Ryder 448B

Michelle Laboy

Assistant Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Michelle Laboy is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Northeastern University, with an affiliate appointment with the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. As a designer with degrees in architecture, engineering and urban planning, she is interested in interdisciplinary design approaches that create productive connections between architecture and the urban landscape. Her research and teaching examines how ecological thinking influences architectural theory and practice to drive its aesthetic and performance agendas; and how the grounding of buildings on sites enables adaptation to changing environments. Her current work with colleagues David Fannon and Peter Wiederspahn, titled Future-Use Architecture: Design for Persistent Change, received the 2017 Latrobe Prize of the AIA College of Fellows

Michelle has Master degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, where she received the AIA Henry Adams Medal and Thesis Award; and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, where she received the Etienne Totti Award. Michelle co-founded FieLDworkshop, a research-based design practice in Boston, to explore how smaller scale design contributes to conditions of urban resilience and sustainability at larger scales. Her primary focus is the design of spaces that engage us with the natural environment, through public installations and building systems that improve, actively engage and heighten our experience of sustainable urban ecosystems.

Prior to coming to Boston, Michelle worked as a licensed engineer and architectural designer in San Juan, Detroit, Chicago, and Barcelona.  Her professional experience includes transportation and urban design, high-rise envelopes, and building design for commercial, educational and residential projects. Michelle’s collaboration with renowned architect and landscape architect Maryann Thompson has been very formative and influential. As a Senior Associate at MTA in Cambridge, a practice dedicated to architecture that is sustainable, site driven and deeply connected to the landscape, Michelle worked for ten years in many award-winning projects in the Northeast and West coasts.

Michelle teaches building systems courses, graduate seminars, master research and design studios. She co-coordinates the 5th year Comprehensive Design Studio, and co-teaches an interdisciplinary section for architects and landscape architects. Michelle’s design research has earned grants and awards from Northeastern University, AutoDesk, the Boston Groundwater Trust, and the AIA. Her scholarship has been published in The Plan Journal, Enquiry: the ARCC Journal, the Journal of Architectural Education, a book chapter, and proceedings for national and international conferences.

Courses Taught

ARCH2130:  Site, Space & Program
ARCH2140:  Urban Institutions
ARCH2230: Structural Systems
ARCH2240: Architectonic Systems
ARCH5120:  Comprehensive Design Studio
ARCH5210:  Integrated Building Systems
ARCH6340: Graduate Topics
ARCH 7130: Masters Research Studio
ARCH7140: Masters Design Studio


FieLDworkshop (www.fieldworkshop.com)
Boston LightWell Project (www.bostonlightwell.com)


Landscape as a Conceptual Space For Architecture: Shifting Theories and Critical Practices
The Plan Journal

Resilience Theory and Praxis: a Critical Framework for Architecture
The ARCC Journal

Tectonics and landscape: The structure of ground and atmosphere
Structures and Architecture

Learning ComprehensiveBuilding Design through a Resilience Framework
Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale
Conference Proceedings

Teaching Building Science in Design Studio


Understanding Design – September 25, 2014

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