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Yasmine Abbas

Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture
Portrait of Penn State Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture Yasmine Abbas
424 Stuckeman

Yasmine Abbas is a French architect (DPLG 1997) and strategic designer. Her research explores mobility, digital culture, and augmented place-making, with her current focus being on fabricating atmospheres, generative mapping, cartography, and the computational design of ambiance.

She is the author of Le néo-nomadisme : Mobilités. Partage. Transformations identitaires et urbaines (2011) and co-editor of Digital Technologies of the Self (Abbas, Y. & Dervin, F., 2009).

Abbas has worked in multicultural environments in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She consults internationally employing design thinking to generate panurban intelligence and drive urban innovation. Her design consulting experience includes work with ReD Associates (Denmark), Steelcase ARC (France), and Masdar City (UAE) as an environmental sociologist.

She is the co-founder of the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP), winner of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial Innovation Challenge 2013, and 2017 SEED award for Public Interest Design. Her work has been exhibited at the Seoul Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism 2017.

Prior to joining Penn State, Abbas served as chair of design management at the Paris College of Art.

She received a SMArchS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001) and a Doctor of Design from Harvard University (2006) for her work investigating neo-nomads, researching strategies for the design of living environments across contemporary conditions of expanded physical, digital, and mental mobilities.

  • Education
    • DPLG Architect from Architecte Diplômée Par Le Gouvernement, ENSA Paris Val-de-Marne, France in 1997
    • MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001
    • DDes from Harvard University in 2006
  • Courses Taught
    • Atmospheres: Perception, Design and Fabrication
    • Architectural Design VI (Fall and Spring 4th year studio)
    • Design Thinking x Making
  • Honors + Awards


    • Penn State Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design (C-PAD) Innovator in Residence


    • Penn State University College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Research Grant


    • Penn State University Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design (C-PAD) Seed Grant


    • Buckminster Fuller Institute Catalyst Program
    • SEED Social Economic & Environmental Design Award


    • Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant


    • Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge Award


    • Aga Khan Travel Grant


    • Aga Khan Scholarship (MIT)


    • DPLG architecture diploma with Félicitations
  • Exhibitions + Productions



    • AMP installation—wITH Dk Osseo-Asare/LOWDO, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017: Live Projects, Production City (September 1 to November 5)—South Korea
    • August 8, AMP presentation—Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017, Live Projects, Production City—South Korea
    • April 17, AMP SEED Award—Portland State University, Oregon, United States
    • April 13, AMP—Wayne State University, Michigan, United States
    • February 21, Form Follows Emotion—EAV&T Marne-la-Vallée, France


    • June 1, Habitat Néo-nomade—D’Days 2016, Paris, France
    • March 29, Néo-nomade: Architecture du (Dé)placement—ENSA Nantes, France


    • November 21, AMP—ICT4D The Life of Electronics, ULU, London, UK
    • February 6, Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform — ITESO, Guadalajara, Mexico


    • December 5, Mobilités, Identités, Espaces—Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France


    • February 13, Neo-nomads—Tokyo Denki University, Japan


    • February 3, Design for Transience—LIFT11, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Publications + Presentations



    • Abbas, Y., Le néo-nomadisme: Mobilités, Partage, Transformations identitaires et urbaines, FYP


    • Abbas, Y. & Dervin, F. (eds), Digital Technologies of the Self, Cambridge Scholars Publishing
    • Abbas, Y., “Les néo-nomades sont-ils immortels ? La mort en réseau” in Dervin, F. & Abbas, Y. (Eds.), Technologies numériques du soi et (co-)constructions identitaires, L’Harmattan, pp. 104–120


    • Abbas, Y. 2008, “Environnement néo-nomades, système écologique ?” in Dervin, F. & Ljalikova, A. (Eds.), Regards sur les mondes hypermobiles : Mythes et réalités, L’Harmattan, pp. 19–36



    • Osseo-Asare, Dk. and Abbas, Y., “Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform—SEED Award 2017” poster, Structures for Inclusion Conference, Center for Public Interest Design, Portland State University April 7–8


    • Abbas, Y., “The Cartography of Ambiance,” Ambiances, Tomorrow—Ambiances 2016 Third International Congress, September 21–24, proceedings pp. 253–258


    • Osseo-Asare, Dk. and Abbas Y., “Investigating 3E-materials at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana,” Raising Awareness for the Societal and Environmental Role of Engineering and (Re)Training Engineers for Participatory Design—Engineering4Society 2015 Conference, June 18–19, proceedings pp. 50–55


    • Abbas, Y., “Neo-vernacular/Non-pedigreed Architecture: Design Authorship and Expertise at the Time of Participatory Culture and Crowdsourcing,” in Who Cares(?), Second International Conference on Critical Digital, Harvard University GSD, April 17–19, proceedings pp. 145–151


    • Abbas, Y. “Neo-nomads and the Making of Boundaries in the Age of Mobility,” paper presented at the Presidential Choice Session: Mobile Geography, 17th Annual Conference of SASE, June 30 to July 2, Budapest, Hungary
    • Abbas, Y., “Parasites?,” paper presented at the Metapolis and Urban Life workshop, UbiComp2005 Conference, Tokyo, Japan, September 10–11 and participation to the 2-day workshop.


    • Abbas, Y., “Neo-nomads and the Nature of the Spaces of Flows,” paper presented at the UbiComp in the Urban Frontier workshop, UbiComp2004 conference, Nottingham, UK, September 7 and participation to the one-day workshop.



    • Abbas, Y., Jaillon, L., Watkin, T. and Luque, O. (Photography), “Two generations together” in Upmeyer, B. (Ed.), MONU n°18: Communal Urbanism, pp: 38–43


    • Abbas, Y. & Osseo-Asare, D., “Color Coating/Coding in Ghana’s Mobility Marketplace”, Harvard GSD New Geographies, vol. 3: Urbanisms of Color, pp. 8–11
    • Abbas, Y., “Masdar Takes a Pulse” in Todd Reisz (Ed.), Volume 23 Special Edition: Almanakh 2, Stiching Archis, p. 244–245
  • Built Works



    • Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform with Dk Osseo-Asare/LOWDO. Accra, Ghana


    • Studio 75019 apartment renovation. Paris, France



    • Springfield Courthouse construction documents, Moshe Safdie and Associates. Somerville, MA, United States


    • Retail and corporate offices renovation, Gulf Commercial Group Interiors. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates



    • House_1 + House_2 design concept for renovation and extension. France
    • Solaar House design concept for renovation. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    • Evolving Courtyard House design concept. Oman


  • Service + Affiliations


    • Peer reviewer, Articles—Design Modelling Symposium Paris 2017—September 18–20
    • Peer reviewer, Posters—ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference—June 27–30
    • Peer reviewer, Articles—Science du Design 05 : Design et innovation publique journal
    • Editorial advisory board member, Konomi, S. and Roussos, G. (Ed.), Enriching Urban Spaces with Ambient Computing, the Internet of Things and Smart City Design (IGI Global)


    • Peer reviewer, Articles—The Value of Design Research EAD 11 Conference—April 22–24


    • Elected General Assembly Member (Teacher Body) Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture