Charles Rose

Charles Rose

Somerville, MA



Charles Rose (b. 1960 New York City) is an American architect whose designs reflect a keen feel for landscape and the distinct characteristics of a building site—whether in rugged coastal settings or dense urban neighborhoods. Now in his third decade as design principal of Boston-based Charles Rose Architects Inc., Rose is the winner of prestigious awards from the American Institute of Architects and national competitions that established the firm’s reputation.

Rose earned degrees in architecture at Princeton University and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, studying under such high-profile practitioners as Michael Graves and Rafael Moneo. After Harvard, Rose worked with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, an experience that influenced his design philosophy of architecture that “sees the site.” He established his practice in Boston in 1989 and in two decades completed more than 50 buildings, thereby establishing his reputation through built projects—in contrast to the “paper architects” who strive to become known through theoretical designs. 

Two early examples of Rose’s architecture that “sees the site” are the Leeper Studio Complex at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. (1997), and Camp Paint Rock (2000) in Hyattville, Wyo. While the projects occupy dramatically different settings—one is in a lush rainforest—like environment on Florida’s east coast; the other, a camp for underprivileged teens in a northern Wyoming canyon—each bears hallmarks of Rose’s signature style. Buildings are knit into the landscape (rather than objects on the land); forms resonate with features of the site and mediate the site’s unique demands, such as climate and orientation toward the sun. Important commissions followed, including a commercial project in 1997 for Gemini Consulting to design an “office of the future” (which won a business design award from BusinessWeek and Architectural Record); Gulf Coast Museum of Art (Largo, Fl., 2001); the award-winning United States Port of Entry (another “Design Excellence” project for the GSA, 2004); and the Currier Center for the Performing Arts at the Putney School (Putney, Vt., 2004). While building his practice, Rose also taught in the architecture programs at many universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Virginia, and Harvard and Rice universities. Rose also designs furniture; his Executive Mother and Child Desk was featured in Dwell Magazine in 2006.

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