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Ronishka Sabu Nalpathil

MS. AAD '24 | Cornell Architecture

Ronishka is a recent graduate of the Class of 2023 of the Bachelor of Architecture program from the Virginia Tech College of Architecture, Arts and Design. Existing in a realm between memory and the tangible, her B. Arch thesis titled ‘On Belonging + Situating’ was chosen for the prestigious Undergraduate Thesis Honors Award. The thesis is an experimentation that aims at subverting the existing rule of law that celebrates the dominance of Qatari men by blurring the divide between the monumentality of the ‘male-dominated’ spaces and the domesticity of the spaces predominantly occupied by the females of the household in the most privatized of spaces–the home. Disparities in gender roles stipulated by the existing rule of law in a patriarchal society like that of Qatar permeate different layers of architectural design and the newly formulated antitypical thesis attempted to challenge the existing architectural discourse by homogenizing, degendering, and reallocating new identities to spaces and subverting the existing gendered hierarchy within the spatial order. Her work ethic, drive, and passion for a future within the field of architecture, design research, and academia are nourished by her interests in subversive architectural design and the hidden intersections between narratives and architecture.

The focus of her proposed research lies at the intersection of feminist theory and its conceptual relationships in architectural design in the Middle East. During the course of her graduate studies at Cornell, she hopes to investigate disparities in architecture at the juncture of the public-private dichotomy with an emphasis on women’s representation in architecture in the Middle-Eastern region- something that could pose as a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program in architectural theory that she hopes to pursue in the near future.

Headshot of young woman, smiling

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