Leif Estrada is a dual-degree candidate for an advanced post-professional Master in Design Studies concentrating on Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology (MDesS-ULE '16), and a professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA I AP '16) at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He is interested in the evolving morphological ecology produced by the dialectical milieu of the "urban" and the "non-urban;" and nature’s capacity to adapt and respond to disturbance caused by the hybrid of the synthetic and the organic. His research lies in the social construction of the “natural” and the “synthetic,” with a particular interest on the successive new ecologies of the LA River.
Aside from his main thesis, he is interested in utilizing cartographic representations and visualizations in developing theoretical frameworks, most especially in urban theory, which he is able to pursue in the Urban Theory Lab. He received an Honorable Mention at the 2014 National Geographic Award in Mapping administered by the Cartography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, followed by the Howard Fisher Prize in Geographic Information Science awarded by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University during his first year.
He received his Bachelor of Architecture (BArch '12) degree from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, with High Distinction and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. His academic project, Peel27, was the sole student project to receive the Citation Award for the Unbuilt Category at the 2012 AIASF Design Awards.
Internationally, he collaborated with Princeton University architecture students in Athens, an artist residency at the Récollets in Paris, a design volunteer through Architecture for Humanity in Haiti, and an international design competition at the Venice Architectural Association through the IUAV. The winning design was later exhibited at the 2012 “Common Ground” exhibition at the Venice Biennale. He serves as an international student ambassador for the VAA.
Pedagogically, he taught as a Teaching Fellow at the Boston Architectural College's 2014 Summer Academy program, served as TF and TA at Harvard University and California College of the Arts. He is currently a researcher working under Bradley Cantrell at the Harvard GSD's REAL (Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab) on digital sensing and visualization.
Professionally, he has worked for both architecture and landscape firms including Visible Research Office, SWA Group and GYA Architects. He was part of the design team on various landscape and master-planning projects including the Estadio Itaquera (2014 FIFA World Cup Stadium) and the revitalization project of Victoria Ward Center in Honolulu, HI.
website: leif-estrada.com (under construction)