Rossana Hu of Neri&Hu has been selected by faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design to lead the architecture department as chair and tenured professor. Hu’s appointment follows that of Winka Dubbeldam, who has held the role since 2013.
Hu is a cofounder, alongside Lyndon Neri, of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, a Shanghai-based interdisciplinary architecture firm. The practice is known for their adaptive reuse projects. Recent work includes the transformation of a former textile warehouse into a corporate headquarters for a pastry company and the renovation of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts. In addition to adaptive reuse projects the practice has also worked on master planning, interior design, product design, and branding.
“We see ourselves as mediators: between past and present, individual and collective, public and private, rural and urban,” Hu said in a description of her firm’s approach to architecture. “It’s clear that the faculty and students at Penn are equally committed to this vision,” she added.
Prior to founding Neri&Hu in 2004, Hu worked for Ralph Lerner, Michael Graves, and The Architects Collaborative in San Francisco. She holds a Masters degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley, with a minor in music.
Hu’s recent appointment is not her first role as a leader in architectural education. In addition to running her architecture and design practice, Hu has served as a professor and chair of the Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture & Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai. She has previously held lecturer positions at universities across Europe, Asia, and the U.S., including University of California, Berkeley; Harvard Graduate School of Design; Yale School of Architecture; and University of Hong Kong.
In Shanghai, Hu has worked on a number design initiatives, including the Festival of Design, a lecture program that she cofounded in 2016.
“Rossana Hu has been an incredible champion for design and designers,” said Weitzman dean and Paley Professor Fritz Steiner. “Her work springs from a deep understanding of people and materials, and a thoughtful exploration of identity that is more important than ever to the practice of architecture.”
Hu will begin her new position and join the faculty as a tenured professor starting on January 1, 2024. In the interim, Andrew Saunders, associate professor of architecture and director of the Master of Architecture program at Weitzman, will serve as acting chair of the Department of Architecture for the Fall 2023 semester.