Dezeen Magazine

A black and white portrait of Rossana Hu

Rossana Hu named chair of the department of architecture at Tongji University

Rossana Hu of ​​Neri&Hu has been appointed chair of the department of architecture at Tongji University in Shanghai, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

The architect and founding partner of design studio Neri&Hu was appointed to the position at Tongi University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) on 21 December.

"I am extremely honoured to be appointed to this position," said Hu. "Not just because it is an amazing opportunity to be teaching in this top institution, but also the close proximity I will have with the best thinkers and doers in China’s architecture realm."

Hu is the first woman to chair the department of architecture at CAUP and is also the first architect to hold the position who has not previously studied at the university. Previously, all chairs of the department of architecture at CAUP were Tongji Univesity graduates.

Neri&Hu's Chuan Malt Whiskey Distillery
Top: Rossana Hu is the first woman to chair the department of architecture at Tongji University. Above: Neri&Hu recently completed a whiskey distillery in China. Photo by Chen Hao

The appointment is part of CAUP dean Li Xiangning’s ambition to make the institution, which is one of China's top architecture schools, a global name.

"As Hu brings a diverse and global perspective to the school, more channels of international communication are sure to open up for architectural research and teaching at Tongji," said Li.

"Today, all landmark buildings in Shanghai are connected to Tongji" said Hu. "Will we create groundbreaking works and leave Tongji marks all over the world one day?"

Founded in 1952, Tongi University's CAUP comprises three departments: the Department of Architecture, the Department of Urban Planning and the Department of Landscape Architecture, with 222 full-time faculty members and researchers.

Hu has previously collaborated with CAUP on a series of lectures and exhibitions between 2014 and 2017. This year, Neri&Hu’s solo exhibition Works in Permanent Evolution was also presented at CAUP.

Other academic positions held by Hu include John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University, Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at Yale University and Visiting Professor at The University of Hong Kong.

An exhibition by Rossana Hu
Neri&Hu's Works in Permanent Evolution exhibition was presented at Tongji University this year

Hu received her master of architecture and urban planning from Princeton University and a bachelor of arts in architecture and music from the University of California at Berkeley.

She worked for Michael Graves & Associates in Princeton and The Architects Collaborative (TAC) in San Francisco, among others, before cofounding Neri&Hu Design and Research Office in Shanghai with Lyndon Neri in 2004.

Neri&Hu was named architecture studio of the year at this year’s Dezeen Awards.

"Neri&Hu is a practice that has been steadfast in navigating their close knowledge and precise skill for design from furniture and interiors through to city scale, moving the discipline, practice, craft and education of architecture and architects across East and west seamlessly,” Dezeen Awards judges’ commented.

Neri&Hu is based in a former staff dormitory building in Shanghai, which the studio converted into its own offices last year.

Other recent projects by the studio include a campus for elevator manufacturer Schindler in Shanghai and a stone-clad whiskey distillery for Pernod Ricard in China's Sichuan province.