Réna sees design through a lens of compassion—striving to investigate and potentially alleviate environmental, public health, and social issues with her work. Rather than focusing on a specific typology, she follows a more holistic approach and reframes each project around the wellness of the end-users and their connection with the environment and each other. Accordingly, sustainability plays a central role in her thinking as the common thread through which each aspect of wellness is linked.
With a Master of Architecture degree from California College of the Arts as well as an undergraduate degree in philosophy, Réna is uniquely equipped to broaden the scope of design to a larger picture within the context of human nature. Her background encompasses ecological design, technology, urbanism, and fabrication, and her master’s thesis combined these subjects into a landscape/urbanism project to decentralize and localize urban infrastructure while responding to the escalating damage caused by the built environment. As a case study, she identified a network of underutilized vehicular routes in San Francisco and sought to extract these hardscapes to insert a permeable soil-based streetscape. This newly engineered natural terrain would proactively clean urban pollution, mitigate stormwater, accommodate localized infrastructures, and generate resources while producing new green space and circulation routes for pedestrians and bicycles, ultimately creating a new environment and vision for public life.