Pari Riahi initiated her architecture studies in Iran, continued in France and eventually received her bachelor’s, professional and academic Masters’ Degrees from McGill University in Montreal. Upon finishing her Masters’ she started a PhD at McGill University in the History and Theory Program under the supervision of Professor Alberto Perez-Gomez. Her dissertation entitled, "The Incorporation of Imagination in Architectural Drawings of the Quattrocento," concerns the reciprocal connections of architectural drawings and imagination during the Renaissance. It focuses on the work of Francesco di Giorgio, the Sienese architect and theorist, whose treatises on architecture opened up a space for drawing in the realm of architectural theory while exposing his numerous drawings.
Pari started practicing architecture in Montreal where she worked for six years in prominent design firms including Boutros + Pratte architects and Saia Barbarese Topouzanov architects. After moving to the US in 2006, she first joined Martha Schwartz Inc. in Cambridge and then worked for the office of Machado and Silvetti architects in Boston. Having become a registered architect in the province of Quebec and later in Massachusetts, she started her own practice and founded Pari Riahi Architects Inc. in Cambridge, where she is currently working on a number of research and design projects.
Considering teaching and research an essential counterpart to her practice, Pari has been continuously involved in teaching in different forms at McGill, SUNY Buffalo and RISD. Since 2007 she has been teaching courses on core and advanced studios, manual and digital representations, digital construction and fabrication at RISD.
Academic Research/Areas of Interest
Pari’s interest is on the connections between drawing and imagination during the Renaissance and the current change of medium due to the development of digital media. She thinks that the Renaissance and our modern time are both eras marked by significant shifts of the communicative medium of architecture: systematic manual drawing then, digital drawings and tools now.
While Pari has spent a few years studying Renaissance treatises and investigating a few architects’ theoretical works, her current research revolves around digital media, its propagation and its impact on architecture. Current debates of different branches of digital media and fabrication methods are now at the forefront of her research, presented both in writing, in her pedagogical curriculum and her practice.
Other lines of research include early modern architecture in the Scandinavian countries, with particular interest in the works of Sigurd Lewerentz, as well as contemporary landscape theories and design