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In memoriam: Marco Frascari, professor of architecture


ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 7, 2013 – Marco Frascari, professor of architecture at Virginia Tech, died June 2, in Ottawa, Canada, after a protracted illness. He was 68 and is survived by his wife, Paola Frascari.

Born in 1945 under the shadow of Alberti’s dome of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea in Mantua, Italy, Frascari completed a Dottore in Architettura at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia in 1969. There, he taught and worked for Carlo Scarpa and later opened his own architecture office. 

He later moved to the United States and earned a Master of Science in Architecture degree at the University of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. 

At the University of Pennsylvania, he became a professor and director of the doctoral program in architecture. He also taught at a number of other universities, including Georgia Tech, Columbia, and Harvard. In 2005, Frascari left Virginia Tech to become director of the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Throughout his teaching career, Frascari also maintained a small architectural practice and served as consulting architect for Sant’Andrea since 1992.

While at Virginia Tech, Frascari taught at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. Widely admired as a uniquely engaging and effective teacher, his students, including numerous architecture professors, often recall his teaching through storytelling. 

His creative and critical architectural publications reach around the globe. He is probably best known for his article “The Tell-the-Tale Detail,” which has been reprinted and translated into numerous languages. He also published two books, “Monsters of Architecture” and his most recent, “Eleven Exercises in the Art of Architectural Drawing: Slow Food for the Architect’s Imagination.”

Frascari served as G. T. Ward Professor of Architecture from 1998 to 2005. He last returned to Virginia Tech in 2010 to give the keynote address at the Constructing Imagination symposium, which marked the 11th anniversary of the Ph.D. program he founded at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center.