Professor & Head, School of Architecture
Omar Khan has been appointed head of the School of Architecture, effective 1 August 2020. Khan joins CMU from the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York. Khan served as UB department chair for seven years, during which time he initiated new graduate programs, developed industry collaborations, and shepherded facility improvements. During his tenure as chair, the department’s reputation grew in response to his pedagogical innovations, especially in design-build experiential learning and research-focused graduate education. His efforts also led to the largest increase of sponsored research ever experienced by the department.
Khan’s research and creative activities span architecture, installation/performance art, and digital design and fabrication. At UB, he co-directed the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies (CAST) and was an editor of the Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series. CAST’s research focuses on pervasive computing technologies as they intersect with architecture. Through CAST he worked on the legacy of cybernetics and, more recently, artificial intelligence as they apply to the area of responsive architecture. He also was a co-director of the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotics Technology (SMART) Community of Excellence, where researchers across architecture, engineering, computing, and management collaborate with industry to explore robotic technologies for manufacturing. Through SMART, he worked with Boston Valley Terra Cotta, the largest architectural terra cotta manufacturer in North America, on developing digital workflows in the manufacturing process. Since 2017, as part of his research with the company, he organized the annual Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) that invites architects and artists to develop innovative applications for terracotta.
Khan received his bachelor of architecture degree from Cornell University and a master in design and computation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab. His national and international exhibits include the Incheon Digital Art Festival (Korea), Urban Screens Melbourne, ZeroOne San Jose, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the National Building Museum, and the Urban Center. He is a fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the US Department of Education. He is the co-principal, with Laura Garófalo, of Liminal Projects, an architectural research office, and partner with Jordan Geiger in Gekh, a design consultancy.