What is your biggest design mistake?

Robert Stern, the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is an American author, architect, and preservationist. Stern's buildings have something of a throwback style, and he draws inspiration from early American to late Deco.

Stern received degrees from both Columbia University and Yale University, where he graduated from the School of Architecture in 1965. After finishing Yale, Stern worked for Richard Meier before founding his own firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects, in 1977. His firm, now 300 strong, is responsible for projects around the world, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Disney Feature Animation Building, in Burbank, California, and the future George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Stern, who has taught at Yale and Columbia, was appointed Dean of the Yale School of Architecture in 1998.  Among other books, he is the author of New York 1880, New York 1960, and New York 2000, a series that documents the history and evolution of New York City's architecture.

  • Transcript


Robert A. M. Stern: The only mistake I would say, to be more serious, is sometimes – and I can’t tell you chapter and verse – I didn’t take a big enough leap. 

And that’s why you go and do the next building, by the way.  People ask me, but they ask every other architect like me, “Why don’t you give it up?  Why are architects always . . . they never retire.” 

Because you’re always thinking, “Well there’s another idea I have, another way of doing it.”