CLASS OF 2015
Maria Ignacia Arrasate
Architect Maria Ignacia Arrasate has practiced in a broad field of disciplines related to architecture and urban planning, in combination with academic and research projects. She graduated Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile, where parallel to her academic route she was employed as a teaching assistant and later as a teacher and collaborator in different research projects. Later, Arrasate started teaching in Universidad del Desarrollo, and has worked in collaboration with a number of Chilean architecture offices such as Izquierdo Lehman, Elton Léniz, and Murúa Valenzuela. In 2007, Arrasate moved to New York City and studied at Columbia University, where she obtained a Master of Architecture degree and a second Master degree in Advanced Architectural Research. She then worked in Urbanica, with Pablo Allard, and joined the Chilean government from 2010 to 2013, where she worked with the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism (MINVU), focusing on design and implementation of public housing and urban planning policies of the National Plan of Urban Reconstruction for the areas affected by the earthquake of February 27 of 2010. Arrasate joined the Risk and Resilience concentration at Harvard GSD in 2013 and is currently a research assistant at Harvard’s ZOFNASS Program for Sustainable Infrastructure.
Shirin Barol is an Mdes candidate with a concentration in Risk and Resilience. Her research is focused on the politics of infrastructure development in the Middle East, seeking to understand the underlying conflicts of urban development in societies that are constantly experiencing transition and change. Considering infrastructure as a catalyst for resilience, her aspiration is to learn how to create synergistic relationships across state, market, and civil society to deliver infrastructure. While studying at the GSD, Barol will also explore the likelihood of creating alternative mediums in the practice of urban planning.
Barol received her Master of Science in Planning with a concentration in Economic Planning and Policy from University of Toronto, where she was awarded the “Faculty of Art and Science Fellowship for International Students” in 2011 and the “Fellowship for Research in the Department of Geography and Planning” in 2012. While studying in Toronto, her research circled the politics of public-private partnerships, and her thesis investigated the implications of partnerships and hybrid governance in the practice of real estate development. She holds a Bachelor in Urban Studies from University of Tehran.
Alex Chen is an incoming Mdes Risk and Resilience student focusing on health and the built environment. He has participated in research in various scientific, social-scientific, and design-based projects while studying at Cornell University, where he earned a B-Arch Degree. His past projects include “Hipster Hospital”, a critical architectural construct aimed at informing future practices of health in a community using architectural agency, and “Manifold”, a protein-inspired acoustical-component system. Chen is interested in hybridizing methodologies across disciplines to inform research and practice. He aims to explore current medical-spatial phenomena in crisis situations using techniques from medicine, design, planning, and anthropology while at Harvard University GSD. Chen is currently a research assistant for the Kumbh Mela Project, researching issues of access to health and sanitation services.
Conner Maher is pursuing an Mdes degree with a concentration in Risk and Resilience at Harvard University GSD, and simultaneously a candidate at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, focusing on Post-Conflict Development and International Security. His research focuses on mitigating conflict in the built environment by developing anticipatory strategies to ease the pressures of mass-migration and rapid growth.
Enlisting in the United States Air Force, Maher ultimately deployed and secured air bases in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and in Iraq. Exposure to the Middle Eastern culture led him to major in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Washington, with a semester spent studying in Egypt and in Morocco. Working in the United States Marshal Service, Prisoner Operations Division, and various aspects of physical security created a desire to address the structural deficiencies in the urban environment that lend themselves to conflict. Maher worked as an urban planner for Rawabi, a new city under construction in the West Bank, during the summer of 2013.
Julie Mercier has been working as a planner in both the private and public sectors since her graduation from the University of Virginia in 2003. During this time, due to personal and professional experiences, she has become increasingly interested in the interplay between global politics, resilience and infrastructure networks, with a speciﬁc focus on the developing world. Her intention as Master of Design Studies student is to gain a deeper understanding of how major revenue-generating institutions can better leverage their resources to become nodes and models from which sustainable, safe infrastructure for local populations can spread. Furthermore, she is interested in finding overlaps between the presence and influence of such places and the nearby at-risk populations in informal settlements, hazard prone areas and post conflict regions.
Architect Marcela Orozco focuses her career on the human environment, its safety and its social equality. In the past four years, she has worked in Mexico’s National Civil Protection System, planning in municipal, state and federal levels. Her work has dealt with risk-assessment for building plans and with the possible optimization of construction procedures. For the past two years, she has been a member of the “United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination” team. Upon the occurrence of large-scale emergencies, the team deploys to support affected governments by providing coordination, assessment and information management experts. Orozco plans to continue researching these issues at Harvard GSD, where she is currently a candidate of Mdes in the Risk and Resilience concentration.
Ana Maria Quiros
Ana Maria Quiros is a first-year student at Harvard GSD’s Mdes Risk and Resilience concentration. Her research focuses on new methods of data-collection for tracking urban development and social movements in the ‘Global South’. She is interested in all aspects of anticipatory spatial design, urban politics, and exploratory applications of GIS technology.
Quiros holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Design and Environmental Analysis, and had previously studied architecture at Clemson University. Most recently, she has worked as a social-media and big-data analyst, interpreting international trends of disparate and unstructured data. She has received IFMA Scholarship two times and has been published by the USGBC.
Daniel Rauchwerger is a candidate of the Mdes program, concentrating on Risk and Resilience. Prior to his studies at Harvard University GSD, he studied at the architecture department of Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and worked in several Israeli architecture offices. Parallel to this, Rauchwerger was working as the arts correspondent of leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz Daily (from 2010). He now covers art and architecture for numerous international publications and has recently started publishing with Architizer.com. Currently, Rauchwerger is part of the New Geographies Lab and works as an assistant editor of the Harvard Design Magazine. He is interested in design criticism, curatorial work and entrepreneurial approaches to architecture, and their relation to conflicted areas and developing societies.
Lindsay Woodson is a first-year Mdes candidate in the Risk and Resilience concentration and holds a BA degree in architecture and geography from Syracuse University. A natural trajectory guided her research agenda to develop a strong affinity with post-industrial landscapes, rooted in waterfront dependency, using her design and analytical skill set. Woodson’s previous research dealt with socio-ecologic impacts of disasters on disadvantaged populations in New Orleans. Currently she researches water-resource allocation and how it is positioned around grey (hard) and green (soft) infrastructure models for increasingly urbanized coasts – delving into the political and economic impacts of water polemics on urban form and geography.