Hilary Ballon, Professor of Urban Studies and Architecture, NYU
As Deputy Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, Hilary Ballon is part of the leadership team that is developing NYU's new, full-scale campus for undergraduate and graduate students and pursuing President Sexton's vision of NYU as a global network university. A founding member of the team that began planning NYUAD in September 2007, she has been involved in all aspects of the new university, with particular emphasis on the design of a new, globally oriented curriculum and of the campuses in downtown Abu Dhabi and on Saadiyat Island. A frequent traveler to Abu Dhabi, Ballon is based in New York, where a priority is to build an organic connection between NYU in New York and Abu Dhabi. In addition to her administrative duties, Ballon teaches courses on urbanism and architecture to undergraduates and in the graduate planning program at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Ballon's scholarship focuses on cities and the intersection of architecture, politics, and social life in two fields of research, 20th-century America (in particular, New York City) and 17th-century Europe (in particular, Paris). She curated Robert Moses and the Modern City, the 2007 exhibition that re-evaluated his physical transformation of New York in the mid-20th century. The exhibition was organized in three concurrent parts: Remaking the Metropolis at the Museum of the City of New York; The Road to Recreation at the Queens Museum of Art; and Slum Clearance and the Superblock Solution at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery of Columbia University. Ballon was a principal author and co-editor of the accompanying book, Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York (with Kenneth T. Jackson, W.W. Norton, 2007).
Ballon's previous books include New York's Pennsylvania Stations (W.W. Norton, 2002); Louis Le Vau: Mazarin's Collège, Colbert's Revenge (Princeton University Press, 1999), which won the Prix d'Académie from the Académie Française; and The Paris of Henri IV: Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural History Foundation/MIT Press, 1991), which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Prize for the Most Distinguished Work in Architectural History and is widely cited as a model for its consideration of urban planning in relation to social, political, and economic forces. She has also curated Gateway to Metropolis: New York's Pennsylvania Stations at the Wallach Art Gallery and Frank Lloyd Wright: The Vertical Dimension at the Skyscraper Museum.
Ballon has also been active in the area of electronic publishing, where she has worked on a multimedia platform to capture the potential of digital technology and dynamic images for scholarly publication. Although multimedia features are common on commercial websites, scholarly journals have been limited to a static, black-and-white format (PDF) with norms rooted in print publication. As Editor of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH), she secured funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a prototype with multimedia features, including zoomable illustrations, video, and 3D models; to conduct an international search for a development partner; and to undertake business planning to assure a sustainable transition for SAH, a not-for-profit scholarly society. While advancing JSAH, the goal was to create a multimedia platform that would broadly serve scholarly journals. That goal will be realized because JSAH's effort has now involved a partnership between the University of California Press and JSTOR to implement the multimedia platform on a large scale, with JSAH Online as the pioneer publication. Ballon is the Founding Editor of JSAH Online; the first edition will appear in March 2010, and the full-scale launch of the multimedia platform on JSTOR and at UCP will take place in 2011.
This work in electronic publication began in July 2006, when Ballon and Mariët Westermann completed a study of scholarly publishing in art and architectural history funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In order to exemplify their argument for electronic publication, the authors published Art History and Its Publications in the Electronic Age electronically (Rice University Press and the Council on Library and Information Resources, 2006).
Before joining NYU in September 2007, Ballon had been at Columbia University since 1985. An innovative and dedicated teacher, Ballon received Columbia University's highest teaching awards: the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Great Teacher Award, and the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Teaching Award. Her seminar on the urban development of New York City was a laboratory for collaborative student work and digital projects. She was chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology from 2002-04, and as director of Art Humanities, she oversaw a cornerstone of Columbia's undergraduate core curriculum. An active participant in university affairs, she chaired the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, played a leadership role in curricular development, co-chaired the Arts & Sciences Faculty Fundraising Committee for the Capital Campaign, and served on the Presidential Search Committee, among many university appointments.
Ballon serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum of the City of New York, the Regional Plan Association, and the Skyscraper Museum, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Princeton School of Architecture She was chairman of the Planning Board of Englewood, New Jersey from 2000-05 where she dealt with contested development issues and rewrote the town's master plan.
Ballon received a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. Her academic awards include fellowships from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Andrew H. Mellon Foundation.