University of Virginia: School of Architecture

Anselmo Canfora

Associate Professor
Director, Initiative reCOVER
Anselmo Canfora
Discipline Architecture
Education BSAS Univ. of Illinois; MArch Univ. of Michigan
Phone 924-7057
Office 318 Campbell Hall

Personal Statement

Anselmo Canfora joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture as an Assistant Professor during the fall 2004. With interests in introductory design education, Anselmo directs the 2nd year undergraduate introductory architectural design studios, a result of implementing a new curriculum in 2005. While teaching at the University of Michigan for seven years, Anselmo was the 2002 and 2004 recipient of the Donna M. Salzer Award of Teaching Excellence. He graduated from the University of Michigan with high distinction and was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal. Anselmo was awarded an ACSA Faculty Research/Design Award during the annual conference in Chicago in 2005. In 2007, Anselmo founded Initiative reCOVER, a program established to assist disaster recovery efforts and underserved populations through partnerships with humanitarian, community-based organizations, professional firms and manufacturers. Initiative reCOVER promotes a collaborative entrepreneurial interdisciplinary spirit in service of hands-on, design-build learning experiences, and the advancement of building technologies, methods, and materials. Based on a fundamental philosophy that design and building processes are dialectically interdependent, a building – or the act of building – is not simply considered a result, outcome, or even a product of design, but instead it is promoted as a collaborative effort well informed by thoughtful research, substantive interdisciplinary exchanges, and direct community involvement. Architecture and engineering, academic and professional, non-profit and governmental agency partnerships are essential for the efficacy of Initiative reCOVER’s primary goals which are: first, to positively affect the design and building of safe, healthy, and sustainable communities around the world through partnerships with non-profit, humanitarian organizations; second, to focus students’ attention on immediate, real-world, hands-on design applications and experiences in service of a comprehensive architectural design education; third, to work to advance translational research in the areas of building materials, methods, techniques and technologies in the discipline of architecture; and fourth, working with industry partners, develop state of the art, production-ready building systems and products to make available for sustainable domestic and international applications. In 2010, Anselmo received an AIA Education Honor Award for reCOVER’s Gita primary school project in Uganda. Recent publications include “Building on Collaborations” and “Making Constructive Discoveries” presented at the 2010 ACSA annual conference in New Orleans. Anselmo was awarded the 2010-11 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award for his project, "Initiative reCOVER: Primary School, Gita, Uganda." The reCOVER transitional housing prototype was awarded the “Implementation Award” from Design Ignites Change, an EPA grant to participate in the “People, Prosperity and the Planet Sustainability Design Competition” and is part of an interdisciplinary NSF EFRI-SEED grant. The reCOVER “Breathe House” won 1st place in the ARCHIVE Institute “Kay e Sante nan Ayiti” (Housing and Health in Haiti) international design innovation competition and will be built for the community of St. Marc, Haiti later this year. The Charlottesville Business Innovation Council selected Initiative reCOVER as a finalist for the 2011 Spotlight Award. Most recently, the Commonwealth of Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission awarded a one-year, $2.45M grant to a University of Virginia-led partnership to design, develop and manufacture affordable, energy-efficient housing systems; the Initiative reCOVER “Breathe House” is a featured project in this effort.

Personal Gallery

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