James Brice

Nature-based Designer, Environmental Engineer


James is a designer, engineer and urban naturalist pursuing a dual Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Before coming to MIT, he worked as a zookeeper, responsible for the care of terrestrial and aquatic animal life. Pulling from this professional experience and a BS in Applied Physics (RPI ‘16), he's exploring the integration of architecture, urban ecosystems and environmental fluid mechanics.

He’s worked on several projects relating to nature-based coastal adaptation including design proposals in East Boston, Cuttyhunk, MA and Port Arthur, TX, as well as investigations into numerical methods for urban flood modeling as a research assistant for the MIT Urban Risk Lab.

His thesis research, advised by Dr. Heidi Nepf (Nepf Lab), focuses on wave dissipation by urban oyster reef restoration structures. Through a combination of numerical analysis, physical modeling, community outreach and design research, he investigates how oysters and the communities they create can improve the physical, ecological and social resilience of the coast.

James is passionate about education and regularly participates in outreach initiatives for a broad range of audiences. He’s given lectures and led interactive workshops at events both within the MIT Community and beyond, including engagements with MIT Splash, the MIT-Nord Anglia Collaboration, NYC Archtober, MIT Sea Grant and the Cambridge Science Festival.

In Summer 2021, he co-designed and taught the special subject 4.s24 “COHABITATE: Entangling Architecture, Infrastructure, and Living Systems.” James is also co-president of the MIT Water Club and previous co-director of the MIT Water Summit titled “Coastal Cities and Ecosystems.”


Designers for the Future

Public Program, Boston Design Week
May 1, 2024