Rania Ghosn

Rania Ghosn is Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at MIT School of Architecture + Planning and founding partner of the practice DESIGN EARTH with El Hadi Jazairy.  Her research and teaching engage the territories of technological systems to open aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism. 

DESIGN EARTH explores aesthetic forms of environmental engagement to visualize how technological systems change the Earth and to speculate on ways of living with legacy geographies, such as oil fields and landfills, on a damaged planet. DESIGN EARTH’s projects have been included in solo and group exhibitions at Venice Architecture Biennale (2018 and 2016), Seoul Biennale, Oslo Triennale, Cooper Union Houghton Gallery, MIT Keller Gallery, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, Sursock Museum in Beirut, and Times Museum in Guangzhou, among others. In 2016, DESIGN EARTH was awarded the Architectural League Young Architects Prize. Select other distinctions include Boghossian Prize, Rougerie Foundation Award, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, ACSA Faculty Design Awards, and The Architect's Newspaper Best of Design Awards in Architectural Representation.

Rania's scholarship integrates geography and design in a methodology that brings together spatial history, geographic representation, projective design, and material public assemblies. She is co-author of Geographies of Trash (ACTAR, 2015), Two Cosmograms (MIT SA+P, 2016), and Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment (ACTAR, 2018). The design research publication Geographies of Trash charts the system of trash management across scales to propose five speculative projects that reclaim the forms, technologies, economies, and logistics of waste in the production of urbanism. The recently published Geostories is a manifesto for the environmental imagination that renders sensible the issues of climate change and through geographic fiction relate to the complexity of Earth systems in their vast scales of time and space and synthesize different forms and scales of knowledge on technological externalities, such as oil extraction, deep-sea mining, ocean acidification, water shortage, air pollution, space debris, and a host of other social-ecological issues.

A founding editor of the New Geographies journal, Rania edited NG2: Landscapes of Energy (Harvard GSD, 2010), which makes the case for energy as a spatial project and argues that the planning for energy transitions should examine and respond to the landscapes of the current fossil fuel system. Her current book project, Geographies of Oil across the Middle East, traces the biography of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, a transnational oil transport infrastructure, to document territorial transformations associated with the region’s incorporation into a global fossil fuel economy. Her essays and projects have been published in Volume, Avery ReviewJournal of Architectural Education, New Geographies, ARQ, San Rocco, MONU, Thresholds, [bracket] and as chapters in edited anthologies on infrastructure, energy, and regionalism, such as Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (Columbia GSAPP, 2016), Energy Accounts: Architectural Representations of Energy, Climate, and the Future (Routledge, 2016), and Infrastructure Space (Ruby Press, 2017). 

Rania's interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching is shaped in part by her academic formation in three spatial disciplines ­–architecture, urbanism,­ and geography­. She holds a Doctor of Design from Harvard University, Master in Geography from University College London, and a Bachelor of Architecture from American University of Beirut. Prior to joining Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rania was Assistant Professor at University of Michigan (2011-2014), which she joined after a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Boston University.