Program in Environmental Design

University of Colorado Boulder

Matthew Jelacic

Assistant Professor
(917) 407-7354
Office: 112


Matthew Jelacic is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Design and an Adjunct Faculty member of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado. His research includes improving the design of shelter and planning for displacement caused by natural disasters, climate change and other conflicts. Prof. Jelacic received his architecture degrees at Pratt Institute, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, was a Harvard Loeb Fellow in 2003-4, studied international human rights law at Oxford University in 2008 and was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Scholar in Residence in 2009. From 1991-2001 he worked in the atelier of Louise Bourgeois and in 2004 he became a licensed contractor.


  • MArch- Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 1993
  • BArch- Pratt Institute, 1991
  • Certificate in Human Rights Law- Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre, 2008

Research Interests

  • Traumatic Urbanization
  • Emergency Shelters
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Appropriate Building & Construction Technologies

Courses Taught

A broad range of courses in design, history and theory of environmental design

Selected Publications

Design projects featured in:

  • Architecture for Humanity (2006) Design Like You Give a Damn, London, UK: Thames & Hudson.
  • Bell, B. and Wakeford, K. (2008) Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism, New York, NY, USA: Metropolis Press.
  • Davis, S. (2004) Designing for the Homeless: Architecture That Works, Berkeley, California, USA: University of California Press.


  • Gans, D. and Jelacic, M. (2003) ‘Displacement: The Realpolitik of Utopia’, in Perspecta: The Yale Architecture Journal, vol. 34, New Haven, CT, USA: Yale School of Architecture.
  • Jelacic, M. (2013) ‘From Polybius to Dadaab: Traumatic Urbanization in the Age of Man-Made Climate Change’, in Voyatzaki, M. (ed.) Architectural Education and the Reality of the Ideal: Environmental Design for Innovation in the Post-Crisis World, European Association for Architectural Education, Transactions on Architectural Education, No. 61.