John J. Casbarian
Harry K. & Albert K. Smith Professor
Director of External Programs (Director of Rice Architecture Paris)
Dean Emeritus


An award-winning architect and educator, John J. Casbarian, FAIA, pursues his research through his practice, Taft Architects, which he founded with his partners, Danny Samuels, FAIA, and Robert H. Timme, FAIA. Taft Architects is known for its formal and spatial innovations, and the work has been internationally recognized with numerous awards, publications, and other distinctions. The partners were selected, among others, to represent the United States at the First International Exhibition of Architecture at the Venice Biennale in 1980. Together, they were awarded the 1985–86 Advanced Fellowship in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome, and in 1991, they were elected to the College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects. In 1991, Taft Architects received the Educator Award and in 1999 the Firm of the Year Award from the Houston AIA. In 2019, the practice received the AIA Houston Lifetime Achievement Award, the institution’s highest honor. Additionally, Casbarian received the Educator Award in 2012 from the Texas Society of Architects.

 Prior to establishing this practice in 1973, Casbarian apprenticed with César Pelli and Craig Hodgetts in Los Angeles. He is particularly interested in the productive nature of cross-cultural exchange, which he fosters through the Rice Architecture Paris program and for which he is the founding director.


Faculty Work


  • M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts
  • B.Arch. Rice University
  • B.A. Rice University

Currently Teaching

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