Diana Cristobal Olave


Assistant Professor 

Email dicristo@calpoly.edu
phone 805.756.2490
Office 21-209
Web page https://www.knitknotarchitecture.com/

Areas of Expertise

Architectural History 
Modern Architecture
History of Technology 
Architectural Design 
Digital Mapping 
Climate Change


Diana Cristobal Olave is a practicing architect, educator and scholar. Her interests intertwine architectural practice and history and theory; with a particular focus on intersections between technology, ecology and politics. In her PhD dissertation, written within the Department of History and Theory of Architecture and the Interdisciplinary Humanities at Princeton, she theorizes the rise of algorithms during the fascist regimes that ruled over Spain and Portugal in the 1960s and 1970s, and traces its applications and impacts in modern architecture and urban design. Across further research projects Diana has examined genealogies of data visualization, informational environments and ubiquitous computing in different historical and geographical contexts.

In addition, Diana has maintained a collaborative design practice, Knitknot architecture, whose work has been awarded in international competitions. Alongside her partners, Diana has developed participatory design techniques that challenge conventional notions of expertise, to enhance collaboration with local communities in underserved populations. She has also studied digital mapping techniques to analyze, visualize and asses the dynamic and multi-layered effects of climate change in vulnerable and precarious landscapes.


Educational Credentials:

Ph.D., History & Theory of Architecture; joint doctoral degree with Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities. School of Architecture, Princeton University, New Jersey, 2023.
M. Sc. Advanced Architectural Design and Applied Research Practices in Architecture. Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York, 2013
B.Arch -M.Arch, Polytechnical University of Catalonia. Escola Tecnica Superior d’ Arquitectura de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain, 2010.

Teaching Experience:

Assistant Professor. Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA. 2023-
Adjunct Assistant Professor. Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CUNY. New York, 2021-2023
Adjunct Assistant Professor. Barnard College. New York, 2019-2023
Adjunct Assistant Professor. Columbia University, GSAPP. New York, 2014-2019.
Visiting Assistant Professor. Pratt Institute. New York, 2014-2015

Professional Experience:

Founder/Partner, Knitknot architecture. New York 2013-
Architect, OMA Rotterdam, 2011-2012
Architectural Designer, Studio MDA New York, 2010-2011


Licensed Architect, Official College of Architects of Aragon COA. Spain.


Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • “From Efficiency to Exhaustion: Computer-Aided Architecture at the Madrid Calculation Center (1968-1973)” Technology|Architecture + Design, 6:1, (Spring, 2022): 59-67
  • “The Algorithmization of Creativity” Radical Pedagogies., ed. Beatriz Colomina, Ignacio G. Galán, Evangelos Kotsioris, and Anna-Maria Meister (MIT Press, 2022)
  • “Safe Space: War, Risk, and Global Hazards in Henry Dreyfuss’ Handbooks”, Dialectic IX, Decolonizing Architectural Technologies. (Spring 2021): 14-24
  • “Design for Biological Research: Upjohn, Will Burtin, and the Cell.” Design Issues, vol. 37, no. 2 (Spring 2021): 16-31
  • “One-to-one scale: Witnessing the Walker Art Center’s Idea Houses I and II (1941-1947)” Bitacora, “Exhibitions in Architecture,” n 44 (2020): 84-99
  • “The Computer-aided Rough Patterns of Christopher Alexander (196X-197X)” Nexus Network Journal, special issue “Patterns and Spatial Organisation” 23, (2021):135–150
  • “Step-by-step: The Algorithmization of Creativity under Francoist Developmentalism.” Contour Journal, When Tools Became Instruments, 5. https://contourjournal.org/index.php/contour/article/view/100

Selected Conference Papers:

  • Architecture Models for Biological Research. Colloquium, “Building Life.” Princeton University, Friday November 3 2023
  • Algorithms on the Margins: Flowcharts, holograms, and encephalograms at the CCUM (1966-1974) Colloquium, “The lab in the 20th century.” KU Leven, NY hub. March 2023
  • One-to-one scale: Are you a model? On an Architectural Medium of Spatial Exploration. International Conference at Technical University of Darmstadt. November 2022
  • Graphing Family Life at the Madrid Calculation Center, c. 1970; Or, Modern Housing meets Computers. M+M Doctoral Colloquium, Princeton University. March 2022
  • Algortihmic Drawing: A Material History of Computer-Aided Techniques. Institute of Architecture, EPFLausanne. May 2021
  • Walk-in Cells and Blinking Brains: Architecture Techniques for Biological Research. Presented at “Building Life,” Princeton University. November 2018.

Grants and Fellowships:

  • PIIRS (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies). 2021
  • ECS (European Cultural Studies) Graduate Affiliate Funding. 2019
  • PhD Shanley Summer Funding for Travel, Princeton SoA. 2019
  • Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. Research graduate grant. 2018.
  • Fellow, European Cultural Studies, Princeton. 2018
  • Fellow, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, Princeton. 2018
  • The Richard Cramer Fellowship. Princeton SoA PhD Travel Prize. 2018
  • The Sherley W. Morgan Fellowship, Princeton SoA. 2018
  • The Richard Cramer Fellowship. Princeton SoA PhD Travel Prize. 2017
  • The Richard Cramer Fellowship. Princeton SoA PhD Travel Prize. 2016
  • Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize. GSAPP. 2014.
  • William Ware Prize. GSAPP. 2013
  • Fulbright Graduate Student Grant. 2012-2013
  • Argo Scholarship. Graduate Grant. 2012

​Updated 01.11.24

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