"Urbanism works when it creates a journey as desirable as the destination." _Paul Goldberger

SELF-PORTRAIT. ASSISTANCE by mICHAEL RASPUZZI

Alberto Embriz de Salvatierra: Founding Chairman of the Center for Civilization and Director of Aesir Lab

Alberto Embriz de Salvatierra is a multilingual and bi-cultural polymath, artist, urbanist, and architect/landscape-architect-in-training. He is an avid world traveler who received his Bachelor of Architecture (with the inaugural minor in Design and Environmental Analysis) from Cornell University and is currently a dual-degree candidate for a first-professional Master of Landscape Architecture and an advanced post-professional Master of Design Studies in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

While at Cornell, he conducted research in Nepal investigating the vernacular building practices of the Tamang people in Mhanégang; re-examined Leon Battista Alberti's architectural magnum opus De Re Aedificatoria (synthesizing Alberti's ideals on urban planning) in Pienza, Italy; and explored concepts of utopian urbanism in Valletta, Malta. He was also a Teaching Associate for Terra Verde, a summer abroad program in Scandinavia that explored the philosophies of ecology in the context of design and architecture, and was an official Photographer for the Cornell in Rome Program. He has also conducted international service projects that include building a house for a family in need in Piedra Menuda, Nicaragua and constructing a clinic for the village of Veron in the Dominican Republic. Making use of a multiplicity of interests, Alberto has also conducted research on palliative healthcare facilities under Dr. Rana Zadeh, assisted in the development of a structural bamboo system by Professor Jack Elliott and collected writings on the architecture of structure for an upcoming book publication by Mark Cruvellier, Chair of the Architecture Department at Cornell.

Because of his work as Designer-in-Residence for Olin and Uris Libraries at Cornell University (which included the design and execution of several exhibitions like PARALLAX: Cornell Luminaries of Science Fiction and Foreign Fields: Perspectives on the Great War), he was awarded the libraries’ highest honor: the William F. Fuerst ’39 Outstanding Library Employee Award which cited his 1,000+ lighted origami installation Siege of Cranes—a preamble to the exhibition When the Emperor Was Divine—and his permanent installation ARTery as exemplary contributions to the art and culture of the libraries. Alberto has also been awarded multiple other scholarships and grants from which he was able to finance research travel to over 20 countries in 5 years—including the Cornell Alumni Association of Atlanta and the Nancy Penn Lyons Scholarships.

Currently, in addition to completing his dual-degree at Harvard, Alberto is the Founder & Chairman of the Center for Civilization, the Director of Aesir Lab, the inaugural Editor-in-Chief for the MDes Research Log, a Graduate Research Assistant for the Waste-to-Energy Design Lab at the GSD, and Academic Advisor for the Beta Delta Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Cornell University. He was recently an Adjunct Faculty at the Boston Architectural College's Summer Academy and a participant in the Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe summer program. He is also currently developing five simultaneous research projects: Vegetation as Urbanism,  Ecologies of Utopia, Sacred Shrines: Spirituality, Syncretism and Space (which is examining the peaceful coexistence of Hindu and Buddhist shrines in Kathmandu), Planned Cities Catalog (for which he was named a Walking Visionary by Walk21 Vienna), and Reed Urbanism: Grass Infrastructures in the Floating City of Uros for which he recently received a 2016 GSD Penny White Prize to fund his summer research in Peru.

Alberto can be reached at desalvatierra@aesirlab.com.