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Hilary Ballon

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (1985–1986)

Governing Board Member, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (1994–1996)

website In Memoriam
Headshot of Hilary Ballon

As Deputy Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, Hilary Ballon was part of the leadership team that is developing NYU's new, comprehensive campus, which opened in September 2010, and establishing NYU as a global university. A founding member of the team that began planning NYUAD in September 2007, she was involved in all aspects of the new university, with particular responsibility for the design of a new, globally oriented curriculum and of the campus facilities. Ballon oversaw the New York office of NYUAD and represents it at Washington Square. Her other responsibilities included development of NYUAD's permanent campus for 2600 students on Saadiyat Island designed by Rafael Violy Architects and scheduled to open in 2014; institutional research and program assessment; curricular planning, recruitment of NYU faculty to teach at NYUAD; and public programs and other activities at 19 Washington Square, the academic home of NYUAD in New York. In addition to her administrative duties, Ballon taught courses on urbanism and architecture to undergraduates and in the graduate planning program at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she was a University Professor.

Ballon's scholarship focused 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 an exhibition The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, opening in December 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York, and was editor of the related book (Columbia University Press, 2011).

She previously 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 College, Colbert's Revenge (Princeton University Press, 1999), which won the Prix d'Academie from the Academie Francaise; 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 was active in the area of electronic publishing, where she developed a multimedia platform to capture the potential of digital technology and dynamic images for scholarly 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, GIS, and 3D models; to establish a business plan to assure a sustainable transition for the publisher, a not-for-profit scholarly society; and to find a development partner. The first edition of JSAH Online appeared in March 2010, published by University of California Press. Ballon is the Founding Editor of JSAH Online.

With JSAH as the pilot, the ultimate goal of the Mellon-funded project was to create a multimedia platform that would broadly serve scholarly journals. That goal was realized in 2011, when JSTOR adopted the JSAH/ University of California Press platform for its Current Scholarship Program. In contrast to the static, black-and-white format (PDF) of earlier digital journals, with norms rooted in print publication, the JSAH-pioneered, multimedia platform that JSTOR has adopted marks a new stage in digital publication.

This work in electronic publication began in July 2006, when Ballon and Mari�t 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 served on the Board of Directors of the Museum of the City of New York, the Regional Plan Association, and the Skyscraper Museum, and was 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.