Shelley Roff, PhD

Associate Professor, Graduate Advisor of Record and Program Leader - Architecture, Architecture and Planning

Shelley Roff


Dr. Shelley Roff is an architectural historian whose research and teaching focus on the architecture and urbanism of medieval and early modern Spain, the transference of Spanish culture, design and construction practices to the New World, and women’s engagement with architecture and construction before the modern age.  Her courses impart a visual and intellectual journey into the politics, economics, and technology of making the built environment.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Richard S. Howe Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and the 2009 recipient of the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Core Curriculum Teaching.

Dr. Roff’s research combines architectural history, archaeology, spatial analysis and the digital humanities.  Her current book project, Treasure of the City: The Public Sphere and Civic Urbanism in Late Medieval Barcelona, illustrates the transformative role the construction of public works, monuments and urban spaces played in the crystallization of municipal power in late medieval Barcelona, and includes a virtual reconstruction of the city in the fifteenth century. This book project was funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award, a residential fellowship from the Bogliasco Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, and a travel grant from the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain and U.S. Universities.

Her forthcoming publication, “Did Women Design or Build before the Industrial Age?” in Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture (2021), presents new research on a female artist-architect and amateur architects in early modern Europe.  In 2010 she published, “’Appropriate to Her Sex?’ Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” in Women and Wealth in Medieval Europe (Palgrave McMillan).  She is currently the co-author of the forthcoming Building Medieval Valencia: The Role of Women in Construction, Craft and Patronage.

As director of the Building Spanish Colonial Texas research team, 2016-2018, she investigated the tools and methods used to build the towns, forts and missions of Spanish Texas.  This project was completed in collaboration with UTSA’s Center for Archaeology and was funded by a GREAT Grant from UTSA.

Dr. Roff received her Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from Brown University in 2002.  Prior to obtaining her doctorate, she practiced architecture in Boston and San Francisco.  She has a B.E.D. from Texas A&M University and an M.Arch from the University of California at Berkeley.  Dr. Roff is the recipient of other grants and fellowships, including the Fulbright Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials