The Urban Gorillas are a diverse team of creative urbanites united by their common vision and enthusiasm for constantly improving life in the city.
Together we share expertise in architecture, urban planning, urban design, landscape design, environmental engineering, artistic guerilla interventions, economics, communications and campaigns, research and cultural project management, as well as a love for innovation, and the drive for bringing about positive change.
 
 
 

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Veronika Antoniou

Founding Member and Board Director

Veronika Antoniou aspires for healthy and creative communities to prevail in the urban context.She is a licensed architect, interior designer and urban planner. Her work spans many aspects, and includes the practice of architecture, socially-engaged art and research on sustainable city development. Her academic work was funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Veronika’s work experience includes projects in Japan, Italy, Switzerland and Cyprus. Since 2013, as the creative director at Urban Gorillas, she has been applying design-oriented techniques and transversal working methods to transform urban spaces into inclusive and interactive environments.  She has curated a number of art and architecture exhibitions, which featured the work of Urban Gorillas in important institutions amongst them the MaXXI Museum, Venice Biennale of Architecture and Milano Triennale.

Yiorgos Hadjichristou

Project Manager and Board Director

Yiorgos Hadjichristou is Professor at the Department of Architecture of the University of Nicosia.  He studied at the Kiev University (Master in Architecture -Kiev Institute of Architecture -KICI – 1989) and at the Kyoto University (Research Course in Aritecture- Kyoto University- 1992). His studies were funded by the Scholarship system granted to Cyprus by the Ex-Soviet Union and the Monbusho Minister of Education of Japan. He also holds a Diploma to teach the Russian language to foreigners received at the Kiev Institute of Architecture (1989).

René Carraz

Innovation Researcher and Board Director

René is a Lecturer at Toyo University, Japan, and conducts research for Urban Gorillas. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and teaches and researches on science, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, creative cities and urban studies using a mix of economic and social science perspectives. His recent work includes studies on urban creativity, public space, playful design, university-industry linkages in Japan and Asia, and innovation policy.

Anna Merry

Technical Advisor and Project Coordinator

Dr Anna Merry is a member of the Applied Arts Department of Frederick University. She teaches subjects related to Interior Architecture, Lighting Design and Research Methodology. Furthermore, Anna has guided her students through competitions and collaborations with the design industry. Anna received her PhD entitled: “An Investigation into Playful Interactive Experiences within Public Space” at De Montfort University, Leicester. Her continuing research surrounds user experience within public space where she actively incorporates her research within her teaching methodology.

Teresa Tourvas

Strategic Planner and Board Director

Teresa completed her Graduate studies in Architecture at MIT and her Bachelors at Nottingham Trent University. As a practicing architect and Adjunct Lecturer, she has been researching the notion of collaboration and urban dynamics in relation to the design and understanding of public space. This has lead in developing design methodologies which concern dynamic and collaborative processes in design teaching. Research projects she has been involved in focus on the role of public space and Social sustainability with projects in Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Japan, and Bhutan. Since 2009, she has taught courses and workshops in Universities in Cyprus, Greece, Bhutan and Lebanon. In 2014 she established the series of Workshops called Syndishies, focused on learning through making, developing 1:1 interventions using low tech fabrication methods in public spaces in rural villages in Cyprus. As a practicing Architect she has worked in Paris, Boston and Cyprus. In 2004 she established her own practice in Nicosia, with a large number of completed projects.


Despo Pasia

Art Manager and Board Director

Despo Pasia is a museologist and museum educator. She has studied Education, Anthropology, Psychology and Museum Studies in Cyprus, the USA and the UK. She designs and implements educational programs for historic, archaeological and art museums and has taken part as research and education associate in Council of Europe and Marie-Curie funded research projects on History, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. She is education officer at the State Gallery of Contemporary Cypriot Art and teaches Art in public primary schools. She co-creates exhibitions and museum interventions and is currently PhD candidate at UCL- Institute of Education, University of London. Her doctoral research focuses on the experience of young people’s encounters with museum photographic archives. Her research interests include hybrid  exhibitions, photography, photographic archives and museum education.

Marina Kyriakou

Technical Advisor and Project Coordinator

Marina Kyriakou is an architect and urban planner currently working in Nicosia, Cyprus. During her architectural studies(2008-2013) at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg in France , she has done research and projects on transforming underused spaces into community places. For her MSc in Urban and Regional Planning (2013-2014) at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, she wrote a thesis on the potential of bottom up cycling initiatives in the context of Nicosia. Since May 2019 she was named Bicycle Mayor of Nicosia as she joined an influential network of independent city leaders that is now active on every continent, all working to make their cities more human-centric and fit for the future.

Eleni Philippou

Technical Advisor and Project Coordinator

Eleni Philippou is passionate about connecting with people, local communities, sharing stories and observing the public. With a background in languages and media communications, she came together with Urban Gorillas to explore public space and grow the network. As a writer and photographer who gets a kick out of uncovering new lands and cultures and connecting with like-minded people, she found a new tribe with UG and supports with with content writing, communication and community engagement.