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, Vol. 35 (1994) n. 2, August n.115. pp. 71-76.
- Van Lengen, Karen, “Scheme for New Berlin Government Center Awaits Final Approval”, Architecture, September 1993, pp.28-31.
- Van Lengen, Karen, “Spreebogen Typologies: Jury Reconvenes to Confirm 1st-Stage Winner,” Competitions, Volume 3, Fall, 1993.
- University of Virginia
- Parsons The New School of Design
- FAIA, ACSA
- Hedda Sterne Foundation
- CALL, City as Living Laboratory