Luciana Misi

Luciana de Souza Misi (born 2 May 1978 in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil) is a developer and a principal of Austin, Texas-based architecture firm LAMME + MISI Urban Studio, specializing in urban-infill projects. Partnered with H. Hall Lamme, her firm is involved in an array of projects, including commercial office, retail, hospitality, mixed-use, VMU, single & multi-family, live/work design, and interior design, and is often consulted for development / economic feasibility studies.

Her buildings are characterized by the incorporation of green building tenets, specifically LEED components, including elements such as passive ventilation, eco-friendly materials, recycled and / or re-purposed materials, natural daylighting, and socially- and environmentally-responsible site-specific design.

Her architecture is influenced by tropical and sub-tropical climates that give rise to open floorplans, white and / or reflective exterior surfaces, and convertible spaces that create seamless interaction of the outdoors and indoors. Integral elements of her design are harmony with the site, liveability, seamless indoor-outdoor interaction, warm and engaging environments, and promoting socially- and outdoor-oriented lifestyles.

When asked what purpose architecture should serve, Misi was quoted as saying that 'above all, there should be a two-way interaction, between the end-user and the architecture - whereby the end-user adapts the architecture to their own priorities and lifestyle, and the architecture reciprocates, by enhancing the end-user's lifestyle and experience.' She continues, saying, 'too often, architecture expects sacrifice of the end-user - to the benefit of the architect's aims, and to the detriment of the end-user experience. Too often, particularly in modern architecture, liveability is sidelined, in favor of "high design."'

Early life

Luciana Misi was born in the city of Salvador da Bahia in 1978 in Canela neighborhood to an Italian father Aldo Misi (brother of Brazilian geologist, Aroldo Misi) and a Brazilian mother, Sueli de Souza.

Misi started her architectural studies at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil in 1996 and simultaneously began working in the architectural field, interning with prominent architects and doing her own projects and drafting services on the side.

She moved to Chicago to work with architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and with Architect Dirk Lohan, grandson of Mies Van der Rohe. In 2001 she moved to Austin, TX to enroll in the University of Texas School of Architecture. While balancing her studies, she worked for local firms LZT Architects, Dick Clark Architecture and Team Haas Architects.

2002 to the Present

Misi launched MISI Design Services in April of 2002, providing services such as CAD drafting, computer- and hand- generated renderings and models for the architectural, engineering, and building industries. She established a clientele of architects, engineers and home builders, including as Barley and Pfeifer, PE Structural Inc., Milburn Homes, and the Engineering Department at the Texas Adjutant General’s.

In 2006, she partnered with veteran Texas architect, H. Hall Lamme, and formed LAMME + MISI Urban Studio, with the principles of developing responsible, sustainable, and liveable architecture within the city's urban core, and revitalizing depressed sections of the city. The LAMME + MISI Urban Studio team boasts over one hundred years of cumulative experience in the architecture profession.

In June 2008, the 2008 Riverview Condos project, designed by her firm, was recognized by the American Institute of Architects, and featured on the American Institute of Architects 2008 Homes Tour.

Projects of Note

2008 Riverview Condos - an urban-infill project consisting of a single-family main house and a secondary, detached garage apartment.

Key characteristics of the project include:

Individually-articulating movable glass wall-panels, enabling the homeowner to shrink or expand the home's air-conditioned space, based on how the wall-panels are deployed Natural daylighting Passive ventilation Open floorplan Site-specific design, built around large pecan trees to take advantage of shade coverage Five-star green building, accredited by the City of Austin (Platinum LEED accreditation pending) Reflective, white PVC-based roof membrane, minimizing solar heat absorption

Govalle Affordable Co-Housing - Concept Design of an affordable “co-housing” project for a site on Govalle Avenue in East Austin to address the current lack of affordable housing in the city’s urban core. The project site was approximately three quarters of an acre, zoned MF-3. With careful study of the land development regulations, the firm was able to fit 26 units of various sizes in addition to enclosed community spaces and outdoor green spaces.

The intent was to promote community interaction – hence the concept of “co-housing’ – while reducing enclosed square feet. The units were designed to open their living spaces up to a common, covered outdoor space, and based on a minimum unit module size (the smallest permitted by applicable Building Codes). The configurations were based on a modular platform, ranging from an efficiency unit up to a three bedroom unit, 4 times bigger than the efficiency. The different unit types were integral to the co-housing concept of creating supportive social networks, social diversity, and cooperative self-management.

The firm introduced the idea of reducing construction costs by reducing square feet through well-designed, efficient spaces, implementing green building tenets that are low-tech (passive ventilation, passive solar, rainwater collection, xeriscaping and recycled materials), the use of eco-friendly materials.

1516 Hether Condominiums - Concept design as a speculative, 2-unit development in Austin, TX, on a single-family corner lot. The architecture promotes the interaction between outdoor and interior spaces throughout, with large decks including roof decks, articulated with translucent elements for natural light penetration within the enclosed living spaces. Strategically oriented on the site, the project features a metal wall plane that slices through the middle of the lot as an element of shade to the second storey terraces, as well as acting as a natural ventilation fin that helps direct the breezes through the building.

The project incorporates elements of green building, utilizes the site effectively, and conserves the trees while taking advantage of the greatest things the trees have to offer: dappled light, shade, cover canopy, and green backdrop.

Key Influences

Misi lists her key architectural influences as Marcio Kogan, André Sá (fellow Brazilian architects), Álvaro Siza, and Mies van der Rohe for their clean lines, efficient use of space, end-user interaction, modern materials, strategic selection and placement of windows, vernacular underpinnings, and harnessing of natural light. She adheres to Portuguese architect Siza's belief that 'there is always a very strict connection between the built and the nature, the new and the old, the sensorial and the rational.'

The influence of Contemporary Brazilian Art

From an early age, Misi was touched by the art of Alfredo Volpi, an Italo-Brazilian modernist painter (subset: Constructive Art), known for his predilection for geometric, abstract forms, and primary colors. A recurring theme in his paintings was the use of 'bandeirinhas' - colorful flag-like banners that adorn streets in Brazil during festivals. Today, Misi interprets Volpi's work as an example of applied regionalism. 'Just as the 'bandeirinhas' translated folk cultural expressions into geometric, contemporary lines expressive of Brazil,' Misi notes, 'architecture shall embrace the local aspects of the site / region.' This expression - Architecture in material form, as Misi called it - is what ultimately inspires her work. The characteristic clean lines and intersecting forms of Volpi's work provided inspiration for Misi's architectural tenets, and translated into the logo for LAMME + MISI Urban Studio.

Recognition

2008 Riverview Condominiums – AIA Homes Tour - 2008 Vice President of Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2003 (Merit-based scholarship) Ford Centennial Chair, Fall 2003 (Merit-based scholarship) Brandon Shaw Memorial, Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 (Merit-based scholarship) Recognition for addressing site planning considerations in the Texas Society of Architects student design competition, Fall 2002 The selected design of choice for an affordable living design-build studio project in Sonora, Mexico for the indigenous Yaqui community, 2004


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