William J. Mitchell, longtime dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning and generally known as "Bill," died on June 11 at 65. During his 18 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he spearheaded a program that created almost 1 million square feet of space for the campus at a cost of $1 billion.
Not since the mid-20th century—when Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen built there—had MIT built the type of architectural icons that Mitchell helped launch. These included Frank Gehry's Stata Center, Kevin Roche's Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, Steven Holl's Simmons Hall, Charles Correa's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex, and Fumihiko Maki's Media Lab Complex.
A prolific author, Mitchell conducted extensive urban research through the Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab. "He was one of the first to understand the profound effects of computation on the architecture profession and of the Internet on everyday life," says current MIT dean Adèle Naudé Santos.