Architecture + Urbanism
Environment     Health     Human Rights



Ph.D., MSc., University of Pennsylvania
MArch., Cornell University
B.A., University of Ljubljana

Academic and Other Positions

Barbara has taught undergraduate and graduate studios, seminars and courses in architectural design, history, theory and other areas. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, University of Maryland and elsewhere. Most recently she was reappointed a Visiting Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Architecture Design Research PhD Program in Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center with which she has been affiliated for the past several years. Barbara has also served as the Director of Education at The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment (currently TPF for Building Community) in London, UK; a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, History of Science and Sociology (History of Medicine) Department; an Instructor at the U.S. Department of State, FSI, and elsewhere. As an architect, she has worked in Canada and in the U.S. and has created set designs, including for the Wilma Theater’s musical “Gunmetal Blues” in Philadelphia.


Barbara Kenda’s research investigates current and future issues of our global built environment and focuses on the integration of architecture, urban landscapes, climate, health and human rights. Specifically, she explores environmentally conscious architecture and urbanism to help support preventive medicine and to prove that bridging these fields is indispensable for the future of our built environment. Ultimately, her interdisciplinary research seeks to develop innovative design solutions to create healthy buildings and cities, to minimize chronic diseases and to improve peoples’ lives.

Barbara’s research also involves the history and theory of architecture and focuses on pneumatology [from ancient Greek pneuma: air, wind, spirit, soul]. She maintains that in the Renaissance, pneuma was a fundamental link for establishing harmony in the triangular relationship of the human body, a building, and the cosmos. Her research recontextualizes essence, wind and ventilation as principles of classical building, and demonstrates that one of the primary goals of Renaissance architects was to augment the powers and the virtues of pneuma so as to foster the art of well-being. Barbara focuses on a complex labyrinth of gardens, underground caves and wind tunnels that form a unique natural ventilation system for a group of Venetian therapeutic villas of Costozza. Such well-tempered pneumatic landscapes and buildings, especially Villa Eolia, inspired Palladio, Scamozzi, Galilei and other humanists. This research links the subject of classical and Renaissance pneumatology to contemporary environmental questions. 

Other topics of Barbara’s research have included: Plecnik, Scarpa and other 20th-century Architects; History and Theory of Building Technology; Tradition and Innovation in Western and Non-Western Architecture; The Architecture of Embassies: Cultures and Politics; Art and Science in Renaissance Buildings and Landscapes; Architectural Representations; Fractal Geometry and Dimensions; Proportions in Music and Architecture; and several others.


Among Barbara’s publications and contributions are: Aeolian Winds and the Spirit in Renaissance Architecture (Ed., Intr. by B. Kenda, Foreword by J. Rykwert, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, London, New York, 2006); Green Living: Architecture and Planning (Co-produced for TPF, Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, Afterword by B. Kenda, Rizzoli, New York, 2010); “Interview with Joseph Rykwert,” (Piranesi, Middle-European Architectural Journal for the Culture of Environment, Ljubljana: Piranesi Ltd., Autumn 2002); “Pneuma in Villa Eolia: On the Renaissance Art of Well-Being” (RES 34, Autumn 1998, Anthropology and Aesthetics; Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1998). She has also published her research in other journals and conference proceedings and has served as a peer reviewer for Architectural Histories journal and other publications.

Pneuma in Villa Eolia: On the Renaissance Art of Well-Being

RES 34, Autumn 1998, Anthropology and Aesthetics Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1998

Interview with Joseph Rykwert

Piranesi, Middle-European Architectural Journal for the Culture of Environment Ljubljana, Piranesi Ltd., Autumn 2002

Aeolian Winds and the Spirit in Renaissance Architecture: Academia Eolia Revisited

Routledge, Taylor & Francis, London and New York, 2006
Foreword by Joseph Rykwert, Edited with Introduction by Barbara Kenda

Green Living: Architecture and Planning

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, Rizzoli, New York, 2010
Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, Afterword by Barbara Kenda

Academia Eolia Revisited

Piranesi, Middle-European Architectural Journal for the Culture of Environment Ljubljana, Piranesi Ltd., Autumn 2004

Air and Water in Renaissance Villas: Theories and Practice of Hydraulico-Pneumatic Architecture

Landscapes of Water: History, Innovation and Sustainable Design. Uniografica Corcelli Editrice, Bari, 2002

Conferences and Lectures

In 2004, Barbara organized an interdisciplinary symposium Academia Eolia Revisited in Costozza (Vicenza) Italy. She has co-organized and/or presented papers at other international conferences and events, including “On Atmospheres” (Harvard University, GSD, 2016); “Form Based Codes” (TPF, Lincoln, 2007); “The Politics of Place” (TPF, London, 2006); “Healthy Buildings” (Lisbon, 2006); “Landscapes of Waters: History, Innovation and Sustainable Design” (Monopoli, Italy, 2002); “Reusing the Past” (Monemvasia, Greece, 2002); “8th International Conference of ACUUS” (Xi’an, China, 1999); “8th Annual Symposium on Visual Representation” (University of California, Berkeley, 1997) and others. She has lectured and/or served on juries at the ICAA (New York), University of Ljubljana, (Slovenia), Carleton University (Ottawa, CA) and elsewhere.

  • Harvard University, GSD, 2016

    On Atmospheres

  • Lisbon, 2006

    Healthy Buildings

  • TPF, London, 2006

    The Politics of Place

  • Costozza (Vicenza) Italy, 2004

    Interdisciplinary symposium “Academia Eolia Revisited”

Honors and Awards

For her research, publications, design and teaching, Barbara has received international, national and university honors and awards: Harvard University Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship in Garden and Landscape Studies (Washington, DC); Graham Foundation Grant for Advanced Studies of the Fine Arts (Chicago); Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grants (New York); Glady Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant (New York); Cornell University Shreve Award for Excellence in Architectural Design; Cornell University Robert J. Eidlitz Fellowship; University of Pennsylvania Penfield Scholarship and Salvatori Awards; Soros Open Society Grant; Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, and Science Foundation Grants and Scholarships (Slovenia); and others. She is a coauthor of “Joze and Franc”, an essay on Plecnik and Kafka, which won first prize in a Slovenian national literary competition and was published in “Problemi Literatura” (2/87).