Werner Sobek

Werner Sobek has seen the future, and it’s high-tech, green, and efficient. The architect, engineer, and teacher’s wandering intellect and belief in the power of design have left their marks across disciplines and continents.

Werner Sobek’s voice drops to a low, rhythmic pitch as he articulates each word, slightly exaggerating the alliteration. "His soul swooned slowly," intones the 55-year-old architect, "as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe." He pauses, glancing at the ceiling of the classroom in the basement of S. R. Crown Hall, Mies van der Rohe’s glass-and-steel masterpiece that houses the Illinois Institute of Technology’s architecture college, where Sobek currently holds the Mies teaching chair. He blinks. Then, eyes bright, hands flitting back and forth like an orchestra conductor’s, Sobek concludes his on-the-spot recitation of James Joyce’s last line in "The Dead." "And fain-tly fall-ing, like the descent of their last end...upon all the living and the dead."

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