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Scholarly Interest Report
Jesus Vassallo Fernandez
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Architecture
  • Ph.D. Architecture (2014) Escuale Tecnica de Arquitectura de Madrid -Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • B.Arch Architecture (2004) ETSAM, Madrid, Spain
  • M.Arch II Architecture (2007) Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
Primary Department
   School of Architecture
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 Professional Website of Jesus Vassallo
Research Areas
 The concept of realism in architecture and its relationship to documentary formats in the visual arts

The concept of realism in architecture and its relationship to
documentary formats in the visual arts


My research revolves around the concept of realism in architecture. I understand realism as the intellectual and cultural awareness of the world around us necessary for an architect to produce relevant work today. If Archimedes requested a lever and a fulcrum in order to move the world -that is to change it- I regard innovation and realism as such couple of complementary and interdependent conditions that will allow us to make our contribution to society and propel the discipline forward.

 With this in mind, my research in the past few years has evolved into a personal inquiry into the relationships between the documentary formats in the visual arts and the successive formulations of realism in our discipline since the postwar years. This line of research has become the core of the dissertation I am writing in order to complete my PhD studies for the Madrid School of Architecture. My work in this respect takes the structure of a case study, with an overarching argument that threads itself through a series of episodes formed by the coupling of architects and visual artists. The six chapters of the dissertation are organized around the following encounters: Alison and Peter Smithson vs. Nigel Henderson, Venturi and Scott Brown vs. Ed Ruscha, Aldo Rossi vs. Michelangelo Antonioni, Hans Kollhoff vs. Bernd and Hilla Becher, Herzog & DeMeuron vs. Thomas Ruff and the Sugden Group vs. Thomas Demand. 

 During the past few years and through the study of the above mentioned cases, I have come to realize and understand a series of methods, techniques and concepts that have crossed over from the documentary formats in the visual arts into the realm of architecture and the other way around, subsequently insinuating the potential for a new proactive or progressive realism for the discipline. I believe that this line of research can be applied to design with innovative results, and while this is something that I have only been able to test partially until now, I am starting to put those ideas to work more intensely in a series of studios starting with the Watkin Sequence of seminar and studio that I am currently teaching at Rice University as a visiting lecturer.

 I regard studio education as an extension of research, as a speculative and collective experiment on the form of architecture and the city. I trust the capacity of the constructive and formal language of architecture to communicate at a cultural level and believe in the necessity of an intelligent and innovative engagement with reality in order to create spaces of political relevance today.

Selected Publications
 Refereed articles

“The Problem of Truth and Beauty”, in Future Anterior XI/1 – 2014


Jesus Vassallo "History, from the Eternal Present." Shinkenchiku, 375 (2017)


Jesus Vassallo "La Vida en las Ruinas." Materia, 14 (2017)


Jesus Vassallo "Seamless." Log, 39 (2017)


Jesus Vassallo "Model for a Pavilion." Pin-Up, 20In Press


Jesus Vassallo, Aaron Forrest, Yasmin Bovis, Brett Schneider, Naho Kubota "Chicago Horizon." Catalogue of the Chicago Architecture BiennaleIn Press


Jesus Vassallo "Abstract Barbarians." 2G, 69 (2014) : 4-7.


Jesus Vassallo "Doll's Houses." AA Files, 70In Press


“Taking Stock: The Photographs of Denise Scott Brown”, in Harvard Design Magazine 37 – 2014


Jesus Vassallo "“The Inescapability of Scale”, in Another Pamphlet 4 - 2012." 


Jesus Vassallo "“Twins”, in AA Files 65 - 2012." 


Jesus Vassallo "“A New Realism”, in Arkitektur DK 309, also in Circo 152 - 2009." 


Jesus Vassallo "“Casi Todo sobre Caruso St John”, in Arquitectura Viva 126 - 2010." 


Jesus Vassallo "“La Épica de lo Cotidiano”, in Arquitectura Viva 127 - 2010." 


Jesus Vassallo "“Social Housing in Madrid”, in Domus 931 - 2010." 


Jesus Vassallo "Reality Bites: Documentary Photography and Realism in Architecture." In Progress


Jesus Vassallo "Seamless: Digital Collage and Dirty Realism in Contemporary Architecture." In Progress


Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Jesus Vassallo "Shotgun." In Progress

 Editor of books

Jesus VAssallo, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto "Abstraction by Numbers." In Press


Lars Lerup, Jesus Vassallo "Scenes from a City." In Progress


Ed. Jesus Vassallo "Límite y Ocupación, (Madrid: ETSAM/Mairea, 2010)." 

 Book chapters

Jesus Vassallo "A Love of the World ." Make New History, Catalog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2017)


Jesus Vassallo "Prologue, Lars Lerup´s Hunter-Gatherer Realism." The Continuous City (2017)


Ed. DPA "“La Palabra incompleta”, in Lo que Aprendí del Profesor Mansilla, (Madrid: Arquia, 2012)." 


Ed. Giancarlo Valle "“Introductions”, in From Rules to Constraints. Ed. Giancarlo Valle (Zurich: Lars Müller, 2012) ." 


Ed. DPA "“Un Cadáver Exquisito”, in Teoría y Práctica del Proyecto 2009, (Madrid: ETSAM/Mairea, 2010)." 


Ed. Jesus Vassallo "“Las Montañas Mágicas de Melbourne”, in Límite y Ocupación, (Madrid: ETSAM/Mairea, 2010)." 

 Refereed conference papers

Jesus Vassallo "Images inside Images: The Exhibitions of Thomas Demand and Caruso St John." Paper presented at Inter: Architecture and Photography Conference, Pamplona, University of Navarra (2016)


Jesus Vassallo "Building with Images: Digital Collage and Dirty Realism in Architecture." SAH 68th Annual Conference - Chicago

Creative Works
 Architectural Designs - La Cadena de Cristal
 Entry for the Spanish Pavilion exhibition for the 2016 Venice Biennale. Speculative Design for the alternative development of truncated real estate development in the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Selected through open competition. , Rellam, Venice Architecture Bienale, Spanish Pavilion, Venice, Italy
 Architectural Designs - Life in Ruins
 Masterplan for a University campus in the island of Poveglia, Italy. Open Competition, , (YAC/Casabella), Italy
 Architectural Designs - Ossa
 Dressage Court in La Mancha, Spain,
 Architectural Designs - Small Room, Big Window
 Master plan for the densification of the districts of Taufkirchen and Neuperlach in Munich, Germany. Open Competition (Europan 14), First Prize., Europan 14, Germany
  Exhibitions - Group - Water Towers
 Speculative design for a series of Water Towers as landmarks in Presidio County, Texas. Schematic Design., Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
  Exhibitions - Group - New Corktown
 Project for the American Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, with Professor Albert Pope, Amrican Pavilion in Venice, Italy
 Architectural Designs - Aalto's Ghost
 Entry to the 2016 Europan competition - Proposal fro innovative housing at Alvar Aalto University in Helsinki,
 Exhibitions - Curated - Conti
 Exhibition of student work co-curated with assistant professor Neyran Turan: master plans for the Conti site, a large brownfield area North of Downtown Houston,
 Exhibitions - Solo - Cars, cars, cars
 Exhibition on the architecture of Downtown Houston, including design proposals (In progress),
  Exhibitions - Group - Shotgun
 Exhibition at Rice Gallery in collaboration with Atelier Bow Wow, Rice Gallery, Houston (30 Januaray - 17 May 2015)
 Invited Talks

"Presentation of New Corktown project for the Venice Biennale at University of Michigan, with Albert Pope." (11/22/2015)


"Public Presentation of Research on Downtown Houston at the Swiss Pavilion, in the XV Venice Biennale of Architecture.." (June 25)


"Epics in the Everyday: Invited lecture at Tokyo Institute of Technology." (December 2015)

Editorial Positions
 Editor for Special Issue, Revista de Arquitectura. Universidad de Navarra. (2018 - 2018)

 Editor, Circo. CIRCO MTR Coop.. (2012 - 2016)

Supervised Theses & Dissertations
 Varia Smirnova, Master of Architecture Layered Oscillation. (2014) (Thesis Director)

 Peter De Yi, Mastyer in Architecture Cultivate Collective. (2014) (Thesis Director)

 Louis Weiss, Intellectual Property Conveyer. (2015) (Thesis Director)

 Elizabeth Marrin, M.Arch Leeve Otherwise. (2015) (Thesis Director)

 JACOB ANDREW, MArch UNBOX. (2016) (Thesis Director)

 Patrick Daurio, MArch TBD. (2016) (Thesis Director)

Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
 Ex aequo first prize for Europan Munich/Taufkirchen, Urban Planning Competition, Project: Small Room / Big Window , Europan 14

 Winner of Becoming, ideas completion for the Spanish Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Bienale 2018., Spanish Ministry of Culture

 Rice University, Charles W. Duncan Achievement Award for Outstanding Faculty, Rice University

 Special Mention to Ph.D. in Architecture Degree: Sobresaliente cum laude, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (June 2014)

 Architecture Department Award, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (2008)

 International Employment Award, Harvard University GSD (2006)

 Graduate Thesis Juries at Tulane School of Architecture. Graduate Thesis Juries at Tulane School of Architecture, on the invitation of Professor Scott Bernhard, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Spring 2015)
 Juries at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. With Professor Felipe Correa, Master of Architecture and Urban Design Core Studios, Cambridge, MA. (December 2014)
 Juries at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Final review juries at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Architecture Core Studios with Professor Inaki Abalos, and Lanscape Architecture Core Studios with Professor Pierre Belanger, Cambridge, MA. (December 2013)
 Juries at University of Houston, Hines College of Architecture. , Houston. (April 2014)
 Juries at University of Houston, Hines College of Architecture. With Professor Victoria Goldstein, Houston. (December 2014)
 Juries at University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture. Final Review Juries at University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture. Option studios with Professor Homa Farjadi, Philadelphia. (May 2013)
Positions Held
 Profesor Asociado , IE University School of Architecture, Segovia. . (2012 - 2012)

 Wortham Visiting Lecturer , Rice School of Architecture. (2012 - 2012)

 Visiting Lecturer, Boston Architectural College, Boston, . (2012 - 2012)

 Teaching Fellow , Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. (2012 - 2012)