Rosa Otero

Associate Professor of Design, Chair of the Department of Art, Art History, and Design

Dr. Rosa Otero was born and raised in Puerto Rico where her family still resides. She attended undergraduate school in Puerto Rico and every year she visits with her family to observe major holidays. Several years ago, she took a group of students to experience what her country has to offer. She has also traveled to other islands of the Caribbean and to Central America and Europe.

Her passion is design of the twentieth century, most especially mid-century architecture. Her dissertation focused on Henry Klumb, a German architect and a student of Frank Lloyd Wright who practiced in Puerto Rico from 1944 to the early 1980s. From his work, she developed a system to classify walls according to their permeability. This system looks at the relationship created between interior and exterior space as a means to explain how architects develop solutions that connect their buildings to a specific location. She has presented this research on several occasions, including an appearance on a TV show in Puerto Rico entitled “Prohibido Olvidar.”

Dr. Otero is married to Todd Shoaf, who is from Winston-Salem, and they have two children: Dania (10) and Loucas (4). They also have a cat, Felito, who is thirteen years old (as old as Dr. Otero's marriage). Dr. Otero lives on a cattle farm in Davidson County that has been in her husband’s family for over eighty years. Every year they go to Puerto Rico during Christmas and celebrate with her family in order to preserve some of her traditions and pass them to her children. Epiphany is observed to honor the Three Wise Men’s visit to Jesus. Children in Puerto Rico and in many countries in Latin America wake up on the sixth of January to a house full of presents. Obviously, her children truly enjoy this tradition.

  • BED, University of Puerto Rico; MArch, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; MSArch, PhD, University of Pennsylvania