David Franco Named Director of the School of Architecture

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

The College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs has appointed David Franco as director of the School of Architecture. Franco currently serves as co-director of Architecture Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Architecture at Clemson University in South Carolina. His appointment will begin July 1st.  He will succeed Don Gatzke, who has served as the interim director for the last academic year. 

David Franco is an acclaimed architect, educator, and scholar with nearly two decades of experience. He has received international recognition for his work, winning over 16 awards in prestigious architecture competitions, including two of the prestigious EUROPAN prizes. He has been nominated for the Lakov Chernikov Prize for young masters of contemporary architecture. Franco's articles and projects have been featured in renowned international publications and exhibited at prestigious venues such as the Venice Biennale, la Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, the Matadero Art Center in Madrid, and the Canary Islands Art & Landscape Biennale. Franco has a well-rounded academic background with a Ph.D. in Architectural and Urban History and Theory and a Master of Architecture degree from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.  

I am excited and thrilled to have David Franco join our college, said Ming-Han Li, Dean of CAPPA. “With his long track record, he brings a wealth of experience and successful leadership in architecture practice. His achievements reflect our ongoing commitment to attracting top talent globally. Together, we can cultivate an innovative, and collaborative School of Architecture.” 

Franco is a nationally recognized leader who has made a significant impact in practice and academia. His research focuses on how social inequalities and political conflicts affect the built environment and how they have played a usually ignored role in the development of modern architecture. This basic frame has informed both his creative practice—mostly centered on projects of social infrastructures, affordable housing, and public spaces and his scholarly research.  

Beyond his accolades, Franco is a leading advocate for environmental justice in design. He is the co-founder of the Environmental Justice Design Lab at Clemson School of Architecture, whose student work has received 23 National Awards, including 11 COTE AIA Top Ten Awards.  

Becoming the new director of the School of Architecture at UTA’s CAPPA is an incredible and humbling honor, said David Franco. “After my visit to UTA, I have sensed that the school is a special place with incredible people, and uniquely positioned to address the challenges facing the design disciplines of the built environment. I look forward to collaborating with all the faculty and staff in architecture and interior design to elevate the school to new heights.” 

Franco assumes leadership on July 1st and is set to bring a new focus on design education and a renewed approach to community partnerships to support and enhance the college.  

The CAPPA community welcomes David Franco and looks forward to his leadership and significant contributions to the School of Architecture's growth and development. He will succeed Don Gatzke, who serves as interim director and had a successful tenure as dean of the School of Architecture (2004-2014).