Brett Steele



Architectural scholar Brett Steele is the dean of USC School of Architecture and holder of the Della & Harry MacDonald Dean’s Chair in Architecture.

Brett is a teacher, writer, and leading voice on architecture, cities, and education. He has served on national and overseas arts and architecture commissions, juries, and policy planning initiatives. Brett’s scholarly interests focus on the modern history and contemporary conditions of architecture, and art education and culture. He is a frequent lecturer worldwide on architecture, design and the arts within larger public, political and professional fields.

Brett’s writing explores how the field of architecture has transformed globally in the past 150 years. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and he has written extensively on the expansive environments of today’s electronic, computational and amplified studios and networks in 21st-century design.

Brett is the founder and series editor of Architecture Words, which has published the writings of many of the world’s leading architects, designers and scholars. He is the author of more than 200 publications and editor of six books, including Supercritical: Peter Eisenman Meets Rem Koolhaas (2009); 014: Projection & Reception (2012); First Works: Emerging Architectural Experimentation of the 1960s & 1970s (2009); and others.

Previously, he was the first architect appointed as dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts), with oversight of 14 degree-awarding programs in four academic departments, two world-renowned museums (the Hammer & Fowler Museums) and the UCLA Center for the Art of Performance. At UCLA Arts he led initiatives that resulted in the school’s highest enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds; the revision of curricula to be more inclusive, and increased civic engagement. He led fundraising efforts to improve the school’s facilities, including the acquisition and renovation of the UCLA Nimoy Theater, Westwood, and the award-winning Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, in Culver City.

Prior to UCLA, Brett was elected the 19th director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London, one of the world’s oldest schools of architecture. There he led a decade-long transformation and expansion of all academic programs, the association’s global membership and two subsidiary companies; AA Publications and the Hooke Park Educational Trust. He expanded the AA into the world’s largest public program dedicated to contemporary architecture, and launched the AA Visiting School, which annually operated dozens of schools across five continents and in more than 50 cities. He has organized, curated and hosted exhibitions and major public events throughout the world, and in 2014 exhibited a 1:1 reconstruction of Le Corbusier’s Maison Domino. Prior to being elected school director, Brett founded the AA School’s first-ever accredited Master of Architecture program, the AA Design Research Lab, an impactful, team-based interdisciplinary studio he led for eight years.

An American architect and naturalized British citizen, Steele grew up in Oregon and Idaho. He received his diploma in architecture from the Architectural Association, and studied at the University of Oregon, the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, and the San Francisco Center for Architecture and Urban Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. As the first member of his family to attend university, he advocates the vital role of the arts and architecture in higher education to promote social mobility, global learning, and cross-cultural exchange.