Meet the 2021 Fellows

For the second annual Places Journal Summer Writing + Editing Workshop, each of our academic partners nominated one student to participate as a Summer Fellow in an immersive Zoom-based course taught by Places editor Frances Richard and Places author Sasha Archibald. During the session and afterwards, 2021 Summer Fellows worked closely with the instructors to hone their writing skills in the realm of rigorous and accessible public scholarship, and each has produced a brief essay on the theme of “Responsibilities.”

Pernille Boye Ahlgren

Pernille Boye Ahlgren is pursuing her Master of Architecture at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Her undergraduate studies, in literature and modern philosophy, were at the University of Bergen and the Sorbonne. She is a native of Oslo.

How Does It Feel?

Carlos Balza Gerardino

Carlos J. Balza Gerardino, originally from Venezuela, earned his BS.Arch and M.Arch from Texas Tech University. After a year of professional experience at two architectural firms in Texas, Balza Gerardino completed his MS.Arch at Pratt Institute. His research focuses on the role of beauty and aesthetics in contemporary design methodologies.

New Old New York City

Patricia Mhoja Bandora

Patricia Mhoja Bandora is pursuing a B.Arch (Honors) at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, where her interests include the architectures of apartheid, and the relationship between architecture and colonialism. Previous to her graduate studies, she attended the University of Cape Town, and worked for a private architectural firm in Tanzania. Bandora was born in Tanzania, and spent her childhood in many international cities.

Dying for a Pee: Empowering Residents in Cape Town’s Informal Settlement

Ekaterina Bogdanova

Ekaterina Bogdanova completed her Master of Architecture at the University of Southern California in 2021, with a thesis that focused on affordable housing in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Moscow, Bogdanova moved to Germany at the age of seventeen, where she earned her undergraduate degree in architecture from RWTH Aachen University. Through her work with the American Institute of Architecture Students and the National Organization of Minority Architects, the latter of which she is currently president, Bogdanova is also an activist for equity in the profession. She is interested in architecture as a tool for social justice.

A Challenge to Autopia

Zach Braaten

Zach Braaten will complete his B.Arch at Tulane School of Architecture in 2022. His research focuses on tracing the impacts of restrictive covenants in his native city of Seattle, and exploring the possibilities of restorative development. He has worked on public-interest design projects with institutions such as the Louisiana State Museum’s Presbytère, and Arts Council New Orleans.

The Discomforts of Home: Seattle’s Legacy of Restrictive Covenants

Kate Cholakis-Kolysko

Kate Cholakis-Kolysko is a landscape designer, educator, and Master of Science candidate in Landscape Architecture at Penn State. Her professional interests include ecological approaches to planting design, green infrastructure, and master planning. She earned her B.A. in Architecture from Smith College, and an M.A. in Ecological Design and Planning from the Conway School of Landscape Design, and now teaches at Conway. Her current research examines the intersections of green infrastructure, landscape perception, and environmental psychology.

Pit or Paradise: Rain Gardens and Civic Responsibility

Mehraneh Davari

Mehraneh Davari is a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech. Her research considers the history of sustainable urban design in U.S. cities. Mehraneh earned a Master’s degree in Information Technology Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, and an M.Arch from Miami University. Before undertaking her Doctorate, she spent a decade working in telecommunications, web programming, and architecture.

The Resounding Success of the Big Dig

Najia Fatima

Najia Fatima is pursuing a Master of Science in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Fatima also has an independent art practice that engages with themes of occupation, displacement, and geopolitical tensions; her writing, considering how the built environment manifests structural inequality, has been published in various magazines. She earned her B.A. in Architecture and Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.

Performative Housing: Toronto’s Regent Park

Tyler Gaeth

Tyler Gaeth is an architectural designer and researcher based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His projects interrogate how political, ideological, and ecological systems come to bear on the built environment, and influence the physical world. Gaeth received his Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

Double Vision: Industry and the U.S. Building Code

Emily Haller

Emily Haller is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, where she studied in the interdisciplinary Growth and Structure of Cities program.

The Suburban Garage: Model for a Flexible Framework

Gary Hamilton

Gary Hamilton recently completed a Master’s degree in Architecture at University College Dublin, which included a semester workshop on urban design and landscape architecture at Denmark’s Aarhus School of Architecture. His thesis explored remote-working possibilities in the revitalization of rural Irish towns, with a focus on the adaptive reuse of existing derelict structures. In 2020, he was awarded the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland’s Student Writing Prize, and he currently serves as an editorial board member of the journal Architecture Ireland.

Beyond Pastness: Re-Use in Ramelton

Jeff Jang

Jeff Jang is currently a Master of Architecture student at University of Toronto with a Bachelor’s of Architectural Science from Ryerson University. He is interested in the mutable qualities of built form, and the ways in which structures adapt to dynamic landscapes. Prior to his M.Arch studies, he designed at various international firms, including Herzog & de Meuron and Diamond Schmitt Architects. He plans a career as a practicing architect, developing responsible and responsive architecture.

Urban Cemeteries: Evolving Functions and Identities

Babita Joy

Babita Joy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Built Environment program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Trained as an architect (B.Arch., M.Arch.) and architectural historian (M.S. Architecture, History, and Theory), she has worked in architectural practice and academia in the U.S. and India. Her scholarly interest is the history and theory of modern and contemporary architecture, and her research uses both qualitative and archival methods to examine material and cultural entanglements in architecture.

The Tjibaou Cultural Center: Cultural Agent or Political Foothold?

Tom Keeley

Tom Keeley’s research practice deals with architecture, geography, and landscape histories. His design projects have been exhibited at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Princeton University, and other institutions. Keeley studied landscape architecture at the University of Sheffield and architectural history at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. He currently teaches at Cork Centre for Architectural Education, the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, and at the Bartlett, where he is also a Ph.D. candidate in Architectural Design, with a focus on the Irish borderlands.

Foot, Notes (A Walk Along the Irish Border)

Hali Keller

Hali Keller is a Master’s candidate at the University of Miami School of Architecture, and received her B.A. with distinction in Architectural Studies from Ithaca College. Her interests include architectural history, interior design, and women in architecture.

“No Apology in a World of Men”: Marion Mahony Griffin and Women in Architecture Curricula

Alex Whee Kim

Alex Whee Kim is a spatial practitioner and writer from California. His current research examines the participatory demands of social media, performance, and games, and particularly the way in which these practices both foster commonality and are instrumentalized by late capitalism. He holds a B.Arch from Syracuse University, a Master of Environmental Design from Yale University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s History and Theory of Architecture program.

Fulfillment: The Gamification of Logistics

Matthew Limbach

Matthew Limbach is a Master’s candidate in Landscape Architecture at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, where his interests include ecology, suburbanization, and cultural landscape studies. Limbach’s undergraduate degree at Ithaca College was in architectural studies, and he also studied art and music. He is a native of Pittsburgh, but spent significant portions of his youth on his grandfather’s farm in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where he developed an affinity for the deciduous forest of eastern North America.

Losing Our Edge

Halima Matthews

Halima Matthews was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, as the daughter of a Jamaican father and Guyanese mother. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Princeton University, where her research focused on the history of indigenous Caribbean design and culture.

A Wilted Flower: The Failure of Trinidad’s Academy for Performing Arts

Meaghan McSorley

Meaghan McSorley is a Ph.D. student in the School of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota. Her interest is in health as an aspect of sustainable, equitable cities, and the ways in which urban planning can promote community healing.

Public Art, History, and Resistance in Blandtown

Zane Mechem

Zane Mechem is a fifth year B.Arch student and Teaching Assistant at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). A native of Las Vegas, Mechem is currently interning at FreelandBuck and in the past has designed for MOS Architects and HDA-X. He also developed interactive new media for the SCI-Arc 2020 Spring Show; worked as teaching assistant at SCI-Arc’s Pop-Arc and DID programs for high school students; and has published essays in the student journals Off Topic and Underscore. Mechem’s interests include questioning the architectural canon and reappraising ordinary urban form. In 2020, Mechem was an AIA Jean Roth Driskel Scholar nominee.

The Moulin Rouge Stands Empty

Katie Oran

Katie Oran is a California native and a recent graduate of Cornell University’s Master of Regional Planning program. Her thesis constituted one of the first explorations of managed retreat in the context of wildfire mitigation. Oran earned her B.S. in Environmental Planning, Policy, and Law from the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and is currently working in Northern California as a Program Associate with the Community Wildfire Planning Center.

Building to Burn

William Shivers

William Shivers is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Virginia School of Architecture’s multidisciplinary program In the Constructed Environment. Shivers’s research focusses on mass tree-planting initiatives on U.S. imperial lands, and investigates issues of environmental sustainability, systemic injustice, and cultural resilience. He earned his degree as a Master of Landscape Architecture, with distinction, from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and his Bachelors of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State.

It’s Not Like the Postcard

Masayo Simon

Masayo Simon is a Master’s candidate in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. Simon’s background in graphic design, community organizing, and land care has informed their interest in exploring the intersection of belonging, identity, and public space. Simon’s research interests include critical cartography and urban soundscapes.

Creating Space for Ordinary Life

Chelsea Spencer

Chelsea Spencer is a Ph.D. candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her dissertation examines the rise of general contracting in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More generally, her research concerns the histories of information, capitalism, and the built environment. Chelsea received an MDes in History and Philosophy of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she cofounded the biweekly zine Open Letters, and a B.A. in art and architectural history from Emory University. Before beginning her studies at MIT, Spencer was Managing Editor of Log.

Fine Printing

Luke Tipene

Luke Tipene is a lecturer and course director of the Bachelor of Design in Interior Architecture at University of Technology Sydney. His research centers on the history, theory, and practice of architectural drawing and how questions of accuracy and uncertainty produce new disciplinary knowledge. Tipene has worked as a writer, editor, and peer reviewer; his essays have appeared in publications such as The Journal of Architecture, and he serves on the editorial board of idea journal, for which he was also co-guest editor of the 2021 issue. Tipene is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UTS, where his dissertation focuses on late-20th-century experimental drawing.

Drawings of Tea-Leaves and Split Entrails: The Uncertain Social Function of Architectural Plans

Yan Wan

Wan Yan is a doctoral student in the architecture department at the University of Hong Kong, where her dissertation focuses on the dialectical urban history of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. She has professional experience with various nonprofit organizations and design companies, and her interests include port cities, urban development, and transnational urbanism, including the urbanization process stimulated by Chinese state-owned enterprise versus that of villages.


The Space for Space-Making

Lucy Wang

Lucy Wang is a Master’s candidate in Architecture in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and is Editor in Chief of Room One Thousand, Berkeley’s student-run architecture journal. She earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University and previously worked as a software engineer and UI/UX designer.

Learning from 1862: Drought and Deluge in California’s Central Valley

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