Humanities+Urbanism+Design Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Dissertation Fellow for 2020-2021; Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, History, and Theory Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

Rui Castro is completing his Ph.D. in architecture at the Weitzman School of Design. His research explores the history of architecture after World War II, and its intersection with politics, media, and the arts. Rui strives to carve out knowledge that contributes to an understanding of the roles of spatial and aesthetic practices in the construction of a democratic public sphere.

His dissertation, titled Transgressive Transparency. Dan Graham, Art/Architecture, and the Challenge of a Pluralist Public Sphere, examines the work of the American artist Dan Graham from 1964 to today. He focuses in particular on the crystallization and global proliferation of the two-way mirror-glass pavilions – a unique form of public art in which Graham’s production has concentrated since the early 1980s. Transgressive Transparency offers a new transmedia perspective on the ways Graham criticizes, imagines, and uses art and architecture to alter common late-modern environments and open-up the horizons of participation in the public that they structure.

Rui holds an architecture degree from ULPorto, a Masters in Planning and Design of the Urban Environment from UPorto, and a D.E.A. in Architecture from Madrid Polytechnic University. Before coming to Penn he taught and lectured in architecture and worked as an architect in Portugal and Spain. His work was prized by Europan 5 and 6, the I.S.A.M. Roma, and others. At Penn Rui taught history and theory courses and organized “Teaching for and from Diversity” a year-long workshop series for Ph.D. students. His research has been presented in conferences and lectures at KTH Stockholm, Universitá Federico II, Carleton University, ETSA Madrid, and the Courtauld Institute.

Rui is the recipient of a Grant for Doctoral Studies from the Portuguese Ministry of Education, the Canadian Center for Architecture Collection Research Grant, the Salvatori Award from Penn Center for Italian Studies, and a Fellowship for Teaching Excellency from Penn Center for Teaching and Learning.