Paola Sanguinetti, technology expert and architect, to lead The Design School at ASU


Paola Sanguinetti, noted expert in technology, sustainability and architecture, has been named the new director of The Design School in Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Sanguinetti comes to ASU from the University of Kansas, where she was a professor of architecture as well as president-elect of the faculty senate, director of the robotics lab and former chair of the department of architecture. She has two decades of teaching experience in architecture and computational design and has been recognized for her excellence in teaching, including being named as one of DesignIntelligence’s most admired educators in 2014.

“Dr. Sanguinetti is a seasoned academic leader, a fantastic scholar, a celebrated teacher and an innovator,” said Herberger Institute Dean Steven J. Tepper. “She will be a great fit at ASU, the New American University, embracing our charter of inclusion and our commitment to use-inspired research and taking responsibility for the outcomes of our communities.”   

Sanguinetti became interested in architecture as a child growing up in Venezuela. 

“I have wanted to be an architect since I was a young person,” she said. “I understood the power that design can have to contribute to the well-being of others.”

Sanguinetti says that her passion is mentoring students and supporting the participation of underrepresented groups in her area of expertise: building simulation, robotic fabrication and virtual reality in architecture. She has an active BIM (building information modeling) consulting practice and has worked professionally in New York and London, gaining experience with several internationally distinguished architectural practices, including those of Emilio Ambasz and Zaha Hadid.

She was drawn to Arizona, she says, because “I’ve been reading about ASU for 10 years. I am compelled by the charge of inclusion and creating access. It’s difficult to achieve, but it’s important.”

Sanguinetti holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas; a Master of Science in advanced architectural design from Columbia University, and a PhD in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in high-performance buildings and design computation. Her research has examined building systems, additive manufacturing, robotics and design computing in the areas of sustainability, net-zero energy, affordability and waste. She has also explored Latin American architecture as well as cinematic techniques for architecture and design. Her current research focuses on energy-efficient 3D-printed construction.

“Design is a way of seeing the world as possibilities,” Sanguinetti said. “It is asking, ‘What if?’ I am excited to be part of an institution that values design.”

Top photo by Tim Trumble

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