Maria Bergh

Maria Bergh

Cincinnati, OH, US



Maria earned the Henry Adams Medal for general excellence in Architecture, awarded to the top graduate in an accredited school of architecture, when she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with her Masters in not only Architecture but Community Planning as well. Only two years prior she earned her Bachelor of Science in Architecture, magna cum laude.

Maria was also a founding board member of the Cincinnati Architecture for Humanity chapter, liaised between UC and the local USGBC chapter. She gained experience in all phases of design during cooperative education (full time, paid work) at five design firms and two non-profits.

Post graduation Maria completed a one-year fellowship with bcWORKSHOP, a leader in the growing field of Public Interest Design. While with bcWORKSHOP Maria explored, created, and tested participatory design processes and tools. Today, she is working on freelance design and writing while seeking a professional home.




Performed GIS and site analysis, programming, schematic design, code, zoning, and sustainability research for a 3,000 sf law office. Undertook neighborhood and corridor research. Developed, tested, & managed a Toolkit to reveal the value of design to groups of 2-200, based on self-directed research into the connection between health and design. This Toolkit was applied to Neighborhood Stories celebrations, which won recognition from PID Global & SXSW ECO. For these celebrations I performed research, GIS analysis, mapping, outreach, and event design for three out of six events. Specific products designed included an urban development game, market survey, dreamline, and paseo (neighborhood tour).

Nov 2012 - Nov 2013

NBBJ, Columbus, OH, US, Cooperative Education

Managed exterior cladding construction documents for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System Replacement Hospital in New Orleans. This required developing and maintaining a system of consistent dimensioning logic across a series of four buildings during value engineering, as well as pitching in on detailing, tagging, and participating in the team effort. All work was performed in Revit across a series of six building files due to the size and detail of the model.

Jun 2011 - Sep 2011

Niehoff Urban Studio | Community Design Center, Cincinnati, OH, US, Designer

Provided organization and administration for the nascent Cincinnati chapter of Architecture for Humanity, including design research, marketing, and fundraising research.

Created as-built drawings, schematic design and design development drawings (including a full sketch-up model) for Sidestreams, an integrated urban farming initiative in the Madisonville neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio that will provide tilapia, eggs, mushrooms, vegetables, and organic worm castings (fertilizer) to the Cincinnati market year-round while teaching youth job values as well as farming and nutrition skills. (see

Oct 2010 - Jun 2011

Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders, Orange, Texas, Cooperative Education

Performed, learned, and taught housing renovation including deconstruction, framing, wiring, tiling, drywall hanging and finishing, painting, and woodwork. Interfaced with homeowners to provide phasing and design information in real time on site. Managed small, medium, and large groups of volunteers (up to and exceeding one hundred) on site and for meals and housing at headquarters. Documented the experience in the University of Cincinnati independent student paper, The News Record, attracting national attention from the head of the Fuller Center, and a federal emergency relief agency.

Jan 2010 - Mar 2010

anderson architects, New York, NY, US, Cooperative Education

Gained experience in global retail on projects for O'Brien wetsuits and Levi's global branding initiatives, particularly shop-in-shop installations and adaptations of the master design to particular locales to provide a consistent brand experience. Also worked on sample procurement, Levi's HQ office tenant improvement, particularly the cafe layout. Finally, documented the existing office furniture and new office space to prepare for a move.

Jun 2009 - Sep 2009

ZGF Architects LLP, Seattle, Cooperative Education

Gained experience in project management, RFI's, garage, security, and fire safety requirements, hospital interior construction documents, including elevations, sections and details. Also pre-design with a LEAN process design team developing new spaces for Children's Hospital Seattle.

Jan 2009 - Mar 2009

ZGF Architects LLP, Portland, Cooperative Education

Gained experience with fire-safety plans, specifications, project coordination, Ecotect, and record documents on university and healthcare projects.

Jun 2008 - Sep 2008


University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, US, Masters, Community Planning

I graduated first in my class earning the Outstanding Master of Community Planning Student Award. My planning thesis explored how various participatory design practices were or were not successful with varying community attitudes towards change, drawing on the theory of social capital. I also reviewed the book Making Room for People for the Journal of Urban Affairs and helped lead a team analysis of how existing suburbs might be made more sustainable.

Sep 2010 - Jun 2012

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, US, MArch, Architecture

I graduated first in my class earning the AIA School / Henry Adams Medal. I pursued a thesis titled Community Ecology that explored how thresholds between places offer opportunities for social interaction, and the threshold in time between disinvestment, development and gentrification can be suspended or extended. I also assisted in the founding of Architecture for Humanity Cincinnati, serving as the Fundraising board member.

Jun 2010 - Jun 2012

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, US, Bachelors, Architecture

In addition to graduating magna cum laude I wrote regularly for the paper on sustainability and social justice issues, travelled throughout the southwest studying the intersection of space and culture, served as treasurer and USGBC liaison for Students for Ecological Design, and pursued a variety of outlets for writing and art.

Sep 2006 - Jun 2010


Public Interest Design Global, Honorable Mention

Six honorable mentions were awarded to commend the strength of these additional projects. Jurors noted that many of the other applications were impressive but still in early stages and yet to be proven effective or impactful, although both promising and exciting.


SXSW ECO Place By Design Finalist, Nomination

For the inaugural year of this competition, we were stunned by the many exceptional submissions received. In the end, the Place by Design jurors decided on 15 projects that make up our inaugural class of Place by Design finalists. The projects display a wide range of project scales, locations, and approaches and together represent the best of design in placemaking. Take a look at our finalists page for an introduction to the design teams and the projects that were displayed at SXSW Eco 2013.


Outstanding Student | Masters of Community Planning, 1st Place

The top award conferred through the School of Planning to a student exemplifying academic excellence and service.


Henry Adams Medal / AIA School Medal, 1st Place

From the website:
Each year The American Institute of Architects awards an engraved medal and certificate of merit to the top-ranking graduating student in each architecture program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (or CACB for Canadian schools)...

Formerly called "The School Medal", the AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate program began in 1914 and was awarded for "general excellence in architecture throughout the four-year course to graduating students of architecture schools recognized by the Institute."


Cincinnati Design Award, Honorable Mention

The product of my Green Historic Preservation Design Studio (Spring 2008) was compiled by a board of professionals into a book and submitted to this design competition, yielding an honorable mention. This process was designed to offer professionals and others insight as to how they might use public finance to make historic preservation and sustainability feasible in the inner city of Cincinnati. Winning a design award increased the exposure of our findings.

From the website:
The Cincinnati Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Cincinnati), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Cincinnati/Dayton City Center, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Cincinnati/Dayton, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) Cincinnati Chapter and the Miami Section of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) invite their members to present their best work in their respective annual design competitions. All entries will be judged by a common jury of distinguished guests connected to all facets of the design profession.

It is the goal of this program to recognize local and regional designers and design firms for their outstanding work in the community and also to educate the general public to the benefits of supporting quality design.


Areas of Specialization