New Faculty Move College Forward in Innovative Areas

Hines College welcomes four women to new faculty positions

by Stephen Schad • August 22, 2022

As the 2022-2023 academic year begins, the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design welcomes four new faculty set to build on new areas of growth and opportunity. Elham Morshedzadeh and Dalia Munenzon join the College as tenure-track assistant professors resulting from President Khator's recent Presidential Frontiers Faculty initiative. Dijana Handanovic and Ophelia Mantz move into new roles as tenure-track assistant professors of interior architecture.

Morshedzadeh begins as the College's assistant professor for healthcare innovation, a position allowing the industrial design program to build on its impressive record of designing products for the healthcare industry. Munenzon serves as the assistant professor of urban design in sustainable communities and infrastructure, allowing the College's graduate architecture program to take a critical step forward in developing a future urban design degree program.

Handanovic and Mantz are the newest additions to the College's interior architecture program. Both previously taught as adjunct faculty at the College and now take on new positions as assistant professors in the program. Handanovic is a proud alumna of the Hines College, and Mantz currently directs the College's Materials Research Collaborative (MRC).

Elham Morshedzadeh

Assistant Professor for Healthcare Innovation


Chiba University, Japan | Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Design

Tabriz Islamic Art University, Iran | Master of Science in Industrial Design

Alzahra University, Iran | Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design

Interests and Focus:

Elham Morshedzadeh, Ph.D. is an industrial designer, usability researcher, and educator whose research focuses on healthcare, community-centered design, and usability. She has taught design internationally and in the US and was honored with the 2021 Young Educator Award from the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

Since 2017, Morshedzadeh has collaborated with clinicians, engineers, and faculty (at her former institute Virginia Tech) to create unique research opportunities that are also learning experiences for her students, including a study funded by the National Institutes of Health to design a comprehensive telemedical encounter for infants and preschool children, a sponsored program with the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Salem, VA, and Walter Reeds National Military Medical Center.

Prior to teaching, Morshedzadeh spent ten years as a professional industrial designer in Iran, where she was lead designer on a range of high-profile projects. She now incorporates her prior industry experience working with teams of engineers, anthropologists, and architects into the classroom by emphasizing the importance of experiential, evidence-based decision-making in participatory design.

Dalia Munenzon

Assistant Professor of Urban Design in Sustainable Communities and Infrastructure


Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Master in Architectural Studies

Technion - Israel Institute of technology | Bachelor in Architecture and Town Planning

Interests and Focus:

Dalia Munenzon has a decade of professional experience in architecture and urbanism, focusing on adaptive strategies and resiliency methods. She leverages experience in urban systems design, environmental planning, and architecture to work with local communities across scales toward resilient cities and urban environments. Her work in urban resilience is innovative and instrumental to the national effort to address and adapt to climate impacts.

Munenzon’s work on resilience is focused on waterfront design and long-term strategic planning, while leading the efforts of One Architecture & Urbanism on many high-profile, award-winning projects. In addition to teaching and academic research, Munenzon presented her work at conferences in Toronto, Boston, NYC, Springfield, Athens, and Tel Aviv. Munenzon received a Masters in Architectural Studies from MIT (SMarchs Architecture + Urbanism program) and a Bachelor in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, she taught at the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been a guest juror for architecture programs at MIT, RISD, Harvard GSD, Syracuse, Cooper Union, UC Berkeley, and others.

Dijana Handanovic

Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture


University of Houston | Master of Architecture

University of Houston | Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Social Science in Interior Desig

Interests and Focus:

Dijana Handanovic is an assistant professor of Interior Architecture at the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design. She graduated as a top graduate student with a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Social Science/Interior Design degree from the University of Houston. She is a founding principal of the Houston based design-research firm, Studio Ija, whose projects encompass various scales ranging from furniture to urban design.

Prior to establishing Studio Ija, Dijana worked at Abel Design Group where she worked on designing and building commercial and hospitality projects. Dijana’s European heritage inspires a love and fascination with Brutalist architecture in the former Yugoslavia. Her work investigates architecture’s role in the creation and dissolution of Yugoslavia, while exploring the convoluted relationship between monumentality and anti-monumentality.

Ophelia Mantz

Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture

Director of the Material Research Collaborative


École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, UP8, France, Diplômée par le gouvernement, Master in Architecture

Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Spain (ETSAM – UPM) M.Arch in Bioclimatic Architecture and Sustainability

Interests and Focus:

Mantz currently leads the firm Z4A with Rafael Beneytez. Her education in architecture and the works she developed in the professional practice have closely related to ecological problems (Tobogan House project, Europan 10 competition, Herrera del Duque rural hotel competition, passive strategies for the Congress Hall in Huesca, Red Cross’s Headquarter competition, The Commemorative Park for Civil War victims in Spain). This experience and knowledge, acquired through 15 years of professional work, have helped her structure the contents and the pedagogy of the courses she has taught.

Since 2016, Mantz was Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture, Texas Tech University, and taught mostly at the undergraduate level in design studio courses and seminars on Special Problems in Architecture. Those courses, based in both practice and theory, focused on the notion of “milieu.” The notion of milieu might be understood as the space of relationships between objects and subjects. When applied into a pedagogical context, the milieu becomes both the means to teach the technical knowledge and the condition to acquire an ethical position as an actor of this knowledge.

Her work has been recognized and awarded an ACSA 2019 Faculty Design award, the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture 2016 (Finalist), S.ARCH 2018, COAM 2016 Award (Finalist), Spanish National Award of Public Parks and Gardens 2015, and Europan 10 (Finalist).


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