Kai Wood Mah

Architect and Design Historian


Kai Wood Mah PhD OAQ is an architect, design historian, and co-founder of Afield, a design research platform with projects in Canada, United States and South Africa. Afield projects bring together design and social science research as a means to advance social architecture.

Currently, he is the co-investigator of Democratic Crèche, a research-creation project funded by the Canadian government. The project will lead to the design and construction of two early childhood development centres. Beyond this, the centres will become boundary objects that advance our knowledge of design and politics.

Democratic Crèche as project reflects his interest in children, education, and the built environment. He has lectured on this subject as an invited speaker and as a presenter at national and international conferences. His writing has appeared in Visual Studies, Public, African Identities, Children, Youth and Environments, and Space and Culture among other journals as well as collected volumes.

Previously, Mah taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism, from 2007 to 2013. From 1997 to 2003, he led community-based building projects, most notably in indigenous communities of Northern Quebec. He is currently associate professor of architecture at the McEwen School of Architecture, Laurentian University (Canada) where he is a founding faculty member."