As RLF celebrates educators during Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our very own Eugene Damaso, adjunct professor at the University of Florida and Director of Design at RLF why teaching is important to him.
1. How long have you been teaching and what classes do you teach?
I have been teaching for 8+ years. I’ve taught classes that cover building systems, sustainability, design studio, acoustics, and healthcare.
2. What keeps you motivated to teach in addition to being a professional architect?
As a learner – I’m motivated by learning. Teaching has been a great way to continue to grow and test my own knowledge. I also enjoy growing people and I think education is such an integral way of having an impact on our industry.
3. What is a favorite teaching memory?
In the fall, we were able to take four students to participate in the HCD Student Charrette. It was the first time UF has been able to participate in that healthcare charrette. The charrette has been around for over 30 years and has been attended by very established healthcare design programs for many years. Despite having a limited healthcare background, our students did an amazing job at understanding the issues of healthcare design and putting together a thoughtful, amazing solution.
4. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher/ professor was Michael Kuenstle at UF, who unfortunately passed away in 2020. He really cared about his students and seeing them succeed. He was my first design professor at UF in undergrad. When I entered graduate school and into my career, he became more of a mentor who looked out for my development.
5. What do you enjoy more – teaching or learning?
I enjoy both but the rewards of teaching are invaluable – seeing others grow never gets old.
6. As an architect, do you believe the design of a building can inspire teaching and learning?
Buildings and the process of building are constantly teaching. Sometimes painfully teaching when mistakes are made, or something is not designed well. Sometimes constantly inspiring wonder. Unlike other professions, buildings are more permanent expressions of knowledge and culture – you can’t easily erase it, delete it, or take it offline. They embody what a society values and sometimes are an artifact of a culture that can be studied for future generations to understand those values of a culture.