Leif Estrada is an artist, designer and researcher in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and technology. He attained graduate degrees in an advanced post-professional Master in Design Studies degree, with a concentration in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology (MDesS-ULE '16), and a second-professional degree, Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA I AP '16) at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where he was the second inaugural recipient of the dual degree.
His Thesis, entitled Towards Sentience: Attuning the Los Angeles River's Fluvial Morphology was awarded the 2015-2016 Thesis Prize by the Faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard GSD. Upon graduation he also received a Presidential Academic Commendation Letter from President Obama. While pursuing two graduate degrees at Harvard, he led the ASLA Chapter at the Graduate School of Design as Co-President and has been an active member of the Dudley House, the Harvard Philippine Forum and the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus.
He received his first-professional degree, Bachelor of Architecture (BArch '12), from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, with High Distinction (Summa Cum Laude) and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. While at CCA, Leif led the Cossutius Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi as Chapter President. Prior to graduation, his academic project, Peel27, was the sole student project to receive the Citation Award for the Unbuilt Category at the 2012 AIASF Design Awards.
Internationally, he collaborated with Princeton University and University of Patras architecture students in Athens, an artist residency at the Récollets in Paris, a design volunteer through Architecture for Humanity in Haiti, and an international design competition at the Venice Architectural Association through the IUAV. The winning design from the IUAV was later exhibited at the 2012 “Common Ground” exhibition at the Venice Biennale. He served as an international student ambassador for the Venice Architectural Association (2012-2014), in which he has recruited American architecture students in participating in the international design collaborations.
Pedagogically, he taught as a Teaching Fellow at the Boston Architectural College's 2014 Summer Academy program, and has held Teaching Assistantship and Fellowship positions at Harvard University and California College of the Arts. He served as researcher working with Bradley Cantrell's Cyborg Ecologies Lab through the Harvard GSD's Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL) on digital sensing and visualization. He has also held a researcher position, as well as a teaching association with the Urban Theory Lab, led by Neil Brenner.
His interests in utilizing cartographic representations and visualizations in the development of theoretical frameworks has awarded him an Honorable Mention at the 2014 National Geographic Award in Mapping administered by the Cartography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, followed by the Howard Fisher Prize in Geographic Information Science awarded by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University during his first year.
Most recently, he has been recommended and selected by the IIE and the Fulbright Commission for one of the ten spots as a Finalist for the 2016-2017 Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship. The application process boasts a 0.5% acceptance rate for the 10 interview-level candidates and a 0.25% for the awarded finalists. His Fulbright research is entitled, Re-Defining "Native": Re-tracing the Origins of the Amazonian Parrots.
He has worked professionally as designer and researcher in practices including in the offices of Visible Research Office, SWA Group, GYA Architects and the Offices for the Metropolitan Architects (OMA-AMO). He is currently a designer at Kuth/Ranieri Architects in San Francisco.
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