Rahel Shawl, Founder and Principal of RAAS Architects – blends her industry know-how with her passion for people and identity, constantly using architecture to bring about positive impact. A graduate of the Addis Ababa University, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (now EIABC) and a 2017 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, she has been involved in the design of an impressive body of work, including Residential, Institutional, Educational, Hospitality, Health Care, Industrial, and Landscape works. Her wide range of experience results from engaging on collaborative design works with local and international colleagues, partners and clients. She has received numerous accolades, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 for her work as architect of record on the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa; the Association of Ethiopian Architects (AEA) best Architecture Piece Award in 2017 for her collaborative works on the South African Embassy in Addis Ababa; and the Abyssinia Award for Social Engagement in the fields of Architecture and Engineering in 2017. In 2018 Rahel was named finalist for the Dorfman Award at the Royal Institute of Art in the UK and most recently, her practice RAAS has been selected as one of the 50 best architecture firms 2020 by DOMUS magazine.
Born and raised in the United States, Chen is a curator, professor, writer and creative director who has served in multiple leadership roles. He is currently based in Rotterdam in his role as the General and Artistic Director of 'Het Nieuwe Instituut', the Dutch national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture. Chen is also transitioning from his role as Professor and founding Director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai, where he and his team have worked to re-centre design histories while investigating evolving curatorial strategies within the context of contemporary China. In addition, he previously served as Curatorial Director of the Design Miami fairs in Basel, Switzerland, and Miami Beach, USA, where he brought exhibitions and conversations around post-nature design and American identities into the fair. He has earned an international reputation as an independent curator, working with museums, biennials, and other venues globally.
Marlene Wagner graduated with honours in architecture from the Vienna University of Technology and co-founded the non-profit practice buildCollective for architecture and development. Realising international design-build projects of educational, cultural and technical infrastructures in collaboration with universities, non-governmental organisation, community initiatives and various public and private partnerships between Europe and Africa. She has taught, among others at the University of Applied Sciences Carinthia, the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg and the University of Art and Design Linz and worked for example with organisations like Education Africa, Caritas or the Vienna Centre for Technology and Society. Within the research group Multidisciplinary Design & User Research she developed formats of learning and tools of engagement in the establishment of an Urban Mobility Lab. Her work is framed by critical spatial practice, research and teaching on social architectures and transformative processes connecting designing and building, participatory action and artistic research.
Prior to joining the Julius Baer Foundation, Nathalie led an action research unit in East Africa for 4 years. She was a Marie Curie Global Fellow and worked for the last 15 years in research and project implementation. Nathalie is passionate about reducing inequalities, understanding urban vulnerabilities and leading positive urban transformation in the South. After graduating from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, she obtained her Masters degree in Urban Studies from the Bauhaus University and a Doctorate in Urban Planning and waste management. Nathalie has an extensive international background. Her work experience includes environmental education on organic waste management in Mexico and Australia; vulnerability assessment in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Tanzania; transdisciplinary work in Germany as well as inequalities and urban transformation in Tanzania.
Currently, she oversees 13 wealth inequality projects worldwide, she impulses social enterprises with a clear sense of purpose and co-develops impactful projects in particular in Latin America and Africa. She advise funders on sustainable giving/investment approaches and matches them with the right organisation.
Stacy Passmore is a Principal and Co-Founder of Superbloom, a landscape architecture practice that designs large-scale public and cultural landscapes. Stacy has 15 years of experience in the fields of urban design, architecture and landscape urbanism in the U.S., Canada and West Africa. Her work explores field-based methods of research, understanding that environments and communities are deeply dynamic and require designs that engage with conditions of change. Working at multiple scales of reading and representing landscapes, Stacy’s recent projects focus on the resiliency of hydrological landscapes and the potential for design approaches that reconsider the relationships between humans and ecological systems. Stacy received a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Masters of Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia.