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 third year PhD student interested in urban theory, political ecology and development planning. Her work seeks to examine scale-making and the environment, and the shifting spatialities of the modern Middle East and North Africa through a world-ecological lens. Her current research examines the historical transformations of the rural landscapes in the Egyptian Nile Valley in the longue duree, with a focus on the neoliberalization of post 1970s. This work seeks to build upon the critiques of inherited urban/agrarian divides in order to assemble a framework through which to approach the Nile Valley as a space of urbanization, especially with the consolidation of the neoliberal food/ecological regime. Her work thus situates the Nile Valley in relation to broader transformations on the national and regional scale, as well as in the geoeconomic and geopolitical context, which contributed to regional socio-spatial restructuring, depeasantization, hyper-urbanization, informal land development, and global and regional food regimes.
Salma’s doctoral research is supported by the Agha Khan fellowship. Salma holds a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from the American University in Cairo (‘12), where she was awarded the Leadership for Education and Development scholarship. She also holds a Masters of Science with Distinction in Urban Planning in Development from the Bartlett, University College London (‘14). Her masters dissertation investigated the interplay of securitization and informality at the city-edge of Cairo, Egypt. Before starting her Phd, she worked for three years as an urban planning consultant for international development organizations in Egypt.
Maria Atuesta is a PhD candidate in her sixth 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 an instructor and fifth year PhD Candidate at the Harvard GSD. Her research explores feedback loops between techno-political change and subjectivity as mediated by artistic practice. Her dissertation studies late 1960s inflatable structures in art and architecture, and the post-lunar imaginaries that they articulated in response to a confluence of 1960s scientific and social progress. She is particularly interested in how the aesthetic of the inflatable anticipated theorizations of the non-human, increasingly prevalent across scholarly disciplines in subsequent decades.
She teaches a research seminar at the GSD that introduces theories of the non-human to landscape architecture, and is the lead instructor for the English for Design summer program. Kate’s academic work is complemented by curatorial and artistic practice. In 2017, she co-curated The New Inflatable Moment for Boston’s BSA Space, which captured the utopian sensibilities of inflatables from the 1960s and 2000s. Her long-term art project, Department of Play, transforms public space through momentary fictions. Past project support includes a 2015 ArtPlace America grant.
Kate is a 2011 MUP alumna of the Harvard GSD, and recipient of a 2011 Sinclair Kennedy Fellowship for research in Mexico City. She holds a BA in studio art and French from USC. She has published articles in Geoforum, Critical Sociology (co-authored), and in the forthcoming issue of New Geographies: Extraterrestrial. She has presented at conferences of the European Utopian Studies Society, the European Network of Political Ecology, and Berkeley’s Department of Architecture, among others.
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 examines the interaction between coal, architecture, and urbanization in London in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through a series of sites where the city’s unique fuel was bought and sold, monitored and taxed, collected and displayed, stored and burned. These sites describe coal’s effects at different scales, from changes to the household hearth, to the bureaucratic infrastructure of the fuel trade, to representative buildings like the 1769 and 1849 London Coal Exchanges. Other recent research has included 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, Architectural Histories, Perspecta, and Pidgin, where he served for two years as an editor. Dissertation research has received support from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Will Conroy is a first-year PhD student whose current research focuses on urban political ecology, racial capitalism, and the commons in the United States. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Urban Studies, Planning Theory, Capitalism Nature Socialism, and ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies. His previous work has addressed a range of topics including: contemporary struggles over housing in Chicago; city planning and the American “imperial pastoral” at the start of the twentieth century; infrastructure and citizenship in the wake of climate-induced disaster; as well as the relationship between land use planning, racialization, and “biopolitical production.” Will has an MPhil (with Distinction) in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance from the University of Oxford, and a BA (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Northwestern University.
Professionally, Will has worked at RECOFTC (The Center for People and Forests) as a Princeton in Asia Fellow, the Foundation for Ecological Security, and the Environmental Law Institute. In 2018 he co-founded Lively Worlds, an Oxford-based research and advisory organization. In that role he helps institutions rethink their long-term social and environmental impact strategy by drawing on the theoretical, empirical, and methodological insights of the critical social sciences.
Yazmín M. Crespo Claudio is a second-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 Ana G. Méndez -Recinto Gurabo 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 Latin American alternative pedagogies, how design-build programs, informs 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’s 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.
Samira Daneshvar is a PhD student whose research is situated at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and medical sciences. She is interested in the twofold construction of an individual body and the body of a population throughout modernism. She seeks to examine the human body as a social and cultural fabrication that its identity and operational mechanism is mediated by the culture that it produces. More specifically, her research investigates the role of cultural tools in encouraging or discouraging human production and reproduction from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to the present.
Prior to the GSD, Samira taught at the University of Miami and practiced in Toronto. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from University of Toronto and Master of Science degree from University of Michigan. She joined the realm of art and architecture after five years of medical studies in Iran. Her writing has appeared in Thresholds Journal, Inflection Journal, Centre 22, and other venues. Her work has been exhibited at Keller Gallery (MIT), Fashion Art Toronto, Goldsmith Hall (University of Texas at Austin), and is forthcoming at XII International Architecture Biennale of Sao Paulo (co-produced), and Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.
Taylor Davey is a third-year PhD student who studies the politics of contemporary urban development and governance arrangements as it relates to discourses of nature and climate. Her interests include the study of Green infrastructures, the interplay between urban space and social movements, and how social justice is mediated by design as both a normative and contested object. Taylor’s past work includes research on Medellín, Colombia and the dissemination of its Social Urbanism program across local and international media. The research focused on financial regimes supporting the program and the multi-scalar resonance of high-profile urban design projects on broader social justice priorities, particularly the long-term transition of urban planning from an emphasis on social development to socio-ecosystem management.
Taylor holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo, where she has also acted as an instructor. 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 Masters research work and was awarded the OAA Guild Medal. In 2015, Taylor’s work was exhibited at the MasterWorks exhibition at Cambridge Galleries. She has also presented her work at conferences including the 2016 AAG and has published previous research in the MIT Journal Thresholds.
Phillip Denny is a third-year PhD student whose research focuses on prefabricated architecture in the twentieth century. In 2019, he received a Graham Foundation grant to support his work on an English-language translation of Nicolas Schöffer’s 1969 urban manifesto La ville cybernétique.
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. He edited The Art of Joining: Designing the Universal Connector (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2019), a pocketbook anthology of new research on the architect Konrad Wachsmann. Phillip also contributed to the catalogue for Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths, curated by Sylvia Lavin at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal.
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 received a Master’s degree from Harvard University in 2019. 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 2018, Phillip was a fellow of 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.
He received a Master of Architecture from the University of Zagreb (2005) and worked in a 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.
He is a Graduate Student Affiliate of the Harvard University Center for European Studies and of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Igor’s doctoral research has been supported by fellowships from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and from the Krupp Foundation.
Samaa Elimam is a fifth-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 in Design Studies in Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology from the Harvard 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 a Spanish architect, instructor, and PhD candidate in architecture history and theory at Harvard University. She received her Advanced Masters in Design Studies in Critical Conservation with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), and her M.Arch with honors from the Universidad de Sevilla. Her research and teaching interests are in modern and contemporary architecture theory and practice, historiography, and architectural conservation and she has been a Visiting Professor at Boston University, Universidade de Sao Paulo (FAUSP), and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.
Her dissertation and research work delves into the ideological dimension of architectural conservation, and strives to develop a socially inclusive approach to the field by using the tools of architecture and the philosophy of history and memory. Her research project has been funded by the prestigious TALENTIA grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Foundation, the David Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harvard Asia Center, among others. These grants have allowed her to pursue fieldwork in Brazil, Latin America, and China, respectively.
In 2016, Natalia was hired as the head professor for the graduate core course on architectural conservation theory at the Harvard GSD. During that appointment, she had a crucial role in developing an inclusive and international curriculum for the Critical Conservation program along with its founders, Profs. Michael Hays and Rahul Mehrotra. She is also the founder and editor in chief of the Harvard based publication OBL/QUE, an online journal on architectural conservation that gathers innovative interpretations of architectural projects located around the world. The publication received the Haskell Award from the AIA New York Center for Architecture in 2017.
Brandon Finn is a fourth year PhD student researching mineral extraction and urbanization in Central Africa. He is primarily interested in the Copperbelt, an area spanning northern Zambia and southern Democratic Republic of Congo, which is extremely rich in resources such as copper and cobalt. The region has played an important role in continental and international geopolitics since extraction began in the late 19th century. Brandon's work investigates themes such as labor, formal and informal mining, and extended urbanization. His work aims to investigate how the spatial restructuring of Central Africa has interacted with the history of capitalism. Brandon's work is purposefully global in scale as he is inspired by the field of Global History which challenges exclusively national, local analyses.
Brandon has previously published papers on informal youth employment, modernist planning, and democracy in Freetown and Kigali.
Swarnabh Ghosh is an architect and historian who studies infrastructure and its relationship to power, technology, and the environment. His current research focuses on irrigation planning as a locus of colonial state-formation in late 19th and early 20th-century India. This research brings together methods from environmental history, geography, and agrarian studies to explore the intertwined histories of environmental management, agricultural commercialization, and urbanization under colonial rule.
Swarnabh is a second-year PhD student at the Harvard GSD and a member of the Urban Theory Lab. 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. His M.Phil dissertation examined the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and its techno-managerial underpinnings with a special focus on the role of global management consultants in producing the discursive regime that undergirds corridor urbanization in India and beyond.
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 landscape architecture. 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 the 18th and 19th centuries. He is currently completing a dissertation, “The Politics of Pageantry: Dynasticism, Diplomacy, and Ephemeral Festival Architecture in France, 1729-1763,” which examines the temporary structures erected for public celebrations of royal births, marriages, and military victories during the reign of Louis XV. His other ongoing research interests include the repurposing of building materials in the early modern period, the politics of architectural patronage, and the spatial aspects of diplomatic ceremonial.
He 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, the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th– Century Studies. Prior to Harvard, he worked for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA.
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, and as a volunteer archivist at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. She has 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 third-year PhD student studying the history of architecture and urbanism in early modern Europe, in particular 16th– and 17th-century England. Her current research focuses on the relationship between science, antiquarianism, and architecture in early modern England. She is also interested in the role of class and tradition in architectural theory and practice; past projects have examined the use of medieval references in domestic architecture, and the relation between architectural practice and gentry identity in 17th-century England.
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 second-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. She also holds 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 the city of 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 2019, Hanan participated in the Global Modernism curatorial research residency at the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau, Germany.
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.
Adam Longenbach is a first-year PhD student interested in the history of optical technologies and mediated perception of the built environment, particularly from the late 19th century through the Cold War. His ongoing projects include research on the work of the American architect, John S. Detlie, who practiced at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and set design to create large-scale camouflages for the US military during World War II. Adam’s work has most recently been published through Log, The Avery Review, and Applied Research + Design.
Adam holds a Master of Architecture II from The Cooper Union, where he also held a teaching appointment in the first-year undergraduate design studio. He received his Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University. For his thesis “Mass-Minded Systems: American Architecture and the Rise of Social Media,” he received the Pohland Fellowship and the Kossmann Endowment for Excellence thesis prize.
Before coming to Harvard, Adam practiced for several years in architecture firms around the US and abroad including Olson Kundig Architects, Allied Works Architecture, and most recently, Snøhetta. At Snøhetta, he worked with leadership to establish and direct the firm’s post-occupancy research initiative, a role that tasked him with documenting the history, performance, and impact of the firm’s built work.
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 fifth year PhD candidate in Artificial Intelligence & Design Computation at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Her research focuses on developing Deep Generative Models of Artificial Imagination. She is co-advised between Harvard and MIT working in collaboration with Isola lab at MIT-CSAIL.
Sabrina's research combines machine learning with cognitive linguistics, and cognitive neuroscience of human visuospatial reasoning, in an effort to lay the foundations for machines that are capable of human-like generative capacities such as imagination and creativity. Her work builds on models of Conceptual Exploration which integrates language as a fundamental component of the cognitive experience. Sabrina uses these language insights to train machines that can perform tasks such as abstract thinking, cross-modal reasoning, concept transfer and concept invention, which is the immanent frontier towards Artificial General Intelligence.
Sabrina’s research draws from key insights from research on Mental Spaces suggesting how humans choose to represent concepts frames the choices they make during in subsequent spatial reasoning tasks. As such, representations instantiate frame consistent choice architectures. This means that representations can both reduce or expand the range of exploration of choice outcome. Nudging literature from Cognitive Psychology has shown that this phenomenon can be used for enhancing decision making in rational choice settings. Sabrina’s work asks how it might also augment the human imagination and creative arts. This has bearings on the nature of agency and intentionality.
Generative Models enable an expansion in our conceptual agency, authority and imagination in the realm of the Arts but also New Ways of Thinking. By forecasting and generating Art Futures, and possible Future Worlds, Sabrina is currently developing generative models for applications in Neural Diversity and Brain Machine Interfaces.
Sabrina holds an M.P.S. from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU where her research explored how human agency and intentionality are mediated by the design of interactive systems, focusing on the the development of intelligent virtual environments that sense, decode, and mediate human choice making behavior.
In collaboration with NYU’s Center for Neural Science, Sabrina developed her thesis, the Human Avatar Project, an anatomical, 27 degree-of-freedom upper-limb simulation to aid Pesaran lab's research in brain-machine interfaces for robotic prosthetics.
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 exhibited Computational Art work internationally and maintains a vibrant artistic practice alongside her research.
Sabrina studied Philosophy at Bard College, completing a thesis, The Stature of Man in the Age of Creative Machines, which explored the cybernetic implications on of machines surpassing human creative intelligence. She is a mentor for OpenAI Scholars Program and currently serves on the board of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College. Sabrina is from Karachi, Pakistan.
Melany Sun-Min Park specializes in the history of architecture in 20th-century East Asia and the global formations of modernism in visual culture and design. Her dissertation, “From the Truss to the Dome: Architecture as Modern Science in Postwar Korea, 1953-1978,” is an interrelated investigation of architectural knowledge, cultural nationalism, and techno-scientific development in postwar South Korea. It follows the transnational transfer of knowledge and expertise that took place in the wake of the Korean War (1950-1953), a period when colonial forms of institutional training confronted the Cold War technocratic culture.
At the 2020 Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference in Seattle, Melany will be co-chairing the panel, “The Magnitude of Architecture.” In the summer of 2019, she received a Pforzheimer Fellowship at the Harvard Business School to conduct research on the American photographer Ansel Adams and his consultancy for the Polaroid corporation. In 2017, Melany helped coordinate a GSD centenary symposium celebrating the work and life of I.M. Pei.
Melany received an MDes from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), where she was awarded the Gerald M. McCue Medal. She also holds a MArch from National University of Singapore and a MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Her writings have appeared in the Journal of Architecture, Architectural Review, and Singapore Architect (SA). She is currently working on an essay on the construction of Korean fertilizer complexes for Aggregate’s book project, Systems and the South. Melany’s research has received generous support from the following institutions: Harvard Korea Institute, Harvard Asia Center, Society of Architectural Historians, and Canadian Center for Architecture.
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 fourth-year PhD student studying the history and theory of computational tools in the planning profession. She is particularly interested in the political implications associated with the application of technology to natural resource management and environmental governance in North America since the 1970s.
Christina will be presenting her work at the upcoming Society for American City and Regional Planning’s annual conference in Washington D.C. This research has been supported by the Canadian Center for Architecture. She has also presented papers at the Society of Architectural Historians 2018 International Conference in Minneapolis, 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 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 artistic work at Harvard Graduate School of Design’s fortyK Gallery, at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and recently installed a sculpture at the Nashville International Airport.
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 second year PhD student researching the history of the financialization of space. Her current work focuses on landscapes of debt and the urbanization of risk along the coal and prison belts of central Appalachia. At the broadest of levels, she is interested in the ways the built environment functions as a fulcrum between the ‘real’ and ‘financial’ sides of the economy; sedimenting and rendering visible otherwise abstract entanglements between the production of space and processes of financialization.
Caroline is a member of the 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 (’16-’18). She 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, and less of which was spent practicing in Los Angeles where she was actively involved in the Occupy movement. Her design work and research has been published and exhibited internationally at venues such as the Venice Biennale, Wired Next Fest, and the London Festival of architecture.
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.
Sam Tabory is a first year PhD student. He is interested in the governance of urban infrastructure transitions, paying specific attention to questions of system scale and boundary. Broadly, he is interested in how transitions interact with evolving spatial and temporal understandings of urban crisis in an era of global environmental change and rising resource scarcity. Comparative and global perspectives inform his work. Rapid urbanization and the growth of secondary/tertiary cities are of particular interest to him, including the ways in which they are activated in national urbanization strategies. In addition to place-based transitions, Sam studies science-policy dialogues on the topic of urban transitions, focusing on how ‘city types’ mediate socio-technical understandings of urban systems change.
Professionally, Sam has held positions with university and think tank-based research centers, as well as field positions with international NGOs in Latin America. He has contributed to institutional reports commissioned by UN Environment, the World Bank, and NATO. His scholarly work has been published in Global Environmental Change.
Sam holds master’s degrees in urban planning and Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin where his thesis and fieldwork focused on coproduced service provisioning in informal settlements. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and Spanish language from Tulane University.
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 architectural theorist whose work centers on the phenomenon of the avant-garde in the Arts. Her doctoral work, supervised by Professor K Michael Hays, positions the artistic and architectural production of the early twentieth century avant-garde in Europe (with greater focus on Dada and Surrealism) in relation to emerging theories of performance and performativity in the humanities, with the aim to unveil its constructive potential. Currently a fifth year PhD candidate, her dissertation proposes a theory of the avant-garde centered around a notion of agonistic negativity that goes beyond subversive intent and embraces an attitude of revolt within a world perceived in negative terms and therefore irreducible to dialectical antithesis.
To pursue this line of inquiry, Rodanthi has–over her years at Harvard–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). She has presented her work at conferences and symposia across the world, including the “Disrupting Narratives: New Perspectives on Collage” Symposium at the University of Edinburgh (7/2019), the Field Studies Colloquium at Princeton SA+P (3/2019) the New England Symposium of Architectural Historians at the MIT Dept of Architecture (4/2018), the Panaesthetics Colloquium at Harvard GSAS (2/2017), the MIT Architecture Studies Faculty Colloquium lecture series (11/2014). Rodanthi is also a frequent invited speaker at the Discourse and Methods graduate seminar taught by Mark Goulthorpe at MIT (2014-2019.)
Prior to Harvard, Rodanthi received 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. For her research at MIT, she was awarded the Arthur Rotch Special Prize for highest academic achievement and original contributions to more than one research fields. Articles based on her MIT thesis were published at the Kurt Schwitters Society annual journal (2014) and the “Research in Architecture” journal edition of the National Technical University of Athens (2016). Rodanthi also holds a Professional Diploma in Architectural Engineering and a Graduate Specialization Diploma from the Design-Space-Culture Interdepartmental Graduate Program at the NTUA.
Dimitra Vogiatzaki is a PhD candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture. Her research investigates the interplay of Architecture and Dreams in the Enlightenment, with a particular focus on Rococo interiors. While at Harvard, Dimitra has received grants enabling her to conduct site visits and archival research in Europe and the US. She is currently furthering her research in Paris and Los Angeles as a recipient of the Ahmanson Fellowship at UCLA.
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, with the support of the Fondation Le Corbusier, she produced an exhibition that merged Le Corbusier’s legacy with popular culture and new media art. Dimitra served for two years as the Art Fellow for the Graduate Student Center of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard.
Prior to her doctoral studies, Dimitra received an MSc. with excellence in the History and Theory of Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens, and a diploma (BA/MA) with excellence in Architectural Engineering from the same university. She served for multiple years as the National Contact of Greece for the network of European Architecture Students Assembly and is a licensed architect in Greece.
During her studies, Dimitra has received a number of academic merit awards including the GSAS Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, the Jens Aubrey Westengard Fund, the A.G.Leventis Foundation and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation Scholarships, among others. Dimitra enjoys teaching, and has had the opportunity to spend consecutive semesters as a Teaching Fellow in both the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Programs.
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 fourth-year PhD student in Architectural Technology and Artificial Intelligence. As a professional engineer, he had been involved in design, modeling, analysis, construction and verification for energy infrastructure project in France. His research interest is to develop the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning in the context of Architecture.
With the title of European Engineer (Eur Ing), he holds a DPEA degree 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, energy policy, architectural design and history at the University of Toronto, ETH Zurich, Aarhus School of Architecture and Université Paris X – Nanterre.