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Patricia Seitz

Patti Seitz
Title: 
Chair
Office: 
Tower 633A
Bio: 

Patricia Seitz, AIA is an Architect, Professor and Chair of Architecture at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is President of Seitz Architects, on the Board on the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), and co-Chair of the BSA Knowledge Committee: Global Design Initiative (GDI) for Refugee Children. She is also an Overseer for the global organization Native Plant Trust. Her current research and practice address the complexity of the human experience of building and landscape, and their interdependence on larger urban systems seen through the lens of justice, equity and environmental resiliency. This includes developing design methodologies that centralize the user’s journey within marginalized communities. Her goal is to create social cohesion and challenge social divides through developing opportunities for collaboration within these communities. In her practice architectural projects have supported numerous non-profit organizations representing at risk neighborhood organizations that often include a community engagement process.

Seitz' current academic research focuses on raising awareness of international humanitarian crises of migrant encampments locally and globally. As a founding member of the GDI for Refugee Children, she is developing transnational collaborative design and construction teams to build child-focused social spaces with play contributing to education and healing at the center of this work. GDI projects are located globally and locally: in Lebanon for Syrian refugees, and Unity Park, a park now in design for Lena Park CDC in Dorchester, Massachusetts. This latter project also includes working with their Youth Council building collaborations with Boston design firms and her studio to introduce them to the profession and academic professional training.

These initiatives overlap in the classroom. With a range of students from sophomore studio to graduate thesis, her studio projects provide opportunity to learn to engage with the public, to connect with people on the street, to map these issues through discovery of social, racial, environmental, and structural systems, and provide design interventions that support what they have heard and observed. As a partner in the development of the Master of Architecture Community Build experience, graduate students work directly with local neighborhood NGO’s in community engaged design-build projects each summer. Her goal for students is to create new opportunity and vision in the profession, enabling them to act as change agents in the built landscape and human society today.

Mindfulness, observation and improvisation are integral parts of Patti’s design process in context of people, wildlife, and plants and how they interact with the city and the land. She teaches what she observes. Runner, swimmer and avid beginning rower, she travels to reenergize and engage.

Education: 
BA, MA/M.Arch Washington University; M.Arch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professional Experience: 
  • 1989 - present - Seitz Architects, Inc., President

Publications

  • "Postmodern Ritualisering Och Gestalting Av Symboliska Ock Trygga Plaster" by Valerie Demarinis
  • "Rum For Mening: Om plats och ritual I det postmoderna samhallet", ed. Christina Engfors, Stockholm, Arktekturmuseet
  • Feature in Boston Business Journal, Boston Globe, The New York Times, Wired

Grants

  • Nuckolls Fund to develop Introductory Lighting curriculum
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to lead a student group to design and construct a green roof
  • Partner in a Massachusetts Cultural Council and NPS River and Trails Program Grant with Public Artist Patricia Johanson working with senior architecture students in her development of "An Artist's View of a Strategic Plan" of the City of Brockton, MA
  • Partner in New England Foundation for the Arts grant used in planning a design with a visiting artist to envision and implement an art/landscape installation working with students in the Sustainable Architecture course

Current Research

The pilot project with the Global Design Initiative for Refugee Children was constructed at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon run by SAWA for Development and Aid (SDA). This playground provided a model for working with local designers and the camp residents. It also included the development of social space for adults and as well as children, and created an opportunity for the committee to play an active role in managing the project team. The Beqaa Valley has received the highest number of Syrian refugees, with more than 40% living in informal tented settlements.

In the summer of 2017, Seitz travelled to Lebanon to meet with a local partner NGO there, SDA, and interviewed a number of Syrian refugees living in these camps. Many had been there for 4-5 years, and some had moved more than once as 1-year leases on farm lands were not extended. Building upon the work of humanitarians and peacebuilders who provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and educational support, our committee is introducing child-focused public spaces to support positive interactions, social cohesion and healing supporting at-risk youths and their families through play.

Learn more about Refugees, Resiliency, and Public Space: The BSA Syria Initiative

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