Interview: Michael Rotondi on Architecture Education

Given the state of the economy around the world, many people are returning to school in the hopes of acquiring new skills while riding out the worst of the effects of the global recession. Toward that end, ArchDaily has begun a College Guide to help people explore different educational options. There are many issues to consider beyond a school’s “name” such as the types of programs architecture schools offer. The Guide has highlighted schools with programs in Building Ecology, Forensic Architecture, and Human Rights, to name a few, while some of the practical issues have included cost analysis, financial aid, and access to cross-disciplinary training.

What has not been explored in the Guide because of its scope is a more theoretical examination of pedagogical strategies. What direction has architecture academics taken and where should it go in order to remain socially relevant, practically agile, and economically competitive? To discuss these issues, we interviewed Michael Rotondi,  a founding student and current Distinguished faculty member of SCI-Arc and principle at RoTo Architecture. Throughout the conversation, Mr. Rotondi’s insight combine with a constant and voracious intellectual curiosity to provide visions that are important to both students and educators.

Read our interview with Michael Rotondi after the break

Courtesy of STL Architects
Courtesy of STL Architects

Daegu Gosan Public Library Competition Entry / STL Architects

Designed by STL Architects…, the new Daegu Gosan Public Library focuses on the evolution of the role of the library in regard to the new ways we now learn and teach. With extensive amounts of information, that could historically

Beyond the “Made In China” Mentality: Why China’s Innovation Revolution Must Embrace Pre-Fab Architecture

Chinese construction company ’s rendering for Sky City One, soon to be the world’s tallest skyscraper. (© Image: via Gizmag)

When Wired correspondent Lauren Hilgers arrived to Broad Town, the headquarters of the Broad Sustainability Group in Changsha, China, she soon realized that this was not your typical workplace environment. At Broad Town, employees must be able to run 7.5 miles over the course of 2 days; recite company “policy” – covering everything from how to save energy to how to brush your teeth – at a moment’s notice; and refer to their boss as “my chairman.”

It may sound strict, but the workers at Broad are on a higher mission. The CEO and founder of the company, Zhang Yue, a.k.a the chairman, doesn’t just consider himself the head of a construction company, but of a “structural revolution.”

In a few years, Zhang has turned the world of skyscraper design on its head, pushing the technical and structural capabilities of pre-fabrication to its utmost (perhaps you’ve heard of the 30-story hotel he built in just 15 days). Not only do Broad’s techniques save time and money, they represent a potentially game-changing opportunity for China to maintain its unfathomable rate of growth in a way that’s both safe and sustainable.

But where does innovation enter in this revolution? China, for years an intellectual playground for Western architects, has become increasingly concerned with nurturing its own latent intellectual capital. However, if Broad’s paradigm takes hold (which, pragmatically-speaking, it should), what will that mean for architectural innovation? In a world of pre-fab structures, can architecture exist?

Puur Pavilion / emma Architecten

© John van Helvert

Architects: emma Architecten
Location: ,
Year: 2012
Photographs: John Lewis Marshall, John van Helvert

House in The Patagonia Fjords / Armando Montero + Samuel Bravo

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© Samuel Bravo

Architects: + Samuel Bravo
Location: Región de , Chile
Architects: Samuel Bravo, Armando Montero
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Samuel Bravo

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Giancarlo Mazzanti, Timayui Kindergarten, Santa Marta
Giancarlo Mazzanti, Timayui Kindergarten, Santa Marta

‘Colombia: Transformed’ Traveling Exhibition

Intercontinental Curatorial Project, which promotes the role of architecture as the vital part of contemporary culture and life, presents its ongoing traveling exhibition Colombia: Transformed. The event is to be shown November 8-9 as part of the Dialogues with the…

The Charmer / Jonathan Segal Architect

© Matthew Segal & Jeffrey Durkin

Architects: Jonathan Segal Architect
Location:, California,
Collaborators: Guillermo Tomaszewski, Matthew Segal
Year: 2011
Photographs: Matthew Segal & Jeffrey Durkin

emv – 170 Social Housing VPO / Burgos & Garrido arquitectos

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© Roland Halbe

Architects: Burgos & Garrido arquitectos
Location: Camino de Sanchinarro, , Spain
Architect In Charge: Francisco Burgos, Ginés Garrido
Design Team: María José Arquero, Almudena Carro, Javier García Germán, Myriam López
Collaborators: Agustín Martín, Raquel Marugán, Emilio Ontiveros, Pilar Recio
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Roland Halbe, Ángel Baltanás, Elena Almagro

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Courtesy of JBAD
Courtesy of JBAD

Daegu Gosan Public Library Competition Entry / JBAD

Designed by JBAD (Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design)…, the proposal for the Daegu Gosan Public Library proposes to simply, and radically, invert the conventional relationship of public space, circulation and access. In doing so, the public space typically defined

Atelier-Bisque Doll / UID Architects

© Hiroshi Ueda

Architects: UID Architects
Location: Minoh, Osaka,
Design Team: Keisuke Maeda
Year: 2009
Area: 151.25 sqm
Site Area: 328.16 sqm
Total Floor Area: 151.25 sqm
Photographs: Hiroshi Ueda

A Circle in a Square / Binocle

© Osamu Nakamura

Architects: Binocle
Location: Prefecture, Japan
Architectural Design: Massimo Bartolini and Lorenzo Bini
Collaborators: Enrico Forestieri
Area: 470 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Osamu Nakamura

Courtesy of Aétrangère
Courtesy of Aétrangère

Seattle Center HUB (Hybrid Urban Bioscape) Competition Entry / Aétrangère

The Seattle Center HUB (Hybrid Urban Bioscape) is an innovative urban space that explores the value of urban hybridization as a design opportunity to address sustainable and technological issues in the definition of the contemporary public space. The starting point…

Boekenberg Park / OMGEVING

Courtesy of

Architects: OMGEVING
Location: Deurne,
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of OMGEVING

Ocasa / JENDRETZKI

© Pablo Corradi

Architects: JENDRETZKI
Location: , New York, United States
Area: 1,800 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Pablo Corradi

Starchitect Trick-Or-Treaters

Ando as a mime © Building Satire

What’s scarier, Ando as a mime or Zaha as a witch? With their Costume Critique | Morbid Models post, Building Satire transformed Tadao Ando, Bjarke Ingels, , Rem Koolhaas and Jean Nouvel into creepy trick-or-treaters. Review them all after the break!

Giveaway Winner: ACME Studio’s new series based on Le Corbusier

Courtesy of

Last week, thanks to the courtesy of ACME Studios, we gave you the chance to win a pen and card case based on ’s 1947 Modulor theory.

All you had to do to participate was become a registered user (if you’re not one already) and answer the following question in our comments:

used his Modulor in many buildings. Name three.

After more than 200 comments, we now have the winner: Danielle Jones. Congratulations to the winner, you will be contacted through your email. Thanks everyone for participating and stay alert… more giveaways to come!

M9-C Building / BP Architectures

Courtesy of

Architects: BP Architectures
Location: Paris,
Design Team: Jean Bocabeille, Ignacio Prego
Budget: € 25,670,000
Area: 9,845 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of BP Architectures, Sergio Grazia, Luc Boegly

AD Round Up: Zaha Hadid

© Iwan Baan

In case you hadn’t noticed, today is the birthday of the most influential woman in architecture, Zaha Hadid. So you can’t miss this special Round Up with 9 great projects by the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. The main image is MAXXI Museum in Rome, where Zaha Hadid intended ‘a new fluid kind of spatiality of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry, designed to embody the chaotic fluidity of modern life’. Check out, Tondonia Winery Pavilion in La Rioja, or the great London Aquatics Centre for 2012 Summer Olympics. Also in London, ROCA Gallery, a space where the main concept is water erosion. Don’t miss Chamber Music Hall, created for solo performances of Johann Sebastian Bach’s chamber music masterpieces or the amazing Guangzhou Opera House, in . Like pavilions design? take a look at Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion and Burnham Pavilion in Chicago. Finally, revisit one of our AD Classics: Vitra Fire Station. Happy Birthday Zaha!