We are a team of architects, artists, builders, researchers, educators, filmmakers and humanitarians. Our story began in 2014, when we supported refugee children in Lebanon through the provision of safer and stimulating educational spaces. Today, we are still working with the most vulnerable communities in the Middle East and Europe to improve and shape together the quality of their built environment.

Members

Joana is an architect, urban designer and researcher. She has valuable experience in architecture in development, sustainable design, cultural heritage, migration and human rights in the Middle East.
Her recent work revolves around working closely with displaced and host communities in Lebanon to co-design places. She collaborated on various research projects with international universities.
She authored multiple academic publications.

Joana Dabaj

Principal Coordinator

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Riccardo is an architect and urban designer with experience in research, design and planning in different countries such as Lebanon, Kenya, Italy and UK. Throughout his career he explored and developed various people-centered design approaches focusing on how to address inequality through design. Riccardo has published academic papers reflecting on the practical experience of his work at CatalyticAction. He has presented his work on design, participation and development at multiple international conferences.

Riccardo Luca Conti

Executive Director

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Giulia holds a MSc in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano.
Through her work, she aims to improve the living conditions of vulnerable communities focusing on sustainable development and human centred-design.
In her recent experiences, across different countries such as Italy, Chile and India, she developed several projects with a strong social impact, in collaboration with no-profit organisations and design firms.

Giulia Galli

Lead Architect

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Dima Mabsout’s creative practice has been evolving over the past decade, traversing educational, psychosocial, and political realms. She is interested in how the arts can bridge between experiences, disciplines and across social structures, and has led and collaborated on projects with diverse international communities on socially engaged art interventions in Lebanon. Dima holds a BA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, London, an MA in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dima Mabsout

Art & Education Programme Consultant

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Ronan has a diverse career combining both construction and media production. His experience on site brings with it both practical implementation skills and pre-phase planning knowledge. Advising and assisting on UK HSE guidance for safe systems of work; to improve the wider levels of safety on our site.

Ronan Glynn

H&S Supervisor

Ramona holds a masters in architecture from the Lebanese University, with a passion for merging between architecture, activism and human-centred design. She’s a founding member of Architects for Change. Her passion for gender equality and women’s rights got her into representing MENA region at G(irls)20 Summit in Germany in 2017 where she voiced the stereotyping and discrimination against women in STEM fields and specifically in architecture; and to be chosen as a Women Deliver Young Leader in 2018.

Ramona Abdallah

Architect Consultant

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Sara holds a masters in architectural engineering from Beirut Arab University. A mother of two, trying to make the balance between raising her kids and being active in her domain. Her main interest is in humanitarian architecture and looking for ways design can enhance social cohesion; currently doing a PhD on this topic. She participated in various research including: using design-build methods in architectural education, engaging children in the design process and designing transitional shelters for displaced communities.

Sara Maassarani

Local Coordinator & Architect

Ghina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Beirut Arab University and is a LEED Green Associate. She’s very passionate about creating architecture that integrates sustainability, has users’ experience and well-being at heart, and empowers communities. She was active after the Beirut blast in several post-blast recovery projects. She has led and participated in various local and international initiatives like Architects for Change, TEDxBAUDebbieh and United People Global.

Ghina Kanawati

Architect & Researcher

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Assaad is a passionate young architect. He completed his MSc in Architecture from the Holy-Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon. He worked on multiple projects in Lebanon. Most recently he has been working in Beirut to support the reconstruction works after the Beirut Blast. In his personal time, Assaad is an avid baker. He runs a micro bakery specializing in sourdough creation.

Assaad El Hakim

Architect

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Jacopo achieved a MSc in Architecture with the final project “Building Peace in Mosul. A propulsion system for returnees”. With this project he won the 2nd prize of the “Tamayouz International Graduation Project Award” and a mention in the Emergency’s “Design against war” international competition. Jacopo believes in architecture that guarantees the rights of survival, coexistence, and prosperity of every human being.

Jacopo Donato

Architect

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Aishath has a background in Development Studies. Her research has looked at how marginalised communities may attain equal rights within urban environments, as well as sustainable supply chains within the cotton industry. She has experience working in migration, social enterprise and community facing roles. Aishath holds an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from SOAS, University of London, and an MA(Hons) in History from The University of Edinburgh.

Aishath Green

Communications Coordinator

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Elena is an architect from the Polytechnic University of Madrid with a specialization in Cooperation and Basic Habitability. In 2013 she participated in the habitat workshop organized by Vastu Shilpa Foundation in Ahmedabad, India. In addition to architecture, she is also interested in teaching as a tool to improve the conditions of most vulnerable people and communities. She is currently based in Madrid where she collaborates in architectural and social projects.

Elena Brunete

Architect Consultant

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Board of Trustees

Emanuela has more than 10 years experience in programme management in the Levant (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, OPT) and East Africa with a specific focus on protection issues. She is currently Programme Development and Quality Director at Save the Children International and in the past she has worked for international organisations such as Terre des Hommes and INTERSOS. Emanuela has a strong track record in project delivery from both an execution and stakeholder management perspective.

Emanuela Rizzo

Programme Development and Quality Director at Save the Children International

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Andrea has a background in development studies and research, consultancy and project management experience in several countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Bolivia and the Philippines. He lived in Kenya for four years, working and researching in the informal settlements of Nairobi as a project manager for an NGO, consultant for UN-Habitat, and as a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi.

Andrea Rigon

Associate Professor at University College of London

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Andrew Hilton RIBA ARB BA (Hons) Architecture, Dip Arch, PG (Dip) Architectural Practice. Andrew has 20 years professional experience working in Architecture and Urban Design with projects around the UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East and China. In 2008 he co-founded Urban Synthesis (UK) Ltd which has grown to have offices in UK and China delivering hundreds of hectares of socio-ecological and sustainable urban design and urban planning projects each year.

Andrew Hilton

Architect and Lecturer at Birmingham City University

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Sandra is an architect whose work aims to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable. Since joining the IFRC in 2009 she has worked on large-scale reconstruction efforts in Colombia Haiti Ecuador Mozambique Sri Lanka and promoted recovery plans that embrace green response improved local building practices and designed tailored technical trainings for staff and volunteers. She has extensively written publication and articles on post-disaster reconstruction architecture and human dignity.

Sandra D’Urzo

Senior Officer with the Shelter and Settlements Unit of the IFRC

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Founders

Joana Dabaj

BSc, MSc Architecture and Urban Design

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Riccardo Luca Conti

BSc, MSc Architecture and Urban Design

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Laura Antona

BSc, MSc, PhD Architecture and Urban Design

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