• Architecture

Michelle Laboy

Associate Professor

Michelle Laboy is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Northeastern University, with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. As a designer with degrees in architecture, engineering and urban planning, she is interested in interdisciplinary approaches for an architecture that has agency in resilient urban landscapes.  Her research and teaching are focused on how buildings are grounded in a place, examining how socio-ecological thinking influences architectural theory and practice to shape experience, performance, and adaptability to changing environments. She is co-PI for the research project titled Future-Use Architecture: Design for Persistent Change that 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 that explores how smaller scale design contributes to conditions of urban resilience and sustainability at larger scales. Prior to coming to Boston, Michelle worked as a licensed engineer and architectural designer in San Juan, Detroit, Chicago, and Barcelona.  Her professional experience ranges in scale from urban design to small interactive objects in public space, and includes many award-winning commercial, educational and residential buildings. For ten years, Michelle worked as a Senior Associate at Maryann Thompson Architects in Cambridge, a practice dedicated to architecture that is sustainable, site driven and deeply connected to the landscape.

Michelle teaches building systems courses, graduate seminars, Masters research and design studios. She co-coordinates the 5th year Comprehensive Design Studio, co-teaching interdisciplinary sections focused on integrating architecture, landscape and environmental engineering. Her design research received funding from Northeastern University, AutoDesk, the Boston Groundwater Trust, and the AIA Upjohn Initiative. Her scholarship has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education, Enquiry, and The Plan Journal, as well as a book chapter, and proceedings for national and international conferences.

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  • Master of Urban Planning, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Master of Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez


  • 2017 Latrobe Prize, American Institute of Architects College of Fellows
  • 2015 AIA Upjohn Research Initiative

Professional Experience

  • Principal, FieLDworkshop Architecture, Design, Urbanism, Research, Boston, MA
  • Senior Associate, Maryann Thompson Architects, Cambridge, MA
  • Architectural Designer, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLP, Chicago, IL

Past Clients

  • Boston Groundwater Trust
  • City of Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics
  • Princeton University
  • Shady Hill School
  • International School of Boston

Courses Taught

  • ARCH 2130: Site, Space & Program
  • ARCH 2140: Urban Institutions
  • ARCH 2240: Architectonic Systems
  • ARCH 5120: Comprehensive Design Studio
  • ARCH 5220: Integrated Building Systems
  • ARCH 5230: Structural Systems
  • ARCH 6340: Graduate Topics
  • ARCH 7130: Masters Research Studio
  • ARCH 7140: Masters Design Studio

Research/Publications Highlights

Fannon, David; Laboy, Michelle; Wiederspahn, P. “Dimensions of Use: From Determinism to a New Humanism”. Enquiry: The ARCC Journal of Architectural Research, 15:1: (November 2018).


• Laboy, Michelle. “On Groundwater: Invisible Architectural Environments.” Journal of Architectural Education. 71(2), 2017.


• Laboy, Michelle, and David Fannon. “Resilience Theory and Praxis: A Critical Framework for Architecture.” Edited by Architectural Research Centers Consortium. Enquiry : The ARCC Journal of Architectural Research. 13:1:(2016): 39–53.


• Fannon, David; Laboy, Michelle. “Teaching Building Science in Design Studio.” Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences. December 2016.


• Laboy, Michelle. “Landscape as a conceptual space for architecture: shifting theories and critical practices.” The Plan Journal. 0(0):0-0, March 2016.

Professional Affiliations

• Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores de Puerto Rico

• Building Techology Educators Society

• Society of Building Science Educators


Research Interests

  • Architectural Ecology
  • Resilience
  • Tectonics and Landscape Theory