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Naomi Darling

Five College Associate Professor

Naomi Darling teaches design studio courses with a sustainable lens focusing on climate, culture and materiality at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In all of Darling’s studios, students are given design problems to learn the tools of visual communication through analog and digital drawing and fabrication, with the goal of nurturing students’ individual voice and passions.  Darling holds a Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Civil Engineering and Architectural Design from Princeton University, a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture.  

Darling’s research and professional practice, Naomi Darling Architecture LLC, develop projects at all scales in terms of size, time and permanence, and students are often engaged in real sites and programs.  Permeating all projects is a dimension of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and the role of architects as agents of change.  Current projects include a Bandshell for the Amherst Green and several park structures for the Town of Sunderland (with Ray Mann), several residential projects, and Nitobe Memorial Hall, a museum, library and community center in Sapporo, Japan. 

Previously, Darling taught courses in environmental design at the Yale School of Architecture, and in the Urban Studies Department at Brown University and prior to founding her practice, Darling worked in the offices of Kengo Kuma and Associates in Tokyo, Japan and Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects in Seattle, WA. 

Research Areas

  • Sustainable design at the intersection of climate, culture and materiality 
  • Developing design studio practices that integrate building science;
  • Japanese Tea Houses;
  • Design/Build Pedagogy;
  • Bridging Liberal Arts and Pre-professional Architectural Education;
  • Social and Environmental Equity through Design;


Solar Time – Naomi Darling & Darrell Petit
XTCA:Cross Town Contemporary Art exhibition, University Museum of Contemporary Art
University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center Plaza: July 1 – November 1, 2018

Wayfinding – Naomi Darling & Bill Brayton
Kern Center, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA: September, 2016 – 2018.

2014 Proposals for Nitobe Memorial Hall
Sapporo Train Station Chika-Ho Exhibition Space, Sapporo, Japan: May 27, 2014.

Architecture Boston Expo 2013
AIA New England 2013 Design Awards Exhibit, Boston, MA: November 2013

AIA New England 2013 Design Awards Exhibit: Taking Design to Heart
DCU Center, Worcester, MA: October 2013

EP:2011: 2nd annual exhibit of the work of emerging architects
American Center for Architecture, Washington D.C.: February – March, 2011


Blander, Akiva.  “Further into the Follies,” The Architectural League of New York, January 18, 2018.  (

Darling, Naomi. “The Potential for the Sustainable Urban Factory” in Design for Manufacturing, edited by Nina Rappaport and Robert Lane.  Routledge, 2018. (forthcoming)

Darling, N. & S. Darlington. “Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Cross-Cultural Placemaking.”  Proceedings of 49th Environmental Design Research Association Conference, “Social Equity by Design.” Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2018.

Darling, N. & R. Mann.  “Cultural Precedents and Historic Artifacts as a Springboard for Beginning Design.” Proceedings of the 34th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, “Time” at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2018.

Sustainable Heritage Tourism Endorsement Programme, OAS, 2017.

Darling, N. “The Kern Center at Hampshire College – Beauty and Spirit in a Living Building.” Proceedings of Poetics and Pragmatism, Building Technology Educators’ Society Conference 2017, Des Moines, IA, 2017, pp 71-78.

Darling, N. & R. Mann.  “Integrating Cultural Research into the Design Studio.” Proceedings of the 105th Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Annual Meeting, Detroit, MI, 2017.

Darling, N. “Integrating an Ethos of Service into the Beginning Design Studio.” Proceedings of the 105th Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Annual Meeting, Detroit, MI, 2017.

Darling, N. “Tea House Design Build: Integrating History and Cultural Studies into the Design Studio.” 1:1, Proceedings of the 32nd National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA, 2016, pp. 577-584.

Darling, M.N. “Teaching Principles Governing Energy Usage in Foundation Design Studios.” In Intersections & Adjacencies, Proceedings of the 2015 Building Technology Educators’ Society International Conference, E. Carraher, J Gines & J. Galarza, Editors. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, 2015, pp. 324-325.

Darling, Naomi. “Pilgrimage to Nitobe Inazo Museums in the Tohoku Region,” in The World of Inazo Nitobe, Translation by M. Tokita.  Volume 25, September, 2016, pp 145-155. (published in Japanese)

“Nitobe Memorial Hall Concept Design Proposals exhibited at CHIKA-ho,” Hokkaido Shinbun, May 28, 2014, Pg 24.

“50 Domestic and International submissions for Nitobe Memorial Hall Concept Designs,” Hokkaido Construction Shinbun, March 25, 2014

Awards and Accolades

Roddenberry Grant for Curricular Initiatives in Sustainability
awarded for: Designing for Life – year-long course with Prof. Sue Darlington

Folly/Function Notable Entry: The Architectural League of New York.  Kasa Pavilion, with Ray Mann. 

Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Travel Grant
Project: Investigating Wood in Finnish Architecture through the work of Alvar Aalto

Nitobe Memorial Hall International Design Competition: 1st place.  Project to be built in Sapporo, Japan with completion date in 2020.

STEAP (Small Town Economic Assistance Program) Grant  - State of CT
Project: Old Saybrook Great Park
Town awarded $500,000 to realize Phase 1 – construction completed in 2017

AIA New England Regional Award – AIA Citation Award for Kernan Tea House

AIA Center for Emerging Professionals: Washington D.C.
Kernan Tea House selected for inclusion in EP:2011, the second annual exhibition of work, art, and designs of emerging architects

Courses Recently Taught

Arch 403 – Design 5 (UMass)
Arch 225 – Environmental Principles in Design (MHC)
Arch 205 – Sculpting Space – Foundation Design Studio (MHC)
HACU 282 – Tea House Design Build (Hampshire College)