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Alumni Conversations: GSAPP Collective for Beirut

Wed, Mar 24    12pm

This event was organized by the GSAPP Collective for Beirut and co-presented by Columbia GSAPP and Columbia Global Centers | Amman.

As part of the GSAPP Collective for Beirut’s mission, this conversation brought together members of the Collective — Joanne Hayek (‘12 MSAAD), Mayssa Jallad ('17 MSHP), and Salim Kadi('06 MSAAD) in conversation with Marylynn Pauline Antaki (‘19 MS.AAD) and Roula Salamoun (‘11 MS.AAD) — to discuss how they have each sought to engage with current crises in Lebanon through their diverse initiatives. The conversation addressed the importance of data usage, grassroots movements, and the actual involvement on the ground during such events.

The GSAPP Alumni Conversations series was proudly sponsored by the GSAPP Alumni Board.

GSAPP Collective for Beirut is an interdisciplinary alumni and student organization, founded organically in 2020, in the aftermath of the Beirut blast by a group of like-minded alumni and students. They studied asynchronously at Columbia University and are currently based both in Beirut and abroad (New York, London, Amsterdam, Toronto, Cairo, Dubai).

The collective is fueled by matters, reflections and ideas related to current events in Lebanon, and the Middle East. Given the recent multiple crises in Lebanon, its initial focus is on Beirut while it addresses the local and regional context through its research.

Columbia Global Centers | Amman was established in March 2009 and is a hub for programs and educational initiatives throughout the Middle East. The Amman Center is part of an expanding network of Columbia Global Centers that serve as conduits for local, regional, and global knowledge, expertise, and networks.


Joanne Hayek is an architect, designer, and coder currently based between Beirut and Dubai. Her work focuses on cross-disciplinary research for the design of sustainable futures. Her practice spans across scales and sectors through a variety of projects that combine social entrepreneurship and academic research. Joanne is the co-founder of sustainable fashion brand Vanina, founder of design lab An Open Studio, co-founder of digital platform Emerge Beirut, senior lecturer at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and adjunct faculty at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP, where she was awarded the Honor Award for Excellence in Design, the William Kinne Fellows Prize, and the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize.

Mayssa Jallad is an urban researcher and musician based in Beirut. After having graduated in Architecture from the American University of Beirut in 2013, she pursued a Master in Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s GSAPP, where she graduated in 2017. Mayssa worked in Historic Preservation for a year in New York, then returned to Beirut to pursue urban research and a new music project entitled Marjaa. She is now a researcher and Citizen Science coordinator with RELIEF Centre, an academic research collaboration between the UCL, AUB and LAU, which studies Prosperity in different neighborhoods in Lebanon.

Salim Al Kadi is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and later completed his graduate studies at Columbia University. He has designed and completed multiple architectural projects including the celebrated MINA 1394 office building in central Beirut. He has been a senior lecturer at the American University of Beirut’s Department of Architecture and Graphic Design since 2011. Salim is a co-founder of Sigil, an art collective that has exhibited worldwide including the Venice Biennale, Marrakech Biennale, Oslo Architecture Triennale and Triennale di Milano.

In 2016 Salim produced ‘K29 Keffiyeh’. It went on exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art as part of the Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibit. K29 Keffiyeh was later acquired by MoMA for its permanent collection. In January 2020, Salim offered publicly and open source for free download ’Beirut 001’, as the first digital 3D model of Beirut – “a preliminary tool to collectively re-imagine our city”. Since the Beirut Port Explosion on August 4th, it has been used by first-aid responders, students, and professionals alike, including ARUP, Forensic Architecture, and Rice University’s Spatial Lab. Salim currently lives in Beirut.