Ömer Akin Named School of Architecture Professor Emeritus

"Through Ömer I learned the importance of teaching how we design, not just what we design."

- Steve Lee, SoA Head

Professor Ömer Akin has become Professor Emeritus with the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture.

Ömer served as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University since 1977. He earned his Ph.D. in 1979 from the School of Architecture (SoA) graduate program under the advisory of Charles Eastman, Bill Chase and Herbert Simon, and focused his research in building commissioning, architectural programming and generative design. During his time with SoA, he taught design studios and graduate courses, advised graduate students and lectured both nationally and internationally.

At SoA, Ömer developed the Architecture–Engineering–Construction Management (AECM) Master’s and Ph.D degree programs, as well as the Doctor of Professional Practice (DPP) degree program. Ömer co-authored with William Mitchell and taught in the first professional Master of Architecture degree program of the School from 1980 to 1985. He also served in many administrative positions including as head of the School of Architecture.

Ömer conducted extensive research in design cognition, and is best known in this area for his book Psychology of Architectural Design (Pion Ltd., 1986). More recently, he also published Generative CAD Systems (CMU, 2004) and Embedded Commissioning of Building Systems (Artech House, Inc., 2012).

He authored numerous publications on topics including creativity, early stages of design, architectural programming, computer aided design and human computer interaction. Ömer served as the chair of three international conferences and guest editor of several international journals. He also designed and was the Architect of Record for the Turkish Nationality Room installed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.

SoA Head Steve Lee reflects with admiration on Ömer’s legacy at the school. “The first assignment of my academic career was teaching 1st year studio with Ömer Akin; we taught placemaking on the basis of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities,” Steve recalls. “This interaction had a lasting and profound impact on my attitude towards the studio and classroom. Over the years we went on to become good friends and through him I learned the importance of teaching how we design, not just what we design. Upon becoming head of the school in 2008, I relied upon Ömer for leadership in the AECM program and for the creation of the DPP program. Ömer's retirement is a time for us all to reflect on the positive and lasting impact he has had on the SoA community – by my count there are over 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students that have had him as teacher, mentor and/or agent provocateur.”

Sincerest thanks to Ömer for his many decades of service and dedication to the School of Architecture.