degree with distinction, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design;
Bachelor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon, College of Fine Arts
Phoebe Crisman is Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where she teaches design studios and lectures on architectural theory, urbanism and sustainability. Crisman is Director of the cross-university, interdisciplinary Global Sustainability Minor program and co-director of the UVA India Initiative. She is also on the Faculty of the Interdisciplinary Major in Environmental Thought and Practice and an Associated Faculty member of the South Asia Center in the UVA College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Educated at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Carnegie Mellon, Crisman conducted post-graduate research as a Fulbright Fellow in the Netherlands. A licensed architect and urbanist with over twenty-five years of professional experience, she practiced with firms in Chicago, Cambridge and Hong Kong prior to establishing Crisman+Petrus Architects. Her professional work, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the Discovery Museum and Urban Bridges, has been widely published and has received numerous design awards.
In her teaching, research and practice, Crisman focuses on the design of sustainable relationships between specific cultures and built environments. Her newest research project, the India Initiative, focuses on the specific challenges and opportunites found in the emerging megacities and enduring villages of the Indian subcontinent. This research works across scales from the city to the architectural detail. One aspect of her work engages fragmentary and overlooked places, processes and materials. She has published numerous essays, including "From industry to culture: leftovers, time and material transformation in four contemporary museums" in The Journal of Architecture (UK); "Outside the Frame: A Critical Analysis of Urban Image Surveys" in Places; and "Working on the Elizabeth River" in the Journal of Architectural Education. She has written several book chapters, including "Environmental and Social Action in the Studio" in Agency: Working with Uncertain Architectures (Routledge, 2010), "A Case for Openness" in The Hand and the Soul: Aesthetics and Ethics in Architecture and Art (University of Virginia Press, 2009), and "Inhabiting the Edge: Architecture and Transport Infrastructure Intertwined" in Peripheries (Routledge, 2012). Along with M. Gillem, she edited The Value of Design (ACSA Press, 2009). Crisman received the Journal of Architectural Education Best Design as Scholarship Article Award in 2009.
In her design practice, Crisman explores eco-effective design strategies that incorporate complex infrastructure systems, greater land use density, site specificity and community planning. She explored these issues in the Urban Bridges project by designing a series of sustainable, high-density bridge buildings over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston. Crisman began this agenda while transforming a 27-building abandoned industrial complex into the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) with Bruner/Cott & Associates.
Since 2004 Crisman has been designing strategies for the co-existence of waterfront industry and ecological regeneration in several projects along the Elizabeth River in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Funded by a Virginia Environmental Endowment Grant, she completed a Sustainable Revitalization Plan for 330 acres of industrial land at Money Point, in collaboration with The Elizabeth River Project and the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation. Crisman+Petrus Architects received the 2007 EDRA/Places Planning Award for their work on the Money Point Plan and the project was featured in the Winter 2007 issue of Places journal. Crisman was awarded the VSAIA Prize for Design Research & Scholarship by the Virginia Society AIA in 2008. Currently she is working on the design of several off-the-grid structures for the Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth, VA.
Crisman led a multidisciplinary team of UVA students and diverse community partners to design and fabricate the Learning Barge — a floating, self-sustaining environmental education field station on the Elizabeth River. Construction was completed in September 2009 and the Elizabeth River Project, an environmental ngo, offers popular daily field trips are offered to area school children and adults. The project has received numerous design awards, including the NCARB Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy, National Student Collaborative Design Award from the American Institute of Landscape Architects, Go Green Honor Award from the James River Green Building Council, and the Youth Council for Sustainable Science and Technology P3 Design Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The Learning Barge team won the US EPA P3 Sustainability Award in a 2007 competition on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Most recently, the project was honored with an Excellence on the Waterfront Award from The Waterfront Center.
In acknowledgment of her innovative teaching, Crisman received the 2008 Collaborative Practice Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the 2008 AIA Education Award from the American Institute of Architects. During Spring 2010 she sailed around the world teaching on Semester at Sea's Sustainability voyage. Crisman was elected as Southeast Director to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Board of Directors and is a member of the University of Virginia Press Board of Directors. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).