Friday, November 1, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

It is my pleasure to announce that Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Suárez, FAIA, will be joining us in January as the next Director of the School of Architecture, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. He is currently an ACSA Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico, where he served as Dean from 2007 until 2016. 

Francisco brings a strong record of influence in the field of architectural education and is a globally recognized leader in thinking through the central role of architecture, design, and education in confronting the world’s most urgent challenges. He is passionate about the lives of cities and how not only design but design education can help keep them just and flourishing. Under his leadership the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico rose to prominence across the Caribbean and Ibero-America, with the work of students and faculty recognized through competitions, publications, and the founding of four new research laboratories. 

His own educational background includes study at Georgia Tech, the Université de Paris, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he earned a Master of Architecture with Distinction and American Institute of Architects (AIA) School Medal. More recent honors include recognition as an AIA Fellow in 2019 and as a Distinguished Professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in 2016. His outstanding record also includes service as a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, where he began an in-depth and broad-ranging examination of the history of architectural education that took him to one of the field’s highest offices in 2017, when members of ACSA elected him as the organization’s president. 

Francisco is also an active designer and builder through work with his own San Juan firm rsvp architects and competitions worldwide, including participation in artist Ai Weiwei’s internationally exhibited Ordos 100 project. A prolific editor and publisher, Francisco served for a number of years as editor of (in)forma, an award-winning academic journal; he has also edited and written for a series of influential books on architectural pedagogy and contemporary architecture in Puerto Rico.

This new leader joins us from outside the university, bringing a wealth of new networks and knowledges to our efforts. In Francisco, we also have someone who brings deep knowledge and appreciation for our School of Architecture’s distinctive and historic record of accomplishment. Such a combination of global and local perspectives will serve us well not only in architecture but across the college, helping us to deeper service to the state, the region, and beyond.

Please join me in thanking search committee chair Professor Sally Jackson and the members of the committee for their tremendous work, as well as Professor Mohamed Boubekri for serving as interim director for this semester.

Sincerely,

Kevin Hamilton
Professor and Dean