Richard Plunz is a leading figure in all aspects of urban design and is considered one of the world’s leading authorities in urban housing. The Housing Studio, which he developed at Columbia, has now become an integral part of architectural curricula everywhere.
Prof. Plunz moved to Columbia University in 1974 and in 1977 became chairperson of the Division of Architecture, with oversight on the renewal of the professional Masters Curriculum. Since 1992, Plunz has been director of the Urban Design Program, one of the most substantative curricula in the field.
His research into the evolution of housing in New York City has led to a number of projects including his landmark study, A History of Housing in New York City, (1990).
In his long term research interests, he completed a fourteen-year project on the urban expropriation of the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in New York State, with the help of J. M. Kaplan Fund and others; a three-decade study of physical and social transformation at Turgutreis, (Bodrum), on the Turkish Aegean Coast. The study was in part supported by The Aga Khan Award.
In 2005, Plunz was appointed director of the Urban Design Lab at Columbia's Earth Institute.
After receiving professional degrees in engineering and in architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Plunz specialized in urbanism related to both urban history and application of cybernetic and information theory to urban development. Plunz has held professorships at Rensselaer, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). He has taught and lectured extensively and internationally.
At Rensselaer and Penn State, Plunz developed pioneer research related to hospital design and public secondary education related to inner city contexts. With the support of the United States Public Health Service, Plunz conducted pioneering research in digitized environmental modeling for a low-income neighborhood in Philadelphia (Mantua). He developed anthropological field techniques toward built form considerations. Here he initiated his long-term research interests related to housing design and development of sustainable higher-density alternatives to the suburban single-family house. He continued his involvement with the anthropology of building with an extensive study on the two-century transformation of a utopian industrial community in San Leucio, Caserta, (Italy).
Plunz's work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the J. M. Kaplan Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Aga Kahn Award, the United States Public Health Service and the Ford Foundation. In 1991, he received the Andrew J. Thomas Award from the American Institute of Architects for his pioneering work in housing.
Plunz is the author of many articles, studies, and reports. Among his publications are many books, including A History of Housing in New York City, (1990), translated in French and Japanese, The Urban Lifeworld. Formation, Perception, Representation (2002); After Shopping (2003), Eco-Gowanus: Urban Remediation by Design (2007). His last co-edited book is Urban Climate Change Crossroads (2010).
B.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1965; B.Arch., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1966; M.Arch., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1967.
Patricia Culligan is an expert in geo-environmental engineering whose research is currently focusing on issues related to urbanization and sustainable urban design, including urban water and waste management, brownfields redevelopment and the use of green industries for urban reindustrialization.
Together with Richard Plunz, Patricia Culligan oversees the teaching activities of the Lab. Culligan is the author or co-author of over 100 technical articles, including 2 books, 3 book chapters and over 60 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. Culligan is also the founder of Columbia University’s Education Center for Sustainable Engineering.
B.Sc (hons) Leeds University UK, 1982; M.Phil Cambridge University UK, 1987, PhD Cambridge University, 1989; Member, American Society of Civil Engineers and Chartered Engineer, UK.
Kubi Ackerman has been conducting design-based research at Urban Design Lab since 2007. At the UDL Kubi has worked on several food systems and urbanization projects, including efforts to curb childhood obesity and assess New York City's regional "foodshed." He is currently managing a project to evaluate the capacity of New York City for urban agriculture. Kubi has also been involved with other projects including the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem, a study of urban development patterns in the Hudson River Estuary, and designs for park infrastructure to increase physical activity and economic development in northern Manhattan. Previously Kubi taught and worked at the Salvadori Center, City College of New York, developing design and architecture-based curricula for public schools in New York City. Kubi has conducted extensive research into the history of architecture and urban development in Prague, Czech Republic. He is a LEED® Accredited Professional with the United States Green Building Council.
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1998; M.Arch., Columbia University, 2007.
Richard R. Gonzalez joined the Urban Design Lab in 2008. As an architect and urban designer, Richard is a native to New York City and brings an array of experience on issues effecting the urban environment. Previously, he has worked in the architectural profession designing a diverse mix of projects within the U.S. and abroad. Such project types include master planning, corporate offices, institutional, residential and industrial buildings .He has a deep knowledge of successful community-initiated projects in New York City where he worked with private organizations and not for profit entities, addressing the social and political needs of the community. He has been the recipient of the Mathew W. Del Gaudio Award for Excellence in Total Design in 1999. He is a LEED® Accredited Professional with the United States Green Building Council.
B.S., B.Arch.1999, City College of New York; MSAUD, Columbia University, 2008.
Michael Conard is a registered architect in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. He holds an NCARB certificate, is a Fellow of the Institute for Urban Design and is a Past Fellow of the Design Trust for Public Space.
Michael Conard has directed applied and academic urban design research in both the public and private sectors. His work has bridged urban and architectural design and environmental sustainability with public health, local economic development and equal access. Most recently he edited The Carbon Studio: Bankok (2008), which addressed urban sustainable redevelopment along the Padung Lungkasem Canal Site in the historic core of Bankok.
Michael Conard has directed numerous studios and studies at the GSAPP and Urban Design Lab. Some of his recent projects include Curbing Childhood Obesity (2008), a design and systems recommendations to address the current epidemic, and Creating a Cultural Corridor: 125th Street (2007), a local cultural sustainability plan. He co-directed Hell's Kitchen South: Developing Strategies (2002), a set of design and planning recommendations to the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association and the Design Trust for Public Space. His work has also been published and exhibited internationally.
B.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1980; B.Arch., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1981; M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University, 1993.
Maria Paola Sutto is a biologist and a journalist. Her research interests focus on the environmental impacts and social components of environmental change in food, art, education and community life. From 1991 to 2001, she has written extensively for the Italian media (Bravaitalia, Multimedia, Gulliver, Teknos, Prima Comunicazione). She is a project coordinator and initiator (Editoria 2000, Sullivan County Green Energy Fair 2007), and founder of citizen advocacy institutions (Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, FPEB). She has been consultant of public and private institutions for projects between Italy and the United States. Her most recent book Urban Climate Change Crossroads with Richard Plunz explores the new generation of thinking necessary to transform our global ecological challenges (Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2010). Mrs. Sutto speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.
B.S., M. Sc. in Biology, University of Milan, 1985.
Morana Stipisic, trained as an architect and planner, has worked in New York City on various projects of differing types and scales. Striving to bridge the gap between architecture and planning, she entered the Urban Design Program at Columbia University where her team received the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize for the best final semester project. After graduation, Morana accepted a position with Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates where she expanded her experience working on large scale master-planning projects.
Morana has taught architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and collaborated with Hong Kong University. She continues to expand her academic involvements, serving as a guest critic at several universities for architectural and urban design studios, and she lectures on topics of sustainable development with a focus on urban infrastructure. Morana is collaborating with the Urban Design Lab on development of guidelines for competitive and liveable cities, jointly with the Environment and Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific where she is under contract as an urban design consultant.
M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University, 2005; M. Arch. and Urban Planning, University of Zagreb, Croatia, 1999; LEED® Accredited Professional with the United States Green Building Council and AIA Associate Member.
Danielle Berger is originally from San Diego, CA and is a second-year Master of Science in Urban Planning student in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Danielle joined the Urban Design Lab in 2012 to work as a GIS researcher on a food infrastructure project. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and geographic information systems. Danielle has held GIS-related positions at the Columbia Spatial Information Design Lab, the Canadian Urban Institute, University of Toronto and the Toronto Cities Centre. Through geospatial analysis and data visualization, Danielle hopes to develop techniques to promote sustainability and optimization.
B.A., Geography and geographic information systems, University of Toronto, 2009; Candidate for M.S. in Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, 2013.
Challey Comer brings to the Urban Design Lab her experience in farms, market, and watershed modeling. Her previous professional experience is in management of regional food initiatives in the New York State Catskills region , applying her background in engineering design to agricultural best management practices, including the commitment of full season of vegetable production on farms in theortheast. She has been the recipient of NSF and USDA research and innovation awards.
B.S., Environmental Engineering and Ecology, Drexel University, 2003; Candidate for M.S. in Sustainability Management, Columbia University, 2013.
Clara Goitia Molina joined the Urban Design Lab in 2012 to work in a challenging environment, and assist with the UDL publication for the Millenium City of Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city. She received her Masters of Architecture and Urban Design degree from Columbia University in 2012, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Previously she was part of CIUDADLAB where she worked on “Brazil: the form of desire” which studied imagined, ideological, and informal cities and the effects of the body in space centered around the cities of Brasilia, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. She has been the recipient of the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize 2012.
B.Arch.,Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, 2011. M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University, 2012.
Johannes Pointl has joined the Urban Design Lab in 2012 to work on projects in Haiti and Kumasi. He is completing the publications Destination Sud, Haiti: A nodal approach towards sustainable tourism, andRe-cultivating the Garden City of Kumasi, the latter in collaboration with the Millennium Cities Initiative. He obtained his professional degree in architecture from Graz University of Technology, Austria, spending one year as an exchange student at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. His professional work includes projects in Austria, Greece, Germany and Spain.
Johannes completed his post-professional degree in Master of Science in Urban Design at Columbia University with a fellowship from the Fulbright Program. Upon his graduation from GSAPP he was the recipient of the Honor Award for Excellence in Design and the postgraduate William Kinne Fellows Traveling Prize.
Diplom-Ingenieur, Architecture, Graz University of Technology, 2010; M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University, 2012.