Program in Environmental Design

University of Colorado Boulder

Shawhin Roudbari

Visiting Assistant Professor

Office: 1B05


Shawhin studies ways design practitioners around the world connect in order to affect their political and professional power. In doing so, he studies the history and sociology of professional and academic institutions in architecture, city planning, urban design, and civil and environmental engineering. He is drawn to qualitative and mixed-method approaches of tracking global connections of people, policies, and practices—be they formal, informal, or even underground and illegal—through social media, travel, migration or other means. Shawhin is applying these interests to study (a) ethics and activism in the environmental design professions, (b) professional and academic institutions of architecture as sites of social and political engagement, (c) the transnationalization of sustainability discourse in design, and (d) gender and migration in architecture practice.

In his current book project, Shawhin is writing about ways travel, migration, and social media facilitate the destabilization of global structures of authority in the architecture field. He has published or presented his research with the American Sociological Association, Society of Architectural Historians, and American Association of Geographers among others.

Shawhin teaches on the globalization of architecture as well as practices of social change in environmental design. He completed his PhD in Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley in 2013.


  • PhD in Architecture (University of California, Berkeley, 2013)
  • MS in Architecture (University of California, Berkeley, 2010)
  • MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Cornell University, 2004)
  • BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering (University of California, Berkeley, 2002)

Research Interests

  • Transnationalism and globalization in environmental design
  • Social change and activism in environmental design
  • History, geography, and sociology of academic and professional institutions of architecture, planning, and engineering
  • Geographies of knowledge and expertise

Courses Taught

  • ENVD 3122 Research Issues and Methods in Design and Planning
  • ENVD 4361 Ethics of Social Change in Environmental Design
  • ENVD 1052 Introduction to Design and Communication
  • SSIR 1010 Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

Recent Papers & Presentations

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Transnationalism in Iran’s Architecture Profession, 1945-1995.” Paper accepted for presentation at the 67th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, April 2014. Forthcoming.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Looking and Moving Abroad: The Transnational Transformation of Iran’s Architecture Profession, 2000-2012.” Paper accepted for presentation at the Tenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, Montreal, Quebec, August 2014. Forthcoming.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Instituting Architecture: A History of Transnationalism in Iran’s Architecture Profession, 1936 – 1996.” Journal of Iranian Studies, special Issue on Historiography of Persian Architecture. Accepted and in press.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Transnationalism in Iran’s Architecture Profession, 1992-2012.” Paper presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, August 2013.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Transnationalization of Design Awards: Iranian Architects in the Shifting Geography of Architecture Acknowledgement.” Paper presented at Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, April 2013.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Revolution’s Architecture: Transformations in Design Education and Practice in Iran, 1979-2009,” paper for Topics in Modern Iran panel at the 16th Annual Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Graduate Symposium at the University of Toronto, 2012.

  • Roudbari, Shawhin. “Resistance by Design: The Politics of Tehran’s Architecture Magazines,” paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices at the University of California, Los Angeles, 2012.