Rania’s research and teaching engage the territories of technological systems to open aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism. Her scholarship integrates geography and design in a methodology that brings together spatial history, geographic representation, projective design, and public assemblies. She is co-author of Geographies of Trash (Actar, 2015) and Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment (Actar, 2018). The design research publication Geographies of Trash charts the system of trash management across scales to propose five speculative projects that reclaim the forms, technologies, economies, and logistics of waste in the production of urbanism. The recently published Geostories is a manifesto for an environmental imagination that renders sensible the issues of climate change through geographic fiction on technological externalities, such as oil extraction, deep-sea mining, ocean acidification, water shortage, air pollution, space debris, and a host of other social-ecological issues.
Her practice DESIGN EARTH explores aesthetic forms of environmental engagement–notably the architectural drawing, exhibition, and publication–to visualize how technological systems change the Earth and to speculate on ways of living with legacy geographies, such as oil fields and landfills. Through a series of sponsored research projects, award-winning international competition entries, and biennial commissions, they have developed a distinct aesthetic design research method. DESIGN EARTH was commissioned to contribute to Venice Architecture Biennale–US Pavilion and Kuwait Pavilion, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Boston Design Biennale, Oslo Architecture Triennale, Sharjah Biennial. They also contributed to exhibitions, including Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; Sursock Museum, Beirut; Times Museum, Guangzhou; Le Lieu Unique, Nantes and Milano Triennale. Their work was also presented in many university galleries, including solo shows at Cooper Union Houghton Gallery and MIT Keller Gallery, with the related Two Cosmograms exhibition catalog (MIT SA+P, 2016). Their work is in the NY Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and was at the Met Museum’s symposium on the most exciting and critical spatial projects of the year.
Her work is widely recognized, including the New York Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, Boghossian Prize, and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Awards for outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a critical endeavor. Her practice has also received Jacques Rougerie Foundation’s First Prize for “Neck of the Moon,” and numerous honorable mentions, including Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards in Representation–digital and analog. Her research has been funded by Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, University of Michigan Research on the City, Fay Chandler Faculty Creativity Seed Grant.
A founding editor of the New Geographies journal, Rania edited NG2: Landscapes of Energy (Harvard GSD, 2010), which makes the case for energy as a spatial project and argues that the planning for energy transitions should examine and respond to the landscapes of the current fossil fuel system. Her current book project, Geographies of Oil across the Middle East, traces the biography of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, a transnational oil transport infrastructure, to document territorial transformations associated with the region’s incorporation into a global fossil fuel economy. Her essays and projects have been published in Perspecta, Volume, Domus, Avery Review, Journal of Architectural Education, New Geographies, ARQ, San Rocco, MONU, Science Fiction Studies, Thresholds, [bracket] and as chapters in edited anthologies on infrastructure, energy, and regionalism, such as Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (Columbia GSAPP, 2016), Energy Accounts: Architectural Representations of Energy, Climate, and the Future (Routledge, 2016), and Infrastructure Space (Ruby Press, 2017).
Her interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching is shaped in part by her academic formation in architecture, urbanism, and geography. She holds a Doctor of Design from Harvard University, Master in Geography from University College London, and a Bachelor of Architecture from American University of Beirut. Prior to joining Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rania was Assistant Professor at University of Michigan (2011-2014), which she joined after a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Boston University.