John Comazzi headshot

John J. Comazzi

Associate Professor
Director, Design Thinking
Unit: School of Architecture
Department: Department of Architecture
Office location and address
Campbell Hall 318
110 Bayly Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
M.S. in Architectural History and Theory, University of Michigan
M.Arch., University of Michigan
B.S., University of Virginia

Professor Comazzi’s teaching, research, and scholarship focus on the following areas: mid-century Modern architecture and design; design theory and criticism; architecture photography; the design of active learning environments for PK-12 education; design for healthcare environments; and design-build practices for community development. He is the author a monograph on Balthazar Korab, one of the most prolific and celebrated architecture photographers of the Modern era (Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), and is currently writing a monograph on the Miller House and Gardens in Columbus, IN (forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press, 2019).

Professor Comazzi joined the faculty in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia in the Fall of 2017 as the Director of the Design Thinking Concentration. Hired as part of the University's "Cluster Hiring Initiative," Professor Comazzi has partial appointments in the School of Nursing and the Curry School of Education where he collaborates on interdisciplinary teaching, research, and curriculum development. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Virginia, he held teaching positions at the University of Michigan (Lecturer 1999-2006), and the University of Minnesota (Assistant Professor 2006-2012, Associate Professor with Tenure 2012-2017) where he was the Director of the Undergraduate B.S. Degree Program (Major in Architecture) from 2012-2015.

SARC 1500: SARC Advising Seminars
Credits: 1
SARC 1500 courses are 1-credit seminars capped at 20 first-year students, all of whom are assigned to the instructor as advisees. They are topically focused on an area identified by the faculty member; they also include a significant advising component centered on undergraduate issues (e.g., choosing a major, study abroad opportunities, undergraduate research, etc.).
ARCH 3070: Foundations in Design Practices
Credits: 4
This course will introduce a range of design practices with the goal of establishing a set of skills necessary for addressing complex design challenges in the subsequent Design Thinking Studios. Project-based exercises will explore methods of analysis, techniques of representation & systems of assembly at a variety of scales (detail, body, enclosure, systems, etc.). This course is limited to Architecture Majors in the Design-Thinking Concentration.
EDHS 3080: Design Innovations for Informal Learning
Credits: 3
This course will leverage design thinking, design pedagogy, and arts-based instruction to develop innovative, project-based programming for a range of informal learning environments (cultural institutions, historic sites, cultural landmarks, etc.). Such project-based models of informal education require collaborations between designers, educators, and programmers in order to engage youth in active and participatory learning.
ARCH 4020: Independent Design Research Studio
Credits: 6
Students pursue a semester long independent design project. Prerequisite: ARCH 4010 or ARCH 4011.
ARCH 4021: Ind Design Thinking Research Studio
Credits: 6
This is a studio based course on Architectural design thinking with a focus on creative approaches to analyzing and solving diverse problems. Prerequisite: ARCH 3011/3021
ARCH 4100: Design Research Seminar
Credits: 3
Architectural research methods are introduced and applied to the development of an undergraduate thesis in Architecture. Students develop and investigate research questions, research methods, and data sources. Open to both Pre-Professional and Design Thinking concentrations.
ARCH 5500: Special Topics in Architecture
Credits: 1–6
Topical offerings in architecture.
ALAR 8020: Design Development Studio
Credits: 6
Advanced vertical studio, exploring complex issues and sites, often through interdisciplinary design research. Typical projects include brownfields, urban landscape infrastructure, and sustainable designs. Prerequisite: ARCH 8010 or LAR 8010
ARCH 8800: Teaching Experience
Credits: 3
Teaching Experience Prerequisite: Permission of the chair.
ALAR 8995: Thesis II
Credits: 6
Thesis II . Prerequisite: ALAR 8100 and permission of the chair.
SARC 9993: Advanced Independent Research
Credits: 1–6
Advanced independent research on topics selected by individual students in consultation with a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: Permission of the Director.

2012          Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography named one of nine "Best Architecture Books of 2012," The Guardian UK

2012          Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography named one of 20 "Michigan Notable Books of 2012," State Library of Michigan 

2011          First Place, Portland Water Tower Redesign Competition.  Merge Studio+ Lab, Portland, OR.  First place in open, international design competition for the redesign of decommissioned water towers in Portland (with G. Wilkins).

2005          ACSA Faculty Design Awards, Annual Conference, MIM: Mies in Michigan, selected for Award and Presentation (with G. Wilkins and A. Canfora)