Anna Cornaro

Chair of the Department of Architecture and Professor of Architecture

School of Architecture, Art & Design

Department of Architecture


Ph.D. Theory of Design/Architectural Composition, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Post-Laurea course in Exhibit Design, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
M.Arch - Laurea, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy


Professional Experience

Dr. Anna Cornaro has been an integral part of the American University in Dubai (AUD) community since the fall of 2014 when she joined as an assistant professor of Architecture. Her academic journey began at Sapienza University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Theory of Design and taught design courses. She specialized in Exhibit Design and holds a Laurea (Master's Degree) in Architecture, with a focus on urban and architectural heritage refurbishment and conservation.

As an accomplished architect and academic, Dr. Anna Cornaro is a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a Member of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), and holds the position of Associate Editor Middle East at Compasses Architecture International Magazine.

Her body of work seamlessly integrates academic research and practical expertise, centering on key areas such as the adaptive restoration of architectural heritage, revitalization of urban environments within historical settings, and the intricate interplay between tangible and intangible heritage across diverse regions spanning Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Leadership and Achievements

Since 2014, Dr. Cornaro has played a pivotal role as a member of the NAAB Accreditation Committee of AUD's Department of Architecture. Under her leadership as Chair of the Department, the Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program secured 8 years of NAAB continuation of accreditation in the USA, and a 5-year CAA Renewal of Program Accreditation in the UAE. Additionally, the Master of Urban Design and Digital Environments (MUDDE) program obtained CAA Initial Accreditation in the UAE.

Her dedication to international collaboration and education is evident through her role as the promoter, organizer, and tutor of international design workshops in Tokyo (2004), Rome (2005), and Dubai (2014, 2017, 2022), in collaboration with universities from Italy, Japan, and the Middle East. She also serves as a jury member for architecture program final graduation juries at Abu Dhabi University and The American University of Ras Al Khaimah, and jury member for American Universities study abroad programs in Rome (Penn State University, Iowa State University).

She is the team leader in may international design competitions, with winning projects published and awarded worldwide. She was finalist in the Call for Curator for NPUAE at the Venice Biennial 2020.

Contributions to Research in Architecture and Education

Throughout her academic and professional career, Dr. Cornaro has garnered recognition and scholarships from prestigious institutions, including the Italian Ministry of Education, Japanese Ministry of Education, and the Italian Institute of Foreign Trade.

Dr. Cornaro's contributions extend beyond the classroom and her professional practice. She has presented research papers at international conferences on topics ranging from urban retrofit to design and heritage, as well as adaptive reuse. She is also the author of book chapters, conference proceedings, and magazine articles on architecture design, heritage, and pedagogy related to history and theory of architecture teaching, also presented in regional and international Universities (Stanford-USA, Universita’ Tor Vergata - Italy, Prince Sultan University – Kingdom of Saudi Arabi, Gulf University – Kingdom of Barhain).

She has been an invited visiting scholar at Tokyo University, Japan  and UNIVPM – Universita’ Politecnica delle Marche, Italy.

Her expertise is confirmed through collaborations with architectural magazines such as domus, Compasses, OFX, and OFARCH, Il Giornale dell’Architettura, Paesaggi Urbani. Furthermore, she actively participates in architecture events in the United Arab Emirates, serving as a keynote speaker, moderator, and panelist.

Her applied research is evident in all projects carried out at her international studio, COdESIGN. The majority of them have been featured in renowned Italian and international magazines and have received prestigious professional and academic recognition.

Anna Cornaro embodies a tireless commitment to the field, seamlessly integrating academic research on design and heritage with studio teaching in lecture and studio courses, and the history and theory of architecture. Her professional and academic journey, is driven by a profound passion for continuous learning and advancement in the world of architecture.

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