Associate Professor Michael Zaretsky

Village Life Outreach Project
Cincinnati, OH
United States

Aims and expectations

I am engaged with both local and international design/build projects.

Internationally, I have been leading the design and construction of the Roche Health Center in rural Tanzania with Village Life Outreach Project.

Locally, I was previously the Director of the MetroLAB Design/Build program at the University of Cincinnati.

In all design/build projects, we focus on three principles:
1. Learning Through The Process Of Making
2. Applied Design Research & Innovation
3. Community Engagement & Impact

Short CV

Michael Zaretsky, AIA is the Head of Architecture, Interim Director of the School of Architecture and Environment, and an Associate Professor in the College of Design at the University of Oregon. Zaretsky has extensive experience in local and international design/build projects with a focus on interactive community engagement.

His published work includes the book Precedents in Zero-Energy Design: Architecture and Passive Design in the 2007 Solar Decathlon (Routledge Press, 2009) and he is co-editor (with Dr. Adrian Parr) of New Directions in Sustainable Design (Routledge Press, 2010). In addition, he has had several articles published in architectural journals and presented at conferences around the world on Sustainability, Humanitarian Design and Public Interest Design.
Zaretsky’s recent research involves an interdisciplinary collaboration with the non-profit organization Village Life Outreach Project. Zaretsky was the director of the Roche Health Center Design Committee, who led the design and construction of a zero-energy health center in rural Tanzania. Following extensive research with the local community, with design and engineering consultants and within the University of Cincinnati, the Roche Health Center is the first-ever permanent health care facility in this region. The Roche Health Center opened April 1, 2011 and provides health care to as many as 20,000 villagers. In addition to providing health care, the building is a reproducible, low-cost, durable structure made of all local materials and techniques. It is now being studied by the district government as a precedent for rural health care through the region.

Zaretsky has led study abroad tours in Australia and Tanzania. He also engages students in local community outreach.

Precedents in Zero-Energy Design (Routledge Press, 2009) -
New Directions in Sustainable Design (Routledge Press, 2010) –


Village Life Outreach Project -
Roche Health Center –


Pleasant Street Parklet

United States

Project Status: Completed / Usage Phase
Year of Completion: 2015
Scale of project: S - Small
more information

Roche Health Center

by: University of Cincinnati
Project Status: Completed / Usage Phase
Year of Completion: 2015
Scale of project: S - Small
more information


Cincinnati, Ohio, Arlington, Texas, Oregon, and Roche, Tanzania

International Design/Build, Participatory Design, Public Interest Design
Role in DesignBuild Network