The Spatial Information Design Lab is now the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University. Visit our new site at to find out about current projects and upcoming events. This site is an archive of work completed up to 2014.


Laura Kurgan

Laura Kurgan is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she directs the Visual Studies curriculum, and the Spatial Information Design Lab. She is the author of Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (Zone Books, 2013).  Her work explores things ranging from digital mapping technologies to the ethics and politics of mapping, and the art, science and visualization of data.  Her work has appeared at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Whitney Altria, MACBa Barcelona, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the Museum of Modern Art.  She was the winner of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship in 2009.

Juan Francisco Saldarriaga

Juan Francisco Saldarriaga is a Data Visualization Specialist, Architectural Designer and Urban Planner. Juan Francisco has a Masters of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a Masters of Architecture also from Columbia. For his undergrad, Juan Francisco studied philosophy at the Université de Paris IV (Sorbonne) and at the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá.

While studying at Columbia, Juan Francisco was a research and teaching assistant at the Spatial Information Design Lab, where he designed and taught GIS workshops to architecture, urban design and real estate students and worked in multiple projects related to urban cartography and data visualization. Juan Francisco has also worked as an architectural designer for Carlos Zapata Studio (New York) and for D.G.T. Architects (Paris), and as the GIS project coordinator for the Catholic Charities (New York).

His work has been featured in Metropolis Magazine, the NACIS Atlas of Design, The Atlantic Cities, Flowing Data, Laughing Squid, Digital Urban, ArchDaily, SuckerPunch Daily, The Funambulist and Columbia University's Abstract.

Jochen Hartmann

Jochen Hartmann is a designer and software developer. He received his M.Arch from GSAPP in May of 2013, where he also worked as a Creative Technologist for the Cloud Communication Software group. He holds a B.F.A in Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked as an engineer at Google prior to entering the graduate program at Columbia. Outside of his work at the ADVP, Jochen is a member of the Network Architecture Lab, whose work is going to be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

Annelie Berner

Annelie Berner focuses on novel forms of presenting data. She received her Master's from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU (2013), where she focused on aesthetic, tangible data representation through digital visualizations and physical objects.

She focused on play and design methods for creative governance while pursuing her degree in Government at Harvard. Before joining SIDL, she was a summer resident at IDEO and worked at the New York Times Research and Development Lab.

Jonathan Izen

Jonathan Izen is a graduate student in the Master of Architecture program and the GIS Student Coordinator at GSAPP. He graduated from undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture. Jonathan’s work explores the relationship between the digital and the analog, including advanced fabrication techniques, robotics, and computational design. Prior to working at GSAPP, Jonathan has worked at Future Cities Lab, an experimental design and research office based in San Francisco, and Anderson Anderson Architecture, a firm specializing in modular and prefabrication construction also based in San Francisco.

Madeeha Merchant

Madeeha Merchant received a Masters in Architecture from GSAPP, Columbia University in May 2014, where she worked as a Computation Assistant for the Laboratory of Advance Building Science, a Research Associate for the Spatial Information Design Lab and served as a Board Member on the Columbia University Data Science Society. She holds a Bachelors in Computer Systems Engineering with specialization in Mathematics and Engineering Management from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and has worked on on pilot projects for Intel. Her research investigates new frameworks of information architecture that embed design intelligence and computational tools from across a range of disciplines, mainly Architecture, Urbanism, Engineering, Data Science and Human Rights. Her work has been published in Volume, Domus, Wired, GSAPP- Abstract and the IEEE Journal.