Director

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Maddy S. Johnson

Maddy Samaddar Johnson (B.Arch.,M.Arch., M.L.Arch.) is trained in both architecture and in landscape architecture & urban planning and has over twelve years of American, Canadian and international experience. She has lived in several different countries and received her education in England, India, U.S. and Canada*.

After graduating summa cum laude with a 5-year degree in B. Architecture and awarded two gold medals for the highest academic standing & for her design thesis in her graduating class, Maddy had started her own firm and implemented several design projects in Asia. Following this, she was admitted to the M.Arch II program at McGill University, Canada, and selected as a recipient of the Fred Lebensold Memorial Fellowship. She also obtained a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Manitoba, Canada, receiving three fellowships and two scholarships including the prestigious G. Clarence Elliott Great-West Life fellowship. Her research and practicum focused on combining the principles of landscape ecology with transit-oriented-designed communities. In 2009 she took a mid-career break to undertake courses in Ecological Urbanism and infrastructure sustainability at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maddy has worked under some of the most creative architecture firms of Canada, notably under the distinguished Order of Canada recipient – contemporary architect Dan Hanganu and at Le Groupe Arcop Inc., which has designed many landmark buildings and is one of Canada’s oldest architecture & planning firms. She’s also worked with noted Canadian architect, landscape architect and educator  Ron WilliamsFCSLA, FRAIC, with the IBI group (with Daniel Arbour Associates) on large planning projects and directly with Florida developer Itchko Ezratti for an eco-city proposal in West Palm Beach County. She started her New York consultancy Nomad 9 Design in 2011 and since 2013 has also served as the Director North America for the award winning Italian firm OBR (Open Building Research) whose founders worked under architect Renzo Piano. 

Maddy’s work has encompassed a diverse range of projects in scope, scale and location, due to the firms she worked at as well as her own consultancy. She has an extensive and versatile set of design skills and management experience due to her involvement in works in over a dozen countries in five continents, encompassing over eighty projects in architecture, landscape architecture, interiors, set-designs, master-planning, as well as city and regional planning and has worked on projects proposed and built in the states of New York, California, Florida, Nevada, various cities all across Canada, and in several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

The diversity in range has varied from the CSLA award winning urban design installation of the Fontaine de Tourny on the entry grounds of the Parliament building of  Quebec City (a gift from France on Quebec’s 400th anniversary), to working on  the design of the first luxury hotel built in Kabul, Afghanistan which opened in 2005 (a project that has featured in over 50 articles in the New York Times and the BBC); from the master-planning of a 16 square mile eco-city proposal in West Palm Beach, Florida, for one of USA’s largest housing developers who wanted more environmentally sensitive solutions as a departure from his usual market-driven home styles, to a school project funded by the Aga Khan Foundation in Madagascar, Africa. Other projects have included large high-end residential communities and mega-parks in China, an artisans’ eco-tourism village in coastal Algeria (a Canadian International Development Agency project), the landscape design for 350 acres of the grounds of the General Motors factory site in western India (under her own firm in her early 20s), finding eco-sensitive solutions for multifamily housing using sustainable transit-oriented-development principles in Montreal’s West Island. new work on the McGill University Law Library, architectural additions in the Ravi Shankar Institute of Music in New Delhi, work on the Canadian Parliament’s West Block restoration in Ottawa, La Salle de Spectacle concert hall in the maritime town of Rimouski in northern Quebec, the design of  a rooftop play-scape for the Montreal Children Hospital, participating in an exhibition series and installation on alternative methods of energy production at the Museo Maxxi in Rome, Italy, the design of a 100-acre stately residential estate in upstate New York for a well-known flamboyant Manhattan hotelier; numerous high-end interior design projects in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood and working in the planning and coordination stages with an emphasis on the protection of historical existing structures for a proposed 1.1 million square feet urban mixed-use redevelopment project in Montreal’s Peel Basin site.

Maddy has taught courses in Canada and India, been invited as a jury member for graduate student design presentations in Canada & USA including Cornell University’s New York Studio, as a guest lecturer at Barnard College and Columbia University, New York, and has given talks for many years at seminars organized by the Canadian International Development Agency, the National Foundation for Engineers in India, the Canadian International Institute for Sustainable Development, as well as advisory sessions for employees of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

A resident of Manhattan, New York, she has previously resided in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Miami (Florida), Montreal, Canada, and lived in seven other cities around the world and  speaks six languages. Her side interests include mountaineering, writing and painting and she has also been very active both as a performer and designer in English theater and classical dance stage productions in her early years. She was a lead dancer for many large-scale stage productions in classical Bharatnatyam as a disciple of India’s most revered classical dance couple Jaya and C.V. Chandrashekhar, and later became a student of the dance style of Spanish Flamenco. Maddy has also participated in jazz singing, her latest performance being in New York City’s East Village as a vocalist accompanying guitarist Alex Skolnick. Since 2012 she has also been working on an extensive art-ecology-world music project with him named “Planetary Coalition” with nearly 30 renowned musicians from NYC and from several countries including Argentina, Turkey, India, China, Mali, Mexico, Israel, Palestine, Cuba, and the Balkan region. The project, concept and the album released in November 2014 has earned rave reviews, selected by Guitar World magazine as one of the top 10 acoustic albums of 2014 while audio-visual performances at venues like Union Square, the Liberty Science Center, University of Dayton etc. are aimed at creating environmental & social/political awareness through musical collaborations.

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The early years; an article in a national newspaper.

The early years, 1997; an article in a national newspaper.

Maddy Samaddar Johnson

Maddy Samaddar-Johnson

2016. Interview in “Unbuilt” magazine, USA. (click here to read)

Canadian national newspaper article, 2007, as a recipient of the Great West-Life (Clarence Eliott) real-estate fellowship

Canadian national newspaper article, 2007, as a recipient of the Great West-Life (Clarence Eliott) real-estate fellowship

Maddy Samaddar

On site for a series of high-rise condominiums under construction, Ottawa, Canada. (Photo featured in a 2012 New York gallery series “The Architect”)


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To view her work click here
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* Education
2009-2010: Courses, conferences and seminars related to Ecological Urbanism and Infrastructure Sustainability at Harvard University and Harvard GSD, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
2004: Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada (G.P.A 4.0. Coursework completed in 1999 – 2001. Thesis submitted in 2004 while working in firms from 2001 onwards)
2003: Post-professional M.Arch II program in Affordable Housing in McGill University, Montreal, Canada, but left the program due to simultaneous ongoing professional workload at the firm.
1998: M.Arch II program in Architecture History and Theory, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (Fred Lebensold Memorial Fellowship)
1995: B.Architecture, School of Architecture, Faculty of Technology & Engineering, MS University of Baroda, India (G.P.A. 4.0, class valedictorian & recipient of 2 academic gold medals.)


* Awards and Fellowships
2008 CSLA Award of Excellence for the project Fontaine de Tourny (project done while at Groupe DAA/IBI)
2001 Fridrick Kristjansson Fellowship in Architecture.
2000 Clarence Elliott (Great West Life) Fellowship, nominations on a national level.
1999 Graduate Fellowship, University of Manitoba, Canada.
1999 University of Manitoba Students’ Union Merit Scholarship, Canada
1998 Fred Lebensold Memorial Fellowship, School of Architecture, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
1998 Faculty of Architecture Partners Program E. H. Price Merit Scholarship, Canada
1998 – 2008 Seminar presenter on the topic of Sustainable Development and Inter-Cultural learning at seminars organized by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) for employees of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
1997 “Young Entrepreneur Award” by the regional section of the national newspaper Express India
1996 Honorary life membership for Excellence in Architecture, Institution of Engineers, India
1995 Hansa Mehta Gold Medal for Architecture for academic excellence
1995 V.P.Kamdar Merit Medal for highest annual academic standing, Institution of Engineers, India
1991 – 1994 University merit scholarships throughout the B.Arch. program
1992 – 1995 Spokesperson and department representative for Architecture on the panel of NAFEN (National Foundation of Engineers, India)
1990 Graduated from the Convent of Jesus & Mary High School with the National Merit Scholarship for academic excellence. Prior schooling at the Sacred Heart School, England.


Member – Architects without Borders, Canada and volunteer – Architecture for Humanity, New York chapter

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