Sheila Kennedy: Fact Sheet

Sheila Kennedy, AIA

  • Principal: Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd.
  • Director of Design & Applied Research: MATx

Professional Memberships & Service

  • Registered Architect, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Registered Architect, State of New York
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • American Institute of Architects Latrobe Prize Committee (2010)
  • State Certified Minority & Woman Owned Business Enterprise (SOMWBA)
  • MIT Energy Initiative: Energy Education Task Force
  • Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction Expert (2010–2012)
  • US Department of Energy: 2020 Vison Leadership Committee
  • US Department of State Industry Advisory Group: Office of Overseas Building
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)
  • Mother of Twins Organization, Massachusetts


  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA 1985
    Master of Architecture, degree conferred with Award of Distinction
  • Ecole Normale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France 1981
    Architecture, 1st Degree Cycle – Unité Pédagogique No. 4
  • Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 1979
    B.A., College of Letters and the Department of Art: Joint Degree

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of the Practice of Architecture 2009
    MIT School of Architecture + Planning, Cambridge, MA
  • Kossman Thesis Critic & Lecturer 2014
    School of Architecture, Pennsylvania State University, PA
  • Vice Chancellor’s Lecturer & Professorship / 2014 World Architecture South Africa 2014
    Tshwane University, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Catalyst Studio Visiting Professor 2011
    University of Minnesota School of Architecture, Minneapolis, MN
  • Visiting Design Critic 2005–2008
    Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
  • Eliel Saarinen Professorship for Distinguished Practitioners in Architecture 2005
    Taubman School of Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Bruce Goff Chair of Innovation Professorship, University of Oklahoma 2004
    College of Architecture, Norman, OK
  • Friedman Visiting Professorship 2003
    Architecture Department, College of Environmental Design, Berkeley, CA
  • Visiting Professor, Southern California Institute of Architecture 1997
    Vertical Studio Program, Culver City, CA
  • Associate Professor, Director of the MArch II Program 1991–1994
    Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA

Selected Design Awards

  • Design Innovator Award 2014
    S. Kennedy receives the inaugural Design Innovator Award, a peer juried honor
    from Architectural Record
  • United States Brick in Architecture Award 2014
    KVA’s Tozzer Anthropology Building receives Best in Class First Award
    for innovative brick detailing
  • Venice Biennale, 2014 Fundamentals (Italy) 2014
    Soft House selected for “Office US” at the 2014 Biennale di Venezia
  • Architizer A+ Design Award 2014
    International Jury selects Soft House in Hamburg, GERMANY for top Award,
    Low-Rise Residential Projects
  • ArchitizerA+ Mobility Design Award Finalist 2014
    East 34th Street Public Ferry Terminal, New York City, NY
  • AIA New York Design Excellence Award 2014
    East 34th Street Public Ferry Terminal, New York City, NY
  • AIA BSA Housing Design Excellence Award (Germany) 2014
    Soft House low carbon live work housing, International Building Exhibition
    (IBA) Hamburg, Germany
  • ANEEL Innovation Grant: Luz Portátil Brasil (Brazil) 2014–
    Grant (ongoing) from Brazil’s national electric energy agency for manufacture of
    portable lighting and solar energy networks in Brazil’s Amazon with Instituto EDP,
    CERTI Foundation for Technology and Market Innovation
  • ArchitizerA+ Fabrication Design Award Finalist 2013
    Soft Rocker, Solar Charger Design, flat-to-form fabrication prototypes, MA
  • ArchitizerA+ Fabrication Design Award Finalist 2013
    Bent Wood Vault, self-supporting thin plywood structure for the Beaver School, MA
  • United States Brick in Architecture Award 2013
    UPenn Law School, Philadelphia, PA receives Best in Class First Award for
    innovative brick detailing
  • AIA BSA Unbuilt Architecture Design Award (South Korea) 2013
    Ocean (IN)Sight municipal water treatment facility, Yeosu, South Korea
  • AIA BSA Design Excellence Honor Award (Germany) 2013
    Soft House low carbon live work housing, International Building Exhibition
    (IBA) Hamburg, Germany
  • AIA BSA Design Excellence Honor Award 2013
    East 34th Street Public Ferry Terminal, New York City, NY
  • Urban Land Institute Public Space Award 2012
    National Design Award for best Public Open Space in the United States awarded
    for the design of the Birmingham Railroad Park, Birmingham, AL with landscape
    architect Tom Leader Studio, Berkeley, CA
  • International Energy Globe Award, First Prize (Austria) 2012
    The international jury, chaired by Maneka Gandhi, evaluated 1175 projects
    from 115 countries. The Portable Light Project was awarded a first prize for best
    energy project in the nation of Nicaragua
  • Minneapolis 21st Century Riverfront Competition, First Place Winner 2011
    The RIVERFIRST Project for the Upper Mississippi River, a collaboration
    of KVA MATx with Tom Leader Studio selected by jurors from the US National
    Parks, the City of Minneapolis and the Walker Art Museum
  • Buckminster Fuller Institute Award Finalist 2011
    Portable Light Project chosen as an Award Finalist for the Trim Tab Challenge Prize
  • AIA BSA 10th Annual Women in Design Award 2011
  • International Building Exhibition (IBA) Hamburg Competition, First Place Winner 2010
    KVA MATx Soft House IBA selected as wining
    competition entry, Construction completed, 2013
  • Michael Kalil Endowment Smart Design Award 2010
    Awarded to KVA Matx by Parsons/ The New School for Design, New York, NY
  • AIA BSA Design Award 2010
    UPenn Motion Capture Laboratories Honorable Mention
  • International INDEX Award Finalist 2009
    Portable Light Project chosen as category finalist in “Work” category
  • United States Congress Certificate of Recognition 2009
    Awarded for design and innovation in clean energy
  • The Tech Museum Laureate Award 2008
    Awarded an Accenture Economic Development Laureate Award for the
    Portable Light Project
  • The Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award 2008
    Awarded for the Convia Smart Building System, designed for Herman Miller, Inc
  • Architect Magazine R + D Award 2007
    Awarded for Soft House, by Architecture Magazine, New York City, NY
  • AIA/ALA National Library Building Award for Design Excellence 2003
    Awarded for the design of the Shady Hill School Library, Cambridge,
    MA“Hollow Walls” research and performance, Cambridge , MA
  • Arts and Civic Dialogue Fellowship 2000
    With Anna Deavera Smith and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American
  • AIA National Honor Award for Design Excellence 2000
    Awarded for the design of the Theater District Master Plan, Boston, MA
  • Bunting Fellowship Award, Bunting Institute for Advanced Study, Radcliffe
    College, Cambridge MA

Selected Writings

  • “Going Soft” Essay and projects by Sheila Kennedy 2013
    Bracket 2: Brackett Goes Soft, (Amazon) Editors; Neeraj Bhatia, Lola Sheppard of
    Lateral office
  • Essay “Intersecting Ecologies” by Sheila Kennedy 2012
    Ecological Urban Infrastructure, Schropfer, Thomas, Birkhauser Press, Basil, 2012
  • The Material Turn”, Essay by S. Kennedy 2012
    Working at Full Scale, Anzalone, Philip, Ed., et al, Columbia University Press, New York
  • Essay “Soft Cities” by Sheila Kennedy 2010
    Ecological Urbanism, Mostafavi, Mohsen, Doherty, Gareth, eds. , Lars Muller
    Publishers, New York, 2010
  • Future Forecast: Scattered Fabrications with a Chance of Agency2009
    Essay by S. Kennedy responds to questions posed by Ana Miljacki , PhD; MIT
    Associate Professor of Architecture
    Uncertain Futures; Miljacki, Ana; ed. , SA+P Press, Cambridge, 2009
  • Praxis Issue 6, New Architectures//New Technologies 2008
    Essay by S. Kennedy, “Electricity, the Fairy and the Hollow Wall”
  • Design and the Elastic Mind, the Portable Light Project 2008
    Exhibition and Catalogue, MoMA, New York, 2008
  • Essay “Leapfrog: Design Strategies for Global Innovation” by Sheila Kennedy 2008
    Design for the Other 90%, Smith, Cynthia, ed., Smithsonian, New York, 2008
  • Open House: Architecture for intelligent Living, Prototypes by KVA Matx 2007
    Vitra Design Museum, Eisenbrand, Jochen, von Vegesack Alexander, Essen, 2007
  • Material Misuse, KVA Work and Writings by S. Kennedy 2004
    Architectural Association Press, London; 2004

Selected Media

Selected Projects & Built Work

  • The Global Flora Collection (Construction, May 2015)
    The Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses
    Wellesley College, MA
  • The Chrysanthemum Building (Construction, September 2014)
    Mixed use low carbon residential development
    Rafi Properties, Boston, MA
  • IBA Soft House
    Work/Live low carbon residential development
    International BauAustellung, (IBA) Hamburg, Germany
  • East 34th St Public Ferry Terminal
    Multi-modal Ferry terminal for NYC sustainable waterfront initiative
    NYC EDC, NYC DOT, NYC DPR, Manhattan, NY
  • Luz Portátil Brasil
    Portable Light Project to implement a portable, clean energy network in Brazil’s Amazon region
    Instituto EDP, IADB, IDEAAS, Projeto Saúde & Alegria and CERTI Institute for Innovation, Brazil
  • RIVERFIRST Initiative
    Multidisciplinary design for the sustainable remediation and development of 5.5 miles of industrial river lands
    US National Parks, City Of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN
  • Ocean (In)Sight
    Ocean education and municipal water remediation facility
    Yeosu City Ocean Exhibition, South Korea
  • Tozzer Anthropology Building
    Transformative, adaptive re-use for Anthropology offices, collegial spaces and Library
    Harvard University Department of Anthropology, Cambridge, MA
  • Collaborative Sciences Wing
    Flexible learning spaces and classrooms for Biology, Physics and Botany
    The Beaver School, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Bent Wood Vault
    Space making, structural vault of ¼” plywood, Flat to form fabrication
    The Beaver School, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Soft Cities Project
    Sustainable rehabilitation and retrofit study for the UNESCO Casa Burguesa District
    MITEI, FAUP, Porto, Portugal
  • The North Bennet Street School
    Urban manufacturing facility for internationally renowned craft school
    The North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Golkin Hall
    Design to support 21st century collaborative, interdisciplinary law education
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • University of Pennsylvania Motion Capture Labs
    Flexible research and laboratory work space, with “Virtual Companion” Installation
    University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering, Philadelphia, PA
  • Harvard Film & Video Headquarters
    Film production, screening and classrooms, with “Real Time Skylight”
    Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Cambridge, MA
  • Convia Smart Building System
    Design of ceiling track that enables users to save energy and customize workspace
    Herman Miller Inc., Los Angeles, CA
  • Madden Dance Theatre
    The Wheeler School, Providence, RI