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Mitchell Joachim - Biography

Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., born February 3, 1972, is a professor at the European Graduate School EGS. He was the Frank Gehry Visiting Chair at the University of Toronto and a professor at Syracuse University. Mitchell Joachim was a lecturer at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and Parsons, The New School of Design (2008-2009). Mitchell Joachim is a Co-Founder of Terreform ONE and Terrefuge in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his Phd from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MAUD Harvard University, M.Arch. Columbia University, BPS SUNY at Buffalo with Honors. He is an international leader and innovator in ecological design and urbanism. He specializes in adapting physical and social ecological principles to architecture, urban design, transport, and environmental planning. His passions include Cities Ecology and Mobility. A former architect at Gehry Partners, and Pei Cobb Freed, his work has revolutionized urban architecture.

He has been awarded the Moshe Safdie Research Fellowship, and the Martin Family Society Fellow for Sustainability at MIT. He won the History Channel and Infiniti Excellence Award for the City of the Future. His project, Fab Tree Hab, has been exhibited at MoMA and widely published. He was selected to be the Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design at the University of Toronto for 2009-2010. Mitchell has also won the TED2010 Fellowship.

Mitchell Joachim is co-founder of Terreform ONE. Terreform is a Brooklyn based non-profit group that re-imagines New York City as an ecological sustainable community. Creating a provocative vision for the future of New York he imagines a completely self-sufficient New York powered by rooftop solar panels and wind turbines. This project is a primordial soup that Joachim hopes leads to many future debates attending to the long reaching visions of blending urban design with natural ecologies. Terreform ONE is a unique laboratory for scientists, artists, architects, students, and individuals of all backgrounds to explore and advance the larger framework of green design. The group develops innovative solutions and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, water, and media spaces. Terreform ONE won the Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment.

The Studio of Terreform ONE designed "Fab Tree Hab," a home that fits itself into every aspect of local eco-systems. A holistic dwelling that considers its landscape the "Fab Tree Hab" literally grows. The home is made through the use of an ancient gardening technique that grafts plants and trees together.

Joachim's revolutionary ideas to solve suburban sprawl includes a "linear burb," where highways become home to nomadic homes that drift between communities where they can take up residence at any time. Hoping to continue the American spirit of mobility these nomadic dwellings provide an alternative to the contemporary suburbs which Joachim hopes will rot in times to come. His work revolves around solving the problems of global warming and urban growth. Fitting out the interstates could include geothermal, wind and solar projects to create a renewable intelligent mobility structure. Through re-conceptualizing the city, from infrastructure, mobility systems to designing vehicles, cars, trains and public housing he boldly pursues the challenges of today's world.

His architectural acts are admittedly activist. His futurist work radicalizes the mainstream green movement. Joachim takes issue with the term 'sustainability', a term he sees as being ambiguous and unfitting for the ever changing nature and winning characteristics of the environmentalist movement. Instead he proposes the term socio-ecological which points to social justice and the policies associated with it while carrying the weight of ecological science. Looking to the danger of global warming he hopes to engages temporal analysis that breaches the long term. Glaring into the future he is envisioning the future of architecture and its relationship to humanity and the global ecological system.

At MIT part of Joachim's dissertation work focused on creating the car of the future. Addressing mobility for the future he looked to many concepts or kind of a lexicon of ideas instead of creating a singular answer. One answer was to change the shiny metal materials that box today's cars. His answer involves using more social materials and soft designs that focus on pleasured motion. In the future Joachim tries to imagine a gentle congestion in which individuals move within intelligent frameworks that are sensitive to the needs of the expanding human population. His work with future cars decreases the speed of cars, softens the materials and increasing the safety. His work led to winning the Time Magazine Best Invention of the Year (2007) Compacted Car with MIT Smart Cities.

Joachim’s work has gained him an international audience and he has appeared on The Colbert Report, Discovery Channel, and various other radio and television programs. He was chosen by Wired magazine for "The 2008 Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To". Rolling Stone magazine honored Mitchell as an agent of change in "The 100 People Who Are Changing America".

"We want to put the funk into functionalism. But if it doesn't make sense to Homer Simpson, it won't work." Joachim says in an interview with Christopher Hume (2010).

Mitchell Joachim is a Professor of Architecture at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts an Intensive Summer Seminar.