The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Erika Zekos

Senior Lecturer, Undergraduate Program Director

Design Building Room 234

Erika Zekos (she/her) is a Senior Lecturer in the Architecture Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition to teaching design studios and seminars, she is the Undergraduate Program Director. Erika has a B.Arch and BS in Building Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She also holds an M.Ed in Higher Education and a Social Justice Education Graduate Certificate in Teaching for Diversity from UMass Amherst.  Erika comes to the department with experience in private practice, non-profit leadership, and design education in K-12 environments and at a number of regional colleges. Her multi-disciplinary practice addresses questions of space and identity through design. Her research and creative work explore a variety of themes, including the relationship between design and placemaking, as well as strategies for meaningful community engagement; using the creative process to give a voice to communities impacted by design through site-specific installations and hands-on projects.

Research Areas

Community-engaged Practice, Social Justice Pedagogy, Beginning Design Education, Place-based Education


  • It's Time -- site-specific installation at TurnPark Art Space, June -- October 2023
  • “Critical Pedagogy and Public Interest Design: Transforming Architecture Design Education for Social Justice” Proceedings of the 2022 EAAE-ARCC International Conference. Miami, FL, 2022.
  • Tea for Two – site-specific installation at the Mount, home of Edith Wharton, one of 30 artists selected to participate in the 2019 SculptureNow exhibition, Lenox, MA, June – October 2019
  • Common Sounding – site-specific musical installation, one of 13 artists selected to participate in the Crosstown Contemporary Art Exhibition (XTCA), Amherst, MA, June – October 2018
  • Reflections – site-specific installation offering meditation on our presence in the landscape, Picturing Pelham, Pelham, MA, July 2017
  • Forest for the Trees – site-specific exploration of trees, text, and memory, APE Gallery, Northampton, MA, December 2015
  • Through Our Eyes / Ripple Effect – photography and poetry collaboration with Holyoke Public Library, Girls Inc., and Enchanted Circle Theater, April 2013
  • Shedding Light. Contemporary Follies. Keith Moskow and Robert Lin (Eds.). The Monacelli Press, 2012 (featured project)
  • I dwell in Possibility – site-specific projection installation, Amherst Biennial, Amherst, MA, November 2010
  • Shedding Light – site-specific installation to illuminate a tobacco barn at Swartz Family Farm, Amherst, MA December 2009

Awards and Accolades

  • UMass Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Equity (TIDE) Ambassador Fellowship, 2023-24
  • UMass Distinguished Community-Engaged Teaching Award, 2022
  • UMass Senior Lecturer Professional Development Leave recipient, 2022-23
  • Best Research Paper 2022 EAAE-ARCC International Conference
  • UMass Civic Engagement and Service Learning Teaching Fellowship, 2018-19

Courses Recently Taught

  • ARCH 100 - Introduction to Architectural Design & Graphics
  • ARCH 300 - Design I Studio & 300H - Honors Colloquium
  • ARCH 301 - Design II Studio & 301H - Honors Colloquium
  • ARCH 400 - Design III Studio & 400H - Honors Colloquium
  • ARCH 404 - Design VI Studio
  • ARCH 491G - Career and Grad School Preparation Seminar
  • ARCH 600 - Graduate Design III Studio