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1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

Hosted by the AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee, this session examines the importance of collecting and analyzing social data and human performance measures through post-occupancy evaluations. By measuring architecture performance through people-centric data, designers can understand how their designs impact the user experience of occupants and can make their solutions more responsive to human needs. In this way, we may better use the current built environment as a prototype for our future designs. Expert panelists in sustainability, architecture design, data mining, and human factors will join the discussion.

Hana Kassem, AIA, LEED AP, Director, KPF 
Samantha MacBride, Director of Research and Operations, Bureau of Recycling & Sustainability, NYC Department of Sanitation 
Rachel Montana, Design Researcher, WeWork
Pratik Raval, Associate Director, Transsolar Inc.

Moderator: Melissa Marsh, Assoc. AIA, Founder and Executive Director, PLASTARC; Senior Managing Director, Occupant Experience, Savills Studley

Hana Kassem, AIA, Director at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of architecture. Since joining KPF in 2001, she has led the design of a variety of academic, research, cultural, transportation, hospitality, and commercial mixed use projects in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Her design philosophy lies in the idea that design should fulfill social needs, creating dynamic and stimulating social environments. Kassem currently serves as a member of the Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees. A Registered Architect in the State of New York, she has served as Co-chair for the AIANY Global Dialogues Committee from 2014 through 2016, which received the AIANY Vice-President’s Citation for Public Outreach in 2015. She has taught as part-time faculty at Parson’s School of Constructed Environments, formulating studio topics that focus on a multi-sensorial engagement with our environment with programs that address marginalized communities. Kassem has been invited as guest lecturer at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. She is co-editor of a book entitled Architect d.b.a | On Re-defining the Roles of the Architect Today, published by the AIANY through an awarded Committees Excellence Grant. 

Samantha MacBride
 is Director of Research and Operations at the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability at the NYC Department of Sanitation. She holds a PhD in urban/environmental sociology from New York University and teaches urban environmentalism at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY. MacBride’s research focuses on sustainable waste management practice and politics. She is currently conducting research in collaboration with Italian scholars on organics waste management in Italy.

Rachel Montana is a Design Researcher at WeWork, where she uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative techniques to provide insights around the physical design of workspaces. She applies her background in social psychology and UX research to better understand WeWork buildings from a user perspective. Prior to joining WeWork, Montana worked as a UX Researcher at, where she focused on implementing research standards to website design to create a better user experience. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Experimental Social Psychology from Princeton University, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College.

Pratik Raval helps lead Transsolar’s New York team and provides direction for high-comfort low-environmental impact design on a diverse range of projects. His organic style of design thinking and focus on creating human-centric solutions generate project-specific environmental concepts; and his strategic approach to communicating the new concepts helps them turn into reality. Many of his projects feature unprecedented sustainability solutions and are celebrated for their architectural integration. Ravel frequently speaks at international conferences, has lectured at prestigious universities such as MIT and University of Pennsylvania, is a frequent studio critic at University of Columbia, and is an advisory board member of New York City College of Technology’s Department of Architectural Technology. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computational Engineering. Before joining Transsolar, he worked at the Research and Technology Center of Daimler AG in Germany where he helped advance the use of Fuel Cells in automobile.

Melissa Marsh, Assoc. AIA
, is part researcher and part innovator. Marsh defined an early career in workplace innovation with projects in design, architecture, and master planning around the world. She has worked with international clients on the forefront of leveraging workplace to inform corporate culture, employee experience, and business strategy. Interested in further exploring the intersection of workspace, people, and business, Marsh founded PLASTARC in 2012 to support organizations in independently advancing their business and leveraging their real estate through high performing workplaces. Today, she continues to direct PLASTARC, and leads the Occupant Experience discipline at Savills Studley, the nation’s leading commercial real estate services firm specializing in tenant representation. 

An active provocateur and contributor to many professional and research communities associated with the built world, including the AIA, CoreNet, IFMA, and EDRA, Marsh also shares her knowledge and experience by teaching in both executive education and academic settings, including co-founding. the first Social Science & Architecture Committee at the AIANY. Marsh received a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Arts in social science and architecture at Columbia University.

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