Led by Principal Investigator Thomas Spiegelhalter, the Miami CRUNCH research team includes individuals who are passionate about designing towards a sustainable, carbon neutral future.
URBAN LIVING LAB (ULL) TEAM
Thomas SpiegelhalterPrincipal Investigator
Thomas is the professor for Sustainable and Resilient Architecture and Co-Director of the Structures and Environmental Technologies Lab at the FIU College of Communication, Architecture and The Arts and the principal investigator for the CRUNCH Miami research project. He is a licensed architect, engineer, urban planner, and LEED AP. He has conducted research in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the U.S. on numerous contextual solar, carbon-neutral, zero-fossil-energy building realizations projects; large-scale sustainability master planning and consultancies, redevelopment projects for post-industrial architectures and landscapes, and engineered suspension bridges. As a result of his 30 years of design and built work, professional consulting, awarded research, teaching, Spiegelhalter has received 54 prizes, awards, and honors.
The intersection of architecture, landscape design and modern technologies such as AR, VR, and AI drive me to deliver innovative solutions and will be essential to creating our sustainable future.
Jared MallardGraduate Research Assistant
Having studied graphic design and physics during his undergraduate program, he now aims to utilize the synergy between design and science to develop sustainable solutions in urban design. He is pursuing his Masters of Architecture degree at Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture, Florida International University.
Jorge VasquezResearch Assistant
Monica DragalinaResearch Assistant
After obtaining an Advance Degree in Quality and Reliability Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Electronics from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania, she is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture, Florida International University. Monica is also a NCARB/AIAS Student Appointed Licensing Advisor, Miami Beach Urban Studios – LEADS (Leadership Engagement and Development Students) Participant, and President of the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts.
Chelsea GuimaraesResearch Assistant
Currently pursuing a Masters in Architecture at Florida International University. She is originally from Angola but lived all her life in Portugal. One of her goals is to eventually obtain a Ph.D. in an architectural related field, as well as start entering more art and design competitions. In the future, she hopes to be a valuable advocate for sustainability in the field of design.
Paula CastelResearch Assistant
Masters of Architecture student at Florida International University. Paula has a deep interest in carbon-neutral design, soon to specialize in Earthship design and construction methods, and is a volunteer with All Hands and Hearts, a non-profit organization focused on building sustainable schools with repurposed materials in remote areas in the world that have been severely impacted by natural disasters.
Rebecca QuesnelResearch Assistant
Masters of Architecture student at Florida International University. Rebecca hails from Toronto Canada and possess a background in criminal justice as she originally was a member of FIU’s swimming and diving team, being named the program’s first NCAA all American. Now, completing a masters within the architecture field Rebecca finds herself interested in carbon neutral design and hopes to become a licensed architect and an advocate for sustainability.
Yi GongGraduate Research Assistant
Currently pursuing a Masters in Architecture at Florida International University. She has an undergraduate major in Administrative Management and has obtained a double degree in International Trade in China. She is a co-founder of the Smart Entry System company. Promoting a smarter, more energy-efficient, and better-quality future community life. Passionate about environmental protection, currently committed to preparing an NGO related to Green Building.
Maria HermozaGraduate Research Assistant
Originally from Peru, where she obtained her degree in Renewable Energies and Natural Resources Engineering, Now, she is pursuing her Masters in Environmental Policies and Management. Her future goals are working in the development and research of clean energy technologies as well as alternative policies related to carbon-neutral solutions.
Srikanth NamuduriSenior Researcher
A data scientist studying the Food, Energy & Water (FEW) nexus for the City of Miami, South Miami and Miami Beach. Brings several years of experience in data analysis, machine learning and deep learning. Loves solving problems using data.
Damian FerrerResearch Assistant
Currently pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering, has participated in various internships that required implementation of machine learning. Has experience applying data science techniques and artificial intelligence to projects.
Perry GabrielResearch Assistant
Electrical Engineering Student with a passion for AI and Big Data. Perry Gabriel is originally from Miami Beach and is also a first generation high school and college graduate. A few of his goals are to attend graduate school with a focus on research and to work for a reputable company that put people first.
Amalia TomeyMaster of Architecture
Master Thesis Student Amalia Tomey won the A.I.A. MIAMI 2020 Design Award with her 2100 Building Scenario Design in the FIU MIAMI CRUNCH Design Studio Prof Thomas Spiegelhalter, July 2020.
Ramses AllendeGraduate Research Assistant
Ramses is currently enrolled at FIU where he is pursuing a master’s degree in architecture. He is interested in how emerging technologies such as generative, evolutionary, and optimization algorithms are able to give new insights relating to spatial conditions that might’ve not otherwise been noticeable. Ramses was awarded the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Crit Scholar Grant in 2021, Ramses will be researching how new emerging technologies could create novel strategies regarding circulation, a field of study which is being reevaluated due to the role played by architecture in the spread of the COVID-19.
Wendy Thet LunGraduate Research Assistant
Wendy Thet Lun is originally from Singapore but lived her life in Queens, New York, and Broward, Florida. She studied computational sciences and environmental planning at UCF. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Environmental Policy and Management.
John Alexander CorreaResearch Assistant
John Alexander Correa is an M.Arch Candidate at Florida International University. Correa has a multidisciplinary background spanning botany, ecology, graphic design, and publishing. Correa’s ambitions primarily concern the production of affordable housing and mixed-use structures. He has placed emphasis on passive design systems, prefabrication, and mass transit as means for promoting equity, environmental justice, and ecological remediation. He has conducted research in vernacular settlements across Southeast and East Asia, explored biomimicry through tropical flora and fauna, and has recently pivoted towards mass timber, modularization, and the development of a Passive House standard for tropical ecosystems.
Zhaohui (Jennifer) FuGIS Consultant
Jennifer directs the FIU Library’s Geographic Information Systems Center (GIS Center), Maps & Imagery User Services (MIUS), and the Digital Collections Center (DCC). She is responsible for the development, administration, and supervision of GIS technology implementation campus-wide. Jennifer also coordinates GIS-related research projects and instruction in the GIS Center, and is the founding director of the FIU GIS Certificate Program. She earned her Master’s in Information Science and Policy from SUNY at Albany.
Dr. Levente JuhaszGIS Research Consultant
Originally trained as a physical geographer, Levente earned his PhD from the University of Florida in Geomatics. He also held short-term visiting positions in Italy and Austria, and worked as a data scientist for a geospatial startup before joining the GIS Center at FIU. He is passionate about answering real world questions with data. His research deals with various aspects of (geospatial) big data and aims to increase our understanding of user-generated geographic information. He has expertise in spatial analysis and modeling , spatial statistics, geocomputation and web technologies.
Dr. Sheyla SantanaGIS Research Consultant
PhD in GIS and Urban Planning at the Federal University of Minas Gerais State (evaluated in USA), Master’s degree in Environmental Systems Analysis and Modeling, a specialist in GIS Latu-Sensu, Bachelor’s degree in Tourism at UFMG. With a strong background in urban analysis, she has expertise in geographic information systems, spatial analysis, remote sensing, webgis, collaborative maps, and landscape three-dimensional representation.
Jason DomarkLegal Consultant - Cozen O’Connor
Jason received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Miami. Jason earned his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law and participated in the University of Miami Law Review.
Karam BakiRevit, Dynamo, BIM, Scripting Specialist
Karam Baki from Jordan is a worldwide highly respected Autodesk Expert Elite Member, generative Dynamo, Revit, BIM, Fusion360, and Infraworks360 beta tester and champion, 360 Rendering Pro, and a university tutor in architectural engineering. He has been providing webinars for the carbon-neutral design studios of Prof. Spiegelhalter at Florida International University, College of Architecture in Miami for over 4 years. Currently, he is assisting the CRUNCH team with computational and automated workflows for Dynamo and BIM to achieve Carbon-Neutral Cities, Infrastructures, and Buildings.
Albert is the Founder and Creative Director of Aberrate Design Studio, which is an interdisciplinary practice operating in the grey matter between science, art, and technology. More information is here:
James is a leading practitioner of unsolicited urban practices in the consolidation of the public realm by fusing digital tools with participatory processes. James works with industry, academic, cultural and city partners to develop innovative and holistic strategies on how data-driven research, digital tools and/or fabrication can become accessible to artists, designers and local citizens alike. James has directed and continues to explore pilot projects that seed resilient prototypes for peer-to-peer models of community-oriented production of food, energy and/or water. Currently, James participates on various advisory boards and international research projects focused on resiliency
Liss C. WernerConsultant
Liss C. Werner (Phd c) is a registered architect in Berlin, and founder of Tactile Architecture. She acted as guest professor of Bio-inspired Architecture and Sensoric at TU Berlin, and Taylor’s University in Malaysia, and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She lectures and publishes internationally. Werner’s research and teaching is based on system theory, cybernetics, and biological principles to understand complex ecologies between analog and digital. Werner was educated at the Bartlett and RMIT. She is a member several scientific committees, the American Society of Cybernetics, and the Complex Systems Board at the Lifeboat Foundation. Werner is an expert evaluator for the European Commission.
Gianmichele is the professor for BIM and Project Management and technologies for building redevelopment at the engineering and geology department of University G. d’ Annunzio of Pescara in Italy.
Expert for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on school building issues.
Expert for the European Commission, Research Executive Agency, in the Horizon program EU -Twin-Transition, Twin Green and Digital Transition and Resilience and Breakthrough technologies supporting technological sovereignty in construction (RIA). Author of several publications on the topics of construction technologies and building processes with BIM models and experimental systems based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital twins for digital transition and adaptation to climate change.
Clarissa is PhD and research fellow at the engineering and geology department of University G. d’ Annunzio of Pescara in Italy. Clarissa has a deep interest in smart model support for the quality and control of the construction process and adaptive protocol and elaborated a specific model for one Interactive Virtual Platform. She currently conducts studies and research on new construction and renovation of school buildings for the NextGeneration EU program with digital twin models.
Tiffany TroxlerDirector of Science for the Sea Level Solutions Center
Jane GilbertChief Resilience Officer at City of Miami
Jane Gilbert’s goal is to help strengthen communities – economically, socially and environmentally. Ms. Gilbert assists diverse stakeholders develop and activate integrated solutions. Ms. Gilbert has over 20 years experience in strategic planning, corporate value integration, non-profit management, fundraising, and program design/implementation in the areas of education, community and economic development, arts & culture, energy and environment.
Zachariah A. Cosner City of South Miami Grants and Sustainability Administrator
Zac Cosner is the Sustainability and Grants Administrator for the City of South Miami. A Miami-Dade County Native, Zac graduated from the University of Miami in 2017 with a triple major in Biology, ‘Ecosystem Science & Policy’ and History. Following his graduation from the University of Miami, Zac worked as a consulting associate with the firm Conservation Concepts LLC where he worked on a variety of pressing environmentally focused activist campaigns and legal suits throughout Miami-Dade County. Zac joined the City of South Miami team as grants and sustainability administrator in July of 2018, attracted by the longstanding reputation of the City of South Miami as a hub of forward-thinking environmental policy.
Guido RossiPhD Candidate - University of Genoa
Guido is a PhD candidate at the University of Genoa (Italy), Department of Architecture and Design and guest researcher at the FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios. He has a background as an architect with expertise relating to architectural design and urban planning. He has acquired skills and expertise in particular in urban planning with a focus on Sustainability and Environmental Issues. His research is focused on resilience and urban adaptation to climate change and water related impacts, in particular on the implementation of blue-green infrastructures and traditional grey infrastructures aimed at adaptation.
The Future Is Carbon Neutral
We are a multi-disciplinary research team committed to focussed and efficient study of solutions based design scenarios to build resilient, carbon neautral cities.