Department of Architecture
201 John A. Russell Building
University of Manitoba
(Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2M6
Ralph Stern is a licensed architect in Manitoba, a member of the Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA) and has served on the MAA Council since 2011, to which he has been appointed for a third consecutive term. He is a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). He is also a licensed architect in the United States (New York), where he holds professional licensure for more than 25 years, is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and has worked for firms such as the Pritzker-Prize winning Richard Meier and Partners. He has held professional licensure in Germany.
An accomplished educator, Ralph Stern has more than 20 years of educational experience in public and private institutions in the United States, Europe, and Canada including the Technical University Berlin (TUB), University of the Arts Berlin (UdK), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia University and, as Research Associate, Cambridge University. His research has been exhibited and published internationally and received support from various institutions including the (US) National Endowment for the Arts, the American Embassy in Berlin, and the German Foreign Ministry.
As Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Ralph Stern utilized his international experience in design competitions to facilitate the relationship with phase eins of Berlin in managing the open international design competition for Visionary (re)Generation, the new master plan for the University’s Fort Garry campus. His expertise in architecture and urban design was essential in serving as a Technical Juror for the first international competition undertaken by the University. The strategic planning to realize this vision for the University of Manitoba is currently underway.
Ralph Stern led three visits for senior University administrators and faculty to Germany and Switzerland to highlight the importance of contemporary urban design. The benefits following include a formal relationship between the University of Manitoba and the Technical University Munich (student, faculty, and research exchanges), increasing opportunities for leading-edge research in areas of sustainable and energy efficient design (including with firms such as Transsolar) as well as digital fabrication. He has worked to facilitate cooperation with the prestigious Oskar von Miller Forum (OvMF).
Professional and Administration Accomplishments (continued)
Ralph Stern championed the development of a Faculty Digital Fabrication Lab (FabLab), bringing in international experts to speak to the integration of leading-edge technology with pedagogy. In turn, this initiative enabled collaboration with other Faculties and models of proposed cooperation receiving significant support from the University administration. Additionally, Dean Stern fostered the first Partner-in-Residence Program in the Faculty’s history with Manitoba Hydro, further enhancing Faculty research in areas of sustainable and energy efficient design.
In his tenure as Dean, the Faculty has consistently maintained a balanced budget, has engaged in an extensive consultative process resulting in the Faculty’s first Strategic Plan in alignment with the University’s Strategic Priorities, developed a Faculty-wide Workload Allocation Matrix, consistently supported student participation in the award-winning Warming Huts competitions, consistently supported students in producing the award-winning Warehouse publication, created the Faculty’s first Dean’s Lecture Series, facilitated the first program review of the Environmental Design Program since its creation (as Environmental Studies, 1966), and facilitated the first graduate program reviews in Architecture and Interior Design since these programs were created.
Fundamentally, both as Dean of the Faculty and as a member of faculty, Ralph Stern has embraced the University’s pledge to “work with a variety of partners to make Winnipeg the national centre of excellence in Indigenous education, and in particular to allow Indigenous students to be prepared for and to achieve educational success in the full range of academic programs we provide.” Further, he has actively engaged the University’s challenge to “Indigenize the curriculum”, developing relationships with internal and external partners to better engage stakeholders marginalized far too long.
Prior to entering academia, Ralph Stern worked both in construction, developing essential “hands-on” work experience, and for many years on projects of various scales for renowned architectural firms such as Richard Meier & Partners and Kohn Pederson Fox (New York), has done professional design consulting for large scale projects and has successfully participated in multiple international design competitions. Organizational talents developed in working with stakeholders ranging from connoisseurs to corporate clients, from individual craftsman to construction consortiums, and from day laborers to trade unions enabled the acquisition of a highly diverse and flexible set of administrative skills.
While serving as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, Ralph Stern has championed the seminal legacy of modernist design education that has shaped our regional and national built environments. He has tirelessly advocated for the fundamental importance of environmental design in an era of climate change and increasing resource scarcity. In following these convictions, he has championed inter-disciplinary education to prepare students for the quickly changing world they will be entering as aspiring professionals. He has developed the first course offered by the Faculty to be cross-listed with Native Studies and co-taught two highly successful Berlin Interdisciplinary Studios with a Faculty alumna. Underscoring his personal commitment to the Faculty’s Strategic Plan and the University’s Strategic Priorities, he is currently, together with the Associate Dean Academic (also an alumna of the Faculty), developing coursework and outreach both local and international in the area of Indigenous Design.
In joining the Faculty, Ralph Stern brought with him extensive international teaching experience from the United States and Europe, including the Technical University Berlin and the University of the Arts Berlin, where he was co-director of the Program for Urban Processes. He served as Visiting Faculty for the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics, the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, and the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art Program at MIT. He has been a Research Associate in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Cambridge.
Teaching and Research Accomplishments (continued)
Ralph Stern has a significant track record of research in the area of History, Theory, and Criticism with presentations in the United States at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, University of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Dallas Architecture Forum. In Europe he has lectured at the Architectural Association London, University of Edinburgh, Cambridge University, American Academy in Rome / Bibliotheca Hertziana, Werner Oechslin Foundation, Art Historical Institute of Heidelberg University, Berlin Academy of the Arts, and the Bauhaus University Weimar among many other venues.
His research development at the University of Manitoba reflects a commitment to Indigenous Achievement, thereby complementing and extending his ongoing research on architectural, landscape, and urban representation. In the service of understanding architecture within a matrix of social, cultural, and environmental concerns, his research intersects areas of science and technology, history and aesthetics, memory and identity as well as geographic exploration and environmental exploitation. The addition of an Indigenous perspective together with concerns for decolonization and environmental justice has enriched a multifaceted research agenda.
Ralph Stern has published in numerous international journals, including the AAFiles, Architectura, Kritische Berichte, Daidalos, Bauwelt, and Cinema Journal as well as in various anthologies including Out of Ground Zero (ed. J. Ockman), The Return of Landscape (ed. D. Valentien), and Die Farbe Weiß (ed. Klaus J. Philipp). He co-edited a volume on new embassies in Berlin (Foreign Affairs) and, with Nicole Huber, co-authored Urbanizing the Mojave Desert: Las Vegas, excerpted in multiple journals. His photographs of processes of urbanization in the American West have been exhibited internationally (DAZ; German Center for Architecture, PURL; Phoenix Urban Research Lab) and he is co-editing an anthology on urban development entitled Visionary Urbanism: Representations of the Postwar American West. In 2014 he, together with long-term German collaborator Nicole Huber (University of Washington), published a co-authored essay in the anthology entitled Transnationalism and the German City, also excerpted in Places Journal.