Caroline O'Donnell

Caroline O'Donnell is the Edgar A. Tafel Professor of Architecture, and Chair of the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. Her research and teaching areas are in ecological and contextual design, as well as in nonlinear materiality.

She is a licensed architect and sole principal of CODA, and winner of MoMA/PS1's Young Architects Program in 2013 with the project Party Wall, which used skateboard offcuts and leftover steel. See for more information.

O'Donnell was the editor of the Cornell Journal of Architecture issues 8–10 and founding editor of Pidgin magazine. Her first book, Niche Tactics: Generative Relationships between Architecture and Site, was published by Routledge in April 2015.

O'Donnell has previously taught at Harvard GSD and at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. From Northern Ireland, she received her B.Arch. (specialization in bioclimatics) from the Manchester School of Architecture, England; and her M.Arch.II from Princeton University.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Architectural practice 
  • Sustainability

Related Pages

Related News

Classes (Selected)

  • ARCH 5101 Option Studio: PiecelinesAdvanced programs in architectural design, with options in, but not limited to, urban design, architectural technology, computational design, ecology, culture, and representation.
  • ARCH 3101 Third Year Comprehensive Design StudioDesign and development of complex architectural projects situated in urban contexts and developed with regard to program, site, building, and representation.
  • ARCH 4500 B./M.Arch. Seminar Sojourns: Rethinking the PublicationFor description, see ARCH 4300.
  • ARCH 3/6309 B./M.Arch. Seminar: Perceptual Genius: Experiencing Architecture from the Eye to the MindExamination of Japanese architecture (buildings and gardens) and their contexts: landscapes, settlements, and cities. The course is addressed to those interested in Japanese architecture as a manifestation of Japanese culture and as a subject for analysis. Emphasis is on underlying concepts, ordering principles, formal typologies, space and its representation, perceptual phenomena, and symbolic content. Readings focus on theoretical treatments of these aspects by Japanese and western writers.
  • ARCH 3/6308 B./M.Arch. Seminar: Unideal: Deviations from the Architecture of the IdealThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of Theory of Architecture. The instructor(s) of the course are drawn from the permanent and visiting faculty who may either broadly or narrowly define the course's scope and content. For precise content, please see the Architecture Department webpage.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Urban Punc., Europan 10 Competition, Leisnig with Troy Schaum, second prize (2010)
  • Cornell Council for the Arts Grant, Self-Consuming exhibition, Cornell University (2009)
  • 2007 Fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2008, 2009)
  • Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize, Princeton University (2006)
  • Projectsubsidie, Fonds BKVB, Netherlands (2004)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Self-Consuming, Tjaden Experimental Gallery, Cornell University (2010)
  • Bloodline, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2009)
  • The 13th Villa, Emerging Talents, Emerging Technologies; World Art Museum, Architecture Biennial, Beijing, selected exhibitor, Princeton University (2006)

Publications (Selected)

  • "Sex Cells: Genetics, Variation and Architecture," Thresholds 37 (2010)
  • "Giraffes, Gibbons and Gibson," Log 8: 21–24
  • "Tweak," Fear and Space (2004): 122–150
Close overlay