May 22, 2024

Jose Castillo Named Next Chair of AAP's Department of Architecture

A celebrated architect and urban planner with a deep investment in research and teaching, Castillo joins Cornell this summer, with an eye toward fostering new forms of practice, leadership, and engagement in the field to meet the challenges of a more connected and complex world.

AAP Communications

Man with close shaved head wearing think black glasses and black dress shirt with a curtain behind.

Jose Castillo. image / Yvonne Venegas

The College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) is pleased to welcome architect and urban planner Jose Castillo to Cornell as Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture beginning July 1, 2024. His five-year term as chair will run through June 30, 2029.

Castillo comes to Ithaca from Mexico City, where he is a cofounding principal and codirector alongside Saidee Springall of the architecture and urban planning office a|911. Their practice takes a multidisciplinary approach to architecture, urban design, mobility, and urban planning projects such as the expansion of the Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City, the ARA Lázaro Cárdenas housing project, the Elena Garro Cultural Center, the Valentín Gómez Farías Pilares in Mexico City, and Providencia multi-family housing in Guadalajara. In addition, Castillo has taught extensively in Mexico, Spain, and the US, including at the Harvard GSD, the University of Pennsylvania, Tulane University, and the University of New Mexico. He holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City as well as a Master of Architecture and Doctor of Design degree from the Harvard GSD.

"Professor Castillo's expertise spans design research, practice, and pedagogy, inspiring imagination and actualizing transformation from the architectural to urban scale," says AAP Dean J. Meejin Yoon. "Connecting the many forces that shape our cities and built environments, Castillo's multidisciplinary approach to real-world challenges from climate change to infrastructure to social housing brings a breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as a global, humanistic perspective, to the department and college."

"My approach to practicing architecture for the past 25 years has occupied a wide range of the cultural-academic-professional spectrum; teaching, curating, writing, designing, and building have been ways of reimagining the everyday relationship of architecture with the world at large," Castillo shares. "I look forward to joining Cornell AAP and working with faculty, students, staff as well as the broader university community to contribute to expanding architecture's sense of agency and address the contemporary challenges of the discipline. It is an honor to be part of an institution with such a legacy, relevance, and strong sense of community."

Professor Caroline O'Donnell has served as Chair of the Department of Architecture since July 2021. During her three-year term, she has guided the department through post-pandemic transitions, program growth, faculty recruitments, and an intensive self-study and external review. O'Donnell also helped bolster the department's commitment to engaged practices and environmental action by adding these elements to core academic curricula.

O'Donnell's chair appointment ends June 30, and she will continue at AAP as the Edgar A. Tafel Professor of Architecture and director of the Ecological Action Lab.

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