Robert Somol

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Robert E. Somol Jr. is an architectural theorist currently serving as the Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


He holds an A.B. from Brown University (1982), a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in the history of culture from the University of Chicago (1997).

Academic career[edit]

Previously a professor in the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University, he has taught design and theory at Princeton University, UCLA, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rice University, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Somol is also an author and a contributor to several publications. His writings, which have appeared in publications ranging from Assemblage to Wired, focus on modernism and its modes of repetition, the emergence of the diagram in postwar architecture, landscape and interior urbanism, and the criticism of contemporary architectural practices and pedagogy.

He was a guest editor for volume five of the contemporary architecture journal Log and served as a member of the editorial board of ANY magazine, which explored the cultural role of architecture and its relationships to other disciplines. He is also a member of the Research Board of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam.

Somol as well presented an academic paper at the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2007, which was organised by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.


Somol was formerly a principal at the Los Angeles architecture firm P XS. He is the co-designer of "off-use," an award-winning studio and residence in Los Angeles (2002) that, according to his obtuse cryptology, "combines the speculative discipline of modernism with the material excesses of mass culture."


  • Nothing to Declare (essay collection, forthcoming)
  • Autonomy and Ideology: Positioning an Avant-Garde in America (ed., 1997)

Journal Articles[edit]

  • Somol, R.E. and Whiting, Sarah. "Notes around the Doppler Effect and Other Moods of Modernism." Perspecta 33 (2002): 72-77.
  • Somol, R.E. "Green Dots 101." Hunch 11 (2007): 28-37.
  • Somol, R.E. "12 Reasons to Get Back in Shape." In Content, edited by Office of Metropolitan Architecture. and Rem Koolhaas. Köln: Taschen, 2004.

External links[edit]