Hi there — I’m Valérie. I research & design.

Welcome to my website.
You can read about me below or navigate toward my case studies.

About me

At a glance

My skill lies in elaborating blueprints driven by conceptual, creative, and critical research. I am particularly interested in the impact of digital logistics on the materiality of quotidian lives.

Skills & Goals

I was trained in architecture and urban design. My eye is editorial and ethnographic while my capabilities thrive through systems and logistics. I am motivated by planetary environmental equity; in other words, I want to use my abilities to further sustainability and fairness beyond sovereignty and expansionism. This aspiration makes me gravitate towards professional communities that are trans-disciplinary, multi-scalar, and pluri-cultural.
Much like the website you are experiencing,
this image is a self-portrait.

Education & Experience

Based in New York City, I hold a Master of Architecture from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation↗ as well as a Bachelor of Science with a Minor in Arts from McGill University in Canada. As a lead and organizer, I co-founded multiple organizations (A-Frame, DUO), and am currently actively engaged with The-Architecture-Lobby. As an architect, I have worked with firms such as David Benjamin’s The Living↗, Andres Jaque’s Office for Political Innovation↗, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG↗), and Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture↗ (OMA). As a scholar, I have collaborated with peers in both science and the humanities. Recently I completed a post-graduate residency at the GSAPP Incubator at NEW INC, New Museum.

Research Interests

My research covers a wide swatch of interests including the geographic history of infrastructure typologies, foreign relations, media history, new materialism, soundscape ecology, system theory & system design. I'm always happy to chat about research and scholarship... Here is how to contact me.

Origins & Belonging

Now an entrenched New Yorker, I lived and worked in seven countries across four regions (Europe, Asia, North America, and South America) over the course of twenty years. I am a dual citizen (native of France and took US citizenship in Harlem), speak various languages, and find myself at ease in contrasting contexts. I love code-switching and having conversations over wholesome foods in contemplative landscapes. The animated graph below summarizes my geographic history.
"Nobody lives everywhere,
everybody lives somewhere.

Nothing is connected to everything,
everything is connected to something."

Donna Harraway, Staying with the Trouble (2016)


About design

SOCIAL, MEDIATED, EMBODIED ORDER

Architecture and design are practices performing on a deeper scope than is commonly understood. Transcending construction and production, architecture and design encompass the planning, testing, and evolving of order. This order is social, mediated, and embodied in our environment. Architecture and design are fields able to identify shortcomings in this order and use system thinking to ideate, prototype, test, and implement solutions. Design has built the capacity of constructively engaging the most prevalent criticism to imagine, blueprint, and carry out systemic adjustments and alternatives that transform the status quo.
NNGroup's Design Thinking Methodology

BEYOND TECHNOCRACY  

According to the best-selling American English dictionary, architect signifies:
1/ a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction, or
2/ a person who designs and guides a plan or undertaking.
The dictionary's definition for design is a bit longer:
1/ to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise, contrive
2/a/ to conceive and plan out in the mindhe designed the perfect crime
2/b/ to have as a purpose : intend
2/c/ to devise for a specific function or end
3/ archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
4/a/ to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of
4/b/ to draw the plans for
All in all, these definitions illustrate that the practices of architecture and design are driven by purpose rather than defined by a technocratic scale (graphic, interior, building, urban, regional, etc). As such, what defines architects and designer in more specific ways are their kinaesthetic knowledge to make drawings that prescribe contracts in multiple ways — for construction, for also for use by those who will dwell with the designed elements.

KINAESTHETIC knowledge

mention history in relation to criticism and design!! that is one of the most crucial aspects of architecture versus design, is architecture's holistic entanglement with history.

Re-BRANDING DESIGN

planetary environmental equity

A question that often arises when architects and designers speak about their professional activities with those outside of those fields is "what type of architecture do you do?" Or "what type of design?" Concurrently, notorious designers are often remembered for a specific conceptual legacy. Think for instance of Rem Koolhaas' metropolitan approach, or Le Corbusier's international style. If I am to describe the conceptual aim that I wish to actualize with design, I would summarize it with the phrase planetary environmental equity. It means a system of

InFRASTRUCTURAL TYPOLOGIES

THE ARCHITECTURE OF MONEY

The metrics BEER... quote Beer here. On metrics.

Field in crisis. Labor crisis. Business model of architecture needs an update. Main reason. Not looking for disrupting. Looking to find a solution for field that is not working. Solution for people like me, in my chosen field, the one I grew through.

How different logics are legible through materials.

Every cultural logic is legible through its material and spatial manifestation. Every cultural logic manifests itself materially and spatially. Its essence is legible to the trained eye of the historian-ethnograph-architect. As such, architecture and design are frameworks through which systems beyond cultural specificity can be studied, analyzed, and adjusted.

Add a self-critical limitation. Or a ref to colonization. Situate myself as an architect. I have my own logic and impose it through the act of design.

BRAND-SYSTEMS & DIPLOMACY

If the planet is dominated by extractive capitalism, any commodity is subject to be turned into a marketable product. Manufacturing is one part of that process, and another part is branding, the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product on the market. While the practice of branding is believed to have originated more than four thousand years ago to identify livestock ownership, it has evolved over the millenniums “from farmers claiming their property, to artisans claiming credit for their work, to factories claiming their products, to companies claiming their products were better than others.” Today, even nations employ branding methods to develop an intuitive connection with citizens.  As such, through the expansion of capitalism, branding has evolved from identifying livestock, to products, to places, and people. Social media has greatly enhanced this practice, with a person’s identity being circumscribable by a cocktail of monogrammed followers, which can refer to individual agents as much as organized groups. If a brand is a signifier, its signified counterpart is a group of people. Much like a building skin or a façade, branding now channels how a community is understood by others. Brands are communities. And people most often appertain to multiple brand-communities.
Some brand-communities rule over territorial domains, as it is the case for a university with its campus, a nation with its state, or a tech company with its real estate holdings. In most cases those communities of territorial brands are imagined because “the members […] will never know most of their fellow members, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”  Some other brands rule over specific knowledge, as is the case with academic disciplines, namely architecture. Biology is the brand-community focused on mapping the world of live organisms. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.
Territorial-brand-communities and disciplinary-brand-communities have a common denominator. Both are constructed through systems of classification and abide to the Derridean archive. Territories are documented with property documents, graphic maps, satellite images, and market transactions – all sorts of documents that are archived by institutions public and private. Disciplinary knowledge is based on publications (physical and digital), and social rituals that are secured and preserved by academic communities, libraries, and collection registers. It is therefore possible to say that the ultimate basis of brand-communities are archives of different sorts.
Consequently, branding can be looked at as an instrument of diplomacy. It is a particularly compelling playing field, because it not only transcends nationalism and multilateralism but also engages directly with the territorial dynamics of the private sector, and with grassroots movements.

If the planet isdominated by extractive capitalism, any commodity is subject to be turned intoa marketable product.[1]Manufacturing is one part of that process, and another part is branding, thepractice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies anddifferentiates a product on the market.[2]While the practice of branding is believed to have originated more than fourthousand years ago to identify livestock ownership, it has evolved over themillenniums “from farmers claiming their property, to artisans claiming creditfor their work, to factories claiming their products, to companies claimingtheir products were better than others.” [3]Today, even nations employ branding methods to develop an intuitive connectionwith citizens.[4] Assuch, through the expansion of capitalism, branding has evolved fromidentifying livestock, to products, to places, and people. Social media hasgreatly enhanced this practice, with a person’s identity being circumscribableby a cocktail of monogrammed followers, which can be individuals as much asorganized groups. If a brand is a signifier, its signified counterpart is agroup of people. As such, much like a building skin or a façade, branding nowchannels how a community is understood by others. Brands are communities. Andpeople most often appertain to multiple brand-communities.

Somebrand-communities rule over territorial domains, as it is the case for auniversity with its campus, a nation with its state, or a tech company with itsreal estate holdings. In most cases those communities of territorial brands areimagined because “the members […] will never know most of their fellow members,or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of theircommunion.”[5] Someother brands rule over specific knowledge, as is the case with academicdisciplines, namely architecture. Biology is the brand-community focused onmapping the world of live organisms. Geography is the study of places and therelationships between people and their environments.

Territorial-brand-communitiesand disciplinary-brand-communities have a common denominator. Both areconstructed through systems of classification and abide to the Derrideanarchive. Territories are documented with property documents, graphic maps,satellite images, and market transactions – all sorts of documents that arearchived by institutions public and private. Disciplinary knowledge is based onpublications (physical and digital), and social rituals that are secured andpreserved by academic communities, libraries, and collection registers. It istherefore possible to say that the ultimate basis of brand-communities arearchives of different sorts.

Consequently,branding can be looked at as an instrument of diplomacy. It is a particularlycompelling playing field, because it not only transcends nationalism andmultilateralism but also engages directly with the territorial dynamics of theprivate sector, and with grassroots movements.


[1] Lioudis, Nick K. “Commodity vs. Product:What's the Difference?” Investopedia. Investopedia, August 20, 2019.https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/021615/whats-difference-between-commodity-and-product.asp.

 

[2] Jeffery, Jonathan, Phil Town, and Aytekin Tank. “BrandingDefinition - Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia.” Entrepreneur. AccessedSeptember 30, 2019. https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/branding.

 

[3] Holland, Taylor. “What Is Branding? A BriefHistory.” TheContent Standard. Skyword Inc., August 11, 2017.https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/creativity/branding-brief-history/.

 

[4] Dinnie, Keith. Nation Branding, Page 3. Oxford& Burlington, MA: Routledge, 2014.

 

[5] Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities:Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Page 6. London: Verso,2006.

-----

If the planet is dominated by extractive capitalism, any commodity is subject to be turned into a marketable product. Manufacturing is one part of that process, and another part is branding, the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product on the market. While the practice of branding is believed to have originated more than four thousand years ago to identify livestock ownership, it has evolved over the millenniums “from farmers claiming their property, to artisans claiming credit for their work, to factories claiming their products, to companies claiming their products were better than others.” Today, even nations employ branding methods to develop an intuitive connection with citizens.  As such, through the expansion of capitalism, branding has evolved from identifying livestock, to products, to places, and people. Social media has greatly enhanced this practice, with a person’s identity being circumscribable by a cocktail of monogrammed followers, which can refer to individual agents as much as organized groups. If a brand is a signifier, its signified counterpart is a group of people. Much like a building skin or a façade, branding now channels how a community is understood by others. Brands are communities. And people most often appertain to multiple brand-communities.
Some brand-communities rule over territorial domains, as it is the case for a university with its campus, a nation with its state, or a tech company with its real estate holdings. In most cases those communities of territorial brands are imagined because “the members […] will never know most of their fellow members, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”  Some other brands rule over specific knowledge, as is the case with academic disciplines, namely architecture. Biology is the brand-community focused on mapping the world of live organisms. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.
Territorial-brand-communities and disciplinary-brand-communities have a common denominator. Both are constructed through systems of classification and abide to the Derridean archive. Territories are documented with property documents, graphic maps, satellite images, and market transactions – all sorts of documents that are archived by institutions public and private. Disciplinary knowledge is based on publications (physical and digital), and social rituals that are secured and preserved by academic communities, libraries, and collection registers. It is therefore possible to say that the ultimate basis of brand-communities are archives of different sorts.
Consequently, branding can be looked at as an instrument of diplomacy. It is a particularly compelling playing field, because it not only transcends nationalism and multilateralism but also engages directly with the territorial dynamics of the private sector, and with grassroots movements.