Silvia Benedito

Aga Khan Design Critic in Landscape Architecture

Sílvia Benedito is a registered landscape architect and architect from Portugal. She has been teaching in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design since 2011. Benedito teaches graduate core design studios in landscape architecture and urbanism dedicated to vulnerable territories and communities subject to climatic degradation. She also develops advanced research seminars on micro-climatic simulations and bioclimatic design strategies for integrated built environments, including active collaborations with communities, local governments, and NGOs. Committed to the production and reception of atmosphere, Benedito’s research and practice simultaneously examines the making of micro-climates for human and environmental health under the current challenges of anthropogenic disturbances. In her methods for landscape architecture and urbanism the concept and space of atmosphere claim the body in multiple scopes and scales—from large ecological networks to smaller open space interventions; from urban neighborhoods to rural territories. Claiming that landscape is as much about air and atmosphere as it is about land and water offers a stimulating dimension to these disciplines, reconciling ecological imperatives with community delight and well-being. Her last book Atmosphere Anatomies: On Design, Weather, and Sensation (Lars Müller, 2021) examines weather as design substance at the disciplinary intersection of landscape, architecture, and planning. Here, she examines paradigmatic design examples and corresponding thermodynamic phenomena operating at micro and macro scales for thermal delight and energy optimization. This book received the inaugural Book Prize for Architectural innovation and Sustainability by the Portuguese League of Architects and the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action. Her previous co-edited book Thermodynamic Interactions: An Exploration into Physiological, Material, and Territorial Atmospheres (ACTAR, 2016) was awarded the III Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism Prize in the Research Category, Spain. Benedito’s design work and research has been recognized by various institutions, including the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies, MacDowell Colony for the Arts, Foundation of Science and Technology, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Portuguese League of Architects with the Fernando Távora Prize. Benedito Benedito was a Guest Professor at the Technische Universität München, in the Department of Landscape Architecture (Fakultät für Architektur). She also held a Guest Professorship at the Technische Universität Graz, at the Institute of Architecture and Landscape, and, more recently, she was the Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Waterloo, Canada

Benedito received a degree in Architecture from the University of Coimbra, a degree in Music from the Conservatory of Coimbra, and a master’s degree in Urban Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. A former Senior Associate at James Corner Field Operations (NYC), where she led many public and private urban design and small-scale public projects, Benedito co-founded OFICINAA, an architecture, landscape and urban design practice based in Ingolstadt, Germany. OFICINAA has received several international awards and mentions: finalist for the PS1 MoMA Young Architects Program (2018, USA), first prize for Peterborough’s Riverfront Park (2017, USA), third prize for the Riverfront re-naturalization competition, Ingolstadt (2016, Germany), Finalist for Europan 11 Competition (2013, Germany), First prize for Ingobräu Landscape Masterplan and Housing Development (2011, Germany), Olympic Village Landscape Masterplan competition pre-selected entry for Munich’s 2018 Olympic Winter Games Bid (2010, Germany), First Prize for Europan 10 competition (2010, Portugal), and First prize for Europan 9 (2008, Portugal). The work has been published and recognized in various venues and institutions, including the Architekturgalerie München, the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Museum of Moderna Art in NYC (MoMA), Drucker Design Gallery at Harvard GSD, and at the Venice Architecture Biennial.