actLAB is a collaborative studio working at the intersection of DESIGN, RESEARCH and SOCIAL ADVOCACY.  We design thoughtful and tactile bespoke projects ranging from custom homes, artist studios, work environments, flexible spaces, community places and play spaces. From our studio in Brooklyn, we work globally with design commissions in New York City, Australia and the Philippines.  




actLAB was founded in 2013 by Aya Maceda, a Filipino-Australian architect and professor at Parsons School of Design. Aya is a M.S. Advanced Architectural Design graduate and former faculty of Columbia University GSAPP. She has served as a guest critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Columbia GSAPP, Parsons SCE and University of Technology, Sydney.  She is a registered architect in Australia and brings with her extensive professional experience from prestigious practices in Sydney, Singapore and the Philippines specializing in the conceptualization to realization of complex, award-winning residential and institutional projects that enhance the public domain (from highly-detailed single dwellings to dense residential projects, public libraries and a university building).  Aya is a recipient of the following awards: the Percival and Naomi Goodman Fellowship for social work in architecture from Columbia GSAPP; the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize for design excellence from Columbia GSAPP and the Westfield Fellowship for Technology from the American Australian Association. 

view Aya Maceda’s CV



James Carse joined actLAB as principal in 2017 after working with TEN Arquitectos in New York and serving as an advisor to the American Planning Association’s International Outreach Program. James is a NCARB licensed architect – registered in NY, FL, and LA, a certified planner, and an accredited LEED Professional. He received his Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree with Distinction from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tulane University. 

James has served as a consultant to the American Planning Association on demonstration planning projects throughout China ranging from new town developments to cultural preservation plans. Over ten years at TEN Arquitectos he acted as the lead designer and manager on award winning projects that sought to reimagine the way we live, work and create while giving form to the infrastructure to support these processes. These projects included: Rutgers Business School, 300 Ashland, the BAM South Cultural Center, the 53rd Street New York Public Library, NASA Research Support Building, Orange County Great Park, and the Livingston Master Plan; among others. He has taught both studios and seminars in Urban Design at Columbia University, Tulane University, Catholic University, and Cornell University. He has served as a guest critic at Harvard, RISD, Tulane, Hong Kong University, Columbia, CCNY, CUA, and Cornell. James currently teaches Regional Urban Design at Columbia University. James has been involved in the editing, design and production of books including “Quito: A Flatbed Site as an Agent for a New Centrality” (Busquets/Correa 2007) and “Cities X Lines: A New Lens for the Urbanistic Project” (Busquets/Correa 2006). 


actLAB design team

 Emily Bult, associate 

Emily Bult is associate and project coordinator at actLAB. She received her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University GSAPP.  With a keen eye for detail, she has successfully realized well crafted residential, community and work environments for actLAB. 


Carmen Reyes, associate (Manila)

Yuki Nakayama

Pabi Lee


actLAB Collaborators

Buzz Wei

Jonathan Fernandes

Rebecca Levy

Katalina Co

Sandra Javera, illustrator (

The Office of Culture & Design (

Kristian Henson, graphic designer (

Kurt Arnold, photographer (


studio 195 Plymouth St, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201 |

studio 2