John Quale

John Quale, LEED AP BD+C, Associate AIA, is Director and Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning. His expertise is in sustainable design, affordable housing, prefabrication, the environmental impact of construction, and collaborative and integrated design processes.

From 2000 to 2014, he was on the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, most recently serving as the Director of the Graduate Architecture program. Prior to that, he spent seven years in New York City working for notable firms, including four years as a project manager for Architecture Research Office (ARO).

At UVA, he initiated and served as Director of the ecoMOD Project. Since 2004, interdisciplinary teams of students (working with faculty, staff and professionals) have designed, built and evaluated eight prefabricated housing units for affordable housing organizations. In ecoREMOD, the sister project to ecoMOD, teams have helped renovate or add to 11 existing housing units for low-income residents. Of the 19 ecoMOD and ecoREMOD projects, three have achieved the US Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum rating and two have achieved Passive House standard. Quale received half of a $2.45 million grant used to commercialize one of the ecoMOD homes (originally designed and built by students for Habitat for Humanity). A modular homebuilder completed two Passive House Standard versions of the design for two affordable housing organizations. The project is coming with Quale to UNM, and over the next year or so, it will evolve and become relevant to the New Mexico context.

Quale was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo and the Thomas Jefferson Fellow at Cambridge University Downing College. He is the author of Sustainable, Affordable, Prefab: the ecoMOD Project, which was included on Dwell Magazine’s 2013 ‘required reading’ list of books in prefab. He is also co-author and co-editor (with Ryan Smith) of OFFSITE: Constructing a Post-Industrial Future, forthcoming from Routledge in 2016. In 2004, he authored Trojan Goat: A Self-Sufficient House, (preface by Kenneth Frampton) about his leadership of the 2002 UVA Solar Decathlon Team a national design/build house competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. His work and / or teaching has been featured on CNN, HGTV, DIY Network, Virginia Public Radio, and in various publications including Architect Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, Architectural Record, Dwell, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Environmental Building News, Sustain OSC Magazine (UK), and Hors Serie: Science et Vie (France).


“Here in New Mexico, one of the places Aldo Leopold spent a lot of time, I want all UNM architecture students to be familiar with his writings. They have been influential well beyond their intended audience. I also think its important to understand Walter Benjamin, and various other theorists and historians. Among current authors, I recommend Adrian Parr, whose provocative “Hijacking Sustainability” is an important counterpunch to the greenwashing and eco-bling of corporate America. It forces the reader to be a critical thinker — whether they agree with her ideas or not.

Other than that, I want all architecture students to find buildings they are passionate about, and to read anything they can find about the architect’s motivations, and how the design and construction process evolved. It is very important to understand the story behind a building that is meaningful to you. One of my favorite authors along these lines is my former colleague at the University of Virginia, Edward Ford.”

– John Quale

Thanks again to John Quale for the wonderful conversation!

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