The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design welcomes Fernando Lara, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, and Krzysztof Wodiczko to the faculty.
Fernando Lara, who is joining the standing faculty in the Department of Architecture as professor beginning with Academic Year 2023-2024, currently holds the Roessner Centennial Professorship in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. He works on theorizing spaces of the Americas with an emphasis on the dissemination of design ideas beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. His publications include Street Matters, his latest book on Brazilian urban policy and social movements (with Ana Paula Koury); Excepcionalidad del Modernismo Brasileño; Modern Architecture in Latin America (with Luis Carranza); and The Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil. Framed by decolonial theories, Lara has written widely about issues that pertain to the built environment of our continent, and edited two books: Decolonizing the Spatial History of the Americas and Spatial Concepts for Decolonizing the Americas (with Felipe Hernandez). His forthcoming book, Spatial Theories for the Americas, is under contract with the University of Pittsburgh Press. Lara is the editor of Latin America: Thoughts, a series published by Romano Guerra Editora, and a member of the editorial boards for Platform Space, Planning Perspectives, Revista Dearq (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), Revista Pós (FAU USP, Brazil), and Arquitecturas Del Sur (Universidad del Bío-Bío, Chile). At UT Austin, Lara was chair of the Brazil Center at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and he has directed the PhD Program in Architecture since 2018. He has also taught at the University of Michigan.
Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen joins the Department of Architecture as the Paul Philippe Cret Visiting Professor of Practice. She is professor and the founding director of the Centre for IT and Architecture research group (CITA) at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Design and Conservation, in Denmark. Ramsgaard Thomsen examines the intersections between architecture and advanced computational design processes with respect to the profound changes that digital technologies instigate in the way architecture is thought, designed, and built. At CITA, she piloted a research focus on the new digital-material relations that digital technologies bring forth, and CITA has been instrumental in forming of an international research field examining the changes to material practice in architecture. Ramsgaard Thomsen has led a series of research investigations developing concepts and technologies as well as strategic projects such as the international Marie Curie ITN network Innochain and ERC-funded Eco-Metabolistic Modelling for Architectural Design, which fosters interdisciplinary sharing and dissemination of expertise and supports new collaborations in the fields of architecture, engineering, and fabrication. She is currently general reporter and head of science track for the UIA2023CPH world congress “Sustainable Futures – Leave no one behind,” which asks how architecture can contribute to the UN SDGs.
Krzysztof Wodiczko is a distinguished visiting professor in the Department of Fine Arts. He is a former director of Interrogative Design Group at MIT, and professor emeritus of Art, Design and the Public Domain at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Wodiczko is renowned for his large-scale projections on architectural facades, and monuments; he has realized over 90 in 20 countries. Since the 1980s, through his projections and communicative instruments, he works with marginalized city residents in making public their voice and expression. Wodiczko’s work was presented at Documenta, Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Montreal Biennale, Yokohama Triennial and many other international art exhibitions and festivals. He received the 4th Hiroshima Art Prize “for his contribution as an artist to the world peace” and his work has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at Walker Art Center, Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and other museums and art centers. Wodiczko is an author of Critical Vehicles (MIT Press), City of Refuge: A 9/11 Memorial, The Abolition of War, The Transformative Avant-Garde, and other books including a large monograph Krzysztof Wodiczko, published by Black Dog Press, London. His work has been presented in the PBS television series Art in the Twenty-First Century, and the documentary film Krzysztof Wodiczko: The Art of Un-War, directed by Maria Niro, was released this year.
Academic appointments are subject to review and approval by the School, provost, and the Board of Trustees.