Katie MacDonald



Harvard University, Master of Architecture; Cornell University, Bachelor of Architecture


Katie MacDonald, AIA NCARB is a licensed architect and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

MacDonald is Director of the Before Building Laboratory, where she leads material research and development. MacDonald pioneers new biomaterial assemblies, with the aim of creating building material systems that sequester carbon and reduce construction’s environmental impacts. Current projects focus on rapidly renewable biomaterials, including wood, bamboo, grass, hemp, and various invasive plant species. Research accolades include the R+D Award from Architect Magazine in 2022, Best in Digital Fabrication in The Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards in 2022, and Best in Research in The Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards in 2021. MacDonald was named Educator of the Year in Metropolis Magazine's Planet Positive Awards in 2023 and was awarded the University of Virginia Outstanding Researcher Award in the 2022 UVA Research Achievement Awards.

MacDonald is Cofounder of After Architecture, an architecture firm named to convey the built environment's impact on cultures and ecologies. After Architecture was awarded the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers in 2023, named to Cultured Magazine's Young Architects List in 2021, “Next Progressive” by Architect Magazine in 2019, and “Curbed Young Gun” by Curbed National in 2014. Recent works include a memorial in Washington D.C., and installations for the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and Exhibit Columbus as 2022-2023 University Design Research Fellow.

MacDonald creates venues for scholarly exchange including the Biomaterial Building Exposition, which put developments in biomaterial construction on view at the University of Virginia in 2022, and Projecting Fellows, a virtual symposium which brought together fellows from American architecture schools to explore the vehicle of the fellowship project in 2021. She is a member of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture's Board of Directors.


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