Zachary Colbert Architects, (un)Limited is a full-service architectural firm based in New York City dedicated to the intersection of design research and creative architectural practice. Operating in the realms of architecture, urbanism, and landscape, ZCA has developed a multi-million dollar portfolio of constructed projects for institutional and private clients throughout the United States alongside a portfolio of award-winning speculative projects that critically engage the intersections of infrastructure, nature and public agency.
Zachary Colbert, OAA/MRAIC/AIA is an architect from New York City by way of the American West. He is a licensed architect in the Canadian Province of Ontario and the U.S. States of New York and Arizona. He is an Assistant Professor at the Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism and is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the American Institute of Architects, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects and the Urban Land Institute. He has previously taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and the Parsons New School for Design School of Constructed Environments. His work has been featured in Art Forum, Architect, Architectural Record, GOOD and URBAN magazines and showcased in galleries and museums in New York City, Los Angeles, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rotterdam, Ottawa and Beijing. He holds a Master of Architecture from the Columbia University GSAPP, where he received an Honor Award for Design Excellence, the Lucille Lowenfish Memorial Prize and a William Kinne Fellowship. He earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a member of the Undergraduate Academy. Prior to practicing independently, he worked with Leslie Gill Architect, SHoP Architects, Bernard Tschumi Architects, SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio and ROY Co. Design on projects in the United States, Brazil, Chile and South Africa.
Zachary has served as Guest Architecture Critic at the Yale University School of Architecture, the Princeton University School of Architecture, the Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the Cornell University College of Art, Architecture and Planning, the Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, the McGill University Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, the Barnard and Columbia College Joint Architecture Program, Parsons the New School for Design School of Constructed Environments, the Syracuse University School of Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Facultad de Arquitectura and the University of Colorado College of Architecture and Planning.
Practicing architecture today requires a nimble, humble and creative approach to address technological shifts that have increased the geographical range of architectural practice and economic forces that are altering architecture’s authority in defining the built environment. Architecture, in its most practical application, is a service profession, but architectural practice also possesses the capacity to envision new societal futures, new ways of living and new applications of emerging technologies. In my work, I endeavor to make no distinction between my roles in practice and in academia – every project is an opportunity to ask a question and in each project, there is knowledge gained and knowledge contributed through processes of making and self-reflection. I approach my work systemically through the lenses of applied technology and material processes. I strive to bring this thinking to my teaching as well: both in literal and engineering-driven terms as well as in more abstract design-process terms. Buildings are made of systems, components, assemblies and millions of material units. These complex part-to-whole relationships form the foundation of architectural thinking and I find it essential to approach architecture with this in mind.
Architecture is always a collaborative endeavor: a project’s terms are not ‘given’ – they are evolving. Cultural paradigms and social values change, technology for making and representation changes, and so as I have been practicing over the last ten years, I've had many chances to speculate about things that tend to remain constant. The constants I have found are the optimism that architecture can improve lives; that the power of architectural thinking has applications well beyond the traditionally understood boundaries of the profession; and that architecture is a shared journey with many navigators.