Ph.D. Advisors

Aquino, Eduardo, B.Arch., M.F.A., Ph.D., CREA
Associate Professor

Eduardo Aquino is Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, concentrating research in the areas of History & Theory of Architecture (Modern and Contemporary), Urban Theory, Urban Design & Public Space (including Public Art), and interconnections between Architecture & Landscape. I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary approaches of architectural history, cultural history, critical theory, art criticism, and urbanism. My doctorate research, Beachscape: The Rediscovery of Public Space on the Beach, concentrated on beachscapes: how the beach constructs engaging public spaces in complex urban contexts, looking at the urban beach as a model for the reinvention of urban spaces and architectural design in general, revealing a microcosm of the larger city within buildings and places of a heightened public character.

My commitment to Interdisciplinary Studies and Practice led me to graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts in Open Media from Concordia University, after an initial professional degree in Architecture and Urbanism (São Paulo), which eventually supported the creation of the Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College (Vermont, USA), which I was an Associate Professor, and a founder-collaborator. Over my academic experience I have taught in Architecture, Urbanism, Interior Design, Liberal Arts, and Fine Arts (especially sculpture, public art, and new media). I also have an interest in the relationship of academia & practice, especially research projects that have a focus on applied research, in new technologies, in issues connected to craft and making, and projects that intend to create a dialogue between art, architecture & the city. In this process I propose an experimental path of exploration in developing alternative relationships of human interaction with the built and natural environments, along with the theoretical speculations that help us to better understand contemporary culture and the contemporary city.

Eduardo Aquino's complete bio click here

Garcia-Holguera, Mercedes, B.Arch., M.Arch., Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, COAL (Spain) Assistant Professor

Dr. Mercedes Garcia Holguera is a registered architect from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in Spain, and she has worked at leading architecture firms in Canada, Mexico and Chile before joining the Department of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in 2019. She is also a LEED AP BD+C and believes that the professional practice needs to move from a mechanistic interpretation of environmental issues towards a holistic and inclusive understanding of the field as related to the ideas of regenerative and biomimetic design.

Mercedes’ research follows a transdisciplinary approach to environmental building science that is inspired by Nature’s principles (as described in biomimicry and biomimetic design theories).

Biomimetic or biologically inspired design emulates Nature’s successful strategies in human constructs and has the potential to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as increase the catalogue of environmental solutions in architecture. Biomimetic design is one effective and powerful tool for designing innovative built environments, and to expand the limits of creativity by training students in transdisciplinary methods. Students that participate on biomimetic courses and research are compelled to use knowledge and tools from other disciplines, they engage in complex systems thinking and develop sophisticated ways to face uncertainty during the design process. There are strong pedagogical values behind biomimetic design and research that can help improve soft and hard skills of undergrad and graduate students, and therefore better prepare them for a changing professional environment. Areas of application of biomimetic design include architectural and urban design, artifacts design, or development of bio-materials for buildings.

Mercedes’ work also encompasses quantitative assessment of architectural solutions with a focus on BIM and energy simulation tools. Students and practitioners adopting performance simulation software tools in the early stages of the design process have more opportunities to effectively and economically integrate sustainable design strategies in their projects.

Mercedes received her PhD in Bioresource Engineering at McGill University where she coined and developed the ecomimetic method, an ecologically inspired design approach to optimize resource use in buildings. This design method guides designers in the process of understanding and emulating ecosystems’ complex dynamics, some of which allow them to evolve and adapt through time or excel in capturing and using resources for instance.


I’m interested in PhD applicants that have a genuine interest in transdisciplinary environmental research and have experience in computational and digital tools (energy simulation tools). Students from natural sciences and engineering disciplines as well as from design fields are welcomed to submit their CV and a letter of interest.

Mercedes Garcia-Holguera's complete bio click here

Landrum,  Lisa, B.Arch., M.Arch., Ph.D., MAA, MRAIC, AIA, RA
Associate Professor

Dr. Lisa Landrum is a registered architect, teacher and scholar. Her research on the dramatic agencies of architecture and architectural theory has been published, exhibited and presented widely. Lisa welcomes Ph.D. applicants with demonstrated interest in the following areas of architectural history, theory and design:

  • architectural agency and representation, especially dramatic modes of representation implicit in the works and words of architects;
  • representative roles of architects and architecture in dramatic literature – from Aeschylus to Ionesco, as well as contemporary experimental performances involving architectural agents, dilemmas and allusions;
  • stories and myths about architectural origins from various cultures around the world;
  • the reciprocity of theatre and architecture, including the performativity of architecture, the architectural history of performance spaces, and the significance of architectural settings for performance and installation art;
  • interpretations of architecture in relation to painting, sculpture and film;
  • interrelations of literature and architecture, including correspondences between plots and plans, intertwinings of real and fictive settings, and the role of storytelling in design;
  • the role of rituals, festivals, civic events and ephemeral architecture in shaping urban environments and cultural identity;
  • architecture’s interrelation with politics, democracy and social justice, including case studies of buildings and public spaces serving human rights;
  • the creative role of metaphors in architecture, and the metaphoric and rhetorical role of architecture in philosophy and politics;
  • phenomenological, hermeneutic and humanistic approaches to interpreting architecture, preservation and adaptive reuse projects;
  • the history of architectural pedagogy and apprenticeship traditions, as well as recent approaches to teaching architecture that engage imagination and critical thinking as integral to design practice and professionalism;
  • other trans-historical topics that remain central to modern architecture and contemporary practice, including ornament, space, cultural memory, corporeality, and ethical imagination.

Lisa is currently serving as an external advisor to a doctoral candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture Ph.D. program at McGill University. She has been a guest reviewer of doctoral research at McGill University and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (Virginia Tech).

Lisa Landrum's complete bio click here