Professor of Architecture at The European Graduate School / EGS.
Mitchell Joachim (b. 1972) is an international leader and innovator in ecological design and urbanism whose work has revolutionized urban architecture. He specializes in adapting physical and social-ecological principles to architecture, urban design, transport, and environmental planning.
Mitchell Joachim is a professor of architecture at The European Graduate School / EGS and an associate professor at New York University. He was the Frank Gehry Visiting Chair at the University of Toronto and a professor at Syracuse University. In addition, he was a lecturer at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and at Parsons The New School of Design. Mitchell Joachim earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) from Harvard University, a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, and a BPS with Honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has worked as an architect at Gehry Partners LLP and Pei Cobb Freed and has co-authored the books Super Cells: Building with Biology (2014) and Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned (2014). For his work, Mitchell Joachim has been awarded the Moshe Safdie Research Fellowship, and he was named the Martin Family Society Fellow for Sustainability at MIT. He has won the History Channel and Infiniti Excellence Award for the City of the Future, and the TED2010 Senior Fellowship. His project “Fab Tree Hab” has been exhibited at the MoMA and widely published.
Mitchell Joachim is the co-founder of Terreform ONE, a Brooklyn based non-profit group that re-imagines New York City as an ecologically sustainable community. Creating a provocative vision for the future of New York, he imagines a completely self-sufficient city powered by rooftop solar panels and wind turbines. The project hopes to spark debates on how to blend urban design with natural ecologies in the long run. 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 has won the Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment, the AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, the Victor Papanek Social Design Award, and the Architizer A+ Award. One of the studio’s high-profile designs was “Fab Tree Hab”, a home that fits itself into every aspect of local ecosystems. A holistic dwelling that takes its surrounding landscape into consideration, the home is made out of an ancient gardening technique that grafts plants and trees together, so that it literally continues to grow.
One of Mitchell Joachim’s revolutionary ideas to solve suburban sprawl includes a “linear burb” where highways become home to nomadic dwellings that drift between communities in which they can take up residence at any time. Hoping to continue the American spirit of mobility, these nomadic homes provide an alternative to the contemporary suburbs, which Joachim hopes will eventually disappear. Much of his work revolves around solving the problems of global warming and urban growth. One such project involves fitting out interstates to include geothermal, wind, and solar elements to create a renewable, intelligent mobility structure. By re-conceptualizing the city—from infrastructure and mobility systems to vehicles, cars, trains, and public housing—Joachim boldly pursues the challenges of today’s world. His architectural acts are admittedly activist, and seek to radicalize the mainstream green movement. Taking issue with the term “sustainability,” which he deems ambiguous and unfitting for the environmentalist movement, Mitchell Joachim instead proposes the term “socio-ecological,” which points to social justice and its associated policies while carrying the weight of ecological science. In view of the danger of global warming, he hopes to foster an approach that allows for long-term considerations. Looking ahead, he envisions a future of architecture as defined in relation to humanity and the global ecological system.
At MIT, part of Mitchell Joachim’s dissertation focused on creating the car of the future. Addressing mobility for the future, he looked at many concepts and created a kind of lexicon of ideas instead of a single answer. One of his ideas was to change the shiny metal materials boxing in today’s cars, by using more social materials and softer 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. Seeking to decrease the speed of cars, soften their materials, and increase their safety, his Compacted Car with MIT Smart Cities won Time Magazine’s Best Invention of the Year (2007).
Mitchell Joachim’s work has gained 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,” while Rolling Stone magazine honored him as an agent of change in “The 100 People Who Are Changing America.” Dwell magazine featured Joachim as one of “The NOW 99” in 2012. “We want to put the funk into functionalism. But if it doesn’t make sense to Homer Simpson, it won’t work,” Mitchell Joachim says in an interview with Christopher Hume (2010).
Envisioning Ecological Cities: The Sci-Fi Based Solution to Climate Change
Joachim, Mitchell. “Envisioning Ecological Cities: The Sci-Fi Based Solution to Climate Change.” In Ecological Urbanism, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty. Lars Müller Publishers, 2010. ISBN: 3037781890
Joachim, Mitchell. “Terrefuge.” In Architecture of Change 2: Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment, edited by K. Feireiss and L. Feireiss. Die Gestalten Verlag, 2009. ISBN: 3899552636.
Super Cilia Skin
Joachim, Mitchell, Hayes Raffle, and James Tichenor. “Super Cilia Skin.” In Transmaterial 2, edited by Blaine Brownell. Princeton Architectural Press, 2008. ISBN: 1568987226
Go Figure Somerville
Joachim, Mitchell, and Michael Sorkin. “Go Figure Somerville.” In EDGE as CENTER; Envisioning the post-industrial landscape, edited by Anya Bokov. 2007. ISBN: 9780979867903
City Car: A New Design Approach Enabling Urban Mobility
Joachim, Mitchell, Ryan Chin, Patrik Künzler, William Lark, and Smart Cities Group. “City Car: A New Design Approach Enabling Urban Mobility.” In Convergence.Society of Automotive Engineers, 2008.
Development of an Articulated Vehicle Chassis the H-type
Joachim, Mitchell, Axel Kilian, Patrik Künzler, and Peter Schmidt. “Development of an Articulated Vehicle Chassis the H-type.” In Game Set and Match II, edited by Kas Oosterhuis and Lukas Feireiss. Episode publishers, 2006. ISBN: 9059730364
Joachim, Mitchell, Javier Arbona, Lara Greden. “Nature’s Home.” In 30 60 90 08: Autonomous Urbanism, edited by Kjersti Monson and Alex Duval. Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. ISBN: 1568985223
Super Cilia Skin
Joachim, Mitchell , Hayes Raffle, and James Tichenor, “Super Cilia Skin.” In Human-Computer Interaction. Prentice Hall, 2003. ISBN: 0130461091