BRACE’s membership and Board of Trustees is comprised of a dynamic group of social entrepreneurs that includes architects, designers, engineers, educators and students.


Anthony PiermariniAnthony Piermarini, AIA

Co-Founder + President, BR+A+CE

Principal, Studio Luz Architects

Anthony Piermarini, AIA received his first professional Bachelors of Architecture degree at Cornell University (1997) and post-professional Masters of Architecture II degree at the Harvard Design School (1999). Anthony is a Massachusetts Registered Architect and a recipient of the 2010 National AIA Young Architects Award. Anthony’s approach emerges from a design philosophy that is sensitive to the specific culture and climate in which architecture operates. He seeks to strengthen the interrelationships between design, technology and the environment in which we build. He is an advocate for making design accessible and potent, as demonstrated in his firm’s participation in the 1% Pro Bono program. Anthony is currently an adjunct faculty at Roger Williams University.

Hansy BetterHansy Better Barraza, AIA, LEED AP

Co-Founder + Treasurer, BR+A+CE

Principal, Studio Luz Architects

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Hansy L. Better Barraza, received her first professional Bachelors of Architecture degree from Cornell University (1997) and a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard Design School (2000).  As an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and as well as a practitioner, Hansy offers an intense focus on design methods that embrace social responsibility as she works with clients to reach their goals for every project. Hansy’s work fuses handcraft and digital fabrication techniques to bridge the advancement of the means and methods of construction with an awareness to the working of materials that ties it to a specific culture, environment, or manufacturing process. Recently, her book Where are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange was published by Periscope Ltd., located in Pittsburgh, and distributed worldwide by Prestel Press. The Boston Business Journal and El Planeta highlighted Hansy as one of 20 Hispanic executives making a difference in Boston.

John DiSalvoJohn DiSalvo

Clerk, BR+A+CE

M.Arch 2014, Rhode Island School of Design, Division of Architecture + Design

John DiSalvo graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2014 with a Master of Architecture. John has worked with BR+A+CE in various capacities since 2011, including Director of Development, Clerk, a member of the Mattapan Mobile Farm Stand design team, a community outreach liaison, and unofficial webmaster. He is currently co-teaching a summer-long introductory architecture studio for high school students through MIT’s Minority Introduction To Engineering and Science (MITES) program. When not working with BR+A+CE, he can most often be found playing guitar or repairing old bicycles.

Katherine MaddenKathryn Madden, AICP

Trustee, BR+A+CE

Principal, Madden Planning Group

Kathryn Madden has been working with cities and institutions to shape their future development for over 25 years.  Her professional practice focuses on the regeneration of urban districts and strengthening institutional campuses as centers for learning, health, and economic development.  Ms. Madden provides a leadership role that integrates urban design, community perspective, and stakeholder interests to define a strong local identity. Currently, she is working with community groups to strengthen retail districts in immigrant neighborhoods and is developing a strategic plan for the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. Ms. Madden graduated from MIT with dual master’s degrees in City Planning and Architectural Studies.  She was a Principal at Sasaki Associates prior to founding her own firm, Madden Planning Group.  She has been teaching planning studios at the Harvard GSD since 2006 and is the lead faculty for Planning and Urban Design within the Career Discovery Program at Harvard.

Brett SchneiderBrett Schneider

Trustee, BR+A+CE

Senior Associate, Guy Nordenson and Associates

Brett Schneider is educated as both an Architect and an Engineer.  After earning his bachelor degree from Williams College, he pursued joint masters degrees in architecture and structural engineering at Princeton University.  He is currently a Senior Associate at Guy Nordenson and Associates, where he was practiced as a structural engineer since 1998.  In addition to teaching structures at the Rhode Island School of Design he has recently been a Visiting Critic at Parsons – The New School for Design (School of Constructed Environments) and a visiting lecturer at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. His primary interest in practice and teaching is the integration of architecture and structural engineering in design – how these two disciplines inform each other and in their overlap lead to new frontiers of design.

Gretchen SchneiderGretchen Schneider, AIA

Trustee, BR+A+CE

Executive Director, Community Design Resource Center of Boston (CDRC)

Gretchen Schneider joined the staff of the Community Design Resource Center of Boston (CDRC-Boston) in July 2011. A licensed architect, she has long worked with individuals and community organizations to celebrate and improve Boston-area neighborhoods.  An experienced educator, she has taught high school through graduate students at many institutions, including the Boston Architectural College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Smith College, and Columbia University.  She holds a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is the former deputy editor of ArchitectureBoston.

Kamran ZahediKamran Zahedi

Trustee, BR+A+CE

President, Urbanica, Inc.

Kamran Zahedi is the President of Urbanica Inc. Graduating from MIT in 1980 with a degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering, Kamran made Boston as his home base and began his entreprenuerial ventures at a young age. He traveled up north to work on renovating old mills in New Hampshire. For the past 30 years, by happenstance and by strategy, he has worked on more than a dozen renovations and new-built projects of various scale; each unique with its historical contexts and challenges. Driven by a passion for reimagining a new future for urban living, a penchant for progressive design and a respect for existing context, Kamran has created a niche for transforming and revitalizing living, working and playing spaces in Boston. With great energy, Kamran continues to search for new ideas and inspirations in creating great spaces.


Griscel DiazGriscel Diaz

Advisor, BR+A+CE

Designer, Tappe Associates

Griscel Diaz is an architect specializing in the design of High End Residential, Medical and Educational spaces. Her interests include cycling, kayaking, hiking, and camping, as well as sewing, repurposing furniture and building things. Her philosophy as a designer is to attempt understand the culture, values and intentions at play in each design problem she is faced with, in order to reach a more appropriate and meaningful solution. Griscel currently holds a B.Arch from the Boston Architectural college.

Lynn HsuLynn Hsu

Advisor, BR+A+CE

Architect, Sasaki Associates

Lynn Hsu is an architect at Sasaki Associates with extensive experience in the design of cultural, academic, and higher education projects.  Prior smaller scale work has focused on modular, collapsible prototypes in canopies and furniture design.  She enjoys collaborating across disciplines and is a supporter of integrating art and architecture into the community. Lynn currently holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Andrew WiseAndrew Wise

Advisor, BR+A+CE

Designer, Elkus-Manfredi Architects

Andrew Wise is an architectural designer at Elkus-Manfredi Architects in Boston. He has studied both Industrial Design and Architecture and is fascinated by the stories of historical happenstance, addition and subtraction, and unexpected juxtaposition that create our contemporary surroundings; scars, bruises, and all. Andrew received his Master of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012.

Antonia Better-WirzAntonia Better-Wirz

Advisor, BR+A+CE

ABW Educational Consultants

Trained in early childhood education, Antonia Better-Wirz is an educational consultant and parent advocate for various community organizations in Stamford and Fairfield County. She currently serves on the Board of Stamford Achieves to close the achievement gap in Stamford’s public schools. For over 13 years Ms. Better-Wirz has been an advocate, advisor, and community organizer for low-income families, especially those in the Latino immigrant community. She currently works as a NFN Connections Coordinator and Group Facilitator for a non-profit organization, Family and Children’s Agency in Norwalk, CT. She has been volunteering for BR+A+CE since its founding and in 2010, she authored Children All Over the World Love Hammocks for the Big Hammock Project.



C. Thomas Swaim, Esq., Holland & Knight



Jeanine Dias


About us

Brace is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Brace was founded by artists and designers to create new community spaces that engage social, economic, and cultural issues facing communities around the world.

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