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.
Click here for recent PhD graduates.
Salma Abouelhossein is a second-year PhD in Urban Planning. Her research interests fall in the intersection of sovereignty and private property in the hinterlands. She is currently interested in questions of Sovereignty and Property in relation to Water Politics in the Arab states. She seeks to examine the shifting socio-economic spatiali
ties in relation to the geo-political context of water scarcity, with a focus on the rivers of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Salma received a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from the American University in Cairo and a Masters of Science in Urban Planning in Development from the Bartlett, University College London. Her masters dissertation investigated the interplay of securitization and informality at the city edge in Cairo, Egypt. Before starting her Phd, she worked as an urban planning consultant for international organizations. She also worked as a co-instructor and a teaching assistant at the Arab Academy and the American University in Cairo.
Maria Atuesta is a PhD candidate in her fifth year. Her research examines resettlement experiences of internally displaced and demobilized persons in Colombia, who are today beneficiaries of two national programs providing a housing solution to each group. Starting from the premise that accessibility to housing is a key dimension of the social and political integration of populations affected by armed conflicts, her research explores the mechanisms through which policy planning, inter-institutional arrangements and project-based design intersect with everyday lives of displaced and demobilized beneficiaries of public housing solutions. Based on two case studies, one housing project for displaced and another for demobilized populations, she is now conducting archival research, participant observation, interviews and cartographic exercises with displaced and demobilized beneficiaries of each housing project, to understand how they relate to surrounding communities and public entities, how they construct their own notions of citizenship, and whether, and how, these relations are mediated by policy planning, project design and inter-institutional arrangements.
Maria has worked on policy research projects for the World Bank, Colombia’s National Planning Office and the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from her hometown university in Colombia, Universidad de los Andes, and was awarded with a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. She is advancing her doctoral dissertation work with support from the GSD Real Estate Research Grant and the USIP-Minerva Fieldwork Fellowship.
Katarzyna (Kate) Balug is a fourth-year PhD student whose research explores how imagination, art, and materiality mediate human experience in the world. Her current work studies 1960s inflatable practices, and the role these played in envisioning the possibilities for life on earth in the time surrounding the lunar landing. Through this research, she is examining the transition from modern to postmodern imaginaries as articulated in the confrontation between technological optimism and environmental awareness, the re-organization of history and language through structuralism, and an emphasis on bodily experience that grapples with decentering the human. This interest developed through an exhibition that Kate co-curated for Boston’s BSA Space, The New Inflatable Moment. The exhibit featured inflatable projects from the 1960s and early ‘70s and from the last decade to capture ideas of utopia (re-)emerging in the 21st century.
She is co-founder of Department of Play, an art collective that activates public space through momentary, often inflatable, fictions. The collective received a 2015 ArtPlace America grant.
In fall 2018 she is co-teaching a seminar on thing theory and landscape architecture with Anita Berrizbeitia. Kate has a Master in Urban Planning from the Harvard GSD, and received the Harvard Sinclair Kennedy Fellowship for research in Mexico City. Her BA is in studio art and French from USC. Her work has been published in Geoforum, in Critical Sociology (co-authored), and she has presented at several conferences.
Aleksandr Bierig is a PhD candidate studying eighteenth- and nineteenth-century urban and architectural history, with a focus on interactions between the built environment, the natural environment, and political economy in Britain. His dissertation research looks at coal use, architecture, and urbanization in London between the Great Fire of 1666 and the construction of the second London Coal Exchange in 1849, examining sites where coal was transported, sold, and consumed. Other recent work includes investigations into the late eighteenth-century English cottage, the early nineteenth-century plantation in the American south, and changing concepts of building ventilation between 1650 and 1850.
Prior to the GSD, Aleksandr completed his MArch from Princeton University and his BA in Architecture from Yale University. He has worked for 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. Current dissertation research is supported by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Yazmín M. Crespo Claudio is a first-year PhD student in architectural history and theory at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She is an Assistant Professor and former director of the department of Architecture (2014-2018) at Universidad del Turabo where she teaches architecture studios, visual thinking and communication, and history and theory courses.
Yazmín has taught at NYIT, Cornell, Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Design Discovery at Harvard GSD, and was a Visiting Professor at the Elisava Escola Universitària de Disseny i Enginyeria de Barcelona. She frequently lectures about her work and has been invited to participate in several design workshops, seminars, and peer-reviewed conferences from cities like Madrid, Santo Domingo, Arequipa, Santiago de Chile, Valparaíso, New York and Puerto Rico. She has also been an invited juror at Cornell, BAC, NYIT, IAAC, Elisava, UPR, and PCUPR, and has collaborated also in the curation of art and design exhibitions.
Yazmín’s work in teaching, research and practice has been recognized with several awards including the Edita Technical Chamber of Greece Award for her proposal Housing and Public Space in the Historical Center of Barcelona at the XIX Congress of the UIA in Barcelona, a Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill (SOM) Urban Design Category Finalist, and as an associate designer at Perkins Eastman, the World Architecture Award 2009 and the AIA NY Merit Award for the TKTS Booth in New York.
She is the co-founder of the collective Taller Creando Sin Encargos, an important creative space that has developed several design-build workshops titled Arquitecturas Colectivas in communities of Puerto Rico. Her research focuses on OUTreach, how community design-build programs, engages students in the social-spatial issues of today. Yazmín considers the Design-build script, “mixed-media package”, is in need of a critical perspective on its historic relevance as how can they inform design pedagogy, mechanics of building, emerging narratives and spatial politics.
Yazmín holds the Master in Design Studies (MDes) in History and Theory of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the Master of Architecture (MArch) and the Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, and the Bachelor in Environmental Design (BED) from the Universidad de Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture.
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.
Taylor Davey is a second-year PhD student whose research is on the political and social theory of urban spaces. Her interests include the study of technological and social infrastructures, the city as a space of contentious politics, and the interplay between urban-scale design and inclusive development priorities. Taylor’s past work includes research on the politics of Medellín, Colombia’s Social Urbanism program. This research focused on the financial regimes supporting the program and the multiscalar effects of high-profile urban spaces on sustained egalitarian development priorities.
Taylor holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo. She has previously worked as an editorial intern at Log Journal and The Architectural Review. Taylor was the recipient of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate scholarship for her Master’s research work and was awarded the OAA Guild Medal. In 2016, Taylor’s work was presented at the MasterWorks exhibition at Cambridge Galleries. She has also presented her work as several conferences including the 2016 AAG Annual Meeting.
Phillip Denny is a second-year PhD student researching media and technocultures in architecture and design from the post-war to the post-modern. Ongoing projects include a media history of the Herman Miller Action Office, the first mass-produced example of “systems furniture” and the progenitor of the modern office cubicle; a study of the intermedia research practices of architect Konrad Wachsmann; and a series of essays on televisual imaging and postmodern architecture.
In parallel with his academic work, Phillip frequently writes about architecture, art, and design for newspapers and magazines. His writing has most recently appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, Volume, Metropolis, The New York Times, CLOG, and PLAT. Phillip has served on the editorial boards of Pidgin and inter·punct.
Prior to Harvard, Phillip completed his Master of Architecture degree at Princeton University, where he graduated with the certificate in Media + Modernity, and received the School of Architecture History and Theory Prize. He also holds a professional Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was awarded the Louis F Valentour Fellowship, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Prize for Architecture History, and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. He has practiced in numerous roles with architecture firms and organizations in the United States and Europe, including AMO, the research arm of OMA/Rem Koolhaas, MOS Architects of New York, and C-Lab at Columbia University. In the summer of 2018, Phillip was a fellow in the Bauhaus Global Modernism Lab in Dessau, Germany.
Igor Ekštajn is a PhD candidate in architecture, urban, and landscape history. His dissertation studies how the understanding of nature has played a dynamic role in the planning and organization practices of the European southeast in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Igor received a Master of Architecture from the University of Zagreb (2005) and worked in number of Croatian architectural offices. He also holds a Master in Design Studies in History and Philosophy of Design from the Harvard GSD (2011), and a Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture from Harvard GSAS (2013).
Igor has experience in curatorial practice, having worked for both the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the GSD’s Exhibition Department. He served, moreover, as the Deputy Curator of the Croatian Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, and as a member of the research and curatorial team for “Urban Intermedia: City, Archive, Narrative”- a travelling exhibition of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative, where he was also a Research Fellow.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, Igor will be undertaking research in Europe, supported by the Konrad Adenauer Fellowship, and by the Krupp Foundation Fellowship from the Harvard Center for European Studies.
Samaa Elimam is a fourth-year PhD student interested in the history of aesthetics, technology, and environment in the 19th century. She studies the links between territory, engineering, and the construction of knowledge in the management of the social and natural environment of the Nile Valley, particularly in Egypt and the Sudan. Past research has explored rival conceptions of technical knowledge, including early 19th century ideas of public utility, optimization, and aesthetic discourse in the design of public works. Samaa has a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where her thesis with the New Geographies Lab explored modern Mediterranean environmental history, focusing on infrastructural networks in the Nile Delta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
Before starting her PhD, Samaa worked as an architectural designer at offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Cairo, and later, was a visiting studio instructor at the American University in Cairo. Her doctoral research has been supported by fellowships from the Aga Khan Program, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the University of Göttingen.
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 Castrillón is an Instructor and a senior PhD Candidate in Architecture and Conservation Theory at Harvard University. Since 2015, she has taught the core seminar on conservation theory at the Harvard GSD. She has been a Guest Lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Northeastern University and the Universidad de Sevilla. Natalia holds an MDes in Critical Conservation awarded with Distinction from the Harvard GSD, and an MArch from the Universidad de Sevilla with a stint at École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Strasbourg.
In her research, she theorizes late modern and contemporary architectural conservation projects in which she observes a dialectical understanding of history. The researcher makes use of the theories of history and memory of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Martin Heidegger in order to establish new theoretical frameworks for a critical conservation theory and practice. Natalia has been the recipient of the TALENTIA Spanish Ministry of Education Grant, and fellowships from the Real Colegio Complutense, the Ecological Urbanism Collaboration at Pekin University, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Foundation, the David Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harvard Asia Center among others.
She is the founder and editor in chief of the conservation journal Oblique. This Journal has been the recipient of the Haskell Award from the AIA New York Center for Architecture (2017) and will be presented this year at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Natalia has been an invited editor of Ediciones ARQ, and has presented her vision as an invited editor of the 2015 Materia Architectura Journal issue 11 “Conservation as an Expanded Field,” the 2015 SAH Conference in Chicago, 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 a third-year PhD student researching copper and cobalt mining in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The region has played an important role in continental and international geopolitics since extraction began in the late 19th century. This legacy, and the role of mining and miners continues to remain important on a global scale. Brandon's dissertation with utilise both ethnographic and archival methodologies to contextualize the international significance of Lubumbashi in particular, and the Copperbelt in general.
Brandon has previously published papers on informal youth employment, modernist planning and democracy in Freetown and Kigali.
Swarnabh Ghosh is a designer and writer who studies infrastructure and its relationship to power, technology, and the environment. His current research focuses on the history of infrastructure planning, provisioning, and management as a locus of technocratic state-formation in early 20th-century India.
Swarnabh is a first-year PhD student at the Harvard GSD. He received a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture, and a Master of Philosophy with distinction from the University of Cambridge where he studied as a 2016-17 Yale Bass Scholar in Architecture. His M.Phil dissertation brought together methods from political geography, urban theory, and agrarian studies to examine the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and its techno-managerial underpinnings. His recent writing includes an essay, “Notes on Rurality or the Theoretical Usefulness of the Not-Urban” which proposes rurality as a theoretical lens for the analysis of neoliberal urbanization in the agrarian South, and an article that critically interrogates the ‘postdigital turn’ in architectural representation.
Before coming to Harvard, Swarnabh practiced in New York for several years with the interdisciplinary studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro where he was involved in projects spanning art, architecture, and media. In addition to his work with DS+R, Swarnabh is a co-founder of the design collaborative Bil-Kul. His writings have appeared in The Avery Review, Pidgin, and Metropolis among other publications.
Matthew Gin is a PhD candidate from San Francisco who studies architecture and urbanism in early modern Europe. His research focuses specifically on the intersection of architecture, geopolitics, and aesthetic theory in 18th-century France. He is currently completing a dissertation that examines temporary structures erected for celebrations of royal births and marriages during the reign of Louis XV. The project seeks to understand how ephemeral interventions gave architectural expression to major political and cultural shifts that occurred in the decades prior to the Revolution.
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. His research has received generous support from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. Prior to Harvard, Matt worked for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA. During the 2018-2019 academic year he will serve as a Pedagogy Fellow at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.
Thomas Shay Hill is an urbanist and intellectual historian focused on theoretical and mathematical models of cities, economies and space. Tommy’s current research concerns the use and misuse of “big data” for the built environment; “smart city” technologies; and the history, theory and practice of urban simulation. Tommy is particularly interested in the ways in which insights from complexity theory and from statistics are being integrated into simulation models designed to guide urban and regional planning. Open questions guiding Tommy’s research include the various ways in which complexity theory and big data could be productively combined in the urban context; the historical materialist critique of quantitative and computational social science methods; and the degree to which a quantitative post-positivist social science is possible.
Tommy’s professional background is in data analytics, and at Harvard Tommy has been involved in a number of statistics and data science projects for the urban environment, including: a computer program to detect fractal structure in urban morphology from aerial photographs; a study of the impact of sea-level rise on property market dynamics; and various projects involving the use of location data to improve the accuracy of predictive models. Tommy studied Urban Studies and Economic History at Columbia University, and spent his professional years in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York City.
Jacobé Huet is an Aga Khan doctoral student working on architectural modernism and questions of cultural exchanges. She is interested in the visual, historical, and political connections of European modernism with vernacular styles of the Middle East and Mediterranean. The cases of Tel Aviv, Algiers, and Marseille are central to Jacobé’s research.
Before coming to Harvard, Jacobé worked in several museums and research centers such at the Centre Pompidou and the Clark Art Institute. She holds a bachelor in art history from Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and a master’s degree from Williams College. Jacobé has presented her research on various occasions including at annual conferences of the College Art Association.
Sarah Hutchenson focuses on the intersection of space and political structure in early modern Britain, exploring themes such as the appropriation and rehabilitation of royal authority during the Interregnum and Restoration. She worked on the Provenance Project in the Rare Books collection at the National Library of Scotland, where her skills in paleography and knowledge of French and Latin came in handy, and as a volunteer archivist at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. She recently published on cartography and the visualization of Protestant theology in late Elizabethan England, in Durham’s MEMSA journal; other recent projects have examined scientific knowledge and politicized xenophobia in sixteenth-century London, use of heraldry and symbolism in the portraiture and court literature of Elizabeth I, and royal parks under Charles II.
Sarah holds a master’s degree in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor’s in history (with a minor in music history) from Vassar College. In between college and her master’s, Sarah worked in fundraising and event planning for a small nonprofit in Boston.
Hannah Kaemmer is a second-year PhD student studying the history of architecture in early modern Europe, with a focus on architectural reuse, preservation, and cultural exchange. Her current research focuses on architectural ruin, reuse, and reinterpretation in 17th– to 19th-century England, and on the development of English architectural theory in the 17th century. She is interested in the roles of materiality and history in architectural theory and practice; in the relationships between archaeology, antiquarianism, and architecture; and in the use of architecture in the construction of class and political identity.
Prior to Harvard, Hannah was a resident fellow at the Preservation Society of Newport County, where she researched patron-architect relationships in Gilded Age Newport, as well as the rebuilding, adaptation, and preservation of Newport’s Gilded Age homes in the 20th century. As a Fulbright grantee in York, UK, she investigated the design and use of English gentry houses in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hannah holds a Master of Arts in the Archaeology of Buildings from the University of York, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Williams College.
Hanan Kataw is a first-year PhD student interested in the rise of the digital imaginary in architecture, the socio-political changes that accompanied it and its effect on the experimental practices in architecture and its modes of representation.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture Engineering from The University of Jordan, where she was awarded the Issa Hassan Abu Al Ragheb Award for Academic Excellence, and a Master of Arts in Architectural History with distinction from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her master’s thesis focused on the agency of the architect and the politics of knowledge manifested in the digital generative architecture discourse.
She has worked as a visiting lecturer at Al-Zaytoonah University in Jordan where she taught a class on the theories and applications of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in architecture. She was also a research consultant at Studio-X Amman run by Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the Columbia Global Centers where her research focused on the history of urban planning in Amman and the different digital technologies used in mapping the urban change and their influence on the ways the city has been represented and narrated.
In addition to her main research focuses, Hanan is also interested in the non-canonical Islamic architecture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Her recent research project addressed the development of the Islamic sacred spaces in Florence since the 1990s.
Diana Lempel works at the intersection of public humanities, design, and historical research, focusing on questions of collection, conservation and preservation, historic and futurist fiction, landscape, and civic community. As an historian, she studies the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily in America; her dissertation project is investigating the network of Boston-area women collectors and convenors whose hospitality and imagination created hybrid public-private spaces and past-future narratives, from the 1830s-1920s. Previous and ongoing research projects include conservation history and conflict in mid-20th century Maine, the foundation of the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1890s Boston, and the story of Pond Farm, a ceramics school and studio in rural Northern California. Diana is the co-founder and Research Directrix of Practice Space, an exhibition and residency space in Inman Square, Cambridge for site-specific, social practice artwork and a “fieldwork post” for neighborhood research. She also serves as the Doing History Curator of the Cambridge Historical Society and the Director of Our Riverside, a teen history and design program based at the Cambridge Community Center. Diana was the 2014 Scholar in Residence at the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival. She received her MUP in Urban Planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and her BA in History and Literature also from Harvard University.
Manuel López Segura is a seventh-year PhD candidate, an architect, and a Master’s 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 has enjoyed the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. He is the recipient of a 2018-2020 La Caixa Scholarship. As a PhD student, he works on the architecture of political conflict in 1950s to 1970s Italy. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at the annual conferences of the European Architectural History Network, the Society of Architectural Historians, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and the Anglo-Catalan Society, as well as at Yale University and other fora.
Manuel holds a professional degree in architecture from the Polytechnic University of València, Spain, an MA in Architectural History from The Bartlett, University College London, and an MDes History & Philosophy of Design from the GSD. Manuel knows French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan, and some German. He has served as a teaching assistant to Professors Rafael Moneo and Hashim Sarkis and as a teaching fellow in the courses BTC I, BTC III, and Theories of Landscape Architecture at the GSD, and Landmarks of World Architecture at FAS.
Sabrina Osmany is a fourth-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 M.P.S. 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 studies the production of modern architecture and its exchanges with rising industrial and scientific expertise. Her dissertation examines the manifold ways architectural knowledge in postwar Korea intersected with emerging material cultures ranging from the ceramics industry to archaeological practices. During her fieldwork, she conducted an oral history project and helped consolidate the earliest archives of modern Korean architecture at Mokchon Foundation in Seoul. Melany received an MDes from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), where she was awarded the Gerald M. McCue Medal for the highest overall academic record. Her writings have appeared in the Journal of Architecture and the Architectural Review. She is currently working on an essay on the construction of fertilizer complexes for Systems and the South, an Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative publication. In 2017, Melany helped coordinate a GSD centenary symposium celebrating the work and life of I.M. Pei. She was awarded a graduate fellowship at the 68th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago. Melany’s research has received continued support from the Korea Institute and the Asia Center at Harvard. She holds a MArch from National University of Singapore and an architectural degree from University of Auckland in New Zealand, where she was a recipient of a university-wide scholarship for academic excellence and leadership potential.
Marianne F. Potvin, a doctoral candidate, studies the intersection of humanitarian action and urban planning. Her research, entitled “Humanitarian Urbanism: Cities, Technology and the Hybrid Practices of Humanitarian Actors,” draws on urban theory, and science, technology, and society studies (STS) to explore the evolution of international aid organizations’ approaches to space and physical planning. Her work has been supported by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (2016/19) and the Harvard Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (2017/18).
Prior to Harvard, Marianne led field teams in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur, for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other NGOs to support refugees and victims of armed conflicts. In Kabul, she co-chaired the UNHCR Shelter Cluster’s Technical Group, and advised the Kabul Municipality on urban response strategies (2010). Her recent fieldwork focuses on the role of aid agencies in responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lebanese cities.
She teaches a graduate seminar on the theories of practice in crisis, conflict and recovery. She has written about urban resilience and the ethics of crisis mapping, and contributed to forums such as the UN-Habitat Informal Urbanism Hub, the OpenDemocracy.net’s Cities in Conflict Series, and the Design for Humanity Initiative.
Etien Santiago is a PhD candidate in architectural history and a licensed architect who investigates the impact of new technologies on architecture and society. His areas of expertise are architectural history and theory from the nineteenth century to the present, the use of industrial materials in modern architecture, and conceptualizations of machine and digital culture.
Prior to starting a PhD, Etien worked as an architect for firms such as the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. He holds an M.Arch. with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design as well as a B.Arch. and B.A. cum laude from Rice University. His M.Arch. thesis was awarded the James Templeton Kelley Prize, and his undergraduate work received recognitions including the AIA School Medal, the Rice Visionary Project in Architecture Award, and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.
His dissertation uncovers how the cultural and intellectual context of World War I shaped architects’ appropriation of innovative military construction techniques, from which they sought to create new forms of affordable housing. This research has been supported by grants from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Harvard Center for European Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Etien currently teaches at the Indiana University J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program based in Columbus, Indiana. He received a Distinction in Teaching Award from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning for a prior role as a Harvard Teaching Fellow.
Christina Shivers is a third-year PhD student studying the history of digital mapping and urban simulation tools. She is particularly interested in the development of technological expertise within urban planning and design and is currently studying the political apparatus necessary for the development of urban modelling technologies in the 1960s.
Christina was awarded the AIA Atlanta Emerging Voices Award in 2016 and presented an exhibition entitled Contrapuntal Narratives: Architectural Drawing Machines for Atlanta. She has also exhibited her work at Harvard Graduate School of Design’s fortyK Gallery and at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. She recently presented a paper at the Society of Architectural Historians 2018 International Conference titled “Information and Anxiety: The Architect as Programmer in the Age of Data Control,” and has presented research at the Berlin Unlimited Urban Arts Festival in Berlin, Germany, the AIA Washington D.C. Emerging Architects Thesis Showcase and has been published in MAS Context.
She holds a B.A. in Music with a concentration in Music Theory and Performance from Florida State University and a Master’s of Architecture degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has taught studio courses at Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia and worked in several architecture firms in Atlanta, Georgia.
Caroline Filice Smith is a first-year PhD student interested in the ontological and epistemological making of ‘the offshore,’ both historically and in the present. Her research grounds itself, so to speak, in the study of Chinese initiated transnational logistics corridors and their related enclaves of extraction, processing, and distribution in sub-Saharan Africa. Caroline is particularly focused on the work that goes into enabling such enclaves to be presented as politically, financially, and socially disentangled from their surroundings – work marked by variously occulted development and security practices and their concomitant spatial byproducts and entanglements. At the broadest of levels then, Caroline’s research is concerned with how such offshore/onshore spaces have come to constitute the licit life of capitalism, and the ways shifting conceptions of sovereignty, urbanization, and risk attend to the making – and remaking – of such spaces globally.
Caroline is currently a member of Neil Brenner’s Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard GSD, having previously served as an Irving Innovation Fellow (’18), Mexican Cities Initiative Fellow (’16), and research associate for the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative at the GSD. Caroline holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design with Distinction from the GSD (‘17), where she was awarded both the Thesis Prize and Academic Excellence Award in Urban Design – additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech (’10). Prior to coming to Harvard, Caroline spent five years in professional architectural practice – most of which was spent working for UNStudio in their Shanghai office.
Justin D. Stern, a doctoral candidate, studies the interplay of economic development and city planning in rapidly urbanizing regions in East and Southeast Asia. His dissertation looks at how business process outsourcing or “offshoring” is driving new patterns of urban development with particular focus on India and the Philippines.
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. He is currently a Graduate Student Associate at the Harvard Asia Center and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Justin is a four-time recipient of the Derek-Bok Center Certificate in Teaching Excellence. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Justin worked in the international development arena and in affordable housing development in New York City.
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, a fourth-year PhD student, seeks to activate design attitudes latent in the “avant-garde” artistic and architectural production of early twentieth century Europe. Her doctoral work positions this production in relation to emerging theories of performance and performativity in the humanities with the aim to unveil its constructive potential.
Through her enrollment in the PhD Program in Architecture at Harvard over the past two years, Rodanthi has experimented with multiple epistemological perspectives and disciplinary methods of knowledge production that range from archival research oriented toward the production of chronicles and historical accounts (History of Art and Architecture) to poetics (Comparative Literature) and the contemporary discourse on architectural production (Graduate School of Design).
Prior to Harvard, Rodanthi obtained a Master of Science in Architecture Studies from the MIT Department of Architecture (SMArchS 2014), where she conducted joint research between the History Theory Criticism and the Architectural Design areas of study as scholar of the Fulbright Greece, Alexander S. Onassis and A.G. Leventis Foundations. She also holds a Professional Diploma in Architectural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and a Graduate Specialization Diploma from the NTUA Design-Space-Culture Interdepartmental Graduate Program.
For her research at MIT, Rodanthi was awarded the Arthur Rotch Special Prize for highest academic achievement and original contributions to more than one research fields. Articles based on her graduate research have been published at the Kurt Schwitters Society annual journal (2014) and the “Research in Architecture” journal edition of the NTUA (2016). Among other presentations of her work, she was an invited speaker at the MIT Architecture Studies Faculty Colloquium lecture series (11/2014), and more recently at the Harvard GSAS Graduate Colloquium “Panaesthetics: A Colloquium on the Visual Arts, Literature and Music” (02/2017.)
Dimitra Vogiatzaki is a historian of eighteenth-century architecture currently pursuing a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture at Harvard. Her research explores aspects of virtuality in the Enlightenment from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a particular focus on French rococo interiors.
Beyond the academic walls, she has participated in art exhibitions in Paris, Istanbul and Athens, and her work was on display at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture (Greek Pavilion). In 2015 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. She currently serves as the Dudley Art Fellow for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard.
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. For her research at Harvard Dimitra received both the GSAS Pre-Dissertation Fellowship and the Jens Aubrey Westengard Fund in 2018.
Dimitra 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 is an architectural historian whose dissertation examines the theme of the “primitive” in nineteenth-century French architectural thought and practice. She received the support of 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 primary 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.
Currently, she is a lecturer and principal advisor to the MDesign Historic Preservation Program for the Department of Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Additionally, she was the Nettie Seabrooks Graduate Curatorial Intern in European Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where she assisted museum curators with an upcoming exhibition entitled “Color of Faith.” Eldra has taught courses at the GSD in Western Architectural history and theory, from the Renaissance to the present. Before coming to Harvard, Eldra was an architectural design reviewer in the District of Columbia Office of Planning. Eldra has an MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS from Morgan State University.
Xiaoshi Wang is a second-year PhD student exploring the potential integration of traditional architectural design and relevant engineering disciplines, so as to improve building energy efficiency and indoor comfort. His research focus on creating instant and straightforward connection between indoor spatial layout and qualified natural ventilation scenario, which will possibly equip the early stage design with quantifiable consideration of indoor environment and sustainability. He’s also interested in creating self-optimization mechanisms for space morphology seeking for preferred indoor air flow condition by using learning algorithms.
Xiaoshi holds a Master of Design degree in the direction of energy and environment from the Harvard GSD; a Master of Science Advanced Architectural Design degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tongji University in Shanghai, China. Before his second master program he worked as an architectural designer in New York City, during which time he also collaborated on several design exhibitions in Shanghai. In 2013 Xiaoshi was awarded GSAPP Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize from Columbia University and in 2018 he was awarded Daniel L. Schodek Award for Technology and Sustainability from Harvard GSD upon graduation.
Angela Wheeler is a third-year PhD student and graduate associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Her research examines the differing historic preservation principles and practices that emerged across socialist and capitalist economies in the postwar period. After working with the International Council of Monuments and Sites as a Fulbright grantee in Tbilisi (2012-2013) and completing HUD surveys of Hawaii public housing, she completed an MSc in Historic Preservation at Columbia University (2016). Her thesis, Socialist in Form, National in Content, investigates official attempts to reconcile historic preservation with Soviet ideology in the Brezhnev era. She has published in Pidgin, Calvert Journal, Identity Studies in the Caucasus and Black Sea Region, and the Arctic Review on Law and Politics.
Angela’s recent projects include a Graham Foundation grant for “Indigenous Outsiders: Endangered Islamic Heritage in the Republic of Georgia,” an exhibition and publication documenting the wooden mosques of Georgia’s Muslim minorities (2018). Her chapter on mosques of Russia and the Caucasus appeared in Rizzoli’s Mosques: Splendors of Islam (2017) and she recently completed the Tbilisi volume for DOM’s Architectural Guides series (2019). She also organized “Commons: Public Spaces After Socialism,” an interdisciplinary conference hosted by Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Angela takes an active interest in her mother’s life as long-haul trucker and its attendant economies and cultural productions.
Wei Zhang is a third-year PhD student interested in Building Science and Artificial Intelligence. As a senior professional engineer, he had been in charge of confinement systems design and HVAC&R systems design, complex system analysis and modeling for next generation energy infrastructure in France. His research interest is to develop the Artificial Intelligence in the context of Green Architecture and to apply the Machine Learning in the Building Science.
He holds a DPEA post-master degree in Architectural Studies from ENSA Paris-La Villette, a Diplôme d’Ingénieur from INSA Toulouse, and a B.Eng degree from Southeast University in China. He also has the research/study experience in science, architecture and history in University of Toronto, ETH Zurich, Aarhus School of Architecture and Université Paris X – Nanterre. He was also awarded the title of European Engineer (Eur Ing).