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Design Research

Future of the American City
Research Associate

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

The Future of the American City project is an urban study initiative aimed at helping cities tackle urgent challenges. Building on the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s unique, multi-disciplinary model, the effort will use architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning and design to come up with actionable, efficient solutions that take into account community needs.


Urbanism and Autonomy
Doctoral Thesis - Doctor of Design

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Urbanism and Autonomy studied the role of design within society through the term “autonomy” in postmodern urban thinking through the writings and projects of Peter Eisenman and Aldo Rossi. Architectural autonomy triggered the unjustified detachment of the discipline of architecture from cultural concerns. In contrast, my research documented the cultural engagement of autonomy as adopted from philosophy, art, and political theory. Architectural thinkers and practitioners overlook that the paradoxical critical character of the philosophical term “autonomy” is culturally and historically constructed rather than an ex-nihilo creation. My dissertation introduced urbanism into the discourse on autonomy. My formulation of urban autonomy is equally sensitive to the culturally heterogeneous responses to address urbanization and the analytical capacity of cinema to depict and address urban challenges, such as climate change as well as gender, racial, and social tensions.

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A Sustainable Future for Exuma
Research Assistant

Harvard Graduate School of Design

This multi-year ecological planning project is a collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). The goal is to facilitate the design and management of a more sustainable future for the Exuma archipelago, and The Bahamas more generally.

The project has two parallel and mutually informing components: research and education. These components work to inform the development of proposals and interventions as well as the building of capabilities for local empowerment.

The project seeks to understand local issues through various forms of public engagement. Public forums, workshops, and conferences are part of the process, in addition to fieldwork that facilitates the connection of researchers with residents. The first year focused on fieldwork including participation in daily routines that created a better understanding of local issues particularly across Exuma and more generally across The Bahamas. The second year of the project focuses on proposal making, where we design and imagine projects that have the potential for a long-term spatial and economic impact, while the third year focuses on a plan for action and implementation.

The project's research branches into four main parts: Resource Management, Economic Development, Governance, and Sociocultural Issues.

These four components break into more specific subcomponents, including analysis of: Geology; Economy; Waste; Energy; Food; Water; Mobility; Tourism; Community; Routines; Visual Pollution; and Legal Frameworks. The project also identifies a series of case studies on ecology-based settlements around the world which offer potential lessons for the future of Exuma.

Image by NASA

Thesis - Master of Architecture in Urban Design

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Morphologic is an analysis of the relation between urban density and urban morphology. Using Mexico City as testing ground, it questions the way population density is measured today which gives equal value to each land unit. This analysis uses a new way to measure it that gives equal value to each person suggesting the capacity of our cities in relation to urban form and the concreteness of building typologies.

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Abstract Territories

Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Mapping: Geographic Representation and Speculation

Instructor Robert Pietrusko

Published in GSD Platform 6
Harvard University Graduate School of Design

What is a political division?

Our paths represent the limits of an abstract but more practical territory than the suggested by any political division. Within this area, the time contracts and expands and the day seems to last less or more than 24 hours. On the other hand, the metabolism of our territory makes it grow as any other living system. The limit is the horizon and the sky.

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To what extent does the urban condition influence the nature of architectural projects?

To what extent do architectural projects impact urban development?

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