University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI


Raoul Wallenberg Lecture: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, AZPA

By lacroixa
Apr 5, '12 10:56 AM EST

Alejandro Zaera-Polo (born Madrid, 1963) is an accomplished contemporary architect and co-founder of London-based Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architects (AZPA). His work has consistently merged the practice of architecture with theoretical practice, providing a strong intellectual rigour to the discourse on architecture through a sharp capacity to identify social and political trends and creatively extrapolate them.

He trained at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, graduating with Honors, and went on to do a Master in Architecture (MARCH II) at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA, where he graduated with Distinction. He collaborated with at OMA in Rotterdam between 1991 and 1993, prior to establishing Foreign Office Architects in 1993. Alejandro Zaera-Polo co-founded the London-based firm, Foreign Office Architects (FOA), which was recognized as one of the most creative design firms in the world, deftly integrating architecture, urban design and landscape architecture until its dissolution in 2011. He now runs his own firm AZPA, which has produced critically acclaimed and award winning projects for the public and private sector on an international scale.

Alejandro Zaera-Polo has also had an extensive involvement in education at an international level since 1993. He is currently Visiting Professor at Princeton SOA and Yale SOA(Norman Foster professorship), and was Dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam from 2000-2005, resetting the institution's academic compass through pedagogy and public events towards the creation of new instruments of architecture and urban design conceived through practice in globalised conditions. He also held the Delft Berlage Chair and is a member of the Institute's current Research Board. He has been Visiting Critic at Columbia GSAPP, Princeton SOA, UCLA School of Architecture, and he led a Diploma Unit for eight years at the Architectural Association in London.

In addition to his professional role as an architect, Alejandro Zaera-Polo is recognized as one of the most original theorist and thinkers in contemporary architecture, providing a strong intellectual rigor to the discourse on architecture, and a sharp capacity to identify social and political trends and translate them into the architectural discourse. His texts can be found in many professional publications such as El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+, Harvard Design Magazine.

This lecture is the 2012 Raoul Wallenberg Lecture. The Raoul Wallenberg Lecture was initiated in 1971 by Sol King, a former classmate of Wallenberg's. An endowment was established in 1976 for an annual lecture to be offered in Raoul's honor on the theme of architecture as a humane social art. The following distinguished architects and historians have been invited to present the Wallenberg lectures at Taubman College.

Lecture Title: Envelopes