Meet M.Arch Instructor:
Vasilena Vassilev holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, she worked on sustainable transportation initiatives and urban development as part of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab and The MIT Senseable Cities Lab, collaborating with the cities of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, as well as the wider MIT research community. She was involved as full time faculty at Syracuse University since 2009, and relocated to London in 2012 to teach studio and professional elective courses at SU’s London study abroad program. As an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, she developed SU’s first course offering in Urban Sustainability “The Ecology of Cities” and developed a research focus on holistic urban design. At SU, I led the organization of various urban-oriented workshops, seminars on holistic urban systems and design, and a collaborative workshop with UPSTATE Centre for Design, Research, and Real Estate. As part of Vasilena’s ongoing research activities in the development of the coursework, she has lectured internationally on the topic of urban sustainability with reference to her academic research and practice endeavors. As an architect, she is also interested in how small scale projects and installations can affect practice in city design and green urban spaces. One project that demonstrates this venture is her Botanical Air Cleaning Wall System, developed in collaboration with Professor Jensen Zhang, Professor and Director of the Building Energy & Environmental Systems Laboratory (BEESL), Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University. The current prototype was constructed and designed through the collaborative workshop with Syracuse architecture and engineering students, “Living Systems in Architecture and Engineering.” As Visiting Professor at SU London, Vasilena continued my research in ecological architecture and building components through her studio teaching. Projects included proposals for floating communities, and a studio that developed a series of infrastructural interventions along the planned Thames Tideway Tunnel with support from Thames Water. In addition to studio and seminar teaching, she has played an active role in organizing the school’s lecture series while promoting various university and design initiatives. At Nottingham Trent University, Vasilena taught Second Year Undergraduate studio, building on the foundations skills of the students while broadening their understanding of architecture in the greater urban context. Throughout her academic experiences, she has also contributed to faculty governance, program development, student recruitment and campus life, by participating in various committees and advising students of all levels. Her design practice P+ Studio, which she co-founded with Paul Michael Pelken, has been involved with design of all scales ranging from products to architecture. Their latest project, which is currently under construction, is a sustainable technologies demonstration building in the first government accredited and supported Green Building Demonstration Zone in Changzhou, China.