Discipline: Architecture – design

J. Matthew Thomas

Discipline: Architecture – design
Region: Taos, NM
MacDowell Fellowships: 2022

Matt Thomas is an architect and urban designer exploring the systems and patterns that structure our daily lives. Thomas uses design, art, curation, and community engagement strategies to educate, illuminate, and explore the complex built environment around us. His work with food and water systems has inspired a practice and pedagogy that emerges from the fragility of these essential infrastructures and the intersectionality of research, design, and exhibition. Thomas is the founder of Studio Taos, an interdisciplinary research and design practice based in Taos, NM.

In 2018 he launched Acequia Aqui, a project engaged in the social, environmental, and cultural struggles operating in the high desert of Northern New Mexico. He explores engaging communities through the arts with the goal of bringing awareness, education, and restoration of this threatened public infrastructure. Thomas oversaw two publications documenting this work and curated a series of artists interpreting the concepts.

While at MacDowell, he worked on new rural design strategies that consider the idea of revitalization with an awareness of environmental injustice, cultural erasure, and colonial legacies. Thomas plans to publish the completed project later in 2022.



J. Matthew Thomas worked in the Cheney studio.

Cheney Studio was given to MacDowell by Mrs. Benjamin P. Cheney and Mrs. Karl Kauffman. Like Barnard Studio, Cheney is a low, broadly massed bungalow. Sited on a steep westward slope, its porches are supported on wooden posts and fieldstone with lattices. Although it still retains its appealing character, the original design of the shingled building…

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