Jonah Coe-Scharff

Jonah Coe-Scharff

New York, NY, US



Jonah Coe-Scharff is an architectural designer, researcher, and educator interested in the entangled politics of the domestic and the urban. Focused on housing and gentrification, his work seeks to place the choreography of the body at the scale of the architectural interior into relation with broader political economies of social reproduction. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

Jonah completed his MArch at Princeton School of Architecture with a concurrent certificate in Urban Policy from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. He received the Henry Adams AIA Medal and was awarded the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize for his M.Arch. thesis, Living on the (Lot) Line, a series of housing designs that challenge typical relations between architecture and property in order to pose novel typological approaches to inclusive infill development.

He holds dual master’s degrees in architecture/urban studies and intellectual history from Cambridge University, where his research focused on the history and politics of low-cost housing design in New York City. His MPhil Dissertation, Conceptualizing the Minimum Dwelling, 1900-1950, received the 2016 Alexander Pike dissertation prize and was presented as a lecture at the Architectural League of New York in 2019.

Jonah has previously worked as a designer and cartographer at WORKac and Somatic Collaborative, and he has been part of project teams for exhibitions at the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. His theatrical set designs have been produced in Cambridge, UK, New Haven, CT, and upstate NY, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He served on the editorial board of Pidgin from 2018 to 2021, and his writing has appeared in the New York Review of Architecture.


The University of Virginia School of Architecture, Charlottesville, VA, US, Assistant Professor

ARCH 4010: Advanced Research Studio / Fall 2021
A Renewed Summer of Pools
(co-taught with Felipe Correa)

ARCH 3070: Foundations in Design Practices / Fall 2021
The Other New York City: Domestic Futures for a Zone in Transition

Aug 2021 - current

The University of Virginia School of Architecture, Charlottesville, VA, US, Lecturer

ARCH 5010: Summer Design Institute
(co-taught with Felipe Correa, Devin Dobrowolski, and Katie Stranix)

Jul 2021 - Aug 2021

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Graduate Instructor

ARC 204: Introduction to Architectural Design
(with Paul Lewis and Annie Barrett)

ARC 547: Formal Analysis
(with Cameron Wu)

URB 201: Introduction to Urban Studies
(with Christine Boyer)

HIS 388 Unrest and Renewal in Urban America
(with Alison Isenberg)

MArch Pre-term Bootcamp
(Co-instructor with Ruta Misunas and Will Fu)

Sep 2019 - May 2021

Somatic Collaborative, New York, Researcher/Illustrator

Chapter Lead (research and illustrations) for forthcoming book, Collective Living and the Architectural Imaginary.

Jun 2020 - Aug 2020

Somatic Collaborative, New York, NY, Researcher/Cartographer

Developed maps describing the geography of natural resource extraction in South America for Felipe Correa's exhibition at the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Jun 2019 - Jul 2019

WORKac, New York, Junior Designer

Selected projects:
— Regional Plan Association 4c Design Initiative
Conceptual urban design project: team leader and primary researcher; concept design; project narrative; site drawings and diagrams; graphic design.

— The Art Deco Building, Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017
Design team member and primary researcher; design and execution of two exhibition drawings; graphic design of accompanying book; primary 3D modeler; supervised detailing of large-scale physical model

— Business Development
Oversaw RFP and concept design for a public-private-partnership urban transit proposal; copywriting for new website and graphic design for project presentation materials.

Mar 2017 - May 2018

Various theater venues, Scenic Designer

Lead designer for 11 student/amateur theater productions. Venues included Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK), Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club (Cambridge, UK), Yale Theater Studies Department (New Haven, CT), Yale Dramatic Association (New Haven, CT), Greenville High School (Greenville, NY), GCC Summer Youth Theater (Rensselaerville, NY)

Drew plans, built models, managed budgets, supervised construction and painting. Collaborated with professional as well as amateur directors, including Annette Jolles, a member of the Theater Studies faculty at Yale.

Assisted professional scenic designers Jason Sherwood and Jason Simms at the Yale Dramatic Association.

Aug 2007 - Oct 2015

Dorset Theatre Festival, Dorset, VT, US, Scenic Painting Apprentice

Trained under Broadway scenic artist Elaine Sabal as her sole assistant for Dorset's 4-show summer season. Mastered a variety of scenic painting techniques. Assisted with carpentry and rigging tasks.

Jun 2014 - Aug 2014

Yale University, New Haven, CT, US, Peer Mentor

As one of a small group of students hired to facilitate campus theater productions, advised student designers and technicians. Organized and led workshops on theater safety, design process, and scenic painting. Established best practices and interviewed later applicants, as one of the program’s inaugural employees.

Aug 2012 - May 2014

Yale Dramatic Association, New Haven CT, Technical Director

Leadership position in a student organization. Supervised 20 students executing a professional designer’s plan. Prepared shop drawings and designed structures. Managed a $3700 budget. Spearheaded an overhaul of technical direction procedures to promote efficiency and peer-to-peer mentorship.

Aug 2012 - Nov 2012, New Orleans, LA, US, Research Analyst and Development Intern

Proposed and developed a CRM (constituent relationship management) database implementation plan to lay groundwork for long-term growth. Staffed and helped to organize a summit, evacuation drill, and volunteer trainings. Updated and expanded the organization's website.

( is a nonprofit that trains volunteers to assist the New Orleans city government in the event of a mandatory evacuation.)

Jun 2011 - Aug 2011


Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, US, MArch, Professional

AIA Henry Adams Medal
Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Thesis Prize
Certificate in Urban Policy, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Teaching Transcript, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
Editor, Pidgin, issues 25 - 29

Sep 2018 - May 2021

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GB, Masters, Architecture and Urban Studies

“Conceptualizing the Minimum Dwelling, 1900-1950"
M.Phil. Dissertation, Cambridge Department of Architecture.
Supervised by Nicholas Bullock.
A historical account in six episodes of the repeated reinvention of the concept of the "minimum dwelling" in U.S. housing discourse, from the era of tenement regulation to the advent of Levittown, with a focus on New York City.

Other papers on: The American Suburban House of the 1920s / Alison and Peter Smithson / Domestic Architecture in Film

Oct 2015 - Oct 2016

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GB, Masters, Political Thought and Intellectual History

“Imagining the City in the Mid-Twentieth-Century American Left”
M.Phil. Dissertation, Cambridge Faculty of History.
Supervised by Timothy Rogan.
An examination of the thought of Lewis Mumford and Paul Goodman, illustrating the importance of architecture, public housing, and urban planning for new developments in post-Marxist social theory between 1922 and 1960.

Oct 2014 - Jun 2015

Yale University, New Haven, CT, US, Bachelors, History

“New Roads in Leftist Thought: Dwight Macdonald, Lewis Coser, and the Postwar Crisis of American Marxism”
B.A. Senior Essay, Yale Department of History. Advised by Beverly Gage.
John Porter Prize in American History and the Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize for outstanding research in Yale archives.

Additional coursework in Architecture, Political Theory, American Studies, Humanities, Mathematics

Sep 2010 - May 2014


RAMSA Travel Fellowship, Honorable Mention


Alexander Pike Prize, Award

Departmental dissertation prize for "Conceptualizing the Minimum Dwelling, 1900-1950"


John Porter Prize in American History, Award


Paul Mellon Fellowship, Scholarship

Supporting two years of study at Clare College, Cambridge. Administered by Berkeley College, Yale University, and awarded to three Yale graduates each year.


Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize for research in Yale University Archives, Award


Friedman Summer Travel/Research Fellowship, Grant

Supporting a summer of research in London, investigating the archives of Raymond Unwin and others, for a project, "Architecture as Praxis: Socialism and Workers' Housing in Early Twentieth-Century Britain."


Areas of Specialization