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Identity, Space, and Power
Anti-Racism Collective Lecture Series
Zoom Webinar

The Anti-Racism Collective presents a panel “Identity, Space, and Power” with Rekha Auguste-Nelson, co-founder, riffstudio; Nathan Friedman, co-founder, Departamento del Distrito, and Wortham Fellow at Rice Architecture; and Ghazal Jafari, founding director, OPEN SYSTEMS, and assistant professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Virginia, at 12:00 p.m. via Zoom as part of the Anti-Racism Collective Lecture Series.

Rekha Auguste-Nelson is a designer of protective housing, encompassing secret compartments, hidden rooms and escape mechanisms.

She received a Master of Architecture I with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2018. She was a Dean’s Merit Scholar and recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership, service and professional merit.

Trained in furniture-making at the North Bennet Street School, Rekha served as head technical assistant for the GSD fabrication lab from 2016 to 2018. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history with honors from Harvard College in 2013.

Rekha is a co-founder of

Nathan Friedman is cofounder of the Mexico City based design practice Departamento del Distrito and a 2021-2023 Wortham Fellow at the Rice University School of Architecture. Working at the intersection of politics, identity and the built environment, his practice engages writing, speculative proposals, and architecture research in addition to commissioned projects. His research on the 19th-century constitution of the US-Mexico border and its material history is currently on view at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and was previously presented through the exhibition Attending Limits at the WUHO Gallery, Los Angeles and the Bibliowicz Family Gallery, Cornell University. Departamento del Distrito was an official contributor to the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial, presenting Miracles, Now at the Graham Foundation. The installation seeks opportunities of recovery and reinvention within the remains of architectural projects constructed during the so-called Milagro Mexicano or “Mexican Miracle.” Friedman holds an S.M.Arch.S. degree from the Department of History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art at MIT and a B.Arch. from Cornell University.

Dr. Ghazal Jafari is an award-winning designer, spatial historian, and territorial scholar in exile, originally trained as an architect and urban designer. Her research focuses on spatial and environmental justice, racialized geographies, infrastructures of domination, feminist theories, immigrant narratives, and non-Western spatial discourses. Originally of Persian and Azeri descent and currently living in the United States, Dr. Jafari left Iran due to political and socio-environmental violence and have since been documenting the complex, multi-dimensional, and transnational facets of systemic dispossession and heteropatriarchy that prevail in the Afro-Asiatic regions (’Middle East’) and the Americas, whose underlying code of supremacy is entrenched in territorial and infrastructural violence against peoples and the Land. She is the founding director of Miyān Rudān/ميان‌ رودان (’Between Rivers’ in Farsi), a territorial initiative based in the river systems of Karun, Karkheh, Tigris, and Euphrates in borderlands of Iran and Iraq. Dr. Jafari is a founding director of OPEN SYSTEMS / Landscape Infrastructure Lab, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to opening the knowledge of complex ecological challenges and raising awareness about geopolitical conflicts at the intersection of environmental justice, spatial inequality, climate adaptation, and community self-determination. She is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Virginia.

Building Identities

Construction of physical structures is inseparable from the construction of human identities. Rice Architecture aims to broaden our understanding of building construction and identity formation as two interrelated processes, seeking to close the gap between the social and the formal in the field of architecture and our world more broadly. Reflecting the pluralism of Houston as the most diverse city in the United States, Building Identities advances the agency of architecture in a new multicultural world. We believe this is an urgent theme for our school, our community, and our field at large.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Except for virtual events, all lectures will be held in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall, Rice Architecture, unless otherwise noted, with a livestream available. For more information and to access the livestream links and virtual events registration page, visit Each lecture is available for one AIA/CES Learning Unit.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Llewelyn-Davies Sahni Fund for the Rice School of Architecture, the Betty R. and the George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund, the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture, the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund, and Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the public programs and outreach arm of Rice Architecture.


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