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Robert Somol was appointed director of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture in 2007. An internationally recognized design theorist, Somol previously served as a professor in the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University and a visiting professor at the Princeton University School of Architecture. He also taught design and theory at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1997-2005. Somol has served as the Max Fishman Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan and the Cullinen Professor at Rice University, in addition to teaching at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.
Somol is the editor of "Autonomy and Ideology," published by Monacelli Press, and has served on the editorial boards of ANY and Log. His writings have appeared in publications ranging from Assemblage to Wired, and focus on modernism and its modes of repetition, the emergence of the diagram in postwar architecture, landscape and interior urbanism, and the development of graphic or cartoon protocols within contemporary architectural practices. Somol is the co-designer of "off-use," an award-winning studio and residence in Los Angeles that extends his interest in combining the speculative discipline of modernism with the material excesses of mass culture: beinahe nichts meets la dolce vita.
As an architectural designer, writer and educator, Somol is a central figure in efforts to displace architecture's modes of criticality by a renewed engagement with the projective ambitions of the discipline. His collection of essays, "Nothing to Declare," is forthcoming from ANY Books and the MIT Press, and he is a member of the Research Board at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam.