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Karen Lewis

  • Associate Professor, Undergraduate Studies Chair, Architecture Section
232 Knowlton Hall

Karen Lewis is an associate professor of architecture in the Knowlton School. Her design research examines architecture as a manifestation of information, networks and complex systems. Lewis's teaching and design work expands upon her professional background as a museum exhibition designer and information designer, focusing on the visual representation of information as a way to synthesize architectural practice. Currently, Lewis is writing and designing a book, Graphic Design for Architects, which will be published by Routledge in 2014.

Lewis's work in visualizing complex systems has been recognized and exhibited by the Van Alen Institute, Design Trust for Public Space, Buckminster Fuller Institute, The Architecture Center, Terreform, Boston Society for Architects, and the National Parks Service, and has been published in Architectural Record, Landscape Architecture, Urban Infill and Design and Culture.  She is the co-editor and designer of “Diagrammatically” a recent edition of Urban Infill, which was a finalist for a Places publication award (2013). She served as the creative director for the Stoss: Source Book 7.

In the fall of 2010 Lewis organized a symposium “Envisioning Organization” which brought together architects and graphic designers practicing at the intersection of information and architecture. Recently she organized a student design competitions on Data Visualization, co-sponsored with Lewis is part of a team that received a BETHA grant to host “Big Data Future,” a multi-disciplinary conference co-sponsored by the College of Engineering, College of Law, and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Before joining the Knowlton School faculty, Lewis was an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Kentucky, College of Design, and a teaching fellow in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture from Wellesley College and a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Recent Work

Light Industrial Landscape

Light Industrial Landscape continues my ongoing investigations into the spatial and representational impacts of intertwining overlapping multiple civic systems. Developed for the Emerging New York Architects’ award, proposal redesigns the Queensway Rail Line by overlapping light manufacturing businesses under the abound rail line with a landscape corridor above. 

Below the Queensway, light manufacturing (furniture making, welding, distilleries, food production) is intertwined with walking and biking trails. Necessary infrastructural components such as stairs, ADA ramps, HVAC systems are designed to form a spectacle above. The park connects to the businesses below through these infrastructural components which allow for movement past, views across and engagement with an expanded public realm. 

The Light Industrial Landscape engaged other civic systems across New York while also shaping the identity and legibility of the immediate context. The project becomes a link to New York’s burgeoning light manufacturing district while providing connection to an expanded park system.