Kathryn Merlino

Associate Professor

Kathryn Rogers Merlino is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Center for Preservation and Adaptive Reuse (CPAR). She is an adjunct in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Scan Design Endowed Chair in the College of Built Environments.

Her research, projects, and teaching focus on reducing resource depletion and embodied carbon by adapting existing buildings, especially those promoting environmental justice and social equity. Her book, Building Reuse: Sustainability, Preservation and The Value of Design (UW Press, 2018; paperback edition 2021), argues that existing buildings should be considered artifacts of extracted materials and embodied carbon, and together with high-performance retrofitting, are critical components of a sustainable future. She calls for a re-positioning and strengthening of adaptive reuse design in architectural education, grounded in an ecological framework, so future designers of the built environment have critical knowledge of existing structures and how to adapt them into sustainable, repairable and beautiful places.

Merlino has published in several publications such as The Public Historian: A Journal of Public History, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, and Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm, book chapters, and dozens of peer-reviewed conference proceedings. She is a frequent invited speaker at academic and professional conferences and state and professional events. Merlino frequently consults for design teams as an architectural historian, designer, and historic preservation.

Merlino teaches courses on architectural history, preservation and building reuse theories, vernacular architecture and architectural design studies, and has taught study abroad programs in Rome, Denmark and France. Kathryn practiced in Seattle for several years with Olson Sundberg Architects (now Olson Kundig), receiving several awards for projects designed with the firm, and Cardwell Thomas Architects.

Merlino received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Washington, a Master of Architecture and a Master of Architectural History from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She sits on the historic ASUW Shell House Board and the Washington State Advisory Council on Unreinforced Masonry Buildings, and is a past board member of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, a member of Seattle’s ASAP: Alliance for Safety, Affordability and Preservation, and Past-Commissioner for the King County Landmarks Commission.