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Hansy Better
Barraza

Co-Founder & Principal, AIA, LEED AP

Collaborative Design Approach

Since co-founding Studio Luz Architects in Boston nearly 20 years ago, Hansy has embraced a collaborative design approach rooted in explorations of culture, identity, and community.

AIA, LEED AP & NCARB Certified

Hansy is a LEED Accredited Professional, NCARB certified, and a registered architect in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, and Rhode Island.

Tenured Professor

Hansy provides her students with impactful instruction grounded in design excellence and social responsibility. In addition to her tenured position at RISD, she’s also held teaching appointments at Cornell, MIT, Harvard, and Northeastern.

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Hansy L. Better Barraza, earned her Bachelors of Architecture from Cornell University (1997) and her Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2000). With over two decades of professional experience, Hansy offers her clients a leading perspective on sustainable design methods, innovative material use, and modern digital fabrication techniques.

As a tenured Professor of Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Hansy strives to teach her students what she pursues at Studio Luz: an exploration of how design can foster resiliency, sustainability, and equity in communities typically excluded from the architectural process. She served as RISD’s Graduate Program Director of Architecture from 2014 – 2017 and is currently a member of the Social, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee. Over the course of nearly two decades, Hansy has developed a body of research and educational curriculum rooted in social responsibility and cultural competency, resulting in teaching appointments at Harvard, Cornell, MIT, and Northeastern University, among others.

Hansy’s book, Where Are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange, which includes essays by Michael Sorkin, Mabel O. Wilson, and Balkrishna Doshi, among others, examines the low-cost work being done in obscure places to turn architecture into a force for sustainable growth and social justice.

Current professional appointments include service on the City of Boston Zoning Board of Appeal, the Development Advisory Committee for the Woodbourne Neighborhood Association, and the editorial board of the CriticalProductive Journal, which examines the intersection of architecture, culture and theory. Hansy previously served on the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAMM) Designer Selection Board Panel, the Board of Trustees at the Boston Architectural College, various leadership positions for the Boston Society of Architects, and the Roslindale Village Main Street Design Committee.Hansy is also a co-founder of BR-A-CE: Building Research–Architecture–Community Exchange, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by artists and designers to create new community spaces that engage social, economic, and cultural issues facing communities around the world.