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 Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’, UNESCO following her survival of war-inflicted injuries from the 1991-1995 genocide in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Graduate of The Cooper Union [B.ARCH ‘03] and Princeton University [M.ARCH II ‘05], Veledar has been teaching and coordinating a range of innovative studios and seminars since 2005 at The Cooper Union, from 1st year ”Archi-Tectonics” studios [coordinator], 3rd year “Building Integrated” studios [coordinator], 4th year “Architecture of the City” urbanism studios, as well as undergraduate and graduate M. Arch II Thesis studios [coordinator], while committed to the practice and construction of architecture.
The genesis of her work and studio pedagogy originate in her ‘Architecture could Heal: Towards a Universal Architecture’ thesis [advised by Lebbeus Woods], where she developed a tectonic framework of experimental universal scale elements [walls, columns, windows, doors and stairs] while testing active programmatic environments as novel architectural standards that are common to all cultures and architectures. Having witnessed the fall of civic institutions and infrastructures through the effects of war and prejudice, she has focused her professional career on an array of public and private programs ranging in scales from schools, museums and residences where she tests the boundaries of transformation and concrete actualization of built form.
In her recent teaching accomplishments, the ‘Animate Archi-Tectonics’ studio Veledar coordinated, received the prestigious ‘2018 Studio Prize’ by ARCHITECT Magazine and was the only first year undergraduate studio to be awarded amongst the six winning anonymous entries in North America [Canada and US]. Juror Eric Owen Moss, FAIA stated “I think the work is beautiful,” who was also impressed with the studio’s unconventional approach to introducing basic architectural concepts. “It does seem to suggest that there is another way to see, study, and speculate form.” Additionally, the thesis project she advised in 2017 received the coveted Royal Institute of British Architects ‘RIBA Silver Medal Award for World’s Best Projects,’ a first for The Cooper Union.
Veledar is currently coordinating a 3rd year building integrated studio titled ‘Housing New York: Integrating ‘Living’ Configurations Towards A Novel Urban Domesticity’ in collaboration with the HelpUSA organization whose humanitarian efforts continue to make a tremendous impact on affordable housing challenges across the US. This project is part of the 2019 NYC School ‘Housing Inter-Consortium’ alongside Dean Nader Tehrani and the co-teaching team where students are learning how to innovate housing to create a greater social good.
Her recent research paper titled 'Healing the City: Elemental Constructions and the Universal Language of Architecture' was accepted for publication by the 2018 New Instrumentalities, ACSA. Additionally, she was invited as a panelist to the 'Open Cities: 2018 ACSA/COAM International Conference’ in Madrid and recently gave a lecture on the effects of “Universal Resiliency and Architecture' with Anne Romme at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Copenhagen in addition to being a panelist on ‘Productive Hybrids, Design III, Urban Housing in San Juan: Symposium at The Cooper Union.
Veledar has developed an extensive range of architecturally experimental and socially conscientious projects in her built work including High School of Art and Design and PS 59 [SCA] in New York; Elizabeth Academic High School in Elizabeth [SCA] in New Jersey and countless residential projects. Veledar has built work both in New York City and overseas.
View Mersiha Veledar's CV here.