Department: School of Architecture and Design School: School of Architecture and Design Campus: Manhattan
Member of NYIT Since: 1998
Though William Rockwell works on architectural projects throughout the United States, his love of design is rooted in the Big Apple.
“New York City has been a major part of my professional life,” says the 46-year-old assistant professor in NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design. “From a design standpoint, this is such a complicated and involved place, so it gives you more than enough skills to tackle things elsewhere.”
New York’s Lower East Side is among his favorite spots, where Rockwell lives in the Amalgamated Dwellings, which is also the site of his design firm, William / Architect. Third-year architecture students who are part of Rockwell’s design studio class are treated to an in-depth tour of the six-story Art Deco building that was built in the 1930s, making it one of the oldest co-ops in the country. He wants to ensure that young and aspiring architects do not lose sight of the architectural designs in their own backyard.
Born and raised on Long Island, Rockwell has always had a fascination with construction. He earned his architecture degree in 1991 from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. For nearly 20 years, he has worked with a variety of firms, including Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Leeser Architecture, 1100 Architect, and Platt Byard Dovell White Architects LLP. His design projects include the New Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Ames Farm in Vinalhaven, Maine, and The Brearley School in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His more recent projects include Crocs SoHo at 143 Spring Street in New York City and the Bayview Street Deck in Camden, Maine.
Rockwell has been teaching design studio at NYIT-Manhattan since 1998, and enjoys challenging his students such as bringing them to sites that demonstrate architectural theory firsthand. “Walking through a building is the easiest way to engage students in architecture—to get them to experience an actual spatial construction within an urban environment—so that they can appreciate the making of buildings and cities rather than rely exclusively on theory [or theoretical models or examples] to generate their design projects,” he says.