The School of Architecture at UIC appoints ‘creative powerhouse’ as director

Florencia Rodriguez, the new director of the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts
Florencia Rodriguez, the new director of the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts. Photo by Pablo Gerson.

A multidisciplinary educator whose work spans two continents, Rodriguez will continue to advance the school’s mission and facilitate new dialogue across cultures and fields of design

The School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago announced today the appointment of Florencia Rodriguez as its new director.

For two decades, Rodriguez has practiced as an editor, writer and educator in both the United States and Argentina, creating bridges in architectural discourse between the Americas, as well as within the field. She comes to UIC from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she was also a Loeb Fellow in 2013. She will assume the directorship in August 2022, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

In her new role, Rodriguez will continue to facilitate dialogue across cultures and disciplines in advancement of the school’s strong intellectual vision and commitment to the intersection of practice and theory.

As a multidisciplinary practitioner, Rodriguez brings a fresh perspective and entrepreneurial spirit to the School of Architecture. In 2010, Rodriguez founded PLOT, one of the leading design publications in Latin America. Through the U.S.-based publishing company Lots of Architecture Publishers, which she established in 2017, Rodriguez has edited numerous books, directed NESS — a periodical on architecture, life and urban culture — and spearheaded programming aimed at the dissemination of new narratives and the exploration of alternative forms of design criticism.

“With NESS, and previously Monte and PLOT, Florencia Rodriguez has demonstrated a significant ability and commitment to building forums focused on architecture as a cultural practice,” said David Brown, associate director of graduate affairs and the search committee’s co-chair. “Florencia is uniquely positioned to advance the School of Architecture’s mission to prepare graduates to negotiate and collaborate across various manifestations of design, and to generate ideas and systems with contemporary cultural and disciplinary resonance.”

Rodriguez’s intellectual contributions and dedication to training the next generation of designers have helped shape and propel important conversations in the field. Her recent book published by Actar D, “MCHAP The Americas 2: Territory & Expeditions,” provides a set of lenses through which to examine the newest architecture of the Americas, and promotes new understandings about the relationship between architecture and its environment, as well as singularities and genealogies of the region’s most prominent works. Rodriguez has received several awards for her editorial work, which has also appeared in publications such as Domus, Oris, summa+, Arquine and Uncube.

Under outgoing director Robert Somol’s extraordinary leadership, the School of Architecture has had a transformative impact on international architecture education as an “incubator of new ideas” premised on architecture as a projective cultural practice.

“Florencia Rodriguez is a creative powerhouse with a brilliant design sensibility who will build on this strong foundation and who will work collaboratively with our world-class faculty to propel the school to even greater accomplishments,” said Rebecca Rugg, dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts. “Additionally, as a trained architect and educator whose work spans two continents, Florencia is representative of the diverse perspectives and cultures that shape the School of Architecture’s incredible student body, and that inspire and inform UIC’s progressive outlook.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the School of Architecture at UIC,” Rodriguez said. “I have long admired the School of Architecture’s commitment to a curriculum that fuses theory, technology and rigorous research in a way that encourages students to approach architectural ideas with fresh eyes and a deep sense of purpose. I look forward to advancing this vision and adapting it to reflect the ever-shifting cultural, political and economic realities of contemporary society.”

As director, Rodriguez will work closely with the dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, and the School of Architecture faculty, staff and administration, on all aspects of the school’s operation. Her role will also include fostering and strengthening relationships both within and outside the field that promote the school’s pursuit to liberate and install new forms of collective association and material arrangement through all media of architectural design and research.

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