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Current Ph.D. students

Reza Assasi

Reza Assasi is a Ph.D. student in the History and Theory of Architecture. His current research interests include Archaeoastronomy, Mithraism, and Roman Archaeology. He studies the astronomical orientations in a particular type of  Roman and Persian architecture and aims to solve the controversial problem of Roman Mithraism and its Persian origins.
Reza received a professional Master of Architecture in 2003 and, in the past, has worked as an architect for several architecture firms in Dubai and Montreal. He also received a post-professional Master of Architecture from McGill University in 2008.

Heather Braiden

Heather Braiden is a Montreal-based Landscape Architect with professional practice and teaching experience in Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the McGill University School of Architecture where her research interests in urban,technological, and environmental histories are explored at the intersection of material culture and infrastructural studies. Her dissertation focuses on Montreal's bridge piers and specifically links between their material DNA at sites of extraction, production, and consumption. This research is supported by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et cuture. Ms. Braiden is also a Graduate Education Assistant at SkillSets, working with Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies and Teaching and Learning Services to develop and support graduate education initiatives.

Jakub Dzamba

Jakub Dzamba is a Master of Architecture graduate from the University of Toronto.  During his studies in the Masters program, Jakub was initially focused on the idea of becoming a Space Architect, and wrote and presented a conference paper entitled Lunar Habitat – a composite enclosure system.  While still waiting for his first lunar commission, Jakub’s interests evolved to focus on the issue of sustainability and food production here on Earth.  In collaboration with Stafford Haensli Architects, Jakub has been researching and developing an approach to urban agriculture named Third Millennium Farming (3MF).  3MF is a radical approach to urban agriculture that is focused on utilizing city wastewater to farm micro-crops, such as algae and grass.  Micro-crops are used as feed for micro-livestock (insects), which are humanely euthanized, baked and ground into an experimental ingredient called insect-flour.

Frederika Eilers

Frederika Eilers is a Ph.D. student researching the architecture of dollhouses. Her research investigates the relationships between modernisms, models, gender norms, playrooms, and toys. Due to her strong interest in material culture, she has been a research fellow at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware and the National Museum of Play in New York. She was recognized as a Étudiant-chercheur étoile from the Fonds de recherche du Québec Société et culture for her article “Barbie versus Le Modulor: Ideal Bodies, Buildings, and Typical Users”.

Prior to starting this degree, she earned a post-professional Master of Architecture in the Cultural Mediations and Technology option at McGill in 2010 and a professional Bachelor of Architecture in 2006 from Syracuse University. She worked at Cochran Stephenson & Donkervoet for three years designing long-term care and educational facilities which attained citations from the Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and Design for Aging Review.

Maria Patricia Farfan

Maria Patricia Farfan is a Ph.D. student at McGill University. Her research investigates the relationship between Andean thoughts, mountain ideology, and South American ancestral vision with contemporary landscape and architecture. The dissertation focuses on nature and cultural experience in the Cerros de Bogota, and the importance of this sacred territory for ancestral and modern society.

Patricia received a Bachelor of Architecture from Piloto de Colombia University, and a Post-professional Master of Architecture in Minimum Cost Housing option at McGill University. Nowadays, she works as and architect and professor at the Universidad Piloto de Colombia.

Susane Havelka

Ph.D. student at McGill University, She investigates Inuit Housing and Building Systems in the Eastern Arctic. Her research integrates the study of cultural landscapes and the use of various spaces by examining how Inuit construct, experience and inhabit their dwellings. By noting specific spatial traditions and constructions both in government-built settlements and in Inuit-built outpost camps, Susane posits Inuit as active spatial agents.
Susane earned a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University in New York and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from MIT in Cambridge, Mass. While at Columbia, she won a study/travel award for Japan sponsored by Tadao Ando. 
Susane has practiced as an architect in New York, Berlin, Prague and Montreal and is an educational councilor for MIT and a member of E.E.S. (Energy, Environment, Sustainability) Group at MIT. She was also a Research Assistant for the GRIF (interested in integrated processes and innovation for the built environment) at University of Montreal.

Edward Houle

Edward Houle is a PhD candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at McGill University. His interests focus on domestic architecture and the relationship of private and public space in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His dissertation, entitled “The Apparatus of Intimacy and Louis XV’s Apartments at Versailles,” explores the political uses of private interiors at the French royal court. Edward holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and worked in architectural practice prior to his research at McGill.

Sonya Kohut

Sonya Kohut is a PhD candidate at McGill University in the school of Architecture, under the supervision of Dr. Alberto Pérez-Gómez. Her dissertation, entitled: "An Immaterial Architecture: John Dee's Mathematicall Praeface to Euclid" investigates the development of architectural ideas in 16th C. England in relation to magical practices, religion, natural philosophy, mathematics, and the Vitruvian tradition. It takes as its starting point the work of Elizabethan polymath John Dee in his Mathematicall Praeface to Euclid.

Sonya completed her Bachelors of Environmental Design degree from the University of Manitoba (2005), and her Masters of Science in Architecture from the Technical University of Delft (2009). She returned to academia in 2012 at McGill University, where she completed her Masters in Architecture, History and Theory in 2013. She has been previously awarded a Schulich Graduate Fellowship (2012-13) and is currently the recipient of a Joseph Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

François Leblanc

Doctoral student François Leblanc teaches computation and digital fabrication processes in architecture at McGill University. As a head researcher at the multidisciplinary digital fabrication laboratory LIPHE liphe.mcgill.ca, he investigates material optimization, additive manufacturing and CNC technologies. Previously a 2012 MEDA fellow, he recently received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Award from SSHRC for the development of advanced architectural prototypes using 3D printing technologies. He is also the founder of DesignWithRobots www.designwithrobots.com Using a design research approach, his current work investigates how additive manufacturing technology can provide new capabilities to reform and enhance the design of optimized forms and material variations. At a broad level, this optimization process aims to ameliorate architectural performance and expand capacities in artistic expression. At a detailed level, this research will define methods and strategies to incorporate optimization scripts into robotically-fabricated prototypes, as well as determine the strengths and limitations of these techniques in architectural design.

Tania Gutiérrez Monroy

Tania Gutiérrez Monroy is a Ph. D. student whose research interests include the study of spaces as a process-evental space, spatial politics in the urban, and architecture and gender. Her dissertation, "Women move in/moving Space," explores the metaphor space/woman as materialised in the built form and deconstructed by architectural processes of feminine re-appropriation in the city.

Tania received her Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with a proposal for public space recovery after studying the fragmentation of sites that connect Bosque de Chapultepec and its surrounding districts-west Mexico City. After a year of architectural practice she started her Master of Architecture at McGill University, and graduated in 2010 with her research project: "Evental Space: an Exploration through Postmodern Film." The study of the definition of space by events led afterwards toward the explorarion of identity politics in spaces of fluidity and postmodern.

Philam Nguyen

Philam Nguyen’s Ph.D. research studies the world-making paradigms of the post-war period as demonstrated by Buckminster Fuller’s World Game projects. In the 1960s, Fuller’s World Game encompassed a network of projects ranging from the invention of prototypes, collaborative methodologies and architectural proposals. These projects form an interwoven matrix of ideologies, figures and institutions that speak to the techno-artistic-scientific complex of the time. Philam’s work looks at this transitional moment as a pre-history of the present in order to shed light on the possibilities as well as consequences associated with the development of this world-scale perspective. She is also a Senior Research Assistant at the Facility of Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (FARMM) working at the intersections of architectural, media & cultural studies. She is interested in exploring the implications, and creative capacities of technologies within design-related fields.

Olaf Recktenwald

Olaf Recktenwald, doctoral researcher in the history and philosophy of architecture, received his Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, his Master of Architecture from Yale University, and his B.Arch. from Rice University.  His research concerns the architecture of eighteenth-century Augsburg ornamental engravings.  Since 2011 he has organized the annual McGill History and Theory of Architecture Lecture Series which he founded while serving as president of the Graduate Architecture Students’ Association.

Dustin Valen

Dustin Valen is a PhD student whose research focuses on the social and political history of park planning in Canada at the beginning of the 20th-century.  In support of his doctoral research program he was awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  Originally from Vancouver Island, he holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies and Master of Architecture from Dalhousie University (2006, 2009) and a Post-Professional Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto (2013).  Interested in historical thinking as an approach to contemporary issues, his published writing has engaged with themes as diverse as science-fiction, waste management, gardening and art. As an Intern Architect, Dustin has worked in architectural offices across Canada and in Australia.  His recent projects include the design of exhibit environments for museums and cultural institutions, and the design and fabrication of stage-sets for independent theatre productions.