VGL is comprised of a decentrally-organized research staff, board of advisors, and global correspondents.
Lukas Pauer is a licensed architect, urbanist, educator, and the Founding Director of the Vertical Geopolitics Lab, an investigative practice and think-tank dedicated to exposing intangible systems and hidden agendas within the built environment. At the University of Toronto, Lukas is the Assistant Professor of Architecture, Inaugural 2022-2024 Emerging Architect Fellow. At the Architectural Association in London, Lukas has pursued a PhD AD on political imaginaries in architectural and urban design history with a focus on how imperial-colonial expansion has been performed architecturally throughout history. He holds an MAUD from Harvard University and an MSc Arch from ETH Zürich. Among numerous international recognitions, Lukas has been selected as Ambassadorial Scholar by the Rotary Foundation, as Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and as Emerging Leader by the European Forum Alpbach — leadership programs committed to change-making impact within local communities.
In the academy, Lukas is a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy. Most notably in the realm of international teaching awards, he has been recognized for having devised, co-ordinated, conducted, and assessed courses and workshops including thesis supervision and examination at leading institutions. He has spoken publicly at institutions such as the World Bank, has served as an editor for several periodicals, is a co-founding editor for the Harvard GSD’s Very Vary Veri Journal, as well as has curated and convened public programs at venues including the Venice Architecture Biennale. In the industry, Lukas has extensive technical experience in construction at the globally renowned practice of Herzog & de Meuron Architekten.
Alan Avorgbedor is an artist, lawyer, and Research Fellow at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Alan pursues an individualized interdisciplinary PhD at Concordia University, has briefly attended the architecture program at OSU, and holds a JD from Fordham University. Among other recognitions, Alan has been selected as Doctoral Student-in-Residence at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. His involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines the ways that philosophical, legal, architectural, and aesthetic norms can guide, complicate, or subvert modes of governmentality.
Jack Isles is an architect and Research Fellow at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Jack is studying architecture at the Architectural Association and holds a BArch from RMIT University. Previously working for Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zürich, Jack has published in periodicals such as Kerb Journal. Interrogating the political and economic systems that define architecture at a local and territorial scale, his involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines landscape architecture’s role in territorial expansion, amidst the contested waters of the South China Sea.
William Jamieson is a geographer and Research Fellow at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. William pursues a PhD Geo at the University of London and holds a BA ECW as well as an MSc US from the University of London. William has published in periodicals such as Ambit and Myths of the Near Future. His forthcoming publication with Goldsmiths Press, entitled Thirst for Sand, will employ critical creative writing techniques to posit land reclamation in Singapore as a form of writing on the scale of the nation-state. Integrating political geography and literary theory through a lens of critical creative writing, his involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines how space is read and written by capital.
Harriet Robertson is an artist, designer, and Research Fellow at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Harriet holds a BDes and an MLA from RMIT University where she has taught landscape architecture. Harriet worked for globally renowned practices such as Stoss LU, Hassell Studio, and the SWA Group. Further, Harriet worked on the Worlds Apart television series‘ fictional scenic urban environment and fictional Auspicious Egg real-life mock exhibition. Her involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines how anomalies and byproducts can lead to new design techniques and narratives.
Bethany Scott is an anthropologist and Teaching and Research Fellow at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Bethany pursues a graduate degree in anthrozoology (MA AZ) at the University of Exeter and holds an undergraduate degree in international development (BIntDev) from the University of Adelaide. Among other community service engagements, Bethany has worked as a board member at WWF Switzerland International Volunteers, a conservation organization in Zürich, and at Mayhew, an animal welfare organization in London. Her involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines human-animal relations in the built environment.
Marijke Davey is an architect and Research Assistant at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Marijke holds an MArch from RMIT University and a BVAD from ACU. Passionate about questions of humanity, Marijke is a practicing architect and sessional teaching staff at Melbourne University. Interrogating the human nature of global politics and their underlying moral codes of conduct, her work within the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines the impact of different models of human governance on space and the people occupying it.
Sophia Horomidis is a landscape architect and Research Assistant at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Sophia is studying landscape architecture at RMIT University and holds an AssocDeg in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Melbourne. Her most recent work was demonstrated as an editor at Kerb Journal, on the topic of digital landscapes. Interrogating the intersection of spatial practice and humanitarian work, her involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines the role of socio-spatial boundaries in practices of temporary occupation.
Ashley Pilipiszyn is an urban innovation entrepreneur and Research Assistant at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Ashley holds an MA in International Relations and Political Science from the Graduate Institute Geneva and a BA in Human Biology and Psychology from IU Bloomington. Ashley is pursuing joint doctoral studies at the University of Geneva and MIT whilst completing an EM in Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems at EPFL. Besides numerous international recognition, she was selected as Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and Spark Clean Energy Fellow in 2015, as MIT Climate CoLab Catalyst and Hive Global Leaders Program graduate in 2016. Integrating systems thinking and policy analysis, her work within the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines critical infrastructure in the built environment through the lens of moral hazard.
Michael Weiser is an economist and Research Assistant at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Michael holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Liechtenstein. Previously supported by the Austrian Research and Support Center for the Gifted and Talented (ÖZBF), Michael received a Liechtenstein Banking Award in 2014. His work at Lopag Trust has led to the establishment of an experimental platform seeking to facilitate radical innovation through co-opetition and design thinking. Interrogating behavioral economics, geoeconomics, and game theory from an analytical perspective, his involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines how economic security is becoming a vital component of a nation-state’s ability to project power in the 21st century.
Zhicheng Wang is a landscape architect and Research Assistant at the Vertical Geopolitics Lab. Zhicheng holds an MLA from the University of Edinburgh. At the globally renowned practice GrossMax, Zhicheng has worked on projects such as the London Heathrow Airport Expansion, Stockholm Upplands Vasby Railway Station, and Paris Eiffel Tower Visitor Experience. His involvement with the Vertical Geopolitics Lab examines how politico-economic forces affect infrastructure and technology and how these, in turn, affect society.