Grace Aaraj is an architect and educator interested in spatial justice as a broad theme overarching topics of accessibility and sustainability.
Her early research focused on rethinking architectural education through public interest design. She is part of the international collaborative research examining adaptive refugee housing under the global justice award at the University of Oregon.
She participated in public policies on creating urban pocket gardens. She was concurrently part of launching the campaign to reopen Beirut’s largest park as a post-war reconciliation public space.
Grace was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Institut des Beaux-Arts in Beirut. Her Master’s thesis studied the shelters of refugees, winning the 3MT Statewide public’s choice award. Her team’s design for a clinic in Jacmel-Haiti won the first prize in the international competition, which was developed and built with the support of Portland-based firms. She is also the recipient of the Japanese Ministry of Education Scholarship to take part in redesigning Nakano-Ku for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She worked in the Honolulu-based company G70 where she learned from hospitality awarded competitions and built projects the Hawaiian value of righteousness: Pono.
Grace co-founded ArchiBuild, a Beirut-based practice working on a small community and private projects. She delivered workshops for city-dwellers under DIY Cities series during the Venice Biennale course, Amman, and Beirut Design Weeks.
A strong believer in architects being conscious citizens, she served on the Fulbright Scholarship National Selection Committee and as a director of communications for the Fulbright Alumni Association of Lebanon. She is regularly involved with organizations on the mentorship of students on career development and entrepreneurship.
Currently working on
Currently working onA practical user-centered Spatial Justice toolkit: The case study of women refugees “This project aims to design the design prompt by creating one card deck that acts as a toolkit for engaging users in a user-centered approach towards achieving spatial justice. This toolkit can be the first of many, by using the case of woman refugees as a first. The toolkit will serve as a tool for all designers and architects, whether they are studying or implementing initiatives to help refugees worldwide: from products to furniture, architectural spaces, or services. It is to be used in workshops, or on-site with humanitarian practitioners allowing them to anticipate unsafe situations and preventing them rather than correcting them at later stages.”
MArch, University of Oregon (Portland), 2014
License en Architecture, Institut des Beaux-Arts, Universite Libanaise, Beirut, 2011