Sheila Kennedy received her Bachelor's Degree in history, philosophy and literature from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. Kennedy studied architecture at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and received the Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where she won the SOM National Traveling Fellowship and was graduated with Distinction, the School's highest academic honor. As Associate Professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Kennedy was Director of the M Arch II Program from 1991-1995 and is currently Professor of the Practice of Architecture at MIT.
As a Principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd. (KVA), over 15 years Sheila Kennedy has established an internationally recognized design practice that explores architecture, digital technology and emerging public needs. Designated as one of Fast Company’s Masters of Design, Kennedy is described as an “insightful and original thinker who is designing new ways of working, learning, leading and innovating”. Kennedy's creative problem definition and concept creation strategy for clients helps her direct MATx, the materials research unit at KVA. MATx works collaboratively with business leaders, manufacturers, cultural institutions and public agencies to apply creative production across the fields of design, electronics, architecture and material science. MATx has developed designs and technology applications for Dupont, Siemens, Osram, Herman Miller, Saint-Gobain, The North Face, the City of Porto in Portugal, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States Department of Energy. The MATx Portable Light Project, a non-profit global initiative that enables people in the developing world to create and own portable energy harvesting solar textile kits has been recognized with a 2012 Energy Globe Award, 2009 US Congressional Award, a 2009 Energy Globe Award and a 2008 Tech Museum Laureate Award for technology that benefits humanity.
Kennedy's work has been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the International Rotterdam Biennale, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA), and the Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) “Design & the Elastic Mind” exhibition on breakthrough designs for new technologies. Kennedy has served as an advisor to the United States Department of Energy, the National Academy of Sciences' Government-Industry Partnerships, and the Vision 2020 National Technology Roadmap. She is the author of multiple patents for the integration of digital technologies into architecture, building materials and textiles. Kennedy's research and work in architecture have been recognized by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Sciences.
MATx works collaboratively with business leaders, manufacturers, cultural institutions and public agencies to create designs that advance the integration of new and traditional materials and material fabrication techniques in architecture
In 1990, she founded Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA MATx) in partnership with Juan Frano Violich.
Born in San Francisco, California, Frano Violich grew up in a bi-lingual family with strong ties to Venezuela and South America. Violich received his Bachelor's degree in Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, and received the Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where he was graduated with Distinction, the School's highest academic honor. Frano Violich received Harvard University's Julia Appleton Travelling Fellowship Award and studied the fusion of traditional construction and contemporary design in Japan. In 1990, he founded Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA MATx) in partnership with Sheila Kennedy.
As a Founding Principal at KVA MATx, Frano Violich has created an interdisciplinary design practice which engages material fabrication, digital technology and the conservation of natural resources to expand the public life of buildings and cities. Violich has directed the winning competition projects for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, now under construction, the Clemson School of Architecture Charleston, and the Internationale Bauaustellung's (IBA) Smart Materials Housing Program in Hamburg, Germany (construction 2012). He was a co-recipient of the Emerging Architects Award and Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York with his partner Sheila Kennedy and has had his work exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the International Rotterdam Biennale, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA), and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.
In addition to his work at KVA MATx, Violich has held private shows at MassMoca in North Adams, MA, the Max Protech Gallery in New York City, NY, the Phillip Bonafont Gallery in San Francisco, CA, and his work is in the permanent collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporanea in Merida, Mexico. Violich has been a lecturer and keynote speaker at several international conferences including the Centro Metropolitana de Diseno Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 2008 Plastics Electronics Conference, in Berlin, Germany, the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture in Sydney, Australia, the 2008 World Sustainability Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the Society for College & University Planners in Montreal, CA, and this Fall will address the 2010 Design & Innovations Conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Violich has served on design thesis reviews at the University of Toronto, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard's Graduate School of Design, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Frano Violich has served as Design Commissioner of the Boston Society of Architects and is Chair of the Executive Committee for the Design and Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA) working with leaders in government, business, and education to advance design as an integral part of the Massachusetts innovation economy. He has taught on the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been a Freidman Visiting Professor Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, the Shur Visiting Professorship at the University of Virginia, and the Saarinen Professorship for Distinguished Practitioners of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Elevated to the American Institute of Architects National College of Fellows in 2008, Violich is a registered Architect of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the State of Rhode Island.
Ned Goodell, AIA is a registered Architect who brings to KVA over 17 years of experience as a Project Director on domestic and international projects. As a Senior Associate and Principal at Machado and Silvetti Associates, Ned directed a number of award-winning cultural arts projects, including the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Wellin Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center for Theatre and Studio Arts at Hamilton College, and the Black Family Visual Arts Center at Dartmouth College. International work includes the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut, two mixed-use developments in Egypt, housing prototypes for King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia, the Museo Arqueologico Regional de Copan in Honduras, and the Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A native of Lexington, MA, Ned earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Fine Art from Colby College and a Master of Architecture Degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. As an Architect who seeks to advance new ideas through the practice of architecture, Ned spends as much time on site and in the workshop as he does at his workstation. His genuine interest in working with diverse teams to respond to complex project challenges has earned him a strong reputation for fairness, innovation and creativity with clients, contractors, engineers and consultants around the globe. Ned’s passion for elegant details and craftsmanship and his fascination with digital fabrication, advanced manufacturing processes and low-carbon construction are driving forces at KVA that guide the trajectory of his work. At KVA, Ned is Project Manager for the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where he leads the KVA team during construction of a new public gallery and renovation of Schlesinger’s world-renowned research facilities. As Project Manager, Ned is leading KVA’s concept design effort for the new Hayden Library, where KVA is collaborating with MIT to re-envision the future of the library as a site for interdisciplinary research, information mining and civic dialogue.
Ned contributes to the KVA Open Studio culture as an active mentor who supports hands-on learning and the discussion of design, construction and project strategy. Ned has presented at Build Boston and has lectured on innovative wall assemblies at MIT, the Cooper Union, Auburn University, and the Schools of Architecture at Wentworth and Roger Williams University. He has been invited to serve as a guest design critic at Northeastern, Roger Williams, the Boston Architectural Center and the Rhode Island School of Design. Ned is an active youth soccer coach. Ned also enjoys a cappella singing and the prospect of going down steep slopes fast on mountain bikes and skis.
Ben Widger, AIA is a Senior Associate, a registered Architect, Project Architect, Designer, and Sustainable Strategy specialist at KVA. Ben joined KVA in 2012 with an extensive background in structural and civil engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering from Cornell University College of Engineering, where he was graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a Master of Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art & Planning.
At KVA Ben has honed his interdisciplinary skill set in architectural design, public outreach, structural engineering and fabrication, with a focus on low-carbon design across the scales of architecture and urbanism. His independent work includes the “Circus for Architecture” project, in which Ben and his partners designed and built a custom fit out to transform a flat-bed trailer into a travelling gallery for architecture. At KVA, Ben is an avid cyclist and cook with a voracious appetite for reading. Ben helps to shape the sociality and critical direction of KVA’s studio culture through his diversified skill sets, sense of humor, critical insights, and rapport with design teams.
Ben has been the lead designer on the Forsyth Engineering Building for Northeastern University, and was instrumental in the design of the Institute of Data Sciences at the University of Rochester, which was recognized with Brick Industry Award for Excellence in Craft and the design of the Chrysanthemum Building, which received a 2014 a Holcim Award for Design Excellence. Ben participated in the design of the new headquarters for the North Bennet Street School, an internationally recognized craft school in Boston’s North End
Ben has led international research projects at KVA, including the design of bio-sourced, heat harvesting linen soft goods for leading textile manufacturers in France, and a peer-to peer clean-energy infrastructure project in Melbourne, Australia. Ben is currently heading the Nanobionic Plant Project at KVA and is Project Architect for the Global Flora, an interdisciplinary botanical research center at Wellesley College which received a 2017 Holcim Award for Sustainable Design in North America.
Daniel Sebaldt, AIA is an Associate at KVA and a Registered Architect who has been with KVA since 2014. Daniel received a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo in Canada. With native fluency in three languages and professional experience working in Canada, France, and Germany, Daniel brings substantial international experience to KVA.
At KVA, Daniel has developed a multi-faceted technical focus on how architectural ideas are detailed and constructed. Daniel’s work at KVA has engaged new construction as well as the transformation of existing structures for 21st century education and urban life.
Daniel was the lead designer for the renovation of three multi-family buildings in Boston’s historic North End, and was instrumental in the construction of the new Diversity Offices in Harvard’s Grays Hall, which received a 2018 Preservation Award from the Cambridge Historical Commission. Daniel has been the technical lead for the new public gallery at The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute, and played a key role in the development and detailing of the Wellesley College Global Flora Greenhouse. Daniel is currently the Project Manager for an innovative mixed-use wood housing development along the Saugus River in the North Shore region of Massachusetts and he heads the KVA Design Team on the transformation of the Forsyth Engineering Building at Northeastern University in Boston.
In studio, Daniel leads KVA’s Building Information Modeling platform, where he works with Design Teams to integrate information-rich documentation and dynamic coordination into the design workflow. Daniel shares his gifts for fine craft, analogue and digital fabrication and bike touring in our studio culture—whether producing a custom designed, digitally fabricated bike rack for KVA’s commuters made of recycled wood or in practicing his art as a top Dessert Chef at KVA gatherings and social events.
Patricia D. Gruits, LEED AP, leads design initiatives for the Portable Light Project. Established by KVA MATx, the Portable Light Project is an internationally recognized global initiative for mobile, renewable light and clean energy in the developing world. Please see www.portablelight.org for more information.
Patricia Gruits received her Master's in Architecture from the University of Michigan, where she received the Taubman School Thesis Award for her project on architecture and weaving tectonics. Patricia joined KVA MATx in 2006, after two years of professional practice in Michigan where she focused on the design of schools. At KVA, Patricia has developed her experience in design innovation and programming for school and university facilities, as well as her design expertise working with high performance materials and emergent non-extractive, nature-based materials in architecture. As a Portable Light Project Design Leader at KVA, Patricia Gruits has organized on-site community training programs and has lead the integration design team for projects in Mexico, South Africa, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Patricia leads the design team for Luz Portatil Brasil, working with isolated river communities in Brazil’s Amazon.
Patricia has contributed to KVA's material research and design initiatives across a range of scales. Her work on KVA design teams includes the brick façades at the U Penn Law School, the New York City East River Ferry Project (Progressive Architecture Award, NYC Municipal Art Commission Award for Design Excellence) and the Soft House project, (AIA Research Award, First Prize IBA Smart Materials Housing, Germany). As Project Manager at KVA, Patricia Gruits has led the design of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Pavilion and the expansion of the Beaver School in Massachusetts. Patricia’s work has been featured in journals of architecture and design as well as on BBC World News. Ms. Gruits lectures and participates actively in public symposia on sustainable material practices and design innovation. She has served on design juries at MIT, RISD and the University of Michigan and is currently on the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).