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 team

 Emily Bult, associate 

Emily Bult is associate and project coordinator at actLAB. She received her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University GSAPP.  Emily brings to actLAB extensive experience in projects such as galleries, co-working spaces and residences. With a keen eye for detail, she has successfully realized well crafted community and work environments and residences for actLAB.  Emily oversees the residential and interior design projects at actLAB.  



Sachi Hoshikawa, business development 

Sachi Hoshikawa communicates actLAB’s mission, initiatives and portfolio to various audiences.  Sachi is an architect and real estate advisor. She was the Commissioner of the Dominican Republic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2014. She holds a Master of Design Studies in Real Estate Finance and Development from Harvard University, a Master in Engineering from Kyoto University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña.  Her interdisciplinary qualifications in design, engineering, and business have led her to participate in numerous international development projects. Sachi has been a visiting design critic at Columbia University and the Oslo School of Art and Architecture, as well as a contributor to the architecture magazine Kenchiku Notes.


Toni DiMaggio, historic preservation advisor

Toni DiMaggio joined the actLAB team in 2017 to work an adaptive re-use projects . She received her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University GSAPP, and her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tulane University. During her time at Columbia she worked as the Managing Editor for the Future Anterior Journal of Historic Preservation History, Theory & Criticism and was an intern at the Docomomo-US office. When she returned to New Orleans she helped form the Louisiana Chapter of the national organization as founding president. Toni received the Robert C. Weinberg Award for Excellence in Preservation Planning + Design from Columbia GSAPP and a faculty commendation for her undergraduate thesis. Toni has worked for over 13 years in the architectural and preservation fields with a focus on rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, additions to historic buildings, and materials conservation. She embraces the dialogue between historic and modern architecture, and finds that celebrating historic buildings through preservation, in congruency with new and innovative design, is a way to inform progress. 


Carmen Reyes, associate (Manila)

Yuki Nakayama, designer

Pabi Lee, designer



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