OCAD University
Maya Desai
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Design, Graduate Studies

Area(s) of Expertise

Health Culture and Human-Environment Interaction, Urban Design and Ecological Planning, Smart Landscapes


Maya is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design, in the Undergraduate departments of Environmental and Industrial Design and in the Design for Health Graduate program. Maya is also an Architectural and Urban Designer whose research and practice focuses on the connections between urban design, environmental planning and public health. Educated as an Architect, with a diverse academic and professional background in architecture, design and the health sciences, Maya is interested in the integrative role design and technology can play in bridging disciplinary territories.

Maya was shortlisted for the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners, and was the 2010 recipient of the Architectural Research Consortium's King Medal for Research and Innovation in Environmental Design for her avant-garde research into cultural perspectives on nature and technological approaches to environmental conservation. Maya continues to investigate the relationship between nature, culture and human health in both research and practice. Maya's professional work ranges from large-scale environmental master plans to cultural and institutional architecture projects in Canada and the Middle East. As the Senior Urban Designer and Planner at Moriyama Teshima Architects, Maya's work has included master plans for institutions and clients such as the Qatar Foundation, the University of Lethbridge, Wilfrid-Laurier University, Conestoga College and the Surrey City Development Corporation.

Currently, Maya is working as part of an interdisciplinary team on a 1700-hectare master plan for Education City in Doha, Qatar, a site which houses the campuses for several international institutions such as Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, and HEC. In addition to her work as an Educator and Designer, Maya dedicates time to the TRCC/MWAR (Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape) as a volunteer Crisis Counsellor.


  • Graduate Certificate (Mixed Methods Research), School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 2015
  • M.Arch, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Design, University of Toronto, 2010
  • M.Arch Coursework, Tsing Hua University, Beijing, China, 2008
  • BFA with Distinction (Design Art & Computation Arts), Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, 2003
  • BSc Coursework (Mathematics, Biology, Ecology), Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, 2000
  • DEC (Honours Pure and Applied Science), Cegep Dawson, Montreal, Canada, 1997