Sergio Palleroni, Worldwide Leader in Community Empowered, Sustainable Projects, to Give Public Talk at U.Va. on March 16

March 06, 2007
March 6, 2007-- Sergio Palleroni, a professor of architecture and sustainable development at the University of Texas, Austin, will give the ecoMOD Visiting Speaker Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on Friday, March 16, at 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 158.
Palleroni's talk, "Design as Civic Engagement," will focus on his work advocating sustainable development and design throughout the world for more than two decades. Community-based instruction, including service learning, public service internships and community-partnership projects are the hallmark of his teaching philosophy. Since the late 1980's his efforts have focused on the development of a multidisciplinary fieldwork approach to educating university students, and challenging them to apply their education to address the issues of contamination, sustainability and development faced by rich and poor communities throughout the world. To support this objective in the 1990's he founded the BASIC Initiative at the University of Washington, with professors David Riley and Steve Badanes. The Basic Initiative, now based at the School of Architecture and Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Texas, Austin, has four programs: the Mexico Informal Settlements Program; the American Indian Housing Initiative (with Penn State University); the Global Development Studio, serving global communities in need of public facilities, infrastructure and planning; and How to Grow a Housing Movement Studio, which deals with housing needs in the United States and globally. In all the work of the BASIC Initiative, he combines fieldwork with research and teaching on sustainability and the economics of development. As a Hispanic, he speaks both Spanish and English and understands the cultural/historical problems relating to affordable, sustainable housing.

His work has received numerous honors including the 1997 American Institute of Architects/Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture National Education Award, a 2003 National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy and in 2005 he received the U.S. National Design Award, an award given annually by the Smithsonian and the White House Millennium Project and often referred to as the "Oscars" of the design world. In addition his projects have received national and international design awards and public recognition from Mexico, India, Nicaragua, Taiwan, China and Spain.
Palleroni's work is the subject of one segment of a PBS six-part series on sustainability, "Design-E2," which features the work of leading advocates of sustainability worldwide. Additionally his work was recently the subject of two recent books, "Studio at Large: Architecture in Service of Global Communities" and "Architecture Like You Give a Damn," which further explore the BASIC Initiative's efforts to improve and make sustainable the lives of the citizens around the world.

Palleroni's talk is sponsored by the ecoMOD Project at the University of Virginia. Founded and directed by assistant professor John Quale, the ecoMOD research and design/build project is organized as a series of studios held across four years that began with the 2004 fall semester. The primary goal of the project is to produce an ecological, modular and affordable housing system that incorporates sustainable design strategies while providing comfort and marketability.

For more information contact Alice Keys at (434) 924-7019 or