Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Urban Design Lecture: Adèle Naudé Santos, “Narrative Maps: A Design Process”

Adele Naude Santos sits in a studio with images on a wall behind her. She wears a dark purple shirt and glasses.

A recording of this event is available with audio description.

Event Description

Adèle Naudé Santos will deliver the annual Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Urban Design Lecture.

It is an honor to be invited to give the Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Urban Design Lecture at the GSD. In addition to sharing my design process tonight, I can also share my memories of Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, who taught me while I was a student in the urban design program here. As fellow South Africans we both experienced influential years of study at the AA in London, though at different times. My interest in housing and urbanism was sparked by experiences with Team 10 members, who taught at the AA in London, and Shadrach Woods, whom I worked for in Paris. Being accepted into the Urban Design program at the GSD, where Jaqueline Tyrwhitt and Team 10 members taught, I was exposed to many philosophical discussions about the importance of urbanistic thinking and how best to teach it. 

Through these early teachers and discussions, I learned how to think analytically about key issues influencing design and how to draw diagrams to explain essential attributes. I believe this is an essential bridge between abstract thinking and a design process with physical results. Many decades later in practice, with increasingly complex design problems, a belief that many concepts are needed to resolve most designs, this process became an essential methodology in my office. I call this process Narrative Mapping. Two solo exhibitions show this process and its outcomes, one in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and a second in Kitakyushu, Japan. 

I will show work from different stages in my practice which followed my academic career. These will include design narratives and work at different scales including affordable housing, projects for the arts, public facilities and places, and urban design proposals. 


Adèle Naudé Santos, FAIA, MAUD ’63, currently Professor Post Tenure of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and previously dean of the School of Architecture and Planning from 2004 to 2014. During her tenure as dean she founded the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism–an important think tank on urban futures—and after her tenure as dean she became its co-director for two years. 

She is principal architect in the San Francisco/Somerville-based firm, Santos Prescott and Associates. Her projects include affordable and luxury housing and institutional buildings. She recently completed projects in California, Massachusetts, Guatemala and China. 

Professor Santos has received many awards and honors including the 2009 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education and the Friendship Award by the Chinese government.   

She received an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London, Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard, and Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. 

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