Sheila Kennedy is Professor of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd.
Her research is focused on design for emergent distributed energy paradigms in buildings, cities and developing global regions; the visualization of active material networks; and the creation of design applications, integration pathways and manufacturing processes for flexible, mobile and embedded technologies in materials, objects and architecture.
She studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and received a Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1985.
Sheila Kennedy held positions at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and at the University of Michigan before establishing MATx, a pioneering materials research unit at KVA to engage applied creative production across the fields of electronics, architecture, design and material science in 2000. MATx explores how design can leverage the formal, aesthetic and technical properties of nano-materials to accelerate their entry into the building industry and meet the needs of different cultures around the world.
MATx research is placed into practice through the adoption of contemporary manufacturing techniques for forming, cutting and joining flat sheet, resilient and foldable building components. KVA has recently completed Harvard’s new Film and Video Headquarters, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Graduate Arts Center and the University of Pennsylvania Motion Capture R&D Labs.
KVA’s design of the East River Ferry Terminal Building at 34th Street in Manhattan, currently under construction, received the New York City Art Commission Award for Design Excellence, and is the first public sector project in Manhattan to be realized with digital fabrication.
Sheila Kennedy co-presented in the workshop “Reduce CO2 – With technology to zero emissions” at the 3rd International Holcim Forum 2010 in Mexico City and was a member of the Holcim Awards jury for North America in 2011.
She won a Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize in 2014 for “Chrysanthemum Building: Affordable residential urban infill development, Boston, USA” which offers a viable solution to the “housing question” – promoting an affordable model for residential development in a dense urban neighborhood. She won a LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze in 2017 for “Global Flora: Net-zero greenhouse for Wellesley College, Boston, USA” – a re-imagination of the greenhouse as a locally-sourced, low-energy building linking Wellesley College to the local community of Wellesley in Massachusetts, USA.