Amin Alsaden is a second year PhD student. His research interests include the role of politics in determining forms of architectural modernism in non-western contexts; civic and cultural developments, institutions, and their historiography and museology and the social, cultural and cognitive role of architecture in relation to artistic and curatorial practices. Amin’s dissertation will focus on salient cultural buildings in Baghdad around and following the mid-twentieth century, a period that witnessed unprecedented intellectual and artistic growth and multifaceted novel cultural production.
Amin holds a masters in architecture from Princeton University and a bachelors in architecture and a minor in interior design from the American University of Sharjah. He has worked at various architectural practices, most recently at OMA and MVRDV in the Netherlands, where his experience involved large scale urban proposals and high-rise buildings, as well as cultural projects including art districts, museums, and exhibition design.
Peter Christensen is a PhD candidate in architecture, interested in the practice and historiography of geopolitics from the nineteenth century onwards, and its implications for spatial practices, infrastructure and the borders of Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations. His current doctoral research considers cultural, technological and architectural exchanges between the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires in tandem with the speculation and construction of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway from 1872 to 1914. Last year Christensen had a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct archival research for his dissertation. It included the recent discovery of lavishly illustrated and previously unpublished topographic and settlement maps of a broad swath of the Ottoman Empire extending from Konya to Baghdad, executed by the German engineer Wilhelm von Pressel between 1872 and 1878. Christensen holds a BArch from Cornell University and a MDesS and AM from Harvard.
Ali Fard is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His research interests include organizational capacities of regional infrastructures and their spatial products; socio-economic as well as political and environmental dynamics of networked urban conditions and multiscalar opportunities and agencies afforded to design practices for systematic intervention within this expanded field. Fard’s doctoral research at the GSD will investigate the multifaceted dynamics of the spatial products of information and communication networks and their subsequent importation and translation in Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian contexts.
Fard holds a MArch and a BA from University of Toronto. He has worked with a number of design practices, most recently at Lateral Office in Toronto and Saucier + Perrotte Architects in Montreal. Ali’s work has been featured in Domus, Azure and MONU, and he has been a visiting critic at the University of Waterloo.
Ozlem Altinkaya Genel
Ozlem Altinkaya Genel is a DDes student whose doctoral research focuses on urban expansion at a regional scale. She is particularly interested in the urbanization of the Middle East and the nascent peripheral territories. She has participated in research projects on the urban transformation of Istanbul. In 2010 she was assistant curator for the exhibition called “Istanbul 1910-2010: The City, Built Environment and Architectural Culture” and prepared the section on “Urban Implosion: 1950 -1983”. Her work benefits from disciplines including urban sociology, environmental history and urban geography and engages diverse research methods such as GIS systems, remote sensing images and data visualization.
Genel has worked in various architectural offices, including Nevzat Sayın Mimarlık Hizmetleri and Tuncer Çakmaklı Architects. She holds a bachelor of architecture degree from Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts and a master of architectural design degree summa cum laude from Istanbul Bilgi University.
Saira Hashmi is a doctoral candidate at the GSD. Her research focuses on designing an optimal water infrastructure network for sustainable cities that embodies the culture and environment of the Middle East. She is developing models that will help in maximizing reuse of water sources and minimizing water consumption, by investing in efficient sets of water saving technologies within the city along with unconventional water resources. Her research on water scarcity explores the connection between the cultural and technological sides of ecological solutions. Her background is in civil and environmental engineering, and she received her masters in environmental engineering from Harvard University.
Natalia Escobar is a PhD student interested in Urban and Architectural Conservation. She examines the concept of place resulting from the intersection of memory and space in modern western countries. She aims to understand the social attachment to the fabric of cities that has led to present preservation practices and its repercussions. Her ongoing research uses the Mediterranean regions as case-study, and more specifically the Mediterranean Medina, and advocates for a more dynamic and contemporary theory and practice based on the management of change (editing) rather than its denial (restoration). Her master thesis has been published under the title ‘’The Preservation Fallacy in the Mediterranean medina.’’
Natalia has been a Teaching Fellow in Modern History of Latin America at the Harvard GSAS. She is also a Fellow at the Real Colegio Complutense and has recently organized and lectured in the symposium Spain from far Away: design visions in crisis periods at the Harvard GSAS. In 2011, Natalia collaborated as a Studio Critic in the Mackintosh School of Arts in Glasgow, and as a Research Assistant at the University of Seville documenting a building for the DOCOMOMO foundation.
Trained as an Architect, she received her B.Arch and M.Arch from the Universidad de Sevilla and L’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Strasbourg, and her M.DesS in Critical Conservation from the Harvard GSD. Natalia practiced as an Architect at Alan Dunlop and Gordon Murray Architects and more recently as an Urban Designer at ARUP Shanghai.
Aylin B. Yildirim Tschoepe
Aylin B. Yildirim Tschoepe received a graduate engineer diploma in Germany in 2003 and began working as an architect on public and private projects soon after. In 2007, she received a master of science degree after carrying out case studies in informal settlements in Istanbul, proposing an alternative strategy for upgrading gecekondu (informal or squatter housing). She received her doctor of design from Harvard while concurrently working toward a PhD in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at GSAS and serving as a teaching fellow for GSD seminars and design studios. Her research interest lies in interdisciplinary approaches to urban and rural development issues resulting from rapid urbanization and migration.
Antonio Petrov received his doctoral degree in the history and theory of architecture, urbanism and cultural studies from Harvard University. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Texas in San Antonio. He is also program director at Archeworks in Chicago; co-founder and current editor-in-chief of the GSD publication New Geographies; founder and editor-in-chief of DOMA, a bilingual magazine published in Macedonia; and director of WAS, a think tank in Chicago.Petrov’s research explores regionalism and architecture in the Mediterranean and modern paradigms in evangelical architecture in the U.S. He edited New Geographies 5: The Mediterranean, published in 2013, which conceptualizes the Mediterranean as a larger geographic entity and a critical spatial model for global interaction. His research reconceives active processes of region-making by dismantling prevailing geographic, spatial and cultural meanings and challenging conventional boundaries between cities and hinterlands. In his forthcoming book Superordinary: New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture Petrov traces evangelical architecture, arguing that postwar American Protestantism not only overcame the traditional signification of sacred architecture, but also its dichotomy of form, function and aesthetics.
Petrov has taught at Harvard University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Iowa State University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He received a Fulbright fellowship as well as other grants and fellowships and has won international prizes and competitions in architecture, planning and design.
El Hadi Jazairy
El Hadi Jazairy is editor-in-chief of New Geographies #4: Scales of the Earth and is an assistant professor of architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He received a diplôme d’architecte from La Cambre in Brussels (1999), and holds a master of architecture from Cornell University (2007) and a doctor of design from Harvard University (2010). He was recently a post- doctoral fellow at the GSD.