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.
Matthew Allen is a third-year PhD student who studies the history and theory of architecture and computation circa 1960. His writing has been published in Log, Perspectives on Science, Domus, Disegno, Harvard Design Magazine, and other journals and books. Besides writing, Matthew is interested in bringing difficult issues central to architecture culture to larger audiences through exhibitions, books, and lectures. As just one example, he curated an exhibition in 2014 on how software has affected representation in GSD student work in the last decade. He has recently lectured on the history and present use of screenshots, the preservation and archaeology of digital architecture, and the post-medium condition.
Amin Alsaden is a PhD Candidate whose work focuses on global exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries. His research interests include modern architecture, especially in the Muslim and Arab worlds; governance and space in conflict zones; formal and cognitive attributes of interiors; sociopolitical and professional motives behind cultural institutions and districts; and questions of monumentality in contemporary art and architecture.
Amin’s dissertation investigates a crucible moment in post-WWII Baghdad, when a host of global and regional factors produced an unprecedented architectural movement, later exported to a modernizing Middle East. The narrative’s protagonists are taken to demonstrate the role of the creative class in shaping a grassroots cosmopolitan ethos manifested in intellectual output and built works.
Amin holds a Master of Arts from Harvard University, a Post-Professional Master in Architecture from Princeton University, and a Bachelor in Architecture and a Minor in Interior Design from the American University of Sharjah. He practiced at various firms in Europe and the Middle East, most recently OMA and MVRDV in the Netherlands.
Maria Atuesta is in her third year in the PhD program in Urban Planning. In 2012 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning at University of California, Berkeley. Her current research lies at the intersection between the fields of urban sociology, human geography and political economy. She studies processes of socio-spatial segregation in Latin America and investigates how state’s involvement in urban spatial restructurings shapes social boundaries and structures inequality and everyday interactions. She is particularly interested in studying projects of affordable housing for displaced population of Colombia’s internal armed conflict. She examines how place-making activities within neighborhood settings and other everyday activity spaces narrate stories of integration and exclusion to new living environments.
Katarzyna Balug is a PhD student who studies the place of imagination in the city, and the possibility of utopia in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Inspired by science-fictional worlds and informed by studies in urban history and theory, her work involves research, curation, performance and collaborative installations in public space. Recent papers have examined the adoption of modernist aesthetic in communist Poland during postwar reconstruction; and the possibility that digital fabrication and art bring to reimagining the public space of ‘smart cities.’
Kate is co-curator of a 2017 exhibition at BSA Space in Boston, working title The New Inflatable Moment. The exhibit will explore the inflatable form as site for critical imagination through its cyclical appearance in utopian and/or radical architecture and art practices.
She is co-founder of Department of Play, a lost city department that facilitates collaboration between residents and urban systems through momentary fictions in public space. Her co-authored paper on play and collaborative governance was published in the peer-reviewed journal Critical Sociology in 2014, and has been presented at multiple conferences. The collective received a 2015 ArtPlace America grant.
Kate holds a Master in Urban Planning from the Harvard GSD and a dual BA in studio art and French from USC. She was a 2011 Harvard Sinclair Kennedy Fellow in Mexico City. She has presented conference papers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Carnegie Mellon and Portland State Universities.
Aleksandr Bierig is a third-year PhD student. His research is concerned with how the built environment has been conceived as an instrument to manage economic, environmental, and social risk. Recent work has included investigations into the late eighteenth-century English cottage, the early nineteenth-century plantation in the American south, the construction of the London Coal Exchange, changing concepts of building ventilation between 1750 and 1850, and the cost of heating households in early Victorian Britain.
Prior to the GSD, Aleksandr completed his MArch from Princeton University and his BA in Architecture from Yale University. He has worked professionally for a number of architectural firms in the United States and Europe. His writing has appeared in Log, Clog, Architectural Record, The Architectural Review, and Pidgin, where he served for two years as an editor.
Brett Culbert studies the history of the North American landscape and built environment, from 1750-1900. His research focuses on the visual and literary history of landscape routes, especially the projection of travelers’ views into unfamiliar environments. Past projects have explored: the visualization of overland travel through Mormon accounts of the Great Basin, navigational sounding leads and the practice of wayfinding along the North Atlantic coastline, Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s settlement of England’s first overseas colony, in Newfoundland, and Alfred Watkins’ landscape photography along the Wye River Valley.
Brett is from Rhode Island and prior to pursuing his PhD he received a Bachelors of Architecture degree from Cornell University (2004) and a Masters with Distinction from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard (2011). His Master’s 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 expanse of British North America in the mid-eighteenth century. This work focused on the statesman’s observations 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.
John Davis is a sixth-year PhD candidate at Harvard University and Tyler Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C. He studies the North American built environment and landscape, particularly the effects of technology and engineering systems on landscapes and ecological regions. His dissertation is a historical analysis of the U.S. government’s evolving relationship with nature, focusing on the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the construction of public works, and the technological communities that supported them, in the Reconstruction Era.
His ongoing research interests include early modern surveying and cartography, historical coastal reclamation practices, infrastructure design and construction in extreme environments, the effects of militarization of landscapes, nature and aesthetics in the early American republic, literature and constructed landscapes, and more generally, the relationship between design, construction, and environment in the modern Americas. In addition to his dissertation, he is currently working on a digital atlas of water infrastructure in the Potomac Valley, and a documentary film about marshlands in Massachusetts. 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.
Igor Ekštajn is a fifth-year PhD student. He studies concepts of natural and political spaces in tension within the history of design, the history of technology, and environmental history, with a particular focus on 20th-century Europe.
Igor received his Master in Design Studies in History and Philosophy of Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2011. Before returning to the GSD, Igor taught design studios and courses in architectural history and theory at the University of Zagreb.
Igor received a Master of Architecture from the University of Zagreb in 2005 and worked in the Croatian architectural offices njiric+ arhitekti and Randić-Turato.
Igor has interest and experience in curatorial practice, having worked for both the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the GSD’s Exhibition Department. He also served as the Deputy Curator of the Croatian Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, and is a member of the research and curatorial team for the upcoming exhibition within the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative.
Samaa Elimam is a second-year PhD student interested in the intersection between aesthetics, preservation, and technology. She studies the way modern institutions, technologies, and attitudes are articulated across the built environment in the transnational context, and how they shape the spatial imaginary. Past research has explored the way eighteenth century surveying and mapping techniques coalesced to imagine broader geographies in the Mediterranean, and aesthetic and intellectual exchanges between modernist architecture and large-scale engineering works in the late nineteenth century. Samaa completed her Masters of Architecture with Distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where her thesis in the New Geographies Lab focused on Mediterranean environmental history, particularly infrastructural networks in the Nile Delta’s port cities. She holds a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
As a designer in the US and Middle East, Samaa collaborated on projects that ranged from residences in Los Angeles and Dubai, an urban center on the Nile alongside Cairo’s largest informal settlement, and a vision to expand the Grand Mosque of Makkah. She was also a research and teaching assistant while at the GSD, and later, a visiting studio instructor at the American University in Cairo. At Harvard, Samaa organized several conference events, including curating an exhibit with the Radcliffe Institute on the transformation of public spaces in Cairo.
Tamer Elshayal is an urbanist working at the intersection of urban theory, critical geography, environmental anthropology, and science and technology studies. His current research seeks to examine the shifting spatialities of mega-engineering in the Middle East through the study of spatial and cultural politics of large infrastructural projects. He is interested in how large engineering schemes reconfigure territories and landscapes as they take shape in discursive and material mediums and how they engender contested socio-spatial formations.
Tamer is an associate member of the Spatial Ethnography Lab, a research collaborative co-founded and led by anthropologist Vyjayanthi Rao. He is also a research member of Neil Brenner’s Urban Theory Lab at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, in which he works on the spatial and political dimensions of extractive economies and large-scale water and energy infrastructure in the restructuring of North Africa. Tamer previously worked as a research assistant in the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure, focusing on water and energy infrastructure in the US. Furthermore, reflecting his shared interests in critical geography and environmental anthropology, he was awarded the Penny White summer grant to conduct fieldwork in Egypt, investigating the infrastructural landscapes of coastal engineering works in the Nile Delta.
Tamer holds a Master of Design Studies in urbanism, landscape and ecology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), a Master of Landscape Architecture from FH Anhalt, Germany; a Post-professional Certificate in GIS and Environment from Salford University, UK; and a Bachelor of Architecture from Faculty of Fine Arts, Egypt. Tamer has previously worked as landscape architect in Germany and Egypt, and as an environmental researcher at the Center for the Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Natalia Escobar is an Architect, Instructor, and PhD student in Architecture and Conservation Theory at Harvard University. She teaches a core seminar on conservation theory at the Harvard GSD. She is a Guest Lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Northeastern University and has lectured at the Universidad de Sevilla. She is also a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. Natalia holds an MDes in Critical Conservation awarded with Distinction from the Harvard GSD, and an MArch from the Univeridad de Sevilla with a stint at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg.
In her research, she applies philosophical conceptions of history and memory of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin to the re-imagination and criticism of contemporary architectural conservation projects. She seeks to develop an archive and interpretative taxonomy for a critical conservation theory. Natalia has been the recipient of the TALENTIA Spanish Ministry of Education Grant, the Real Colegio Complutense Fellowship, the Ecological Urbanism Collaboration Fellowship of Pekin University, and the Aga Khan Fellowship among others.
She is currently an invited editor of Ediciones ARQ. Previously, she presented her vision as an invited editor of the 2015 Materia Architectura Journal issue 11 “Conservation as an Expanded Field,” the 2015 SAH Conference, the 2014 Harvard Bauhaus-Dessau Symposium, and the 2013 book The Preservation Fallacy in the Mediterranean Medina. She has served as a UNESCO consultant intern at the World Heritage Center in Paris and practiced as a licensed architect at ARUP Shanghai and Gordon Murray and Alan Dunlop in Scotland.
Brandon Finn is interested in informal trade, modernist urban planning policies, and the productive livelihood strategies of youth in African cities. He is a South African PhD Urban Planning student at Harvard University (beginning in 2016), and completed his BA and BSocSci Honours at the University of Cape Town, before completing his MSc in Urban Studies at University College London. His previous research has focused on the work of young men in Freetown and Kigali – often falling outside the prescriptive city plans spearheaded by the Sierra Leonean and Rwandan governments. Brandon has also worked on contextualising South Africa’s wave of protest movements as constitutive of a continuum-based notion of popular sovereignty, and a DfID sponsored research project assessing urban land-based value policies and taxation in Harare – Zimbabwe. Brandon aims to build on his previous work during his PhD by exploring the interface between youth employment policies and theories of violence prevention within modernist urban spaces of Sub-Saharan African cities. Outside of academia, Brandon loves long distance running.
Matthew Gin is a PhD candidate from San Francisco who studies the history of architecture and landscape in 17th- and 18th- century Europe, with a particular emphasis on urban design and spectacle in France. His dissertation considers so-called architecture feinte (or, literally, “fake” architecture) erected for royal births and marriages during the reign of Louis XV as a means of exploring how Enlightenment aesthetic debates and changing absolutist politics intersected in the production of ephemeral structures such as triumphal arches, catafalques, and pyrotechnic machines. Past projects have examined André Le Nôtre’s labyrinth at Versailles, Louis XIV’s collection of relief maps, and the transformation of theater architecture during the Enlightenment.
Matt has a BA (Art History) and a BMus (Baroque Flute Performance) from Oberlin College, an MED (Architectural History) from Yale University, and an AM (Architecture) from Harvard University. He has also held residencies at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Dumbarton Oaks. Prior to Harvard, Matt worked for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA. He will reside in France during the 2016-2017 academic year as a recipient of the Georges Lurcy Traveling Fellowship.
Lisa Haber-Thomson is a PhD candidate in Architectural History and Theory. Her research explores the intersecting relationships between territory, law, and architecture. She is currently completing her dissertation, Territories of incarceration: architecture and judicial procedure across the English Channel, 1642-1945. Past research has examined the legal significance of a variety of architectural structures, and has ranged from an analysis of the use of watermills in medieval property disputes, to a study of the contemporary usages of Maginot Line casemates in eastern France. Lisa has been the recipient of the Julia A. Appleton Traveling Fellowship in Architecture, and the Frederick Sheldon Fund Traveling Fellowship. Additional support for her research has been awarded by the Soane Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
Lisa has a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University. Prior to beginning her PhD program, Lisa worked as an intern architect at Ateliers Jean Nouvel; as a video and sound editor for the Science Media Group; and as a freelance animator and sound designer. Continuing work in educational video production includes the design and implementation of the forthcoming online course, The Architectural Imagination, a co-production of HarvardX and the GSD.
Thomas Shay Hill is a doctoral student focused on the interplay between financial, ecological and demographic forces in the making of the built environment. Tommy’s past academic research has concerned the ways in which novel investment instruments capitalized on the growth of defense- and tech-centered “edge cities” in the Washington, D.C. region at the same time as they reshaped patterns of regional governance, planning and growth. Tommy’s paper on the topic, The Securitization of Security, was published in the Journal of Urban History in January 2015.
Tommy’s professional background is in property market analytics in New York City, where, among other things, he identified pockets of under- and over-supply in the housing market in the context of increasing foreign investment. In the summer of 2016, Tommy applied his analytic skills to the problem of solid waste management in New York City. With a team of researchers led by Columbia University Professors Ester Fuchs and Patricia Culligan, Tommy worked to identify the physical, demographic and environmental factors affecting solid waste overflow into New York City’s water bodies. Tommy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University.
Jacobé Huet is an Aga Khan doctoral fellow working on modern architecture and questions of cultural translation. She is interested in the visual and historical connections of European modernism with vernacular styles of the Middle East and Mediterranean. The case of Tel Aviv is central to Jacobé’s research. She has been studying the modernist designs of European-trained architects in British Mandate Palestine and the political stakes of their kinship to Ottoman Palestinian vernacular.
Before coming to Harvard, Jacobé worked in several museums and research centers in France, China, and the United States. She holds a bachelor of art history from Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and a master’s degree from Williams College. In 2017, Jacobé will present her research at the annual conferences of the College Art Association and the Society of Architectural Historians.
Ateya Khorakiwala is a PhD candidate at the GSD working on historical and theoretical problems surrounding infrastructure, design, and technology in the twentieth century. Her dissertation work centers on India’s fixation on creating stable food-supply systems in the 50s and 60s that led to a biopolitical revolution to augment food production, when infrastructural change was a key element in remaking the country’s political economy, and design was imagined as moral good with which society could navigate itself out of entrenched social obstacles that it faced. Other work has looked at road construction research in India in the 1960s and violence in photography in 1857. Her interests range from the political economy of infrastructure, to the design project undergirding the political project of decolonization and the making of the Third World. She has presented papers at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, as well as at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. She holds a BArch from KRVIA, Mumbai, and an MSc in Architecture Studies from the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at MIT. She has held the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship and a junior fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies.
Diana Lempel is a fourth year PhD student and a curator, facilitator, and design research designer.
Diana’s work is rooted an ongoing inquiry into sense of place, land use, and communities of practice, and an interest in the material and narrative experiences of cultural and ecological loss. Her previous research explored the social and spatial life of Boston’s oldest, open-air, informal produce market, and the political and legal implications of land use narratives in the timber regions of Northern Maine. In 2014, Diana was the Mass Humanities Scholar in Residence at the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival, where she investigated narratives of collective inheritance and intergenerational knowledge in the commercial fishing. Current research investigates the intimate interrelationship between clay and the life of cities, along the boundaries between craft, natural resource extraction, industrial production, urban planning, and social practice art. Diana’s work takes a process-oriented approach to research methods based in the principles of oral history, incorporating workshop and exhibition making, drawing and creative writing, archival research, sound recording, interviewing and environmental field work. She incorporates these approaches into her teaching both at the university level and in community settings: she was the Research Fellow on the instruction team for “Remaking Boston” at Harvard College in 2015, Teaching Assistant for Qualitative Research Methods in Urban Planning in 2012 and 2013, and is the founder and lead instructor of Our Riverside, a local history and design program for Cambridge teens. Diana is also currently the Doing History curator at the Cambridge Historical Society, producing workshops and curating exhibitions to help formal and informal history workers to deepen their practices, and the founder and conceptrice of Practice Space, a research and design studio in Inman Square investigating site specificity and the creative process in art, work, and everyday life.
Diana received her BA in History and Literature and her MUP in Urban Planning, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage and Neighborhood Development, from Harvard University.
Manuel López Segura is a fourth-year PhD student, an architect, and a Masters in architectural history. His research in the GSD MDes program focused on the involvement of architecture in the construction of Spain’s democracy, welfare state and regional identities during the 1980s. He enjoyed the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. As a PhD student he conducts research on the possibilities open to architecture under democratic leftist politics, as they hatched in Europe during the second half of the 20th century, particularly in 1960s and 1970s Italy. Previously, he has explored the conflictual postwar debates on historicism in Italy and England through their media construction. He has published in the peer-reviewed journals Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectónicos and Constelaciones among others, and has an essay forthcoming in The Journal of Architecture. He has presented at conferences. He has curated an exhibition and co-organized 2016’s Cambridge Talks at the GSD.
Manuel holds a professional degree in architecture from the Valencia School of Architecture (Spain; Honors Diploma), an MA in Architectural History (Distinction) from The Bartlett, University College London, and an MDes History & Philosophy of Design (Distinction) from the GSD. Manuel has a thorough command of French, Spanish and Catalan, reads Italian and knows some German. He has served as Professors Rafael Moneo’s and Hashim Sarkis’s teaching assistant and as a teaching fellow for the courses BTC I and Theories of Landscape Architecture at the GSD.
Morgan Ng’s research interests lie at the intersection of the built environment, visual culture, and the technical sciences in early modern Europe, with a particular emphasis on Renaissance Italy. As a Kress Fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, he is currently completing a dissertation on how developments in military architecture transformed the experience of sixteenth-century cities. His scholarship has previously been supported by the Medici Archive Project, Villa I Tatti, the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, the Mellon Foundation, and the Getty Institute.
Other recent projects have explored the aesthetics of Psalm-singing in Huguenot-occupied churches and cities; the influence of Calvinist cartography on John Milton’s poetic form; and the rising use of clear window glass in the secular architecture of early modern northern Europe. His current and forthcoming publications include articles in Art History, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes, Word & Image, and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies; as well as essays in edited volumes on Renaissance landscape architecture and Quattrocento sculpture. Before beginning his graduate studies, Morgan completed his Bachelor of Architecture at Cornell University, and worked as an architectural designer in New York and Chicago.
Jason Nguyen studies early modern European architecture, urbanism, and landscape, with particular interests in the relationship between theory and practice, the impact of the Scientific Revolution, the social milieu of the architectural profession, and Enlightenment social and aesthetic philosophies. He is currently an invited researcher at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris, where he is completing his dissertation, “Constructing Classicism: Theory, Practice, and the Creation of Architectural Expertise in Paris (1670-1720),” which examines the complex relationship between French academic architectural theory and the reality of building sites and craft practices at the end of the 17th century. His work has been supported by CASVA/National Gallery of Art, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and Harvard University.
In additional to being a Teaching Fellow for all modules of the Buildings, Texts, Contexts sequence, he also co-taught the summer architectural history course for incoming MArch I students. During 2012-2013, he worked as a curatorial intern in the Division of European and American Art at the Harvard Art Museums. In 2012, he was a Pre-doctoral Resident at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, where he researched early modern European garden treatises.
Trained as an architect, he received his B.Arch from Drexel University. From 2003 to 2009, he practiced with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.
Bryan Norwood is a PhD candidate in the history and theory of architecture at Harvard University and is the 2016 Charles E. Peterson Senior Fellow at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. His dissertation, entitled “The Architect’s Knowledge: Imagining the Profession’s Historical Body, 1797-1933,” is a study of the development of professionalized architectural knowledge through the formalization of architectural education in nineteenth-century America. Focusing on the key role the conceptualization of architectural history played in the formation of the discipline and profession, Bryan’s dissertation explores the ethics of the hermeneutic relation of architecture to its own past.
Bryan previously received a BA in philosophy and a BArch from Mississippi State University, an MA in philosophy from Boston University, and an AM in architecture from Harvard. He has taught lecture and seminar courses in architectural history and theory at the GSD, Northeastern University, and Boston University. In addition to his dissertation, Bryan’s recent research includes the architectural implications of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology, the history of flood control on the Mississippi River, mid-century modern architecture in Boston, and the architectural historiography of plantation houses in the Lower Mississippi Valley. His writing has appeared in Philosophical Forum, Harvard Design Magazine, Culture Machine, Log, and MONU, as well as collected volumes on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze.
Sabrina Osmany is a second-year PhD student. Her research explores how human agency and intentionality are mediated by the design of interactive systems. Her research focuses on the development of intelligent interactive environments that sense, decode, and mediate human choice making behavior, crossing the disciplines of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Continental Philosophy. Her work is divided between the development of tools to study decision making in interactive environments as well as the development of experimental frameworks to study choice architecture. Her ongoing research project aims to distill the principles of spatial affordance into computational form. The main development of this project is towards real-time affordance mapping as a deconstruction of the phenomenological sequence of an agent.
Prior to the GSD, Sabrina completed an MPS in Interaction Design from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. In collaboration with NYU’s Center for Neural Science, Sabrina developed her thesis, the Human Avatar Project, a novel upper-limb simulation in virtual reality, to aid Pesaran lab’s research on reaching and grasping behavior towards the development of robotic prosthetics. The anatomical 27-degree-of-freedom avatar is driven by real-time motion capture and aids in decoding movements during motor planning and initiation.
Her interactive work includes the development of a programming language in Urdu, a mobile app that uses computer vision to identify and connect with network devices and a 120 ft. video installation at InterActiveCorp headquarters in New York City. She has presented work at the Association for Computer Machinery’s Tangible Embodied Embedded Interaction Conference, 2015. Sabrina also serves on the board of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.
During her time at Harvard, Sabrina is committed to bridging the vast divide between technological and conceptual thinking in an effort to enable the computational and philosophical worlds to communicate with and learn from each other.
Melany Sun-Min Park is a third-year PhD student interested in the ways modern architecture gives image to material production under industrial and wartime economies.
Her dissertation will examine the history of the architecture profession in postwar South Korea. By the mid-1960s, the term “professional” was vexed, in light of the preceding decade that did not see in place rigid contractual or organizational structures. The desire to identify architecture as a profession was controlled, validated, and contested within the discipline itself, both through institutional regulations and interpersonal alliances. In transitioning from atelier office models like that of Kim Swoo-geun’s SPACE group to corporate firms such as Junglim Architecture, architectural practices made an increasingly public appearance in the 1970s. Considered as players mobilized to help stimulate the national economy, I argue that architects and their practices did more than reflect a cultural condition. Instead, the architectural profession—through their own changing forms of practice—revealed the shifting organizational systems, demands, and aspirations of its major patrons: chaebol or family-run conglomerates that continue to power South Korea’s economy.
Melany holds professional masters degrees in architecture and art business from Singapore and New Zealand. She graduated with a Masters in History and Philosophy of Design (Distinction) from the GSD in 2014, where she was awarded the Gerald M. McCue medal. The Korea Institute at Harvard has supported Melany’s research on numerous occasions.
Marianne F. Potvin studies the intersection of disaster, humanitarian action and urbanism. Drawing on urban planning theory, and science, technology, and society studies (STS), her research examines how humanitarian aid transforms cities, from their built environment to their governance. Marianne lead field teams in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur, for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to support victims of armed conflicts, internally displaced populations, and refugees. Marianne has taught classes on conflict spaces and climate migration at the GSD and Harvard College. Her work on “Humanitarian Urbanism” was presented at the 2014 UN-Habitat Conference in Munich, Germany, and in OpenDemocracy.net’s Cities in Conflict Series. Her most recent fieldwork focuses on the role of aid agencies in responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lebanese cities, while her most recent publication, Humanitarian Hybrids: New Technologies and Humanitarian Resilience, deals with the ethics of crisis-mapping and the transformation of humanitarian tools. She is a licensed architect. In 2016/17, Marianne will be a Graduate Student Associate at the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Katherine Prater is a second-year PhD student interested in the interplay between cultural expression and architectural form. With training in architecture, urbanism, and anthropology, current projects include investigation of the transmission of built forms concomitant with the advent of early mass media, and the relevance of questions of conservation across the discourses of aesthetic philosophy and architectural theory and practice.
Katherine holds an A.M. in Architecture from Harvard University; prior to this, she graduated first in her class from the University of Cambridge, earning an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies in association with the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research. Her dissertation, which examined identity politics in Brussels and their manifestation in museums and sites of heritage, was honored with the Peter de Somogyi Award for European Research. While at Cambridge, Katherine was editor-in-chief of the Cambridge Architecture Journal and contributed to a collaborative design project with UN-Habitat in Nairobi. Prior to Cambridge, Katherine worked as a consultant and researcher for UN-Habitat and an international engineering firm, involving projects at the intersection of ethnographic analysis and design in thirteen countries on six continents. Katherine graduated summa cum laude from the Distinguished Majors Program in Anthropology at the University of Virginia. Through her honors thesis, which was awarded highest distinction, she cultivated an interest in the use of architecture and visual arts as tools for anthropological research.
Etien Santiago is a licensed architect and PhD student who researches the modern interconnections between aesthetics, technology, and intellectual production. Etien’s dissertation, titled Dreams and Nightmares of Rational Building: Effects of the Great War on Construction and Architectural Design in France and Germany 1914-1933, investigates how the First World War shaped and spread principles of industrialized building that architects and contractors competitively reappropriated during the interwar years.
His professional work for the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum expansion) and Iu+Bibliowicz Architects (on the rehabilitation of Carnegie Hall) dealt with cultural programs and additions to buildings of historical importance. Etien’s own design work, honed at Rice University (B.A., cum laude, and B.Arch.) and the GSD (MArch with distinction) has been attributed various awards, including the AIA School Medal and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. Commended with the 2011 James Templeton Kelley Prize, his MArch thesis exposed parallels between structural linguistics and the work of Sergio Musmeci, an iconoclastic 20th century Italian architect and engineer.
Peter Sealy is a PhD candidate who studies the ways in which architects constructively engage reality through the remediation of indexical forms such as photography. His dissertation charts the rise of a properly photographic visual regime in late nineteenth-century architectural publications. A chapter exploring this argument is forthcoming in Blackwell’s Companion to the History of Nineteenth-Century Architecture. Peter’s research on Émile Zola and the immateriality of 19th century iron buildings was recently published in Function and Fantasy: Iron Architecture in the Long Nineteenth Century (Routledge), a volume he co-edited with Paul Dobraszczyk.
Peter holds architecture degrees from McGill University (B.Sc. [Arch] 2004 & M.Arch 2006) and the Harvard GSD (MArch II 2008). He has previously presented at numerous scholarly conferences, including those of the RIBA, the INHA, the CAA, the AAH, the SAH and the SAHANZ. He has written articles for Abitare, Border Crossings, Canadian Architect, Domus, Harvard Design Magazine, and Oris.
At Harvard, Peter is a Frank Knox Fellow. For the 2016-2017 academic year, he will teach at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. He will also teach courses at the University of Waterloo and McGill University. As well, he has been named as a Mellon Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where he will study the resurgence of photomontage in contemporary architectural representation.
Christina Shivers is a first-year PhD student investigating media, technology, and city space. Her recent research focuses upon the complicity of technology and media in the hegemonic division of the city, filmic time, and indeterminacy within musical and architectural notations. Most recently she was awarded the AIA Atlanta Emerging Voices Award, creating and presenting an exhibition entitled Contrapuntal Narratives: Architectural Drawing Machines for Atlanta in March of 2016. She has also presented her work at the Berlin Unlimited Urban Arts Festival in Berlin, Germany and the AIA Washington D.C. Emerging Architects Thesis Showcase. Her work has also been published in MAS Context.
In addition to architecture, Christina previously studied music theory and performance. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Florida State University and a Master of Architecture degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has taught studio courses at Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia and has worked in several architecture firms in the Atlanta area.
Justin D. Stern is a fourth-year PhD Student whose research focuses on the history and theory of urban form in rapidly urbanizing regions. His dissertation project looks at the interplay of technology, economic development and spatial morphology with particular emphasis on major cities in East and Southeast Asia.
Questions addressed in Justin’s research include: In what ways do the contemporary urban forms of cities in Asia, and their dominant building typologies, reflect the economic and political restructuring of the previous half century? What role do large-scale, diversified corporate conglomerates, such as Samsung Group in Korea and Ayala Corporation in the Philippines, play in urban development? And how can the experience of Seoul and other cities in East Asia, as inductive role models, better inform rapidly developing regions in Southeast Asia and beyond?
Justin holds a Master of Urban Planning (MUP) from Harvard University and completed his bachelor’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Oxford. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Justin served as a Fulbright Fellow in Seoul, South Korea and was the recipient of a Harvard-Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship to support comparative fieldwork. He has presented his work at numerous venues including The East Asia Regional Organization for Planning and Human Settlements World Congress, TedxTaipei, Hong Kong University, Leiden University, The University of Seoul, and The Pakistan Urban Forum in Karachi.
In addition to working on his dissertation, Justin currently serves as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Design. He is also completing a short documentary film and exhibition on trans-border infrastructure in Central Asia. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Justin worked in the international development arena and in affordable housing development in New York City.
Adam Tanaka is a PhD candidate in urban planning with a particular focus on affordable housing and real estate development. His research interests lie at the confluence of urban history, political science and business studies.
For the 2016-2017 academic year, Adam will be based at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study writing his dissertation on large-scale, middle-income housing in New York City. Offering a counterpoint to familiar narratives of post-war suburbanization and central city disinvestment, Adam’s dissertation analyzes a number of vast planned communities built for middle class New Yorkers from the 1940s through 1970s. The dissertation investigates the political and financial alliances that facilitated these projects – many of which remain the largest of their kind in the world – as well as the factors that abruptly terminated this “large-scale approach” in the mid-1970s.
Adam received a BA in art history and urban studies from Princeton University and an AM in Urban Planning from Harvard. For the 2015-2016 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Dissertation Fellow. Over the course of his doctoral studies, he has also worked for a variety of New York City agencies on affordable housing, public finance and land use-related matters.
As a PhD candidate nearing completion, Marrikka Trotter is writing on the intersections between geology and architecture in Britain between 1750 and 1890. The discovery of deep time profoundly challenged architectural thought and practice in the Romantic period. The real extent of earth’s history suddenly eclipsed the importance of Greco-Roman antiquity, and along with it, the cultural authority it had bestowed on architecture. Stone emerged as a formational process rather than an inert architectural material, and the formerly passive landscape became an active and unstable substrate. Marrikka’s dissertation examines how British architects and geologists responded to this upheaval, first by attempting to mediate between geological time and architectonic scale, then by positioning geology as a potential model for social, aesthetic, and national development.
Marrikka is co-editor of the contemporary architectural theory collections Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (The MIT Press: 2010), and Architecture is All Over (ACTAR: 2016), for which she was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation. With a background in practice and site-responsive art, Marrikka has developed and taught foundation and advanced design studios, writing seminars, and a 15-week history-theory lecture course. She has also played a leading role in developing the GSD’s first online course, The Architectural Imagination, and advised several MArch thesis students. Essays drawn from her PhD research are forthcoming in several peer-reviewed publications. She will be in Cambridge on her Dissertation Completion Grant for the 2016-17 academic year.
Gideon Unkeless studies memorial architecture and is interested in the intersection of place, memory, and public participation at sites of historical violence. As the executive director of Projected Memory, a nonprofit arts and research initiative that uses media installations to gather, archive, and display visitor impressions at former Nazi concentration camps, Gideon examines the influence of design on our rituals of remembrance, including the language and gestures with which we express our thoughts and feelings at such fraught places. By comparing spontaneous, lay reflections with the more “considered” expressions of architects, sculptors, and artists who create memorials, he hopes to contribute to a multi-directional dialogue in commemorative architecture and to reveal the tension between the incommunicability of trauma and didactic meaning, and the impulse to engender empathetic and intellectual connections.
Gideon grew up in Brooklyn, New York, designed his own B.A. program in Pedagogy Studies at Wesleyan University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa, where he became interested in post-Apartheid memorial architecture/design. In 2015-2016 he was a Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow based at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Rodanthi Vardouli is an architect and theorist who studies the artistic and architectural production of the early 20th century avant-garde in Europe through and in relation to emerging theories of performance and performativity in the humanities. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Harvard’s Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Program.
Rodanthi holds a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS 2014) from the MIT Department of Architecture, where she conducted joint research between the History Theory & Criticism (HTC) and the Architectural Design (AD) areas of study. She also holds a Professional Diploma in Architectural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (MArch 2010) and a Graduate Specialization Diploma from the NTUA Interdepartmental Graduate Program “Design-Space-Culture” (MSc 2012).
Rodanthi is a Harvard GSAS doctoral fellow and has also been awarded the Aristides Evangelus Phoutrides Memorial fund for her first year of studies at Harvard. She was an MIT Department of Architecture graduate fellow and a scholar of the Fulbright Greece, Alexander S. Onassis and A.G. Leventis Foundations. Among other academic merit awards, she has received the MIT Arthur Rotch Special Prize awarded to one graduating SMArchS student for highest academic achievement and original contributions to more than one research fields.
Since her graduation from MIT in June 2014, articles based on her graduate research have been accepted for publication at the Kurt Schwitters Society annual journal (KSUK) and the “Research in Architecture” journal edition of the National Technical University of Athens. Among other presentations of her work in various classes at the MIT Department of Architecture, she was an invited speaker for the Fall 2014 MIT Architecture Studies Faculty Colloquium lecture series.
Rodanthi completed an art project called “Properties” which was exhibited at the MIT Museum in the Fall of 2015.
Dimitra Vogiatzaki is a second-year PhD student interested in design processes and their errors, advancing spatiotemporal models in various fields. Her research is currently focused on the cultural production of the long 18th century, trying to bridge early Enlightenment concepts and forms with New Media Art. During the past years she wrote and presented papers on the processual ontology of architecture, the topology of sleep, the architectonics of the human body, transgender aesthetics, fairy tale landscapes, geographies of prostitution, the architectonics of parasitism and the dynamics of the Aegean archipelago.
Beyond the academic walls, she has participated in art exhibitions in Paris, Istanbul and Athens, while her work is currently on display at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture (Greek Pavilion). Last year she produced an exhibition that blended Le Corbusier’s icon and work with popular culture references and new media art with the support of the Fondation Le Corbusier.
Before her doctoral studies Dimitra completed an MSc. with excellence on History and Theory of Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens and a Diploma (BA/MA) with excellence on Architectural Engineering from the same university. During her studies she received multiple academic merit awards including the A.G.Leventis Foundation and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation Scholarships. She has served for multiple years as the National Contact of Greece for the network of European Architecture Students Association and recently as the Greek correspondent of the European Architecture Historians Network. She is a licensed architect in Greece.
Eldra Dominique Walker’s dissertation examines the theme of the “primitive” in nineteenth-century French architectural thought and practice. Research for her dissertation is supported by the Bourse Jeanne Marandon from the Société de professeurs français et francophones d’Amérique (SPFFA), the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard University, and the Pforzheimer Fellowship from the Harvard Library. More broadly, Modern European Architecture (1750-1950) is her major field and her additional research interests include: transnational histories, architectural literature, intersections between race and architecture, history and theory of architectural ornament, and the theory and practice of architectural preservation.
Eldra has presented work at conferences organized by the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, the European Architectural History Network, and the Première Université d’été de programme STARACO (STAtus, RAce, et COuleur) at the University of Nantes. Eldra has taught courses at the GSD in Western Architectural history and theory, from the Renaissance to the present. Prior to coming to Harvard Eldra was an architectural design reviewer in the District of Columbia Office of Planning. Eldra has a MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS from Morgan State University.
Wei Zhang is a first-year PhD student interested in Sustainable Architecture, Building Science and Historic Heritage. As an engineer, he was in charge of confinement systems design and HVAC&R systems design for reactor building of EPR nuclear power plant over 4 years in France. He also worked in the complex system analysis and modeling over 3 years in Paris and Grenoble, France.
Meanwhile, he realized one research project in Reconstruction of the ancient porcelain pagoda in modern form in Nanjing, China. He focused on the restitution of monuments, the various values incarnated in architectural design and the impacts of Buddhism culture on Chinese society.
He holds a DPEA post master degree in Architectural Studies from ENSA Paris-La Villette an Ingénieur degree in Mechanical Engineering from INSA Toulouse and a B.Eng degree from Southeast University in China. He also has the research/study experience in science and architecture in University of Toronto, ETH Zurich, and Aarhus School of Architecture.