Visiting professors of practice exemplify design excellence and humanistic values
The Department of Architecture welcomes Friedman Visiting Professors of Practice Rozana Montiel, Maurico Pezo, and Sofia von Ellrichshausen
The Department of Architecture has invited three practicing architects from Latin America to serve as Friedman Visiting Professors of Practice in the spring 2024 semester. Rozana Montiel, director and founder of Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (REA) in Mexico City, and Maurico Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, founders of Pezo Von Ellrichshausen based in Chile, will teach graduate-level architectural design studios, participate in design reviews, and present public lectures on campus this semester.
“Their practices represent the best of what we try to instill in our students at Berkeley — that design excellence and humanistic values are intimately intertwined,” says Lisa Iwamoto, chair of the Department of Architecture.
The Friedman Visiting Professorship, which strengthens ties between the department and the profession, is among the most prestigious in the College of Environmental Design. It was founded to honor Professor Emeritus Howard Friedman, FAIA (1919–1988; AB Architecture 1949) and advance his belief in a humanist architecture. Recent Friedman Visiting Professors include Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri, Weijen Wang, and Tatiana Bilbao.
Montiel, who was awarded the International Women Architects Prize 2022 by ARVHA in Paris, designs a variety of projects at different scales and layers, ranging from the city to the book. Her community-based approach and commitment to the value of the public realm — in projects such as playgrounds, urban plazas and parks, and community centers — resonate with Friedman’s insistence on a humanistic architecture.
“For me, the primary idea of architecture is building relations,” she told Ursula magazine in 2020. “That’s the idea of place-making, the idea of transforming space into place. When you create place, you build relationships. Relationships activate a space. It’s the people who make the place.”
Montiel has exhibited her work widely, in museums and biennials; in 2022, a compilation of her work was presented in the exhibition Blank in Three Acts at the Museo de San Ildefonso in Mexico City. In 2019, she won the Sustainable Global Award for Architecture from France’s Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. Montiel holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban planning from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and a master of arts in architectural theory and criticism from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona; she has taught at Cornell, Columbia, Kent State University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Maurico Pezo, born in Chile, and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, originally from Argentina, co-founded Pezo von Ellrichshausen in 2002. It is a collaborative art and architectural practice housed in an immense live/work compound of their own design (dubbed LUNA) at the foot of the Andes in southern Chile.
Their use of concrete in LUNA and other projects, such as a pavilion in Canberra, Australia, and a cliffside house in Chile, has led some to think of Pezo von Ellrichshausen as part of a new wave of Brutalist design firms. But their minimalist work is rooted in the dramatic Chilean landscape. The New York Times described the firm as “part of a group of innovative Chilean architectural practices that is establishing a regional aesthetic, one that alludes to Brutalism while also respecting the country’s peculiar topography.”
Both their architectural projects and their artwork have been published and exhibited widely. Pezo and von Ellrichshausen curated the Chilean pavilion at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale and von Ellrichshausen served as president of the jury of the 2018 exhibition. Pezo has been awarded the Young Architect Prize by the Chilean Architects Association and the Municipal Art Prize by the Concepción City Hall.
Von Ellrichshausen received a degree in architecture from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Pezo holds an MArch from the Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago. They have served as visiting professors at Yale, Harvard GSD, the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, the University of Texas in Austin, Tokyo University, and the Universidad Catolica de Chile, among others.
“We are excited to have Rozana, Sofia, and Maurico join us this spring,” says Iwamoto. “These are the architects our students look to for formal, tectonic, spatial, and material inspiration.”