Speaker Bio

Rik Ekström

Managing Director and Research Coordinator at ARExA

Track Leader- Main Street

Rik Ekström is the managing director and research coordinator of the research and design practice ARExA. Rik divides his time between New York City and the Monadnock Region of southern New Hampshire, where he is engaged in local and regional planning and visioning projects. He is an adjunct professor at School of Visual Arts’ Interior Design / Built Environments program where he has taught a studio for fifteen years. He has been a guest lecturer and critic at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Knox College, and Keene State College.


Rik has designed and built projects of all scales in three continents over 30 years, which has included leadership roles at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Woods Bagot Architects, and HLW International. His work and writing have been published and exhibited in professional and academic journals, through professional organizations, and by general interest media. Throughout his early career, the city served as inspiration, laboratory and classroom. More recently rural communities have become a focus, starting in 2013 with the ARExA’s research and design proposals for regional food and energy hubs.


Rik Ekström is a graduate of the Stony Brook School and the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. He has completed professional development and academic certificate programs at the University of Florida’s School of Architecture and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He currently lives in New York City and Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire with his wife and daughter.

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