Edson G. Cabalfin, Ph.D., is an educator, architect, designer, curator, and historian. He is the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the School of Architecture at Tulane University, where he is also concurrently serving as Director of the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Program and Professor of Practice of Design Thinking. Prior to Tulane, he was a tenured Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Interior Design Program in the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati, where he taught from 2009 to 2020. He was the Curator of the Philippine Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018.
He received his Ph.D. in History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University in 2012. Under a Fulbright Fellowship, he obtained his Master of Science in Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2003. Prior to coming to the U.S., he received his professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of the Philippines in 1996 and 2001, respectively.
Edson’s research in the last two decades have focused on the interdisciplinary and transnational intersections of architecture history and theory, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, Southeast Asian studies, spatial justice, public interest design, and heritage conservation. He has written articles, book chapters, and conference papers on queer spaces and sex work in Quezon City, postcolonial identity politics and architectural representations, neoliberal urbanism in the Global South, informal settlements and the capital city, appropriating queering in Philippine spatial practices, architecture, colonialism and modernity, Philippine architectural historiography.
He wrote the book “What Kids Should Know About Filipino Architecture” (published by Adarna Books in 2015) and edited “The City Who Had Two Navels: Catalogue of the Philippine Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018” (published by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2018). He is currently working on two book manuscripts: first, a monograph on 100-year history of Philippine pavilions in international expositions; and second, editing an anthology of essays on theories of Philippine architecture.
In the last five years Edson has been involved in various social innovation and design thinking projects and initiatives. At the University of Cincinnati, he organized a foreign-study program in Southeast Asia with a human-centered design studio focusing on typhoon Haiyan disaster recovery on Leyte island in the Philippines. He was also faculty fellow and project leader at Live Well Collaborative, University of Cincinnati’s design thinking-based and multi-disciplinary innovation center where he led a team of students from various disciplines on a project focusing on the future of health and wellness through the experience of various consumers.
Edson served as consultant with the non-profit organization Village Life Outreach Project where he conducted participatory design thinking workshops with the villages of Burere, Nyambogo and Roche in Tanzania as part of the effort to develop future programs in health, water, and education for these rural villages. Together with his colleague Nazanin Khodadad, he also conducted several design thinking workshops with faculty and administrators of Sycamore High School and Winton Woods High School of the Cincinnati Public School system.
A licensed and registered architect in the Philippines, Edson also runs his design consultancy Talyer Kayumanggi/Brown Workshop, based in Cincinnati and Manila, with projects in architecture, interior design, set design, costume design, fashion design, exhibition design, graphic design, and design strategy in North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East in the last 25 years.