Molly Steenson

Molly Wright Steenson

Associate Professor, Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Fine Arts, K&L Gates Associate Professor of Ethics & Computational Technologies

Molly Wright Steenson is the Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Fine Arts; the K&L Gates Associate Professor of Ethics & Computational Technologies; and associate professor in the School of Design.

She is the author of the book Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, 2017), which explores the radical history of design, architecture, AI and cybernetics from the 1950s to the present. It focuses on the practices of Nicholas Negroponte, Cedric Price, Christopher Alexander, and Richard Saul Wurman. She's the co-editor of Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press, 2019) with Laura Forlano and Mike Ananny, an edited volume that looks at the impact of the Bauhaus as it turns 100.

At CMU, she has taught undergraduate research methods and senior studio; Seminar 1, the theory/concepts seminar for Master of Design students; courses related to service design; and doctoral courses. She advises master's and doctoral students in the School of Design and School of Architecture, and undergraduate thesis students in architecture and capstone projects.

Molly holds a PhD in architecture from Princeton University and a Master's in Environmental Design from the Yale School of Architecture. She was a resident professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy, where she led the Connected Communities research group (early 2003–late 2004), and was an adjunct professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the Media Design Practices Program. From 2013–15, Molly was an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught data visualization, digital studies, and led Mellon-funded research projects in the digital humanities. 

Molly has also worked with the web since 1994 at such companies as Reuters, Scient, Netscape, and Razorfish. She cofounded Maxi, an award-winning women's webzine, in the 90s. As a design researcher, she examines the effect of personal technology and digital media on their users, including projects in India and China for Microsoft Research and ReD Associates for Intel Research.