Co-Directors

Martin Bechthold—Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology at Harvard GSD, and Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. His research, related publications and teaching focus on innovative material systems, structural design, and robotic fabrication, with recent projects focusing on structural applications of architectural ceramics. Bechthold co-leads the Adaptive Living Environments (ALivE) group that collaborates with Prof. Aizenberg’s Wyss AMT Platform on novel material applications for high-performance buildings.

Woodward Yang—Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and HBS University Fellow. Extensive technical background in microelectronic systems and semiconductor manufacturing and wider intellectual interests including technology transfer, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, innovation, and engineering design.

Program Faculty

Joanna Aizenberg—Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Material Science, SEAS. Pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomineralization, biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, biomaterials, biomechanics and biooptics. Aizenberg is a pioneers of the rapidly developing field of biomimetic inorganic materials synthesis.

Beth Altringer – Senior Preceptor in Innovation and Design, SEAS. Founder-Director of the Desirability Lab, which connects research, practice, and teaching on product and service design with the psychology of desirability. Altringer often works with industry to keep her design skills current and to discover underserved needs and opportunities to improve design education. In 2015, she joined the founding team and senior leadership of Piaggio Fast Forward, leading design research and interaction design up to the launch of their Gita and Kilo robots in February 2017.

Sai Balakrishnan – Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, GSD. She was an Assistant Professor in International Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. She has worked as an urban planner in the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates, and as a consultant to the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi, Kenya; and has served as a Research Fellow at the Land Governance Laboratory (LGLab). Through her research and teaching interests, Balakrishnan focuses on institutions for managing rapid urbanization, comparative land-use planning, and property rights.

Diane Davis – Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD. Trained as a sociologist, Davis’s research interests include the relations between urbanization and national development, comparative urban governance, socio-spatial practice in conflict cities, and new territorial manifestations of sovereignty. Her research initiatives include a project funded by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) focused on the role of political leadership in transforming urban transport and a project funded by Mexico’s national workers’ housing agency (INFONAVIT).

Jill Desimini – Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, GSD. Desimini is trained in landscape architecture and architecture, and has practiced professionally in both fields. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at the GSD, she taught in the second term core studio of the MLA Program at the GSD and at Northeastern University's School of Architecture. She was formerly Senior Associate at Stoss Landscape Urbanism, where she managed the firms efforts on the Lower Don Lands in Toronto, the Bass River Park on Cape Cod, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Fawwaz Habbal—SEAS Executive Dean for Education and Research. Prior to Harvard, was Corporate Vice President, responsible for research and product design at Polaroid Corporation and served as a Senior Research and Engineering Fellow as well.  At Polaroid led teams that created over 20 products per year.  After leaving Polaroid, he initiated three start-ups related to imaging electronics.  His current research interest includes semiconductors and nanophotonics, and is interested in holistic engineering education that integrates multi-disciplinary learning, practical reasoning and integrative thinking.

K. Michael Hays—Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Additionally, in his role as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs he works closely with the Dean and Departmental chairs in the conceptualization of research, pedagogy, and the School’s academic relation to the University; and is responsible for the articulation and public presentation of the many modes of research represented in the GSD.

Jock Herron – Instructor in Architecture, GSD. Jock is an instructor focused on food systems and health. He co-led the Smart Cities and Wellness project sponsored by the Humana Corporation and the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab at the GSD. He has served on the Steering Committee of the Worcester County Food Hub Initiative, and is currently working on a rotational grazing project in Central Massachusetts.

Chuck Hoberman—Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering, GSD. Extensive background in design and manufacture of transformable structures, with demonstrated use as consumer products, deployable shelters, stage sets and architectural facades. Wider intellectual interests include the process of invention, design automation methods, transformable systems in nature, and creative synergies between the arts and sciences.

David Hwang – Associate Dean for Education, SEAS. In this role as dean, he is responsible for the school's educational polices and for the administrative management of graduate and undergraduate academic programs. Prior to Harvard, David was a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group, focusing on strategy projects for Fortune 500 technology and industrial companies. He was also formerly an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University, and a Senior Staff Design Scientist at Broadcom Corporation, a semiconductor company.

Sawako Kaijima – Assistant Professor of Architecture, GSD. Sawako teaches Quantitative Intuition: Material, Analysis, and Design and Introduction to Computational Design at the GSD.

Hanif Kara—Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, GSD. A design-led structural engineer with particular expertise in complex structures, advanced analysis tools, innovative forms and materials for building structures. His numerous publications include Design Engineering, 2008, Actar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK Institution of Structural Engineers, and of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and winner of many design awards including the UK Sterling Prize in 2000 and 2012.

Ali Malkawi—Professor of Architectural Technology, GSD, and Founding Director, Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities. Teaches and conducts research in the areas of computational simulation, building performance evaluation, decision support systems and advanced visualization. Malkawi received a PhD in Architectural Technology and Artificial Intelligence from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, and a BS in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design from Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Kevin Kit Parker—Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, SEAS, and Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  Extensive technical background in biological systems, medical devices, and bio-inspired design. Over 20 years of experience as an officer in the United States Army with extensive experience in combat operations, training, and the adaptation of novel technologies to and from the battlefield.

Antoine Picon – G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Director of Research, GSD. Antoine teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture and technology. Trained as an engineer, architect, and historian, Picon works on the history of architectural and urban technologies from the eighteenth century to the present. His most recent books offer a comprehensive overview of the changes brought by the computer and digital culture to the theory and practice of architecture as well as to the planning and experience of the city.

Robert Pietrusko—Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning (GSD). His teaching and research focus on geospatial representation, simulation, narrative + critical cartography, and spatial taxonomies. Pietrusko is also a co-founder of the metaLAB(at)Harvard, where he develops data-rich tools and environments for the communication of scholarly work. His design work has been exhibited at the MoMA, SFMOMA, The Foundation Cartier, and the Venice Architecture Biennale, among others, and has been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record, and Domus.

Holly Samuelson—Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). She teaches architectural technology courses, specializing in the energy and environmental performance of buildings. Her research focuses on energy conservation, computerized simulation, occupant behavior, and the future of building practice as it relates to these topics. Prior to joining Harvard, Samuelson practiced full-time as an architect (2000-2007) and sustainable design consultant (2007-2008). As a licensed architect, her collaborative work has been recognized for design and ecological excellence.

Andres SevtsukAssistant Professor of Urban Planning. His research interests include urban design and spatial analysis, modeling and visualization, urban and real estate economics, transit and pedestrian oriented development, spatial adaptability and urban history. He is the founding director of the award winning City Form Lab, which investigates social and economic consequences of urban design and develops new spatial analysis tools for urban planning and development. He is the author of the Urban Network Analysis toolbox, which is used by researchers and practitioners around the world to study spatial relationships in cities along networks.

Robert Silman – Lecturer in Architecture, GSD. Robert is a practicing structural engineer who started his own firm in 1966.  He is now in the position of President Emeritus while working in Robert Silman Associates’ Boston office.  His firm has consulted on more than 18,000 projects, about half being new building construction and the other half older building renovations, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation projects.

Pia Sörensen – Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials, SEAS. Pia co-teaches and manages the General Education course Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science. Her research interests range from science and engineering education — with an emphasis on online education and creative ways of teaching science and engineering in a liberal arts setting — to chemical biology, stemming from her doctoral work on small molecule natural products and their effects on cell division and other cellular processes.

Peter Stark —Visiting professor of Applied Physics/Engineering Sciences at SEAS. Previously a professor of Architecture and Applied Physics, he has widely varying interests and experiences. He holds patents in such diverse fields as high resolution rheology, viral inactivation, and sub diffraction limited photolithography, stethosocopy and super resolution fluorescent microscopy. He teaches classes that link fundamental and applied physics to the built environment and ecology as well as more traditional classes in applied physics such Introduction to Microelectromechical System and Nanofabrication. He strongly believes that such material be taught through derivation and examples following. He is currently investigating the near-field response and fabrication of semiconductor nanowires.

Joost Vlassak—Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Materials Engineering, SEAS. Intellectual interest in the mechanical and thermal behavior of a broad range of engineering materials with a focus on experimental techniques. Recent projects include degradation of electrodes in lithium ion batteries, development of structural and functional hydrogels, and combinatorial techniques for the development of complex materials systems, including metallic glasses, ultra-high temperature ceramic coatings, and high-temperature shape memory alloys.

Andrew Witt—Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture, GSD. Works on problems at the intersection of design, shape, constructability, and assembly automation including differential, topological, graph-theoretic and multi-constraint optimization approaches to design problems. Experience with large-scale construction automation bespoke fabrication machine development, commercial software development including web-based 3D concurrent design systems, urban simulation of autonomous mobility systems, and history of technology and science in design.

Rob Wood—Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SEAS. A founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab which focuses on mechanics, materials, manufacturing, and design for novel small-scale, biologically-inspired, and soft-bodied robots.