Prescott Muir Takes Reins of Utah’s School of Architecture

Architect sees University of Utah as laboratory of innovative design

June 30, 2009 — Prescott Muir, award-winning architect practicing in Salt Lake City, Utah and southern California since 1976, is the new director of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah, officials announced today. The School of Architecture is a department in the College of Architecture + Planning.

“Muir’s experience is a welcome addition to our faculty,” said Brenda Scheer, College dean. “It is essential that, as the demand for highly-skilled architects continues, our students develop a world view drawn from both landmark research, real-world problem solving, and access to cutting-edge design tools. Prescott’s professional experience as one of Utah’s finest architects and his notable community leadership will help sustain the creative tension between ideas and implementation that we strive for.”

Among Muir’s design projects are familiar Utah cultural icons, including the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake, Ethel Wattis Kimball Visual Arts Center in Ogden, the Bridge Project for Artspace in Salt Lake, and the Pleasant Valley Library in Ogden. No stranger to the academic setting, Muir also has been an adjunct professor at the U since 1993, teaching design studios for graduate architecture students.

“Utah is a living laboratory for “smart” design,” Muir stated. “There is no better place than the University of Utah to train students for the challenges of explosive growth in a way that balances innovative design of our building and our built environment with the most stunning natural landscape in the nation.”

Muir’s community involvement demonstrates a deep interest in the Utah’s future. He is past president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Utah, serves on the board of governors of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and board chair of the Downtown Alliance. He led the scenarios committee of Envision Utah, a state-wide plan for quality growth that protects the environment and maintains economic vitality and quality of life. In addition, he oversaw AIA Utah’s first annual carbon footprint competition for architects in 2008.

For his career-long contributions to the field of architecture and the community, Muir earned membership in the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

“It’s nice to be in a position where you can seemingly help make things better,” Muir said about the award. “Builders tend to be optimists.”

“AIA Utah is most happy to hear of Prescott Muir’s selection as the Director of the School of Architecture,” said Ken Naylor, President of AIA Utah, “Prescott’s strength as a designer coupled with his years of successful practice bring a unique outlook and essential talent to this important position. He brings to this position the enthusiastic support of the professional community. His selection will, undoubtedly, strengthen the bond between the CA+P and practicing architects in our region.”

The College of Architecture + Planning, established at the University of Utah in 1949, fosters an educational community of students, faculty, and staff with interests and expertise in creative design, building, planning, computer technology, issues of social and ecological responsibility, and the scholarly study of the history and theory of the built landscape. We educate future professionals who are concerned with constructing and maintaining the highest quality in our built and natural environments.

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