Faculty

Faculty from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) lead and provide core instruction in the MDE program. Additional instructors and guest critics are routinely incorporated into MDE courses to provide area expertise and experience from professional practice.

  • SCI6463 project review by Martin Bechthold
  • Sawako Kaijima reviews student work
  • Joanna Aizenberg in lab
  • Studio review by Heather Boesch
  • Fawwaz Habbal in studio review

Program Co-Directors

 

Martin BechtholdMartin Bechthold

Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology, GSD

Martin's research, related publications, and teaching focus on innovative material systems, structural design, and robotic fabrication, with recent projects focusing on structural applications of architectural ceramics. Martin's research broadly looks at material and fabrication technology as a catalyst of innovation for design practice. In 2010, he founded the GSD’s Design Robotics Group and recently merged it into the Material Processes and Systems (MaP+S) Group, a collaboration of faculty, research associates, and students that pursues sponsored and other research projects. 

Fawwaz HabbalFawwaz Habbal

Executive Dean for Education and Research, SEAS

Prior to Harvard, Fawwaz was the Corporate Vice President responsible for research and product design at Polaroid Corporation, and also served as a Senior Research and Engineering Fellow.  At Polaroid, he led teams that created over 20 products per year, and after leaving Polaroid, he initiated three start-ups related to imaging electronics.  His current research interests include semiconductors and nanophotonics, and he is interested in a holistic engineering education that integrates multi-disciplinary learning, practical reasoning, and integrative thinking. Fawwaz is the interim MDE co-director for academic year 18-19.

 

Program Faculty and Instructors

 

Nabil HarfoushNabil Harfoush

Visiting Associate Professor in Engineering Sciences, SEAS

Nabil is a strategic thinker and pragmatist with an interest in sustainability. He is an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, where he is also the director of the Resilience Design Lab. His areas of expertise include business model innovation, information design, and strategic foresight.
 

Jock HerronJock Herron 

Instructor in Architecture, GSD

Jock is an instructor focused on food systems and health. He co-led the Smart Cities and Wellness project sponsored by the Humana Corporation and the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab at the GSD. He has served on the Steering Committee of the Worcester County Food Hub Initiative, and is currently working on a rotational grazing project in Central Massachusetts.
 

Sawako KaijimaSawako Kaijima 

Assistant Professor of Architecture, GSD

Sawako's work investigates the integration of architectural, structural, and environmental knowledge to create unique, efficient, and previously unattainable designs. In pursuing this objective, she develops computational design methods and artefacts employing computer simulation such as Finite Element Analysis and various digital fabrication technologies. Her work has been widely published, exhibited, and won multiple design awards.
 

Arianna MazzeoArianna Mazzeo

Visiting Professor, SEAS

Arianna is a Design Research and Contemporary Practices Professor. She is director of the Global Social Impact Design Network, a worldwide think tank aiming to co-create significant, positive change in cities through design and the arts. Arianna's research interests include the relations between design, creativity, and innovation in education, socio-spatial and artistic practice in informal cities, and performance art in design as experimental learning opportunities. As a digital social innovation expert, she is also responsible for the international design research group Cambio/ Changes, which fosters inclusive leadership and explores new ways that cities can play a role in generating or regenerating urban commons.

 

Peter StarkPeter Stark 

Lecturer in Engineering Sciences, SEAS

Previously a professor of Architecture and Applied Physics, Peter has widely varying interests and experiences. He holds patents in such diverse fields as high resolution rheology, viral inactivation, and sub diffraction limited photolithography, stethosocopy, and super resolution fluorescent microscopy. He teaches classes that link fundamental and applied physics to the built environment and ecology as well as more traditional classes in applied physics such Introduction to Microelectromechical System and Nanofabrication. 
 

Mary TolikasMary Tolikas

Instructor in Design Engineering, GSD

Mary brings experience in start-up operations, product development, strategic planning, and business development in a number of markets and applications, including software, electromechanical devices, and biotech. As an engineer, she has designed and built products for a number of diverse industries, such as automotive, IT, medical, and aerospace. For a number of years, she served as the first Operations Director at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. She holds a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management.
 

Andrew WittAndrew Witt

Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture, GSD

Andrew works on problems at the intersection of design, shape, constructability, and assembly automation, including differential, topological, graph-theoretic, and multi-constraint optimization approaches to design problems. He has experience with large-scale construction automation, fabrication machine development, and commercial software development, including web-based 3D concurrent design systems, urban simulation of autonomous mobility systems, and history of technology and science in design.
 

Woodward YangWoodward Yang 

Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, SEAS, and HBS University Fellow

Woodward Yang has extensive technical background in microelectronic systems and semiconductor manufacturing, and wider intellectual interests, including technology transfer, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, innovation, and engineering design. His innovative and pioneering research results were highly recognized through the prestigious National Science Foundation Young Investigator and Army Young Investigator awards and as IEEE Distinguished Lecturer.  Dr. Yang was also the founder and CEO of a DRAM design company for many years in Korea and Taiwan, which designed and manufactured special purpose memory products.

 

Affiliated Faculty

 

Joanna Aizenberg – Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Material Science, SEAS 
Joanna pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomineralization, biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, biomaterials, biomechanics, and biooptics. She is a pioneer of the rapidly developing field of biomimetic inorganic materials synthesis.

Sai Balakrishnan Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, GSD
Sai was an Assistant Professor in International Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. She has worked as an urban planner in the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates, and as a consultant to the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi, Kenya; and has served as a Research Fellow at the Land Governance Laboratory (LGLab). Through her research and teaching interests, Balakrishnan focuses on institutions for managing rapid urbanization, comparative land-use planning, and property rights.

Diane Davis Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism,  GSD
Trained as a sociologist, Diane's research interests include the relations between urbanization and national development, comparative urban governance, socio-spatial practice in conflict cities, and new territorial manifestations of sovereignty. Her research initiatives include a project funded by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF), which focused on the role of political leadership in transforming urban transport, and a project funded by Mexico’s national workers’ housing agency (INFONAVIT).

Jill Desimini Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, GSD
Jill is trained in landscape architecture and architecture, and has practiced professionally in both fields. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at the GSD, she taught in the second term core studio of the MLA Program at the GSD and at Northeastern University's School of Architecture. She was formerly Senior Associate at Stoss Landscape Urbanism, where she managed the firm's efforts on the Lower Don Lands in Toronto, the Bass River Park on Cape Cod, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Krzysztof Z Gajos – Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, SEAS 
In July of 2009, Krzysztof joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor in Computer Science. His research interests are in human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and applied machine learning. The phrase "intelligent interactive systems" describes many of Gajos's interests: understanding how intelligent technologies can enable novel ways of interacting with computation, and in the new challenges that human abilities, limitations, and preferences create for machine learning algorithms embedded in interactive systems.

K. Michael Hays Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory, GSD
Michael Hays is Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory, and has played a central role in the development of the field of architectural theory. In his role as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Michael works closely with the Dean and Departmental chairs in the conceptualization of research, pedagogy, and the School’s academic relation to the University; and is responsible for the articulation and public presentation of the many modes of research represented in the GSD.

Chuck Hoberman Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering, GSD 
Chuck has an extensive background in design and the manufacturing of transformable structures with demonstrated use as consumer products, deployable shelters, stage sets, and architectural facades. Wider intellectual interests include the process of invention, design automation methods, transformable systems in nature, and creative synergies between the arts and sciences.

Hanif Kara – Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, GSD 
Hanif is a design-led structural engineer with particular expertise in complex structures, advanced analysis tools, innovative forms, and materials for building structures. His numerous publications include Design Engineering, 2008, Actar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK Institution of Structural Engineers, and of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and winner of many design awards, including the UK Sterling Prize in 2000 and 2012.

Julia C LeeExecutive Director for Education and Research, SEAS
Julia serves concurrently as the Executive Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at the Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia in Peru, where she has focuses on targeting climate/environmental science topics as relevant to 21st century global problems, redesigning the undergraduate core curriculum, and building up research capacity. Between 2005-2014, she was a professor in the Harvard Astronomy Department.

Ali Malkawi – Professor of Architectural Technology, GSD
Ali is the Founding Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, and teaches and conducts research in the areas of computational simulation, building performance evaluation, decision support systems, and advanced visualization. He received a PhD in Architectural Technology and Artificial Intelligence from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, and a BS in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design from Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Kevin Kit Parker – Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, SEAS
Kit is a Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and has an extensive technical background in biological systems, medical devices, and bio-inspired design. He has over 20 years of experience as an officer in the United States Army, with extensive experience in combat operations, training, and the adaptation of novel technologies to and from the battlefield.

Antoine Picon – G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Director of Research, GSD 
Antoine teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture and technology. Trained as an engineer, architect, and historian, he works on the history of architectural and urban technologies from the eighteenth century to the present. His most recent books offer a comprehensive overview of the changes brought by the computer and digital culture to the theory and practice of architecture, as well as to the planning and experience of the city.

Robert Pietrusko – AssociateProfessor of Landscape Architecture, GSD 
Robert's teaching and research focus on geospatial representation, simulation, narrative + critical cartography, and spatial taxonomies. Pietrusko is also a co-founder of the metaLAB(at)Harvard, where he develops data-rich tools and environments for the communication of scholarly work. His design work has been exhibited at the MoMA, SFMOMA, The Foundation Cartier, and the Venice Architecture Biennale, among others, and has been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record, and Domus.

Shmuel Rubinstein – Associate Professor of Applied Physics, SEAS
Shmuel is the Principal Investigator of the SMRLab: Physics of Complex Systems research group, which focuses on understanding the non-linear dynamics of mostly soft and liquid systems.

Holly Samuelson – Assistant Professor of Architecture, GSD
Holly teaches architectural technology courses, specializing in the energy and environmental performance of buildings. Her research focuses on energy conservation, computerized simulation, occupant behavior, and the future of building practice as it relates to these topics. Prior to joining Harvard, Samuelson practiced full-time as an architect (2000-2007) and sustainable design consultant (2007-2008). As a licensed architect, her collaborative work has been recognized for design and ecological excellence.

Allen Sayegh  Associate Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, GSD
Allen is an architect, designer, educator, and the principal of INVIVIA, an award-winning, global design firm. He is the director of REAL, the Responsive Environment and Artifacts Lab at Harvard, and most recently co-founded the ALIVE group at Harvard, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and designers from the GSD and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Andres Sevtsuk – Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, GSD
Andres's research interests include urban design and spatial analysis, modeling and visualization, urban and real estate economics, transit and pedestrian-oriented development, spatial adaptability, and urban history. He is the founding director of the award-winning City Form Lab, which investigates the social and economic consequences of urban design and develops new spatial analysis tools for urban planning and development. He is the author of the Urban Network Analysis toolbox, which is used by researchers and practitioners around the world to study spatial relationships in cities along networks.

Robert Silman – Lecturer in Architecture, GSD 
Robert is a practicing structural engineer who started his own firm in 1966.  He is now in the position of President Emeritus while working in Robert Silman Associates’ Boston office. His firm has consulted on more than 18,000 projects, about half being new building construction and the other half older building renovations, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation projects.

Pia Sörensen Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials, SEAS 
Pia co-teaches and manages the General Education course "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science." Her research interests range from science and engineering education — with an emphasis on online education and creative ways of teaching science and engineering in a liberal arts setting — to chemical biology, stemming from her doctoral work on small molecule natural products and their effects on cell division and other cellular processes.

Joost Vlassak – Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Materials Engineering, SEAS
Joost has an intellectual interest in the mechanical and thermal behavior of a broad range of engineering materials, with a focus on experimental techniques. Recent projects include degradation of electrodes in lithium ion batteries, development of structural and functional hydrogels, and combinatorial techniques for the development of complex materials systems, including metallic glasses, ultra-high temperature ceramic coatings, and high-temperature shape memory alloys.

David WeitzMallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, SEAS
Weitz and his group study the physics of soft condensed matter, materials easily deformed by external stresses, electric, magnetic or gravitational fields, and even thermal fluctuations. Weitz and his group also have extensive interactions with industry, with some of their work motivated by the science that directly addresses technologically important problems.  In addition, some research in the group has led to promising new technologies, and several start-up companies have emerged from the research. 

Rob Wood – Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SEAS 
Rob is a founding, core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, which focuses on mechanics, materials, manufacturing, and design for novel small-scale, biologically-inspired, and soft-bodied robots.