Olga Mesa

Photograph of Olga Mesa
Olga Mesa, LEED APAssociate Professor of Architecture | Director of Architecture, Undergraduate Studies


Harvard Graduate School of Design, MDes
Rhode Island School of Design, B.Arch

Olga is an architectural designer, researcher and educator. She is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of Architecture, Undergraduate Studies at Roger Williams University, where she teaches design studios and digital representation and fabrication courses at undergraduate and graduate levels in the department of Architecture. She is interested in the accord between form, forces and performance and how this interaction has a physical manifestation in material systems.   Her primary research involves the investigation how formal orders result from processes and contextual forces and how, with the inclusion of cultural forces, architectural form can be developed in an analogous manner to respond to a given context. In her field, Olga is particularly interested in biologically inspired design. Prior to joining RWU, Olga was a research associate at Harvard MaP+S Lab (Material Processes and Systems Lab) and was part of the Alive research group working in collaboration with the Wyss Institute for biologically inspired engineering. She continues to collaborate with both groups on a consulting basis.

Olga is a principal of 2 Story DesignBuild and has over fifteen years of experience as a designer and project architect in residential, commercial, and institutional projects. Her former professional experiences include being an associate at 3six0 Architecture, and a project manager/architect at Gensler and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects. She achieved her accreditation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 2002 with specialization in building design and construction.

Before joining RWU, she had taught architectural studios and seminars at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University (NEU), and at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial (UTE) where along with her students researched, designed, and built projects located in the Ecuadorian rainforest.

Olga earned her Master of Design Studies at Harvard School of Design (GSD) within the Technology concentration in 2015, where she was recognized as Graduated with Distinction, and was the recipient of the prestigious Daniel Schodek Award for Technology and Sustainability for her thesis: “Anima: Choreographed Matter”. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and was awarded the AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal for design excellence in 2000.