Columbia GSAPP Alumni Association


The Columbia GSAPP Alumni Association serves as a vital link between GSAPP alumni, the University, professional practice organizations, and current students. The GSAPP Alumni Association’s mission is:

  • To foster and facilitate cross collaboration between alumni of GSAPP’s various programs
  • To provide support and guidance to GSAPP in order to promote its image and standing within the academic and professional communities
  • To serve as an important fundraising vehicle to support GSAPP


We foster interaction within the GSAPP community to strengthen engagement with the school & each other, elevate the GSAPP reputation, and lead the global dialogue about the built environment.

Meet the Board

Gustavo Berenblum


Debbie Bhatt


Heidi Blau

M.ARCH '83

Amy Boyle

MSUP '08

Lori Apfel Cardeli

M.ARCH '07

Dean Disimone

M.ARCH '99

Kate Gillespie

MSUP '88

Hannia Gomez


Matt Gross


James Kolker

M.ARCH '86

Ryan LeVasseur


Sharon Liebowitz

M.ARCH '91

Allison Lyons

MSHP '10

Angela O'Byrne


Dan Shannon


Sharon Sutton

M.ARCH '73

Stephen Yablon

M.ARCH '82


Principal, Berenblum Busch Architecture

Gustavo Berenblum is a Principal at Berenblum Busch Architecture, a design firm based in Miami focusing on high-quality architecture. Mr. Berenblum is a graduate from Columbia University and a nationally recognized architect leader in his field, with more than 20 years of experience in education, port, corporate, hospitality and residential projects worldwide. He has won numerous awards and his projects published extensively.


Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, The Corcoran Group
Senior Project Manager, The Hudson Companies

Debbie Bhatt is a native New Yorker with more than a decade of experience in residential real estate development. She brings her clients a uniquely informed perspective regarding all aspects of a real estate search and transaction, and enjoys the entire process. Since graduating from Brown University, she has focused her entire career on New York City real estate. She began her career at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development and as a consultant with HR&A, a leading real estate consulting firm, before completing her Master’s in Real Estate Development at Columbia University. Before joining Corcoran, Debbie worked as a Project Manager with two major developers of residential and commercial real estate in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Forest City Ratner Companies and The Hudson Companies.


Partner, FXFOWLE

Heidi Blau focuses her architectural passion on making cultural icons relevant. Through transformations of space and counterpoints of contemporary design, she creates new learning communities for students of all ages.


Assistant Vice President, New York City Housing Development Corporation Development Department

Amy Boyle is the Assistant Vice President of New York City Housing Development Corporation's (HDC) Development Department. Amy has held several positions in the affordable housing industry, including Project Manager of the New York Office of Vitus Group (an affordable housing developer) and Senior Project Manager / Underwriter at the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA). Amy also served as a transportation, land use, and housing policy advisor in the United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC.
Amy earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, a Master's of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and a BA from Miami University (Ohio) where she studied architecture and political science.


Architect at Anne Decker Architects, LLC

Mrs. Cardeli recently relocated to Maryland from New York and has experience in sustainable learning environments, high-end homes, and multi-family residential projects. She received a B.S. in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis (2004) and an M.Arch from Columbia University, GSAPP (2007), where she serves as an inaugural member of the GSAPP Alumni Association Board and Co-Chair of its Alumni/Student + Careers Committee. As an active member of the AIA, she is a two-time presenter at National Convention and a participant in YAF Summit20.


Founding Partner of Fu Wilmers Design | Architecture + Urbanism

Since graduating GSAPP, Jonie has been practicing architecture with a focus in urban design. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.


Founder of KDLAB and Tender Creative

After earning dual undergraduate degrees in Engineering, Dean spent several years as a consultant for Andersen Consulting. In 1998, Dean shifted his focus to architecture and received his M.Arch degree from Columbia University’s GSAPP. His studies allowed him to extensively explore digital media leading to the founding of experimental studio KDLAB with fellow student Joseph Kosinski M.Arch’99. While creating award-winning films, exhibitions, and interactive experiences through KDLAB, Dean maintained his connection to academia by holding teaching positions at Yale, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, Dean transitioned his practice to Tender Creative and lead new business and strategy efforts while continuing to serve as a speaker and juror for a wide range of creative conferences and competitions. In 2012, after spearheading the acquisition of Tender Creative by VSA Partners, Dean shifted his focus to sup­porting several new business ventures including Paddle8, where he has served as interim CMO and currently is on board as an advisor and investor, and Tokyobike, where he serves as the Partner for the Americas. In addi­tion to these ventures, Dean acts as an advisor and investor on several startups in the digital and maker spaces and continues to seek opportunities that blend strategic, creative, design challenges that cross verticals and disciplines alike.


Director of Planning and Vice President at Perez, APC

Kate Gillespie is a certified urban planner with over 30 years of experience in urban and project planning, environmental analyses, GIS mapping, governmental relations, community outreach, project programming, and design. She joined Perez in 2013 to deepen Perez’s Urban Planning capabilities and to lead the department. Kate specializes in leveraging the power of hand-held technology to complete data collection efforts more efficiently, accurately, quickly, and cost-effectively. She has directed field surveys of over 90,000 properties using her proven methods, creating as much as 75% in budget savings for her clients, and reducing project schedules by several weeks. Proficient in dozens of computer software programs, Kate has also created custom software applications for public agencies and private sector companies in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Kate served as Principal in Charge for conducting detailed assessments of Sandy damaged homes in NYC. Previously, Ms. Gillespie served as Project Manager for Superstorm Sandy recovery repairs and renovations to the historic Jacob Riis Park in The Rockaway, Queens. As a Planner, Ms. Gillespie has managed or contributed to more than 200 planning and urban design studies including 50 Planning and related graphics projects, 24 redevelopment studies, and 18 environmental studies.


Architect; President, Fundación de la Memoria Urbana

Hannia studied Architecture at the FAU Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and Urban Design at GSAPP Columbia University in New York City. A writer, curator and architecture and city critic, she is also the founder and Vice president of the Venezuelan Chapter of Docomomo. She has worked as Curator of Gio Ponti's Villa Planchart for many years, and is author of the books The ITALIAS of Caracas (2012), El Cerrito: Gio Ponti's masterpiece in Caracas (2009) and Gego, Architect (2007).


Director of Real Estate Development, Urban Builders Collaborative

Matt Gross is the Director of Real Estate Development for Urban Builders Collaborative (UBC), an affiliate of Lettire Construction Corp. (Lettire). At Lettire, one of the largest open shop construction firms in the NYC metro area with 2MM square feet, containing over 2,000 multifamily units under construction and in the pipeline, Matt is an executive, involved in day-to-day and long term corporate planning and operations. At UBC, Matt is managing five (5) mixed-use, mixed-income projects with total development costs in excess of $500 million, containing 2,500 multifamily units. Two projects are large-scale multi-phased public-private partnerships, involving the revitalization of urban neighborhoods, that Matt is successfully leading through the entitlement phase. Matt previously worked in finance as a tax credit equity syndicator and construction lender, mostly recently at Citibank, underwriting, structuring and closing over $1 billion of multifamily mixed-use affordable housing projects, creating and rehabbing over 6,000 units throughout the NYC metro area. Most of these projects involved Low Income, Historic, Brownfield and New Markets Tax Credits, as well as various HUD programs. Matt has been living in Manhattan since attending NYU’s Stern School of Business, and later, Columbia University’s MSRED program. Matt is currently a board member of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the New York State Association of Affordable Housing and is very active with the Supportive Housing Network of New York.


Assistant Vice Chancellor, Campus Planning/Director of Capital Projects, Washington University in St. Louis

As the assistant vice chancellor for campus planning and the director of capital projects, Jamie Kolker is responsible for overseeing the planning and development of the Danforth Campus and surrounding areas. Prior to joining Washington University in 2010, he was a senior associate at NBBJ and a principal of Venturi, Scott, Brown and Associates (VBSA).

During his time at VBSA, Jamie’s work included projects for the University of Michigan Health System, libraries at Dartmouth College, the NanoSystems Institute at U.C. Santa Barbara, the University of Kentucky Biomedical Research Building, programming for the National Museum of the American Indian, and planning for the Storm King Art Center. Jamie has taught and lectured at many universities in the U.S. and abroad, including Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon, Temple University, Drexel University, and Dartmouth College, among others.


Associate, Hines

Ryan LeVasseur is an associate in Hines’ New York City development office. He is currently working on a 600,000 square foot mixed-use development on Manhattan’s west side and also supporting new business opportunities. Prior to joining Hines, Ryan, was a Director at the New York headquarters of real estate development consulting firm, HR&A Advisors. Ryan’s understanding of the economic goals of both public and private clients combined with his experience in the design profession enabled Ryan to provide sound advisory services that lead to successful real estate and economic development. Assignments in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, New York City, and Up-State New York speak to Ryan’s broad understanding of the complexities and local nuances surrounding urban development. Ryan’s professional experience prior to joining HR&A includes ten years in real estate, architecture, and brand strategy. He has worked on master planning and architectural design projects for several firms including the Pritzker Prize winning Venturi Scott Brown and Associates. Ryan’s work in retail and brand strategy led to successful growth initiatives for several of the nation’s leading retailers. Ryan is a LEED Accredited Professional and a member of the Urban Land Institute. A proud alum of Columbia University’s MSRED program, Ryan was a recipient of the William Kinne Fellows Traveling Fellowship and the Program Service Award and served as the research assistant for the Director of the real estate program. Ryan is now an adjunct professor in the MSRED program where he teaches the introductory market analysis course. Ryan also holds multiple degrees from Rice University. Ryan and his wife reside in the Borough of Queens with their young son.


CEO and co-founder, Meritam

Sharon founded Meritam to bring high performance, low cost investment management to nonprofits. Prior to launching Meritam, Sharon was a Vice President at JPMorgan Chase for 10 years and had built trading systems for some of the largest global banks, including JPMorgan, UBS and Deutsche Bank. Sharon earned an undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard University, and a masters degree in Architecture from Columbia University. She’s a committed volunteer for organizations she supports and currently serves on the board of directors of the Center for Architecture, the Columbia GSAPP Alumni Association, the Columbia University Alumni Association, and is a Columbia University Senator.


Associate Architectural Historian, GPA Consulting

Allison Lyons graduated with an M.S. in Historic Preservation from GSAPP in 2010. At Columbia, Allison completed a Mellon graduate fellowship in primary source collections at the Archives and Drawings Department of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Her professional preservation experience includes private consulting firms and work at the city government level with the Memphis Landmarks Commission and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. After graduation from Columbia, Allison returned to her native Los Angeles to work for Architectural Resources Group on SurveyLA, the Los Angeles Citywide Historic Resources Survey and Chattel, Inc. on tax credit rehabilitation projects, design collaboration, and historic resource surveys throughout California. Allison is currently an associate architectural historian at the Los Angeles office of GPA Consulting, where she works on National Register nominations, historic context statements, historic resource evaluations, and CEQA compliance.


President, Perez, APC

Angela O'Byrne serves as current President of Perez, APC, and has served as Principal in Charge and Project Manager for a variety of project types including office buildings, corporate interiors, information technology centers, banks and trading floors, healthcare, hospitality, housing, and historic preservation. Ms. O'Byrne is extremely resourceful, and especially adept at identifying and addressing real issues in the design and construction process.

Ms O'Byrne is board certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is a registered Architect in 12 states. She is the past president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New Orleans chapter, and is co-founder of CityWorks, a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans, post Katrina. Ms. O'Byrne is current Chapter President of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), and is on the Board Directors for the national CREW Network.


Principal, Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects

A principal at MdeAS, Dan is a nationally-recognized leader in commercial design for new and redeveloped buildings. With over three decades of experience, he provides creative, one of a kind architectural solutions; making him instrumental in the firm’s overall approach to design. His clear commitment to the philosophy of modernism and urbanism enlivens a building’s presence with integrity. Dan’s effective leadership and project management transcends the firm with a reputation for meeting the client’s goals by working closely with them through the design process. Setting a high-standard for craft within architecture, Dan’s eye for detail is reflected in every project he manages. He has worked alongside international developers to oversee the construction of more than 15 million square feet, including the renovation of the GM Building, winner of a 2007 MASterworks Award, and the redevelopment of 100 Park Avenue, recognized in 2009 as BOMA’s International Renovated Building of the Year. Most recently, “The Cubes,” at 120 West 42nd Street won the AIA’s Award of Excellence of Commercial Large Projects and received the Outstanding Project Award from the GNYCUC.


Professor of Architecture and Urban Design
Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture
Adjunct Professor of Social Work
Director of the Center for Environment Education and Design Studies
The University of Washington

With five academic degrees, Sharon has been a professional musician, an artist, and a practicing architect; she is now an architecture educator but works with students in many different disciplines. The author of numerous scholarly and popular publications, including The Paradox of Urban Space (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Sharon's interwoven teaching, research, and service seeks to engage students, faculty, and disenfranchised communities in a collaborative transformation of the socio-spatial environment.


Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives at Guggenheim Museum
Partner, Therrien-Barley

Troy Conrad Therrien is the Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, and an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Columbia University. Trained in computer engineering and later in architecture design, history, theory and criticism, he works at the intersection of architecture and technology. He was previously the Chief Architect of Digital Communications and Research at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and a partner in Therrien–Barley, an innovation consultancy that was selected by Surface Magazine as a top 20 cultural influencer in America in 2012. He has been widely published in print and online and has designed and curated exhibitions around the world. He holds a Master of the Arts degree from the Architectural Association in London in Architecture History and Theory and a Master of Architecture from Columbia where he received the American Institute of Architects medal as the overall top ranked graduating student. He holds a BASc. in computer engineering from the University of British Columbia in computer engineering where he was an Academic All-Canadian on the football team and a scholarship recipient of the Canadian National Science and Engineering Research Council for computational mathematics and human-computer interaction.


Principal, Stephen Yablon Architect PLLC

Stephen Yablon established Stephen Yablon Architecture in 1995 to provide contemporary architecture that creates place, identity, and change to enable people to thrive in our time. As Principal-in-Charge, Mr. Yablon’ s projects have included institutional and commercial facilities and residential projects for a wide range of clients, including the City of New York, Columbia University, NYU Langone Medical Center, City University of New York, Planned Parenthood of NYC, SONY, Angelo, Gordon, and private individuals.

Mr. Yablon has been widely recognized for design excellence including numerous awards, publications, and exhibits. His work has been published extensively in Architectural Record, The New York Times, Interior Design, Oculus, and The Architect’s Newspaper, among others. Earlier, Mr. Yablon was recognized as an important emerging architect by Interior Design and in NEXT, an exhibit presented by the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In 2012, he was a recipient of Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Art and Design Alumni Award of Distinction.

Mr. Yablon has served on juries for competitions, design awards, and architectural schools throughout the United States and has also served on numerous arts non-profit boards. Mr. Yablon is a member of the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, The Architectural League, the Surfrider Foundation, and is a member of the Design Trust Council of the Design Trust for Public Space.

Prior to establishing SYA, Mr. Yablon was with I.M. Pei & Partners and Gwathmey Siegal & Associates, where he was responsible for major commercial and institutional projects. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Stephen Yablon received a Bachelor of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University School of Architecture. Mr. Yablon is also an acoustic guitarist and avid surfer.

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