Kyna Leski

Principal, 3SIXØ Architecture
Professor, Department of Architecture RISD
Rower, Navigator of the Creative Process

Kyna Leski is a founding principal of 3SIXØ Architecture. 3six0 bases its practice upon a redefinition of a given problem, setting in play the direction and momentum of a solution that is tailored to the specific situation of each project. The Rhode Island AIA has bestowed its top honors on 3SIXØ 17 times and the Boston Society of Architects has awarded 3SIXØ four times. In 2002 Architectural Record named 3SIXØ one of ten “vanguard” architecture firms emerging worldwide and in 2008 Architectural Record recognized 3SIXØ for “Record Interiors.” Faith and Form awarded their chapel design in 2009.  Kyna’s design for a house of visual shadows, which she calls, “Dream House” was awarded first place out of 480 entries in the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition in 1998. Architect Shin Takamatsu, the author of the theme of that year’s competition, “A House as a Poetic Space,” and judge of the competition, stated, “. . . the project by Kyna Leski was outstanding. Light undergoes variations and dislocations and becomes architecture. It is an architecture, which resembles the topography of light. The process undergoes both interruptions and leaps forward. Each moment it becomes more complex, and attains a new depth of beauty. The architecture is woven into it. It is true poetry.”This project was published in Modern House 2 by Claire Melhuish (Phaidon Press, 2004). In 1997 the Architectural League of New York selected Kyna Leski as a winner of its annual “Young Architects Competition.” 

Kyna Leski is a Professor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is the author of the first semester architecture design curriculum, given for seventeen years to over 1600 students. A book on this pedagogy, The Making of Design Principles, was published in 2007. Professor Leski has taught Architecture, Foundation Studies and Industrial Design and served as the head of the RISD European Honors Program in Rome from 1993 to 1995. The primary focus of her teaching research is the creative process and its workings across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Currently, she is writing a book, called Storm’s-eye View: Tracing the Arc of Creative Discovery.  

Statement by Kyna Leski:

“I explore, witness, and practice the creative process through my work and my teaching. As a child, I was reprimanded for “getting bored easily,” and now I see that weakness, like all “weaknesses,” as a strength. (Getting bored keeps me moving ahead.) I live in a city whose name, (“pro-videre”) signifies what creativity is: a process of “seeing ahead.” We “see ahead” when we make designs that are materialized in the future, when we write problems that anticipate solutions, when we link one step to another in navigating our lives and the way through anything, especially the empty page, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, needs, and questions. The creative process is the story of this passage and speaks for the author, to the user, the reader, inhabitant, audience or viewer. I have listened and observed these workings as a teacher, a student, a maker, a writer and an architect myself. As an educator I am dedicated to embodied learning, to the precision of mind that comes from measured making and to the clarity of abstraction. As a student, an aspiring/practicing actor and witness I seek to learn something, to be surprised by the author’s soul voice and to find coherence where there wasn’t any. As a maker of things, designer, and writer, I dwell in uncertainty, follow poetry as a process, reason with material, construct, deconstruct and reconstruct—conceptual clarity appearing as a guide. I watch the sunrise almost everyday from a rowing shell, am moved to tears by honesty, and take dreams very seriously.”

Kyna Leski earned a B.Arch from The Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1985 and M.Arch from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1988. She is an avid rower who can be found most mornings before dawn on the Seekonk River and Narragansett Bay in Providence.