Terreform is a collaborative group of designers, social scientists, and urban researchers with experience in academia, private practice, public interest organizations, government and community activism.
Michael Sorkin, President, is an architect and urbanist whose practice spans design, criticism, and pedagogy. Since 2000, Sorkin has been Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York. He is the architecture critic for The Nation, contributing editor at Architectural Record, and author or editor of twenty books. Sorkin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the recipient of the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Mind Award, and is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. He is also Principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, an international design practice that works in close collaboration with Terreform.
Vyjayanthi V. Rao, PhD, Director, is an anthropologist by training. Prior to joining Terreform, she held research and teaching positions at The New School for Social Research and at University of Chicago, where she also received her doctorate. From 2002 to 2004 she served as the Research Director of the Initiative on Cities and Globalization, Yale University, and as the Co-Director of Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR), an innovative urban laboratory in Mumbai, India. Her current work focuses on cities after globalization, specifically on intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation. She authored many articles on these topics in noted journals, the co-editor of Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork (Duke University Press, 2015) and is completing a manuscript on the spatial transformation of Mumbai.
Deen Sharp, Co-Director, is a doctoral candidate in the Earth and Environmental Science program, specializing in Geography, at the CUNY Graduate Center. Previously, he was a freelance journalist and consultant based in Lebanon. His research focuses on the geography of the Arab world and his current project concerns the corporation and urban space in post-war Beirut. He has written for a number of publications, including, Jadaliyya, Portal 9, the Arab Studies Journal and The Guardian.
Maria Cecilia Fagel, Executive Editor, is an architecture/urban researcher, critic, and writer. She has a BArch from the University of San Carlos — Technological Center, Cebu, a BBA in Design Management from Parsons, The New School for Design, and a MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts. Prior to Terreform, she was a market research analyst for the New York City-based Advisor to Dentsu Japan. Her work was published in Architect’s Newspaper, Verlag form GmbH & Co. KG, and by Cooper-Hewitt’s DesignFile.
Andrea Johnson, Research Director, coordinates numerous publications and collaborates on design research projects. Andrea has worked with Diana Wiesner Architecture and Landscape, the Bogotá Mountain Foundation, and Urban Think Tank. She is a graduate of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at The City College of New York where she has also taught Digital Representation. In 2015, she was named a National Olmsted Scholar Finalist. Prior to her landscape studies, Andrea provided immigration legal services in NYC and assisted women to start small businesses in Puerto Rico.
Isaac Gertman, Design Director, is a graphic designer and educator. He leads design direction at The Independent Group, and is a member of the full-faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He previously taught at Parsons, The New School for Design; City College, in the Graduate Department of Landscape Architecture; and Rhode Island School of Design. In 2014, he was named a Public Access Design Fellow by the Center for Urban Pedagogy and was Design Fellow of the Wassaic Project (2013–2014). His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers, and has been featured in numerous books and blogs. His writing has appeared in Print magazine, Step magazine, Design Bureau, and the design blog SpeakUp. Isaac received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BFA from MICA.
Nikhil Sambamurthy, Development Manager, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, with a Bachelor of Architecture and Minor in Drama. Originally from Chennai, he grew up in Singapore and Geneva before moving to Pittsburgh for architecture school. His undergraduate thesis project Home: Territorialising Plural Identities, investigated the relationship between Architecture and Cultural Identity, and he likes to use storytelling as a way to understand the world around him.
Trudy Giordano, Studio Manager, was born in Thailand and raised in the Netherlands. She has a fashion and design degree from Noorderpoort College. Prior to joining Terreform, she worked in a photography studio in New York City. Trudy is concurrently studio manager for Michael Sorkin Studio.
Nic Cavell, Editor, is translating and editing the forthcoming UR book, Letters to the Leaders of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City, working on our Open Gaza project, and contributing as a member of the Steady State team. He is a graduate of Brown University.
Damiano Cerrone, Principal Researcher, is a spatial planner and analyst with a BA in Urban Planning and Geographic Information Systems from La Sapienza University, Rome. He also holds a MSc in Urban Studies from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and currently is in its doctorate track in architecture and planning. In 2013, he co-founded SPIN Unit, a transnational urban planning research group. Damiano is a member of ESRI’s Young Professional Network and received the 2015 ESRI Young Scholar of the Year award. At Terreform, Damiano is working on the spatial visualization and analysis of the Gaza site for forthcoming UR book, Open Gaza.
Vineet Diwadkar, Principal Researcher, is a designer and urban planner. He is co-author of the forthcoming UR book, 50 Ways to Game a City: Loophole Planning in Contemporary Mumbai. He is also co-editor of "Planning for Conservation”, and led research and production teams for Harvard’s three-year project Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megaci. Also at Harvard, he was a research associate with the Urban South Asia Project and Urban Theory Lab, and a community-based planner and faculty member at the National Institute of Design. Vineet received a MA in Urban Planning and in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BArch from Georgia Tech.
Aysegül Didem Özdemir PhD, Principal Researcher, is an urban planner with a doctoral degree in urban design from Istanbul Technical University and an MA in Urban Design from the City University of New York. She also holds a BA in City Planning and MA in Urban Conservation from Mimar Sinan University. For close to a decade, Didem worked as project coordinator at the Urban Design Group of the Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design Center of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul. Didem is currently Terreform’s head researcher for the New York City (Steady) State project, Waste Not.
Makoto Okazaki is Partner and Principal Architect at Michael Sorkin Studio. Born and raised in Kobe, Japan, he has twenty-five years of experience in architecture, urban design, and construction management, with an architectural license approved by the Japanese Ministry of Construction (1995). He also holds a Masters in Urban Planning degree from the City College of New York. Makoto is devoted to both practical and theoretical projects at all scales, with a special interest in the city and green architecture.
Ying Liu is an architectural designer at Michael Sorkin Studio and a LEED Green Associate. Originally from Liaoning, China, she holds a BArch degree from Tianjian University and an MArch from University of Southern California. Her graduate research work was included in the article, “Termite Urbanism,” published by AD (Architecture Design).
Jie Gu is an urban designer at Michael Sorkin Studio. He has over ten years of working experience in architecture and urban design. Previously, he was middle senior architect at AECOM and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design. Jie holds a Master of Urban Design degree from The City College of New York and a Masters degree in Urban Environmental Design from Beijing University.
EDITORIAL, Research & Design ASSOCIATES
Laura Belik is a recent graduate of the Design Studies at Parsons School of Design, The New School. She has an architecture degree from Escola da Cidade and has worked as an assistant curator at the Museum of Image and Sound, Sao Paulo. She is currently a Fellow at the Latino Lab at the Smithsonian Institute and a Research Coordinator at the Latin Lab at GSAPPP Columbia University. At Terreform, she continues research and marketing coordination on UR book, Adventures in Modernism: Thinking with Marshall Berman.
Deniz Celik is from Istanbul, Turkey and holds a MUP in Urban Design from the City College of New York. She has a BArch from Istanbul Bilgi University. In her graduate program, she worked on refugee camp settlements and creating a distribution system of needs in densely populated areas. At Terreform, she is a part of the research team working on New York City (Steady) State.
Gayatri Kawlra is a graduate of the Masters in Global Thought program at Columbia University. Her thesis project, Between Possible and Impossible Futures: Enacting Utopia in South India, was an inquiry into the promise and failure of utopias to galvanize socio-ecological change, examining a sustainable eco-community in Tamil Nadu. She holds a bachelors degree in Economics and Politics from the University of York, UK and her current research focuses on globalization, urban planning, and sustainable development.
Michelle Kennedy is an urban planner from New Zealand. She is currently part of the Integrative Planning team at Arup New York. Michelle holds a Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Auckland, and has a background in entrepreneurship. At Terreform, she has compiled Next Helsinki design competition entries for the forthcoming UR book, The Helsinki Effect.
Riddhima Khedkar recently graduated with a MUP in Urban Design from the City College of New York. She received her BArch from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai and is a registered architect in India. Her undergraduate thesis on the redevelopment of Dharavi was nominated for the Mumbai University Meenal Panchal 2015 Award. At Terreform, she is working on an interdisciplinary project on Mumbai.
Tarlan Khoylou hails from Tehran, Iran. She has a Master of Urban Design degree from City College of New York and a Bachelor degree in Urban Planning from Azad University. Her undergrad thesis was a study on public and private spaces and integrated social, cultural, and political concerns; she focused on possibilities in the revitalization of Hafte Tir, one of the major squares in Tehran. While at graduate school, she worked on transformative design based on social interaction in Sunnyside Yards, Queens. At Terreform, she continues her interest in urbanism working as part of the research team for New York City (Steady) State project.
Christina Serifi is a graduate of Urban Design Master’s Program at the City College of New York and a Fulbright scholar. She also holds a professional degree as an architect engineer from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She was invited as a studio reviewer to the City College of New York, Columbia University, ETH in Zurich and KU Leuven, Belgium. Currently, she coordinates research for the forthcoming UR book, The Case of Yachay: Cities, Knowledge, and Development.
alumni 2005 - 2016
Robin Balles Cervantes
Djuro Pavao Bartulica
Sejin Rubella Jo
Michela Barone Lumaga
Karen M. Miller
Maria Bueno Rosas
Fern Lan Siew
Hannes Van Damme