Mersiha Veledar is a practicing architect and an educator. She has lived in New York since she was fourteen years old, where she found refuge through the United Nations after the brutal war in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Veledar received her Bachelors in Architecture from The Cooper Union in 2003 and her Masters in Architecture II (M. Arch II) from Princeton University in 2005. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, international publications and exhibitions. Since 2005, she has been teaching fourth year urbanism “Architecture of the City” studios and third year, “Building Integrated” studios at The Cooper Union and practicing architecture in New York. In 2014, Veledar was promoted to lead a new Architectonics 1st year studio at the Cooper Union taught previously by one of her mentors, the visionary architect Lebbeus Woods.
The genesis of her work and studio pedagogy have origins in her “Architecture can Heal” [advised by Lebbeus Woods and Anders Abraham] hypothesis from The Cooper Union, which received numerous awards and recognitions, during which she decided to focus on typologies of universal intimate scale architectural elements such as walls, columns, windows, doors and stairs among many others as a lexicon of fundamentals common to all cultures, ethnicities and architectures. Having witnessed the fall of civic institutions though man-made disasters, she has focused professionally on an array of public programs ranging from schools to museums, to art installations.
Exhibitions: Her independent work has been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States. In 2006, she was invited to participate in the “Europe Lost and Found” exhibition. Her Cooper Union Thesis , was exhibited at the Gallerie fűr Zeitgenössische Kunstin in Leipzig [Contemporary Museum of Art ] as part of an exhibition titled Kulturelle Territorien. Her urbanism studio project (2002), “Exile and Urban Path of the Obelisk” advised by Professor Diane Lewis, Georg Windeck and Peter Shubert was shown at the XXI UIA World Congress of Architecture in Berlin. The same year, her paintings were exhibited in the “Drawing on the Human Spirit” exhibition at the New York Society for Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture. Works she did of the devastation of downtown New York on 9/11 were documented by Channel 1 NYC's “After the World Trade Center.”
Publications: Her work has been published in many venues, including 30 Artists, 30 Days, 2013 by VisionareWorld; Catálogos de Arquitectura, Nº. 20, 2007; Architects Draw (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007); Gewandhaus Vorschau, Article; Photography Now (2005), Nr1.05; Kunstindex, Leipzig, Balkan Urbanismus, Die bosnische Chronik Die Zukunft ist nicht, was sie einmal WAR (2005); Body, “Inside NJ the ‘Garden’ State: 6000 Brownfields”, 2005; Camera Austria, Nr. 88, 2004; Ein Architektur-Novum, 25 November (2004) Sϋdwest Presse (2004) StadtBauwelt, (48/04), 23 December 2004; Mersiha Veledar interview, Architecture Heals and War Architecture Research (2004) The Cooper Union Magazine; Text, Intertext, Context: The Literary Dimension of the City: Rome, Berlin, New York, The New Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2002) The Cooper Union.
Lectures: In 2013, she presented a lecture on her independent work to the Cooper Union School of Architecture, titled “Architecture of Healing” where she spoke of her early work and focus on giving new hope to architecture in trauma. In December 2009, Veledar gave a lecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen and served as a Guest Professor in the “Architecture, City and Building” Department, with Professor Anne Romme. In 2006, she was invited by Bauhaus Kolleg, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation to take part in the UN-Urbanism Program of the Bauhaus Kolleg. Additional invited experts included: Azra Aksamija (Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT), Aleksandr Stular (UN-Habitat Mostar), Rolf van Uye (Director of OSCE, RC Mostar), Andrea Vonkeman (UNHCR Sub-Office Mostar), Michael Weichert (Friedrich Ebert Foundation). In 1996, she spoke at an international press conference at the United Nations about her personal path of survival from a war torn country.
Award and Recognitions: Upon Graduating from the Cooper Union Veledar was the recipient of prestigious Irma Giustino Weiss Thesis Prize, given to one Cooper Union Graduate who demonstrates the greatest potential for future success upon the receipt of a Bachelor’s Degree from The School of Architecture. This recognition enabled her to examine further her hypothesis and begin the foundations of her work. In addition, she received the George Ledlie Fund Prize the AIA New York Chapter and The New York Foundation for Architecture Grants and Scholarships Architectural Auxiliary Eleanor Allwork Scholarship Grant, the AIA/AAF Scholarship for First Professional Degree Candidates, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund, and the Richter Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Professional Experience: Her professional work, among a few, includes Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Education Lab Studio headed by design partner Roger Duffy. Built works include High School of Art and Design and Primary School 59 at 250 E. 57th Street in New York City; Elizabeth Academic High School, Elizabeth, New Jersey; and Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, India. She also worked on the winning competition entry for the new airport in Lisbon, Portugal. In addition, Veledar curated the SOM evening lecture series in 2010 where she decided to focus on an interdisciplinary panel approach of lecturers where she invited art, architecture and engineering practitioners and was also the Associate Editor of the ‘SOM Journal 5’ with Kenneth Frampton, Juhani Pallasmaa and Francesco dal Co in 2008.
Veledar is a practicing architect in New York currently working on a range of residential and small scale public projects in the city. In 2013, she started an atelier called Veledar Workshop whose focus is on art and small scale elements in architecture where she tests the boundaries of experimentation and concrete actualization of built form.