Altaf Engineer

Associate Professor of Architecture
Chair, Master of Science in Architecture Program


  • Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • School of Architecture
Altaf Engineer

Smith House
1195 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson AZ 85719

Areas of Expertise

  • Daylighting
  • Health and wellbeing in the built environment
  • Indoor air quality
  • Occupant comfort
  • Social and behavioral issues


  • PhD in Architecture, University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign, M.Arch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.Arch, University of Mumbai, India


Altaf Engineer is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and University of Arizona Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance (UA IPWP), an interdisciplinary institute at the University of Arizona that links expertise of the UA College of Medicine - Tucson, the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine (AWCIM) and the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA). He serves as Chair of the Master of Science in Architecture degree program and Faculty Advisor of the Health and Built Environment concentration.

Altaf holds a PhD in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an Illinois Distinguished Fellow for three years and awarded the ARCC King’s Merit Medal for Excellence in Architectural + Environmental Behavior Research. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Mumbai, India. He is a registered architect in New York, USA , and a LEED Accredited Professional with experience in sustainable higher education buildings, institutional buildings, adaptive re-use and residential projects.
Altaf received the 2018 Emerging Legacy Award from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This peer-reviewed award recognizes alumni and friends who have impacted their fields in transformative ways. Additionally, he received the Faculty Award for Research Excellence from the University of Arizona School of Architecture and AIA Southern Arizona in 2023.   

Altaf’s scholarship, teaching and practice are informed by his interest in health and wellbeing in the built environment with a special focus on daylighting, social and behavioral issues in design, occupant comfort, and indoor air quality. He is first author of the book Shedding New Light On Art Museum Additions: Front Stage and Back Stage Experiences published in 2018 and a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on health and the built environment. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses which include Capstone Design Studio, Building Technology, Health and Wellbeing in the Built Environment, Social and Behavioral Issues in the Built Environment, and Daylighting, Health & Behavior.
Altaf is a cofounder of Architects For Society, a nonprofit design practice of allied professionals from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and India formed in 2015 with a mission to serve disadvantaged communities through innovative architecture and design. The Hex House, a housing prototype for displaced populations around the globe developed by the group, has received the German Design Council Iconic Award 2016 and American Architecture Prize 2016, Bronze medal in Architectural Design/Social Housing Category.

News, Research and Projects

Downtown Tucson and Sentinel Peak at sunset

CAPLA Students and Faculty Partner with Local First Arizona to Help Organizations Develop Sustainability Plans

Assistant Professor of Architecture Altaf Engineer and Lecturer in Architecture Sandra Bernal-Cordova helped build the SCALE UP curriculum and train its facilitators, and are now preparing to engage CAPLA students and recent graduates in the award-winning, community-oriented program.