From 1978 to 2004, Professor Rockcastle was a professor on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he taught design and theory. He was Head of the Department of Architecture from 1991 to 1997 and he initiated their new Continuing Professional Studies Program in 1998 and was the Founding Chair of the Professional Advisory Board. Professor Rockcastle served as Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Maryland from July 2004 - July 2010. As Dean he initiated efforts to expand and cross-connect the curricular offerings of the School and to diversify and deepen its human and digital resources.
Professor Rockcastle is known for his architectural creativity and expertise. In 1981, he co-founded the architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, LTD in Minneapolis, MN. The most recent of his many lauded accomplishments is the new University of Minnesota Regis Center for Art. The 155,000-square-foot, $41.5 million building is one of the most advanced art education and creative studio facilities in the nation. His unique approach to the adaptive re-use of existing and historic structures is another focus of his professional and academic reputation having designed the conversion of over half a million square feet of some twelve separate buildings into new, award-winning arts and residential projects.
Professor Rockcastle has also written on diverse topics and edited collections of critical essays on architecture, especially on themes involving ethical and theoretical issues. His overarching concerns address the how and why we practice and teach in the ways we do, and how (or why) we might do otherwise. He regularly crosses and links his concerns between professional practice and academic perspectives.
Professor Rockcastle has been described by those who have known him in Minnesota and beyond as "an effective communicator," "an institution builder" and "a superb administrator" who "creates a stimulating and productive environment for teaching, scholarship and creative practice."