Eva Agapaki

Eva Agapaki

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Assistant Professor

Dr. Agapaki is an Artificial Intelligence Assistant Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management. She brings 7 years of academic and industry experiences in data analytics, AI applications in civil engineering, infrastructure computer vision, Digital Twinning and automation in construction. She recently obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where her research pioneered the automated generation of geometric Digital Twins of existing industrial facilities from Lidar data at a commercially viable level. She conducted part of her PhD research at MIT and was awarded the U.S. National Academy of Engineering grant for addressing one of the 14 Grand Challenges in Engineering of our century. She also holds an MSc in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering from UCLA and a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Patras in Greece. She has extensive industry experience working as Innovation Lead at PTC Boston, where she led innovation projects on computer vision and deep learning applications in the manufacturing industry, and AVEVA, where she advises the AI team on machine learning methods for complex data (3D point cloud processing methods).


Dr. Agapaki is the Director of the Digital Twins research lab. She is welcoming academic and industry collaborators. For more information, please visit: https://digitaltwins.dcp.ufl.edu/

Maria Watson

Maria Watson

M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management, Shimberg Center for Housing Studies
Assistant Professor

Maria Watson is an Assistant Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management and affiliated researcher with the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Before coming to the University of Florida, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Hazard Reduction Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. She has degrees in Urban Planning from The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University.

Dr. Watson’s research focuses on the factors impacting community recovery after disaster events, particularly interdependencies between infrastructure, housing, and businesses. She is particularly interested in the effectiveness of disaster programs and how these programs can be structured to better meet recovery needs. Watson has been a part of multiple interdisciplinary disaster recovery research efforts in Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina after Hurricanes Ike, Harvey, Matthew, Florence, Laura, and Delta. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for her research.

Dr. Watson has taught courses in quantitative methods, local government, and urban planning. She is currently co-teaching BCN-6585 Principles of Sustainable Development and Construction at the Rinker School.

Chaofeng Wang

Chaofeng Wang

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Assistant Professor


Dr. Wang is specialized in computational mechanics, uncertainty and risk quantification, AI, and their applications in the natural and built environment. He joined the Rinker School as an Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence. Before that, he earned degrees in Engineering Mechanics and Civil Engineering from Central South University and Clemson University and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley and a consultant for World Bank.

He has broad interests in the intelligent automation of design, construction and management of the next generation infrastructure system. He also develops cyberinfrastructure that leverage stochastic physics-based simulation, AI and data mining techniques for multi-scale modeling of the built and natural environment under chronic and acute stressors, which leads to informed decision-makings. Particularly, his focal areas include foundational issues in AI, data, and material sciences, such as: mechanism of neural networks, uncertainty quantification and dimension reduction of data and models, explainability and interpretability of algorithms and inferences, constitutive modeling and design of future construction materials.


For more details: http://charles-wang.me/



DCP 4300 – AI in Built Environment – Spring/2022

DCP 7911 – Advanced Design, Construction and Planning Research I – Spring/2022



Strongly motivated students are always invited to join my research group. Please email me (chaofeng.wang /at/ ufl.edu) your CV and a concise cover letter expressing your interests. Collaborations from the academia and industry are welcome.

Karla Saldaña Ochoa

Karla Saldaña Ochoa

School of Architecture
Assistant Professor
(352) 294-1453
ARCH 252

Karla is an Ecuadorian architect; with a Master of Advanced Studies in Landscape Architecture from ETH Zurich. In June 2021, she finished her Ph.D. at ETH Zurich, which investigated the integration of Artificial and Human Intelligence to have a precise and agile response to natural disasters. Since August 2021, Karla is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida; her teaching and research focus on investigating the interplay of Artificial and Human Intelligence in architectural practices at building and urban scale. Karla is the leading researcher at SHARE Lab; a research group focused on developing human-centered AI projects focused on design practices.

Please visit SHARE Lab website if you want to know more or if you want to collaborate


Luis Mejia-Puig

Luis Mejia-Puig

Department of Interior Design
Assistant Professor
(352) 294-1431
ARCH 136

Areas of Research

The idea of delineating curricular advances in design education practices guides my research. I am interested in exploring how new digital media tools can positively affect the design process. The design process is an excellent example of creative thinking used to solve wicked problems present in all Social Sciences. Since the 1960s, research has focused on how the design process unfolds and the influence that traditional design tools have in that process. Physical manipulations through sketching and model making are critical elements in moving the design process forward. However, new digital tools are displacing these practices, and current design students are shifting their approach. This shift opens a gap, and the way we teach design must adapt to this new reality. To address this gap, I have focused my research on cognitive load theory. Through the combination of psychometric and physiological tools, I can analyze cognitive demand and cognitive workload quantitatively. Moreover, this approach transcends the boundaries of the design discipline and opens opportunities for multidisciplinary research.

What I Teach

I believe learning is a never-ending process, and as individuals, we should continue to learn for our whole lives. Like learning, design activity is a never-ending process where a designer’s final idea will be the starting point for another design. In my class, students will develop design proposals through collaborative teamwork. This approach allows students to experience firsthand the iterative aspect of design, the relevance of team collaboration, and understand design solutions as live outcomes to reimagine repeatedly. My teaching expertise of more than fifteen years with undergraduate design students relies on studio techniques. I believe design students learn through direct manipulation and master-apprentice guidance. At UF, I intend to enlighten students through my studio courses and mixed reality digital tools. Moreover, I hope my expertise in product development and background as an industrial designer can give Interior Design students a different approach to the design process.

My Educational Background

Originally from Colombia, I am an Industrial Designer with a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in Design, Housing and Merchandising, and a master’s degree in Design and Product Development in Barcelona, Spain. I have broad teaching experience with undergraduate|graduate design students, and over ten of those years, I was Head for the Industrial Design Program at a Colombian university. To fulfill my education and widen my professional development, I have moved from Colombia in South America to Spain in Europe and now to the United States. I believe my international background has been critical to developing my aesthetic sensibility and multicultural understanding. Like any discipline with high symbolic and interpretative attributes, design discipline is about exploring perspectives and re-shaping the world.

Julie Mah

Julie Mah

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Assistant Professor
(352) 294-1490
ARCH 450

Her work engages with these broader questions: How do we create more just cities? What does equitable development look like? She examines issues of housing affordability, evictions, gentrification and displacement, and the planning mechanisms that can be employed to address spatialized inequities, such as the use of value capture tools (e.g., inclusionary zoning). Her interest in studying gentrification and displacement is grounded in how these processes help shape the housing affordability landscape. Current research focuses on: (1) investigating the role of evictions in urban displacement processes in Toronto; and (2) evaluating the effectiveness of value capture tools to generate new affordable housing. Her past research investigated the social and housing impacts of regeneration initiatives in Detroit using a mixed methods approach.

She has taught undergraduate and graduate urban planning and policy courses at the University of Toronto and the courses she will teach at UF include: the Doctoral Core 3 course on academic writing for publication and URP 6745: Housing, Public Policy and Planning.

She received a Ph.D. in Planning and a Master of Science in Planning (MScPl) from the University of Toronto, while also completing her undergraduate degree at Concordia University, where her studies focused on journalism. She has also worked as a planning consultant on several community improvement plans, cultural plans and economic development strategies in small and mid-sized cities in Canada.

Azza Kamal

Azza Kamal

Sustainability and the Built Environment
Instructional Assistant Professor
ARCH 132

Connect with Dr. Kamal on LinkedIn

PhD in Architecture & Urban Planning, Cairo University
MS in Architecture, Texas A&M University
Graduate Certificate in GIS, Penn State
Graduate Certificate in Geodesign, Penn State
MS in Architecture, Cairo University
BS in Architecture, Cairo University

Environmental and Social Sustainability, Low Impact Development, Affordable Housing Policy, Infill Development, Anti-displacement strategies, equity planning, and homeless programs.

Dr. Kamal joined the DCP Urban & Regional Planning Department on July 1, 2021 and currently teaches in the Sustainability and the Built Environment (SBE) Program. She specializes in housing policy, eviction prevention strategies, equitable and resilient planning and homeless programs. She incorporates location analytics to study low impact development, resources disparities,and housing instability using the nexus of quantitative, qualitative and participatory methods. Prior to her current role, she was the Director of Research at SARAH [The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Agency in Bexar County/San Antonio, Texas] and an adjunct professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Texas State University.

She is a practicing architect and urban planner. At Cairo-based Shehab Mazhar Architects, she led the design team of Phase-V of the master planned community “El Gouna”, which was awarded the 2014 UN Environment Program Global Human Settlements Award for global human settlement. In her local municipalities experience, she led the City of San Antonio’s 2019 ordinance that allocated $1M Emergency Assistance Program and developed a geospatial equity tool for the $10M budget of Home Repair Programs. As a consultant, she was funded by Edwards Aquifer Authority and San Antonio River Authority, where she and her students created a geospatial intervention toolkit to retrofit engineered water management sites into Low Impact Development community hubs in Bexar county, TX. She was also commissioned by the national nonprofit, NALCAB, to assess HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in Phoenix, AR and Denver, CO; and led a regional study for the workforce housing demand in six counties impacted by Eagle Ford Shale oil/gas fracking in South Texas.

In April 2022, Dr. Kamal was named to the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster for a four-year tenure (2022-2026). She is the recipient of the 2016 University of Texas at San Antonio Faculty Award for Service to Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry. Her research is published in the Journal of Urban Planning and Development, International Journal of Architectural Research, Camino Real Journal, Computational Urban Planning and Urban Management (CUPUM) proceedings, and other international publications. She is currently working on two research; a geospatial application for image extraction to predict the impact of urban growth on climate change in historic neighborhoods, and a program evaluation for permanent supporting housing (PSH) in Bexar County, TX.


Cleary Larkin

Cleary Larkin

Historic Preservation
Acting Director, Historic Preservation // Assistant Scholar, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
(352) 294-1438
ARCH 148

Cleary Larkin is a licensed architect with specialized practice experience in historic preservation and community planning. She holds a professional degree in Architecture from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Urban Planning from the University of Florida.

She has worked as an architect and a preservation planner at Frazier Associates in Staunton, Virginia; Beyer Blinder Belle in New York City and for the City of Gainesville, Florida. Her practitioner experience includes adaptive re-use, restoration and rehabilitation; design and project management of architectural projects from programming through construction; research and writing for Historic Structure Reports, National Register nominations, rehabilitation tax credits, and design guidelines; design review in historic districts; new design within historic contexts; and use of fiscal incentives for redevelopment.

Dr. Larkin’s dissertation, Expanding the Historic Preservation Narrative: The intersections of planning, preservation and social context in the Vieux Carré Historic District designation, explored the collaboration between architects, preservation activists and planner Harland Bartholomew to create the New Orleans’ first Comprehensive Plan in 1929 and first legislation for the French Quarter historic district in 1925 and 1937, respectively.

Prior to her role as Acting Director of UF’s Historic Preservation program, Dr. Larkin was Program Coordinator for the newly formed Florida Resilient Cities (FRC) program at UF’s Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER). The first FRC project focused on sustainable recovery and growth of Port St. Joe, a historic mill town in the Florida panhandle, damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Dr. Larkin’s research interests include the intersections of architecture, preservation and planning, both in historical and contemporary practice; historic land-use decisions as a source of inequity in communities; and historic preservation as a social justice practice. She currently teaches Intro to History and Theory of Historic Preservation at the Graduate and Undergraduate levels, and two courses in the summer field course at Preservation Institute Nantucket (PIN): World Heritage Research and Stewardship, and Preservation Policy and Current Topics.

David Rifkind

David Rifkind

Director + Ivan H. Smith Endowed Professor

David Rifkind joined the UF faculty July 1, 2021, as Director of the School of Architecture after 14 years at Florida International University. Trained as an architect and as an architectural historian, Rifkind studies urbanism and architecture in Ethiopia from the late nineteenth century to the present. His current book project, Modern Ethiopia: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Building of a Nation, incorporates field research in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti with archival research in Ethiopia, Europe and the United States. His work in Ethiopia has been supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation and a residency at the American Academy in Rome as the inaugural Wolfsonian-FIU Affiliated Fellow.

Rifkind’s doctoral dissertation, Quadrante and the Politicization of Architectural Discourse in Fascist Italy, examined the complex interrelationships of modern architecture and state politics in Fascist Italy. The dissertation won the 2011 James Ackerman Prize for Architectural History from the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza, and was subsequently published as The Battle for Modernism in 2012 by the CISA Palladio and Marsilio Editori.

He has also won best article awards for essays published in the two flagship journals in architectural education and history, the Journal of Architectural Education (“Misprision of Precedent: Design as Creative Misreading”) and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (“Gondar. Architecture and Urbanism for Italy’s Fascist Empire”). He curated the 2012 exhibition, Metropole/Colony: Africa and Italy, in the Wolfsonian-FIU Teaching Gallery at the Frost Art Museum, and in 2016 developed an exhibition with Professor Dawit Benti (EiABC), Contemporary Architecture in Ethiopia, which opened in Addis Ababa, Miami, and in the gallery of the architecture building at UF. In 2014, Ashgate published A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture, which he co-edited with Elie G. Haddad.

A practicing designer, Rifkind has worked to make environmental stewardship and community development the central focus of architectural practice in South Florida. In 2012 he completed a house in South Miami which served as a model of sustainable construction and environmental stewardship. He is currently working on two net-zero energy projects.

Glenn Acomb

Glenn Acomb

Department of Landscape Architecture
Senior Lecturer Emeritus
Gator Nation Giving Day

Gator Nation Giving Day

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