Ruth is a Principal of CO Adaptive and a licensed architect, registered in New York state and NCARB Certified. She received her BA in Interior Architecture from Kingston University in London, which started her enthusiasm for adaptive reuse, and her thinking that in it lies the key to the growth of our cities. It also shaped her belief that architecture should be approached from the inside out, at the scale of human experience.
She grew up in Vienna, Austria, her grandfather was an Architect there, and her home town’s rich history in architecture remains an important inspiration to her today. She has lived in New York City for thirteen years.
Ruth completed her M.Arch at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. During grad school, her work focused on understanding and innovating consumption and waste cycles ingrained in our society. She worked on a housing solution in which both the growing of food and the composting of our waste is built into the mechanism of how the development functions, and later designed an indoor composting unit which was on track to get patented and installed throughout the student union building.
Ruth's experience within architecture ranges from working on large cultural institutions abroad such as the City of Culture of Galicia for Eisenman Architect and the House of Music in Aalborg, Denmark for Coop Himmelblau; to small residential and restaurant projects in New York City for Richard Lewis Architect. Together with AAP Architekten she has worked on turning a 1950s single family house in Vienna into a Passive mixed-use building which requires hardly any heating and no cooling in a climate which has both very cold and very hot months. The experience fueled her desire to explore and implement a more energy and resource conscious approach to building. She is passionate about the space where beauty and functionality intersect, and strives to find that in all of her work.
Bobby is a Principal of CO Adaptive and a licensed architect, registered in New York state and both LEED accredited and NCARB certified. Bobby is a Certified Passive House Designer as of 2016 and member of New York Passive House and the International Passive House Association.
Born and raised in the Santa Clara Valley of California, Bobby grew up immersed with the computer industry and felt technology could be used to inform design and revolutionize the way people interact with their environment. Beginning at age 17, he was employed in architecture offices and worked in residential design for 6 years while completing his bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of California at Berkeley. Between undergraduate and graduate programs, Bobby worked for several prominent architecture firms developing conceptual designs for high-rise mixed-use buildings in China, articulating high performance facades in healthcare and laboratory facilities, and creating working drawings for a performing arts center and university projects domestically and internationally.
While at graduate school he focused on adaptive architecture that would exhibit behavior and change properties based on needs and environmental factors. He learned several programming languages and developed custom software and plug-ins that explored bleeding edge concepts of neural feedback in design using EEG, artificial and collective intelligence, and self-generating design solutions using custom built genetic algorithms. Bobby received the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Honors Award for his work with computer programming and architecture.
Columbia is where he met and began collaborating with Ruth, who was pioneering creative solutions for sustainability. Since forming CO Adaptive in 2011 on the basis of using technology to leverage sustainable and creative design, the firm has used Building Information Modeling on all of their projects and has spent the last 5 years perfecting a creative library of sustainable systems and details. Bobby has taught graduate level design studio courses at the Pratt Institute and has been an invited architecture critic at Columbia and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Sarah Gunawan is a senior designer at CO Adaptive. She believes that architecture has the capacity to enrich the urban ecosystem and provide ecological opportunities for diverse non-human species.
Prior to joining the team at Co Adaptive, Sarah was immersed in teaching and independent design research. She was the Peter Reyner Banham Fellow 2017-18 at the University at Buffalo and has taught at the University of Waterloo and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Her work engages posthuman theory to explore the overlaps between multi-species entanglements, diverse bodies, and the ecologies of our built environment. These explorations have taken the form of community engagement, empathic game creation, and critical exhibitions, and have been published in The Funambulist, Lunch, Pidgin, and SOILED.
In parallel, she has worked at a diverse range of professional practices including Kennedy + Violich Architecture MATx in Boston, Lateral Office in Toronto, and Taktyk Landscape Urbanism in Brussels. Through these experiences she has operated across scales and typologies from the transformation of a historic Harvard building into a community space for BGLTQ students, to the development of an eldercare facility in the Canadian arctic, to the reshaping of the urban region of Paris-Saclay.
Sarah holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architectural Studies Co-op from the University of Waterloo. Her thesis project, Synanthropic Suburbia, proposed a series of architectural prosthetics to the suburban house, transforming the domestic landscape into an ecosystem of human and non-human cohabitation.
Lydia is a Senior Designer at CoAdaptive and believes in using their skill as an architect to increase sustainable and green building practices to affordable levels. Originally from Louisiana, they have lived and practiced in cities along both coasts, and their drive to improve upon the built environment through intelligent design practices led them to New York.
Lydia's love of building efficiency was encouraged by their father's construction of their family home, a geodesic using the principals of R. Buckminster Fuller. The concept of "doing more with less" has been a core ideology throughout Lydia's life and guided their passion to adaptive reuse, passive house techniques, and using architectural detailing to improve the efficiency of construction methods.
Lydia believes in living a sustainable low impact lifestyle and bikes as a main form of transportation in Brooklyn. They have explored their interest in simple mechanics by building bicycles and have also used programming and coding to advance design practices. Lydia will complete her architectural licensure process in 2020.