Tonya M Ohnstad Headshot


  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • Languages

  • English, French, Norwegian
  • Tonya Ohnstad is a designer and educator based in Washington DC. Her professional focus, as a practitioner and professor, is understanding the expanding role of the designer as global citizen in an era of massive change. She is interested in the intersection and innovations between natural construction and new technologies.

    Tonya has worked on design projects across the world. She is currently a partner at Rhetra, a highly conceptual design lab that is currently in construction on a prototype girls's school in Kenya. She has previously worked at Ateliers Jean Nouvel on projects in Doha and Rio. In Oslo, she worked at Naarud Stokke Wig on urban scale projects.

    In the United States, Tonya worked in Los Angeles as a junior architect at Gehry Partners. She also worked in Boston at Kennedy Violich Architects, where she was the design lead for 34th Street Ferry Landing in Manhattan and in Mexico on the award-winning and patented Portable Light project.

    As an professor, Tonya has been teaching and coordinating studios, seminars on Public Interest Design, construction methods and materials, design tools, Earth Construction Technologies and summer design programs at University of Maryland, Catholic University of America, Northeastern University and Harvard University.

    Tonya has a Masters in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She graduated Suma Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota with a BA in architecture and French.

    Tonya currently lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband, four children, dog and fish.