Despo Thoma is a Cypriot urban designer at One Architecture & Urbanism (ONE) in New York, and a registered architect in Cyprus. Despo holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens and a M.Sc. in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University as a Fulbright Fellow. At Columbia, Despo was awarded the GSAPP Prize for Excellence in Urban Design for the most outstanding body of work. Despo has spent time as faculty at Columbia GSAPP and NJIT, as Design Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Architecture, and as guest critic at Parson’s New School of Design, City College of New York, and NYIT.
At ONE, Despo is acting as project manager and lead urban planner for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge and Lead Designer for the Water As Leverage Program in Semarang, Indonesia. Thoma has contributed to RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan: The Triboro Corridor, and the two coastal resiliency projects that came out of the Rebuild By Design winning proposal ‘BIG U’ that reshape the future coastline of Lower Manhattan. Despo’s personal research focuses on congested territories and conflict resolution, and embodies her belief in moving away from the notion of design as a tool for object-production and toward a more collaborative process-oriented use of design.