Ron Witte has been appointed as Professor in Residence of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) effective July 1, 2020. Witte served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture this past academic year, and prior to that was Professor of Architecture and Baker Institute Scholar at Rice University. He has also held previous faculty appointments at Princeton University, the University of Kentucky, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Florida. Witte received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and his Master of Architecture from Princeton University.
Witte is no stranger to the GSD, having taught here for some years before taking on an appointment at Princeton. He has taught studio and seminar courses throughout his pedagogical career, in addition to redesigning the core curriculum at Rice. Likewise, in his new role at the GSD, Witte will help shape the Master in Architecture programs’ core-studio curriculum in response to a rapidly changing world. His approach to pedagogy holds that design and reflective writing are inextricably linked, and should represent two embodiments of a singular intellectual passion.
Witte is widely known for his contributions to the practice and theory of architecture, and for his dedication to teaching that has involved numerous innovations in architectural pedagogy. A co-founder of WW Architecture, alongside Dean Sarah M. Whiting, Witte holds primary responsibility for the practice, developed and integrated with a sophisticated theoretical base since its founding in 1999. WW’s work coheres under the concept of the architectural “figure”: an organizational and spatial instrument that balances specificity and open-endedness of spaces and programs. WW’s reflective practice model focuses on designing one project at a time, centering around the core values of architecture: plan, figure, and façade, both in buildings as well at the urban scale. The result has been highly original designs that have become recognized benchmarks, with work that has ranged across types from residential to institutional, and across scales from a single-family house to airfield-scale infrastructure.
Internationally recognized for its originality and accessibility, Witte’s work has been exhibited at the Roca Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Building Museum, Harvard University, UCLA, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Graham Foundation, the International Center for Reflection on the Future in France, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the AIA Gallery in Houston.
In addition to the creativity and energy of his practice, Witte has written and published extensively for a variety of international audiences, in periodicals as notable and diverse as Assemblage, SeeSaw, Fresh Meat, Log, the Washington Post, Archplus, Scroope, Harvard Design Magazine, Architecture magazine, Dialogue, Architectural Design Profiles, and Polygraph. The drawings for WW’s “X House” were acquired by the architecture collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Witte has edited several books including CASE: Toyo Ito: Sendai Mediatheque; Counting; and Judgment, and his essays have been included in influential overview collections. His writing serves both as a reflection of earlier work as well as a platform from which new work and ideas are being launched.
Witte’s public roles have included service on the Board of the Houston Arts Alliance and on the Houston Independent School District Task Force for School Design, and his work has been acclaimed in international competitions for public buildings and garnered a range of awards.
Prior to WW, Witte’s professional experience includes working with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam; Jacques Couëlle in Paris, France; and Reid & Tarics in San Francisco. Witte is a registered architect in Massachusetts, California, and Texas. He holds National Council of Architectural Review Boards certification, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects.
Witte received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and his Master of Architecture from Princeton University.