Current phd Students
In addition to their studies, doctoral candidates are involved in many aspects of the school. Among other activities, they hold Research or Teaching Fellowships and organize speaker series, conferences, and journals.
Students generally take courses their first two years, and are engaged in research and teaching for at least two more years. After their fourth year, students may or may not remain in residency; many travel to pursue their research, either in the US or abroad.
Amin Alsaden is a second year PhD student. His research interests include the role of politics in determining forms of architectural modernism in non-western contexts; civic and cultural developments, institutions, and their historiography; and museology and the social, cultural and cognitive role of architecture in relation to artistic and curatorial practices. Amin's dissertation will focus on salient cultural buildings in Baghdad around and following the mid-twentieth century, a period that witnessed unprecedented intellectual and artistic growth and multifaceted novel cultural production.
Amin holds a Masters in Architecture from Princeton University and a Bachelor in Architecture, and a Minor in Interior Design, from the American University of Sharjah. He has worked at various architectural practices, most recently at OMA and MVRDV in the Netherlands, where his experience involved large scale urban proposals and high-rise buildings, as well as cultural projects including art districts, museums, and exhibition design.
Sai Balakrishnan completed her Bachelor of Architecture in India and holds a Masters in Urban Design from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Masters in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Her research interests are on the political economy of urbanization (including theories of justice, democratic theory, urban politics), planning theories (particularly for the "global south"), and urban informality (including land and property rights, urban service delivery and the informal economy). Sai is just completing her year of doctoral fieldwork in India and will be back in Cambridge in fall 2011. Her doctoral dissertation is on the urbanization taking place along infrastructure corridors in India, with a focus on the contestations around the consolidation and conversion of agricultural lands in these corridor villages to urban uses.
In the past, Sai has worked as an architect for Balakrishna Doshi (India) and as an urban designer in the UAE. She has been a contributor to the UN-HABITAT’s 2008 publication of the “State of the World’s Cities (Harmonious Cities)” report on social equity in the cities of the developing world. As part of a team of 7 MIT graduate students, she has worked on developing a climate adaptation plan in the water and sanitation sector for the local municipality of Durban, South Africa.
Lara Belkind is a PhD candidate and holds joint Master’s degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from the GSD. Her dissertation examines emerging urban constellations facilitated by high speed networks – focusing on infrastructure as a site of conflict and negotiation in the Paris region.
Her publications (in Political Power & Social Theory, TDSR, and Writing Cities) have included a study of bloggers and urban transformation on New York's Lower East Side and a history of urban camouflage in that neighborhood since the 1970s. As a Fulbright Scholar, she documented Paris's Hôtels Industriels, architecture for light industry in the city center.
Lara has taught as a Visiting Critic at the Yale School of Architecture and as a Lecturer at the Architectural Association in London. She was Head Instructor in Urban Design & Planning for Harvard’s Career Discovery program. She has worked professionally creating large-scale design and redevelopment plans for downtown Washington DC under Mayor Anthony Williams and Planning Director Andrew Altman. Previously, she worked on urban initiatives in the Manhattan Office of the New York Department of City Planning, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone in Harlem, and the 42nd Street Development Project in Times Square.
Álex Bueno holds a BA in Art History from Princeton and an MA from Harvard, and is generally interested in the development of the modern urban landscape and its relation to perceptions of history and place.
His current research focuses on the development of Tokyo from the postwar to the present, and aims to understand the links between urbanization, architecture, and technology in the city and its representation in popular media such as television, comics, and video games in the Japanese context. Specifically, the project will attempt to draw out the role of the digital in the creation of the Tokyo landscape.
Bueno has served as a teaching fellow both in the GSD and the College. He also has experience in critiques in the visual arts. Aside from English, he speaks Spanish and Japanese, along with some German. He is an avid digital and large-format film photographer, and especially enjoys returning to his hometown Miami in the winter to record the changing city.
This year, he is conducting dissertation research at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, with a grant from the Japan Foundation.
Jana Cephas' research focuses on the social implications of industrial landscapes—in particular how architecture relates to the intersection of technology, the body, and the social stratifications of race, class, and gender. Her past research focused primarily on informal economies, urban agriculture, and urban art activism as forms of community development and planning in post-industrial cities. This research led to the publication of “Living Off the Land: Waste at Work in Edge Economies” by the Right to Landscape Foundation; the plan for a community arts village for the Heidelberg Project in Detroit; and the design of a disaster recovery center in New Orleans, which won the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. Jana’s more recent work has addressed the economic viability of public parks in industrial cities; the history of racialized landscape production in the post-Reconstruction American South; and the bodily aesthetics of the political fast in public space. Her doctoral research concerns the agonism structuring and influencing Fordism, urbanization, and modernist aesthetics in early twentieth-century Detroit. Jana is also the Managing Editor of Positions: On Modern Architecture and Urbanism/Histories and Theories.
Peter H. Christensen is a Ph.D. candidate in Architecture at Harvard University. His research centers on the practice and historiography of geopolitics as a discrete field of inquiry since the Nineteenth century onwards and its implications on spatial practices with particular interest in the borders of Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations. He also researches the museology of architecture and the critical practices of connoisseurship. His current doctoral research considers cultural, infrastructural and architectural exchanges between the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.
Prior to coming to Harvard, Peter served as Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (2005-2008). Peter holds a professional Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, a Master of Design Studies in the History and Theory of Architecture, with distinction, and a Master of Arts, both from Harvard. Peter is the recipient of the Philip Johnson Book Award (2010) from the Society of Architectural Historians and grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Deutsche Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Society of Historians of Islamic Art and Architecture, among others.
Christina Crawford is a third year PhD student whose work focuses on architectural and urban design strategies particular to periods of intensive transition. Her dissertation research explores radical Soviet urban theory of the 1920s, and the subsequent attempts to make it instrumental. Christina received her B.A. in Architecture and East European Studies from Yale University, and her M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design; all degrees were conferred with Distinction. She served as Vice Consul in the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received a Fulbright Fellowship to Ukraine, where she researched post-Soviet Ukrainian architecture and urbanism. Articles on her Ukrainian work were published in Metropolis (U.S.), Archis (Netherlands), and A.C.C. (Ukraine).
Prior to returning to the GSD, Christina worked for several years as an architect and urban designer in Boston and taught architectural history and theory at Northeastern University. Her professional work included designs for discrete architectural projects, master plans for local municipalities and open space design for a waterfront city in Dubai, UAE. She is a Registered Architect, a LEED Accredited Professional and an affiliate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard.
In 2005, Brett Culbert received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University with concentrations in both Theory and Visual Studies. In the time between this degree and his Masters degree at Harvard, MDesS: History and Theory (2009-2011), Brett worked in a variety of architecture practices in New Zealand and San Francisco, in book publishing and distribution for William Stout, and as both a Teaching Assistant and Studio Instructor at Cornell University.
In his research, Brett is particularly drawn to picturesque tourism and the framework provided by visual and literary travel itineraries for movement through foreign landscapes. His Masters thesis: "The Nascent Picturesque: Visualizing Wilderness and Industry in the New World" was based on a close reading of Thomas Pownall's Topographical Description, a document that describes the inland edge of British North America in the mid-eighteenth century. Brett was particularly interested in the sites that Pownall encountered and sketched and their contribution to the character of -- an emergent -- American civilization; especially the native industrial pursuits that bound settlers to the land, forming a social contract between industry, nature and society. The preconceived vision that Pownall had of what he expected to find in the Colonies -- distilled from earlier political writings -- created an interesting binary between the construct of vision and the projection of Pownall’s view onto the unfamiliar landscape.
John Davis is a second year PhD student who studies the North American built environment and landscape, particularly the effects of technology and engineering systems on landscapes and ecological regions. His past research has included the origins and practices of the United States Geological Survey, the design and installation of the first electricity delivery system in the Rocky Mountains, the deepwater port infrastructure of Los Angeles, and the effects of the militarization of North America during the Cold War.
His current research includes historical coastal reclamation practices, nature and aesthetics in the American colonial and early Republic eras, law, land-use and urbanization, and more generally, the relationship between design, construction, and environment in modern North America. He was born in New York City and holds a BS from the University of Virginia and a Master in Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University.
Aliki Economides is a Ph.D. candidate whose research interests center on issues of representation, theories and practices of ornament, scientific epistemology and design pedagogy from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries in Europe and North America. Her dissertation, “Translations between subject and object: Ernest Cormier ‘Architecte et Ingénieur-Constructeur’ and the problem of representation” probes the issue of architectural representation on multiple registers while making a contribution to the historiography of Canadian architecture. [Committee: Antoine Picon (Primary Advisor), Eve Blau, Alina Payne, Martin Bressani].
Currently a Canada Program Research Fellow at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Aliki’s upcoming scholarly activities include the co-organization (with Jean-Pierre Chupin) of the conference IDEA@UdeM “Ornament, Algorithms and Analogies: between cognitive and technological operations in architecture” which takes place at the Université de Montreal in May 2013. Recently she presented papers at the “House and Home from a Theoretical Perspective” conference in Istanbul and at the “Beyond the Culture of Nature: Rethinking Canadian and Environmental Studies” conference in Vancouver. Her English translation of Jean-Pierre Chupin’s book Analogie et théorie en architecture is forthcoming.
Trained first as an architect, Aliki holds a professional B.Arch (U of Toronto), an M.Arch in history & theory (McGill), and an M.A. in the history of science (Harvard). She has worked in practice; taught studio and history & theory courses in architecture and landscape architecture; served often as a guest critic; and coordinated the Visiting Scholars Program at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and l’Institut de recherche en histoire de l’architecture (IRHA). Aliki is currently based in Montreal.
Igor Ekštajn is a PhD student whose research will explore issues concerning territory—how the built environment, from architecture to infrastructure, straddles natural spaces and political environments and performs as a material manifestation of territoriality.
Before returning to the GSD, Igor taught at the University of Zagreb architectural history and theory courses, and design studios focused on architectural preservation.
Igor received his Master in Design Studies degree in History and Philosophy of Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2011. He participated in the preparation of Dispatches from the GSD: 075 Years of Design exhibition, conducting archival research, assisting in curating, and working on content production and exhibition installation. He also collaborated on “A Peripheral Moment: Experiments in Architectural Agency”, a book published by Actar.
Igor also received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Zagreb in 2005. In the same year he was awarded an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. He spent several years working as an architect in Croatian architectural firms such as njiric+ arhitekti, and Randić-Turato.
Matthew Gin comes to Harvard from the Yale School of Architecture where he earned a Master of Environmental Design in Architectural History and Theory. At Yale, his master’s thesis examined the graphic and architectural regimes developed by Otl Aicher and Günter Behnisch for the 1972 Munich Olympics as instruments of polity intended to foster positive international perceptions of West Germany through various sensorial interactions. While at Yale, Matt worked as a teaching fellow where he led discussion sections for Keller Easterling and Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen. Matt completed his undergraduate work at Oberlin College earning both a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Bachelor of Music in Baroque Flute Performance. His honors thesis examined the development of theater architecture in 18th-century France.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Matt has experience with historic preservation and curatorial practice. For several summers Matt was part of the team at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust in Chicago responsible for the restoration of the Robie House. More recently, Matt interned at MoMA in the Department of Architecture and Design where he assisted Barry Bergdoll on the exhibition 194X-9/11: American Architects and the City. Other credits include his role as curatorial assistant for the traveling exhibition Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment and research on the Beinecke Library’s recent acquisition of material relating to the European architectural Avant-Garde. In his free time, Matt is an avid rock climber– a hobby that often meshes with his interest in architecture: his most unusual ascent was up Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building.
Brian Goldstein is a PhD candidate in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning. His research focuses on the redevelopment of American cities in the post-World War II era, especially intersections between the architecture and urban planning professions, race, social movements, and politics. His dissertation assesses the urban development of Harlem, New York, between 1965 and 2000, especially the forms of “community development” that took shape in the aftermath of the urban renewal era. He has also studied racial diversity in early suburbs and suburban modernism. He co-authored “Paul Rudolph and the Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal,” presented at the 2009 conference “Reassessing Rudolph: Architecture and Reputation” at the Yale School of Architecture. His article “Planning’s End? Urban Renewal in New Haven, the Yale School of Art and Architecture, and the Fall of the New Deal Spatial Order” appeared in the Journal of Urban History in May 2011.
Brian previously managed the First Impressions program in the Office of the Chief Architect of the U.S. General Services Administration. He received an AB in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard in 2004 and an AM in Architecture from Harvard in 2009.
Lisa Haber-Thomson is a second year PhD student. She is interested in the extra-territorial site: both in its transformation over time from a temporal exception to a permanent place, as well as its context within the contemporary built environment as a spatial exception to political boundaries. Past research has included a study of the current usages of Maginot Line casemates in eastern France, and a theoretical investigation into the possibilities of time-travel in the salt flats of Bolivia.
Lisa has a Masters in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University. She has worked in architecture for Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Peter Rose + Partners; as a video and sound editor for the Science Media Group; and as a freelance animator and sound designer. She has recently been involved in the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s Bizarre Animals: An Evening of Contemporary Art Interventions as a participating artist in 2010, and as its curator in 2011.
Ateya Khorakiwala is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of Design in her 4th year where she is working on her dissertation prospectus. Her area of interest is India’s project of development and modernization as it unfolded in the 1960s and 70s. She researches the infrastructural support to India’s biopolitical revolution, and recently presented a paper at the annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians on the architecture of grain storage and its role in the systems that support the state’s policy.
She received her Bachelor of Architecture at the Kamla Raheja Vidhyanidhi Institute of Architecture in Mumbai, in whose research and design cell she also worked. She received her Masters degree in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) from MIT, where she wrote her thesis, entitled “State of Roads: Public Works as Research, India circa 1960,” which tackled the difficulty faced by the postcolonial nation-state to be modern. Ateya’s work looks at the technological discourses within which India’s national modernity was couched.
Diana Lempel completed the GSD’s Master’s of Urban Planning program in 2012, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage and Neighborhood Development. Her research focuses on the potential for public humanities and informal learning to serve community development and help neighborhoods to tell their changing stories.
Her thesis focused on attitudes towards redevelopment in downtown Boston adjacent to the historic Haymarket food market. Other work, both at the GSD and at the School of Education, explored policy and programming models for learning and interpretation in spaces that bridge the home and the public sphere (such as schools, bars and restaurants, and shared public spaces). In Spring 2012 she began terroirstudio, an experimental platform for dining events that explore place and history, and consider the potential for concepts of hospitality to inform broader efforts in community development.
[dianalempel.com // terroirstudio.com]
Anna Bergren Miller is a PhD candidate who studies the built environment of the American state. Her dissertation examines the planning and architecture of stateside army posts in connection with the development of the American suburban landscape.
Anna graduated from MIT with a BS in mathematics and a concentration in urban history. While at Harvard, she has been a teaching fellow for both the Graduate School of Design and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She has also taught at the Boston Architectural Center.
Anna has presented her work at the 2007 North American Conference on Global Radicalism (Michigan State University), the annual meeting of the British International Studies Association (University of Cambridge, 2007), and Harvard University’s Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism (2007, 2010). She co-organized the 2008 graduate student conference on the History of Capitalism in the United States, also at Harvard.
Morgan Ng’s research examines the interplay of technology, architecture, and urbanism in the Renaissance. A major area of thematic interest is how the early modern ascendance of print as a medium for the textual and visual transmission of knowledge clashed with more traditional uses of architecture as a bearer of oral/aural communication and experience. He also cultivates a longstanding interest in the role of military architecture in the development of Renaissance building technologies and political philosophy.
Recent projects have explored the aesthetic and religious implications of Protestant psalm-singing in Huguenot-occupied churches and cities; the influence of Calvinist exegetical cartography on John Milton’s poetic form; and the late-sixteenth-century rise of clear window glass in secular architecture as a material agent in the geographical diffusion of classicism and urban growth in Northern Europe. He has presented papers at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, as well as at Oxford, Princeton, and Binghamton Universities. Before coming to Harvard, Morgan worked at architecture offices in New York City and Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.
Jason Nguyen’s research focuses on early modern European architecture, landscape, and urbanism, centering on the relationship between architectural theory and practice and the development of secular/scientific rationalism, the literary arts, and social and aesthetic philosophy in France, 1650-1800.
He has presented most recently at the European Architectural History Network (2012), the Courtauld Institute of Art (2012), MIT (2011), and Princeton University (2010). In 2012, he was a Pre-doctoral Resident at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, where he studied early modern European gardens, landscapes, and treatises. During 2012-2013, he will be working in the Division of European and American Art at the Harvard Art Museums. In additional to being a Teaching Fellow for all modules of the Buildings, Texts, Contexts sequence, he also co-teaches the summer architectural history course for incoming M.Arch I students. And in March 2013, he will co-chair the GSD Ph.D. conference, Cambridge Talks VII: Architecture and the Street.
Trained as an architect and LEED-certified, he received his B.Arch from Drexel University. In 2007, he joined the faculty at Drexel, where he taught courses on visionary architecture, 1750-present. From 2003 to 2009, he practiced with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.
Bryan Norwood is a second year PhD student, and his general interest is in the relationship of philosophy and architecture. Concerned in particular with historiographical questions of the practice and ontology of contemporary architectural history, Bryan’s dissertation will aim to provide a thematized meta-history of the history of architecture, focusing in particular on nineteenth and twentieth-century German, English, and American developments, while simultaneously articulating an ontology of architecture’s history itself. Building a philosophy of history through the work of Martin Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze, among others, his dissertation will argue that the relationship between present practice and the historical past is constituted by the temporal process of passing, of becoming-historical, that places specific ethical demands on the historian and on the practitioner.
Bryan previously received a BA in philosophy and a BArch from Mississippi State University and an MA in philosophy from Boston University. His work has appeared in Philosophical Forum, Harvard Design Magazine, and MONU. In both 2011 and 2012, he co-organized a conference on the philosophy of architecture at Boston University.
Sun-Young Park is a PhD candidate who investigates the intersections between medical history, histories of the body, and space. Her past work has looked at 19th century sewers, prostitution, and asylums in the French context. Her dissertation, tentatively entitled “Building Bodies: Architecture, Hygiene, and the Construction of Gender in Early 19th Century Paris,” interrogates how architectural responses to medical developments informed gender and class formation between 1815 and 1848. Sun-Young’s research is supported by the Center for European Studies, the Committee on General Scholarships, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She will be a Traveling Scholar in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Sun-Young has been a Teaching Fellow for architectural history and theory courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Harvard. She holds a BA in Architecture from Princeton and a MArch from the GSD. In the spring of 2011, she co-organized a conference on “The Body in History / The Body in Space” at the Humanities Center.
Chris Rogacz is interested in how space acts politically. He did his undergraduate work at Cornell, concentrating on political philosophy and visual studies. Writers from The Frankfurt School and other critical theorists have greatly shaped his thinking on how the built environment can be productively read as an artifact, mediator, and producer of power. Currently, his interest is in exploring the mode by which sovereign borders are made to act meaningfully; initial research into this project has led to a political theological reading of Augustine’s Confessions as a border security project.
Ivan Rupnik is a PhD candidate in the doctoral program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning. Ivan’s research is focused on the notion of experiment in postwar and contemporary discourse and practice, particularly in relation to digital and analog computational approaches. His dissertation examines the impact of the experimentalist discourse of the late fifties and sixties on architectural and art practice via the New Tendencies Movement.
Ivan holds a BArch from Louisiana State University and Master of Architecture with distinction from Harvard GSD. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture of Northeast University. From 2005 until 2007, Ivan was the Principal Instructor of the Architectural Program of Harvard GSD’s Career Discovery program, and from 2005 to 2006 he was an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.
Ivan is the coauthor of Project Zagreb: Transition as Condition, Strategy, Practice (Actar, 2007), the author of A Peripheral Moment: Experiments in Architectural Agency (Actar, 2010), and is also editing “Home Work: Contemporary Housing Delivery Systems” (2011). Since 2007, Ivan has served as an urban design and planning consultant to the University of Zagreb’s Spatial Planning and Development Office.
Fallon Samuels Aidoo is a Harvard PhD candidate engaged in urban studies of science and technology. Her research primarily concerns infrastructural development during periods of political, fiscal and environmental crisis. Her dissertation examines why urban transportation planners promoted the construction, preservation and expansion of mass transit in America’s Rustbelt during the 1960s and 1970s, when the region experienced depopulation, disinvestment and decentralization. Fallon holds a professional degree in civil engineering from Columbia University and post-professional degrees in architectural and urban studies from MIT and Harvard. In addition to teaching architectural and urban history at Harvard graduate and undergraduate schools, Fallon develops publications, archives and exhibitions concerning the modern built environment. Past projects in conjunction with the Smithsonian Division of Architectural History & Historic Preservation (2005), the Afro-Antillean Museum of Panama (2006), the U.S. National Building Museum (2008), and most recently, the Hagley Museum & Library (2012), combined historical research and preservation practices. Currently, she is documenting contemporary efforts to re-use historic rail rights-of-way and collecting oral histories of a now-historic American landscape, the Panama Canal Zone (1904-1999).
Peter Sealy is a third-year PhD student, who studies the relationship between photography and the competing conceptions of architectural modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Peter’s interests also include the crisis of materiality that gripped 19th century architecture and the shifting register of architectural representation circa 1870.
In October 2012, Peter will present a paper – co-authored with Martin Bressani of McGill University – at a journée d’études on 19th century architectural photography at the INHA in Paris. This paper will explore the role photography played in changing other forms of architectural representation. In April 2013, Peter will read his study of iron architecture in Émile Zola’s novels – and particularly, the author’s propensity to dematerialize these dense structures – at the 66th SAH Annual Conference in Buffalo.
Peter holds architecture degrees from McGill University (B.Sc. Arch, 2004 & M. Arch, 2006) and the Harvard GSD (M. Arch II, 2008). From 2007-2010, he worked at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montréal. He has published article on the photographs of Charles Garnier’s Paris Opéra and Wells Coates’s plans for a new town in eastern Ontario.
At Harvard, Peter is a Frank Knox Fellow and holds a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Jesse Shapins is a media theorist, documentary artist and PhD candidate (ABD). His dissertation is titled “Mapping the Urban Database Documentary: Utopias of Kaleidoscopic Perception and Sensory Estrangement,” and he anticipates completing it this year. The project theorizes the genre of the urban database documentary, a mode of media art practice that uses structural systems to uncover new perspectives on the lived experience of place. While particularly prominent in recent decades, Shapins argues that the genre of the urban database documentary emerges at the turn of the 20th century, a symptomatic response to the new cultural conditions of the metropolis and mechanical recording technologies, meeting a need to create order from vast quantities of information and re-frame perception of daily experience.
Jesse is also Co-Founder/Chief Strategy Architect of Zeega, a non-profit dedicated to inventing new forms of place-based storytelling, and Co-Founder/Associate Director of metaLAB (at) Harvard, a research community exploring the frontiers and overlooked histories of networked culture in the arts and humanities. At the GSD, Jesse has invented new courses that combine artistic practice with theoretical inquiry, such as GSD 3448 “The Mixed-Reality City” and GSD 3418 “Media Archaeology of Place.” He holds a B.A in Urban Studies and Comparative Literature, summa cum laude, from Columbia University, along with an A.M. in Architecture from Harvard.
Nick R. Smith is a scholar of settlement transition and urban planning, with a particular emphasis on China, where he has conducted extensive ethnographic and historical research. Nick’s research has included investigations of regional variation in rural urbanization across China, the design and identity of urban villages in Shenzhen, the politics of redevelopment and graffiti in Chongqing, and enclave building in the Chinatowns of exclusion era California. His current research focuses on the planning and transformation of a rapidly urbanizing village on the fringes of Chongqing, where he was a visiting scholar in 2011-2012. In his research, Nick combines ethnography with analytical techniques from planning and architecture to investigate the intersection of space and society.
Nick is currently an Academic Visitor at the Oxford University China Centre and is Secretary of the Board of Directors for the International Association for China Planning. His research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies.
Adam Tanaka is interested in the relationship between architecture and politics, particularly during periods of transition. He is especially interested in analyzing the ways in which historical and ideological meanings become embedded into urban forms — and how the transformation of these spaces subsequently affects a change in their associations. In the context of revolutionary and post-revolutionary societies, such issues of memory management are particularly pertinent.
Most of Adam’s work to date has focused on socialist and post-socialist cities in Eastern Europe. His undergraduate thesis investigated the urban transformation of Bucharest following the fall of the communist regime in 1989. In preparation for this project, Adam undertook two research trips to Romania and Poland, interviewing a number of architects, politicians and journalists on site.
Adam has also worked on projects related to 19th century Paris, Renaissance Rome, Fascist Berlin and post-war Japanese architecture. Adam received his BA with highest honors in Art History and Urban Studies from Princeton University in 2011.
David Theodore is a PhD student dually registered in the GSD and the department of the History of Science, who studies the intersecting histories of architecture, medicine, and technology. He seeks to understand buildings and cities as material culture artifacts, rather than as works of art, but deploys both approaches strategically.
He recently taught in Montreal in the School of Architecture, McGill University, and in the Department of Design, Concordia University. A 2009 Trudeau Scholar, he was among the winners of the National History Society's Pierre Berton Award for 2008, for his contribution to the innovative teaching website, Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History (www.canadianmysteries.ca).
An active design journalist and critic, he is a regional correspondent for The Canadian Architect, a contributing editor at Azure, and a contributor to the Phaidon Atlas of 21st-Century World Architecture. He has prepared exhibitions for McGill University, Toronto’s Design Exchange, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. His recent research on medicine and architecture has been published in Technology and Culture, CBHM, and Scientia Canadensis.
Olga Touloumi researches questions of media and technology in post-World War II architecture and design thinking. Her dissertation reassesses the position of atmospheres and the acoustic modality in postwar technological utopias, and examines the emergence of architectures of global communication in the intersection of postwar art practices, music experimentation, communication technologies, and media studies.
She holds a B.Arch from AUTh and a SMArchS in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture from MIT, where she researched the production of identity politics in the exchanges between prison architecture and criminal anthropology during the post-Risorgimento Italy. She has co-organized the symposium “Mediated Space,” and has co-curated “A Media Archaeology of Boston” at the Carpenter Center and “Made in Greece Plus” at the Museum of Science, Boston. She has published articles on Buckminster Fuller’s theory of articulation, Constantine Doxiadis’s interest in communication technologies, and Iannis Xenakis’s strategies of stratifying the spatiotemporal continuum in Thresholds and the edited anthologies Soft Shells and Music and Modernism c.1849-1950. Her work has been presented at NE/SAH, MIT, Brown University, the Courtauld Institute, DOCOMOMO, and other venues internationally. Her design projects have been exhibited at the Barcelona Biennial of Landscape Design and the Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Künste in Stuttgart. She has been invited to be a critic at the GSD, MIT, RISD, BAC, and AUTh.
Marikka Trotter, a third year PhD student, Marrikka is interested in the early nineteenth-century tendency, particularly in German thought, to treat both natural and artificial forms as temporary eddies in ongoing flows of formation and erosion. This stance implied some degree of equivalence between matter shaped by humans and matter shaped by natural processes and encouraged ways of acting and dwelling in the landscape that would reinforce and capitalize upon existing formative rhythms.
Marrikka is co-editor and co-instigator of the Work Books project, a series of publications aimed at examining architecture in its expanded field. The first book of this series, Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else, was released with MIT Press in 2010. She has recently finished editing the second Work Books volume, Architecture is All Over. With a background in practice and site-responsive art, Marrikka has taught at the BAC and is a guest critic at Northeastern University, MassArt, Wentworth, MIT and the GSD. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Design Magazine and Log.
Eldra D. Walker, a second year PhD student, is interested in the history and theory of 19th and early 20th century art and architecture. She has particular interest in the roles that difference, order, and perfection play in architectural history.
Eldra earned a BS from Morgan State University in Information Science and Systems, and an MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. From 2008 to 2011 she worked for the District of Columbia (DC) Historic Preservation Office in the DC Office of Planning as a lead design reviewer for four DC historic districts. In this position, she analyzed architectural plans for proposed construction projects to ensure their contextual compatibility as stipulated by DC Historic Preservation Law, standards, and guidelines. She also evaluated and recommended action to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board on new construction, additions, repair, and alterations for commercial and residential properties. Eldra also has experience working with, organizing, and supporting digital historical collections for public institutions and libraries.
Delia Wendel is a PhD candidate that researches post-conflict and post-disaster rebuilding strategies. During 2012-2013, Delia is living in Rwanda for dissertation research. Framed by the title, ‘Space and the Ethics of Transition: Rebuilding after the Genocide in Rwanda,’ her dissertation focuses on how State peacebuilding objectives are realized in the rebuilding of settlements, housing, and civic spaces in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide.
Delia was trained and worked as an architect, and led her own residential design practice in Virginia. In addition to a Professional Architecture degree (BArch, Rice University), she holds degrees in Cultural Geography (MSc, University College London) and Architectural History and Theory (MDesS, Harvard GSD). She has published scholarly essays on post-Katrina rebuilding in New Orleans (Journal of Urban Design, 2009) on architecture, infrastructure and political activism (The Handbook of Architectural Theory, 2012), and on an avant-garde mass spectacle in 1920s Azerbaijan (Journal of Urban Design, 2012). In 2009 Delia worked for UNHABITAT as a research consultant, and from 2008-2011 as a tenure-track Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. At Harvard, Delia was co-organizer of the 2010 ‘Cambridge Talks: Design Politics’ symposium, and the Head Teaching Fellow for Architectural History, Urban Design, and Landscape Theory courses. She is also co-editor of a Graham Foundation funded publication – the ‘Design Politics Reader’ – in progress.