Zachary Colbert

Associate Professor

Zach Colbert (he/him/his) is an architect and associate professor of architecture at Carleton University. He has also held faculty appointments at Columbia University, the New School, and the University of Arizona.


His research and creative practice focus on exploring the interplay between architecture, capital, water, and energy, primarily through mapping, modelling, and photographic media. His research interests include constructed perceptions of nature, post-humanism, climate futures, interrogating the “grid,” and examining architecture’s enmeshments with infrastructural systems of imperialism, extraction, and subjugation.


His design and research work has received support from multiple Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants. His work has been published in professional and scholarly journals such as the Journal of Architectural Education, AD, Pidgin, Art Forum, Architect, Canadian Architect, and Architectural Record. Additionally, his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including shows at the Center for Architecture (NYC), the Queens Museum (NYC), the Canadian Urban Institute (Toronto), the Berlage Institute (Rotterdam), and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Santiago de Chile).


He has received design awards from the American Institute of Architects and the Ontario Association of Architects and holds professional licenses to practice architecture in the Canadian province of Ontario, as well as in the U.S. states of New York and Arizona.


Master of Architecture – Columbia University

Bachelor of Environmental Design – University of Colorado


ARCS 5030 – M.Arch Studio 1

ARCS 5032 – M.Arch Studio 2

ARCS 5033 – M.Arch Studio 3

ARCS 5106 – M.Arch Option Studio

ARCN 5909 – M.Arch Thesis

ARCH 5003 – Speculative Architectural Detailing


Zachary Colbert Architecture (ZCA) is a design and research studio based in Ottawa. Operating in the realms of architecture, urbanism, and landscape, ZCA has developed a portfolio of constructed and speculative projects that examine spatial conditions with broader sociocultural and environmental significance. Before establishing his independent practice, Zach worked with Bernard Tschumi Architects and SHoP Architects in New York City.


  • The “grid” and ecotechnical systems

  • Architecture’s integration within global systems of logistics, extraction, and whiteness

  • Climate futures

  • Imperialism in the western United States

  • Deserts and anthropogenic drivers of desertification

  • Post-Human and More-Than-Human Worlds

  • Cartographic and photographic media

  • Architectures of care

  • Queer Space


Select recent publications:

Colbert, Z. “Owning a River: Whiteness, Property Rights, and Counter-representations on the Colorado Plateau.” Journal of Architectural Education Volume 78: Issue 2: Worlding. Energy. Transitions. Forthcoming Fall 2024.
Bernbaum, P., Colbert, Z. “Desert Depths: Multivalent Architectural Narratives of Belonging in the Negev/Naqab Desert.” Journal of Architectural Education Volume 77: Issue 2: Deserts. 2023. 391-409.
Hagerman, S., Dickson, D., Colbert, Z. “The Possibility of the Virtual Focus Group: Communicating Agency Toward Equitable Participation Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic.” ACSA Intersections Research Conference: Communities Proceedings. 2021. 129-135.
Spiller, N. “From Another Perspective: Ottawa 2120 – Zachary Colbert.” In Yim, D., and R. Luna (ed). Production Urbanism: The Meta Industrial City. Architectural Design. Wiley, 2021. 128-133.
Imeri, M. & Colbert, Z. “Before the Flood: A Geospatial Analysis of Confounding Relationships Between Sociopolitical and Biophysical Factors, Real Property Valuation and Predicted Sea-level Rise in Richmond, BC.” In: S. Basset et al (ed). 2021 RAIC CCUSA 2021 Academic Summit on Architecture Proceedings. 30-43.
Wallace, J. & Colbert, Z. “Reopening Retail: Architectural Strategies for Adapting Retail Environments to Physical Distancing Protocols.” In: S. Basset et al (ed). 2021 RAIC CCUSA 2021 Academic Summit on Architecture Proceedings. 110-117.
Colbert, Z., “Architecture and the Public Realm: Merchandising a Mass Shooting.” Pidgin 27. Princeton: Princeton University School of Architecture, 2020. 118-131.