Aki Ishida (AIA, LEED AP) is Associate Professor of Architecture at Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design and the principal of Aki Ishida Architect PLLC. She is also a Senior Fellow of the University’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), where she collaborates with engineers and artists, and the Director of Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities (IIHCC), the university’s trans-college initiative. She received her MS in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota.
Prior to founding her own architecture firm in New York, she worked at James Carpenter Design Associates, I.M. Pei Architect, and Rafael Vinoly Architects. She is a licensed architect in the states of New York and a LEED Accredited Professional. Prior to Virginia Tech, Aki taught design studios at Rhode Island School of Design, The Pratt Institute, Parsons The New School of Design, and Konkuk University in Seoul, Korea. Every summer since 2009, she has taught architecture courses in Columbia University's Summer Program for High School Students.
Aki’s work examines architectural materials in broader cultural and social contexts. She is the author of the book Blurred Transparencies in Contemporary Glass Architecture: Material, Culture, and Technology (Routledge, 2020). Her design work is a synthesis of spatial uses of light and her interest in public engagement through built environments.. Interactive audio-visual installation Lantern Field, a project she led at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery in Washington, DC, won a 2013 Architectural Lighting Design Award. Her work has been supported by grants from Japan Foundation New York, the Graduate Kinne Traveling Fellowship from Columbia University, Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant from the AIA New York Chapter, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Baer Art Center. She has served three times as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts grants. Most recently, she was recognized nationally as one of 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016 by DesignIntelligence and a recipient the ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award in 2017.