Quilian Riano

Quilian Riano

Brooklyn, NY, US


Pratt Institute Assistant Dean and Visiting Associate Professor 
DSGN AGNC founder

Quilian Riano is the Assistant Dean and Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute's School of Architecture.

Quilian Riano is an architectural and urban designer and joins Pratt from Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), where he provided strategy and design coordination across urban design, applied research, publications, and broader academic activities. He has worked in and with public institutions, such as New York City’s Department of Design and Construction as a lead design strategist and the National Park Service as an urban design consultant.

Riano is also the founder and lead designer of DSGN AGNC, a design studio exploring new forms of political design, processes, and engagements through architecture, urbanism, landscapes, and art. Riano/DSGN AGNC’s design work has been featured at the Venice Biennale, Queens Museum of Art, Harvard University, The Storefront for Art and Architecture, The New Museum, the Center for Architecture, and the Architectural League of New York, among others. For this work, he has won awards from the Vilcek Foundation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, Harvard University, The Boston Society of Architects, and the University of Florida and received fellowships from the Design Trust for Public Space, Institute for Public Architecture, and the J. Max Bond Center for the Just City at CUNY, among others.

With over a decade of teaching experience, Riano has taught undergraduate and graduate studios in architecture, urban design, and transdisciplinary design at Pratt, Harvard University, Columbia University, Carleton University, Parsons School of Design/The New School, Syracuse University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, the City College of New York, and Kent State University.

Riano is also an initiator and core member of Dark Matter University, a democratic network committed to creating new forms of knowledge and knowledge production, institutions, collectivity, practice, design, and community culture that expand the circle of those contributing to anti-racist design pedagogy and practice, and build power and share knowledge to build capacity and resilience in communities beyond the preconceived boundaries of design fields.

Quilian holds a Bachelors of Design in Architecture (BDes) from the University of Florida’s School of Architecture and a Masters of Architecture (MArch) from the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD).



Quilian's Design Blog on Archinect:

Design and Agency

Thoughts on the built environment, design, agency, and activism.

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Quilian's School Blog on Archinect:

Harvard University - GSD (Quilian)

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Quilian's Featured Articles on Archinect

Gaming the System: role-playing spatial and political change, Thu, Sep 1 '16

"[The] sovereign art, of course, will be the one whose laws rule over the relations among men in their totality. That is, Politics.Nothing is alien to Politics, because nothing is alien to the superior art that rules the relations among men.Medicine, war, architecture, etc. – minor and ...

Gaming the System: role-playing spatial and political change

UpStarts: WORKac, Tue, Sep 18 '07

The one thing you will not find in school--or even on Architecture Registration Exams--is a course on how to get work, yet it is one of the most basic needs of any design practice. In fact, if you don't have an equal ability to experiment in getting work as you do in doing work you would be ...

UpStarts: WORKac


Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, US, Assistant Dean

Jan 2021 - current

DSGN AGNC, DSGN AGNC Founder and Principal

Jan 2009 - current

Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Cleveland, OH, US, Associate Director

Aug 2019 - Aug 2021

Kent State University, Cleveland, OH, US, Faculty, Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Studios

Aug 2019 - Aug 2021

Columbia University, New York, NY, US, Adjunct Assistant Professor (Urban Design)

May 2019 - Aug 2019

The New School, New York, NY, US, Part-Time Assistant Professor

Jan 2009 - Aug 2019

NYC Department of Design and Construction, Senior Strategic Design Initiatives Specialist (Strategy/Urban Design and Project Management)

Aug 2017 - May 2019

City College of New York (CCNY), New York, NY, US, Lecturer - Urban Design Studio

Jan 2010 - May 2016

Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA, US, Adjunct Professor

Jan 2010 - Aug 2010

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US, Design Studio Instructor || Researcher

May 2004 - Apr 2010


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US, MArch, Architecture

Aug 2006 - May 2009

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, US, Bachelors, Architectural Design

May 2001 - Apr 2004


Venice Biennale Exhibitor and Featured Project, Other

Featured Project:


Areas of Specialization