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Carlos A. Fornos WORK Master of Architecture ‘08 University of Pennsylvania, School of Design

Education University of Pennsylvania, School of Design Philadelphia, PA, May 2008 Master of Architecture E. Lewis Dales Traveling Fellowship 2007 recipient Coursework includes: Structures, Architectural Theory, Construction, Environmental Systems, Digital Fabrication and Summer Program in Mexico City Architectural Association London, UK, Fall 2007 Selected to participate as Visiting Diploma Student in the graduate program Coursework includes: Design Studio, Media Studies and Architectural Theory Florida

International University Miami, FL, May 2004 Bachelor of Design in Architectural Studies with a Minor in Art Member of the American Institute of Architecture Students, FIU Chapter Dean’s Academic Honor recipient Spring 2002 and Fall 2003

Experience Borges Architects Miami, FL, July 2009 - Present Collaborated on two competition projects, for a Wellbeing Palace and an Executive Center both in Abu Dhabi Worked on construction documents for a private residence in Miami Beach, Designed schematic layouts for a fifty thousand square foot retail building

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Chicago, IL, Summer 2007

Selected for intensive summer internship program Responsible for developing multiple schemes for the entry feature to the Burj Dubai Edited construction documents for Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza, a mixed use tower in Zhengzhou, China Created physical models for client meetings and presentations

Arup | Advanced Geometry Unit Philadelphia, PA, August 2006 Collaborated on the assembly of H_Edge, an installation designed by Arup Advanced Geometry Unit exhibited in Artist’s Space, New York, NY Elwell Studio Landscape Architecture & Urban Design Philadelphia, PA, Summer 2006 Involved in various phases of multiple residential and commercial projects Created presentation documents for client meetings Wallace, Roberts & Todd Miami, FL, February 2004 - August 2005 Collaborated with senior associate in large scale urban design and university campus planning projects Produced 3D renderings and graphic material for client and community meetings and publications Assisted in rewriting zoning ordinances for the village of Key Biscayne, Florida through hypothetical redevelopment

Earth Tech Miami, FL, January 2003 - November 2003 Edited construction documents for Miami Intermodal Center, a transportation hub linking to Miami International Airport Created presentations for client and community meetings Fabricated multiple scale models Design Software

Proficient with Maya, Rhino, 3D Studio MAX, Adobe Creative Suite and AutoCAD Familiar with Bentley Generative Components and Ecotect


English, Portuguese, Spanish [Fluent] and Italian [Basic]

Constructing Elegant Organizations Battery Park tower Generating Form Mauna Kea Observatory Rethinking Typology Fishtown Transportation Hub + Market Strategies of Evasion London Galleries as an Urban Condition Pursuing Aesthetic Sensibility Moscow Riverfront Center High Performance Building Envelope Double Skin Facade System Pushing Component Limits Digital Fabrication Museum Park Station 2009 Dawntown Competition Samples of Professional Work

Constructing Elegant Organizations The building, located in Battery Park, is a mixed-use tower containing commercial and residential units offering views of the Hudson. Through the study of a transformative system [cephalopod skin behavior] spatial units were created from the inherent attributes of the resulting transformation. Blending techniques were then applied to generate a form. Once the form was generated the spatial units were redefined to respond to programmatic and site conditions of Battery Park.





//a_____// transparent //b_____// white //c_____// reflective //d_____// patterned //e_____// rugose //f_____// papillate

01_lucophores expand 02_iridophores shift + rotate 03_chromatophores expand 04_horizontal muscles contract 05_vertical muscles contract + expand

The diagram is a study and representation of the biophysics of the skin of cephalopods. Their skin system is comprised of five layers where each can change, rendering the body in various textures, patterns and or colors. For example, lucophores are color sacs in the outer layer; when expanded, the skin results in a dark color. Conversely, when contracted, the skin results in a transparent appearance. Iridophores on the second layer have a reflective property, allowing it to blend with its sorroundings. Spatial units were then created from the attributes of the resulting transformation.








transformation study of spatial units

above: detailed section of typical floor plate right: perspective section displaying overall space

steel beam structure and connection member

carbon fiber panels

diagrid steel structure

aluminum cladding

The building is composed of a diagrid steel structure with aluminum cladding on the exterior and custom milled carbon fiber panels for the interior. The panels are labeled accordingly to easily assemble on site. Custom panels of polarized glass complete the building skin.

The floor plates gradually transform vertically accommodating commercial and residential space above. A double core, comprised of four elevators and two staircases on the lower and middle section of the building is cut off becoming a single core to maximize space in the upper floors. From left to right: typical floor plate on lower, middle and upper sections of building

Generating Form The project was initialized through the study of a cycloid script to design an aluminizing chamber and assembly shell for the submillimeter array telescope. From the script, variables were altered and rules were extracted - twist, overlap and enclose. These rules were used to manipulate a material to create a continuous field and an enclosure through weaving strategies. Research on interferometric techniques used to study submillimeter wavelenghts was applied to the material to generate a form








Above are the initial cycloid studies which values were altered in order to extract a set of rules to then apply to a material. The diagram to the right explains the use of interferometry, used in the submillimeter array telescopes. Using a coherent light source, it is split in two through a half silvered mirror and then collected at a detector to analyze data. This logic was then applied to the physical material to create a continuous field and thus generating a form and then translated into building.

conherent light source

half silvered mirror



above: aerial view of building right: interior view of assembly hall bottom: tectonic assembly

Rethinking Typologies Performative aspects were abstracted from building typologies and were applied to generate anew. The program required the integration of a market and a transportation hub in Fishtown, Philadelphia, connecting trolley, bus and train lines; while providing a bicycle and car park & ride station. Working with smooth flows as a performance, it was materialized through the isolation of paths. This was applied to the access of the hub, bike and vehicle parking and market. This was achieved through the use of a tube system and manipulating it to respond to program and function.

train market bus trolley

train south

train north


front girard

The various trajectories for each mode of transportation were mapped to examine all transfer possibilities, from train to trolley to bus - door to door. The paths were then placed and arranged on site. The building, quite literally, emerged through the unraveling of the various trajectories quite simply by substituting the paths for tubes as a structural form. By introducing a market, passengers would engage with the building during the transfer, the only moment of stasis within the rapid paced transportation hub.


bicycle park and access

tube manipulation to provide circulation

The pathways were substituted with tube structures which were then manipulated to respond to program and maintain a smooth flow throughout. For example, adjacent tubes were segmented and opened to allow functions such as circulation and parking. market and train access

turnstile and train waiting area with seating

tram waiting area and access to trains

ground level | market

second level | exit

third level | trains

fourth level | ticketing

transfer to/from trolley and train

train access

train waiting/boarding

train exit

pedestrian & bike access


Strategies of Evasion The premise of this study began by examining the effect modern and contemporary art has had on the development of east London. As low rents and property bargains attract artists, new enterprises soon follow, transforming the community. The effects may be adverse, especially when locals are priced out of the property market. Can something be done to avoid this? This study focuses on galleries as an urban condition. Attempting to capture the nature of this typology through video led to further investigation of its context and interaction of the general public.

The galleries in Shoreditch, Hoxton and Spitalfields are somewhat scattered as seen on the map. Despite the dispersal, the presence of numerous shops, markets, grafitti and a myriad flyers and art on walls tie the area together into one arty and popular community. Formerly an uncultivated and industrial area with a predominantly immigrant population, over the last decades it has transformed into a very fashionable destination spot due to artists initially vitalizing the area with, almost inevitably, commercialization soon following. There are organizations which help the young artist/entreprenuer start their business in the area and housing available to let for those who can afford it. The galleries in this area are clearly marked with architectural elements such as glass fronts and signage. As the area is heavily sought to reside in, many properties are being let in this area as evidenced by the numerous ‘to let’ signs adorning facades. The White Cube gallery is said to have been the catalyst to the area’s development. With the now-present numerous shops and a popular market have made this area has become quite prominent and crowdpleasing. As property prices have increased, however, it has led artists, old and new, to venture further east.

The galleries in Bethnal Green and Hackney and particulary those on Vyner Street, by contrast, are clustered into a relatively small area. In the late 90’s, artists migrated here, further east, due to a rise in property prices. The former industrial buildings along Regents Canal in Hackney made for a desirable spot in which to settle. One would assume that with such a tight arty community on such a small area, the street would teem with the typical hustle and bustle. Upon visiting, one would quickly realize it is quite the opposite. It is an urban paradox that a street packed with galleries is in fact very grim and desolate. Vyner Street is a “gruesomely picturesque urban dumping ground of workshops, an abandoned church - and art galleries behind metal doors...what gallery owners and artists don’t want is too much sparkle: an increase in property prices could force many of them to migrate elsewhere” And thus, it is this resistance that has generated this typology of gallery. A very ‘under the radar’ and deliberately evasive strategy to prevent from becoming mainstream.

wilkinson gallery

empire gallery artists anonymous lorem ipsum gallery modern art

in one the other fred david rislley nettier horn vine studios ibid projects limewharf kate mcgarry

alma enterprises

ambiguous discreet unmaintained




The discreet and ambiguous signs and blank walls are deliberate strategies of evasion which lead to much confusion to those seeking the galleries. The gallery ‘signs’ are documented above and are either discreet, ambiguous or unmantained and seemilngly dilapidating leading one to question its actual use. Below: gallery-goers struggle to find the various galleries on vyner street

Discovery: Behind the blank walls and metal doors one finds new and adapted gallery spaces as well as contemporary art from young and fresh artists. The discovery is quite surprising, the typical white box gallery behind atypical gallery fronts.

Transformation: The monthly opening of galleries, First Thursday, activates the street. The galleries open their doors to the public. The temporarily pedestrian dense street, normally tucked away, strikes the attention of passersby. As crowds congregate outside the gallery doors, one is able to easily find the once impossible-to-find galleries. The area has managed to keep under the radar, but is it only a matter of time that property prices will increase forcing many of the artists to migrate elsewhere? And then the whole cycle will have to start afresh.

Pursuing Aesthetic Sensibility Components were modeled and transformed in pursuit of an aggressive aesthetic by abstracting inherent qualities from an aggressive system. Through analysis of the qualities of the desert locust such as texture, color, form, behavior and partto-whole relationships, units were created to replicate and achieve the aesthetic. Various techniques, such as blending and particle field studies were used to generate the form.

above: spatial unit studies incorporating form and color the flat unit, above left, opens and transforms into the others right: blending techniques exploring enclosure possibilities

Located along the Moscow River, the building acts as a catalyst for waterfront development - anchoring one end adjacent to the residential zone in a predominantly industrial area, providing an exhibition space with art galleries and artist’s studios on one side, retail on the other and public green space on roof.

left: studies of floor plates as an extension of facade componentry right: glass enclosure with lighting detail on facade

High Performance Building Envelope Detailed section of a double skin facade system composed of adjustable aluminum louvres and fixed glazing with computer controlled vents. The building, composed of concrete slabs, also contains a green roof. The earth-retaining system uses a bentonite slurry-wall as both the temporary retaining system during excavation and as a retaining wall.

Pushing Component Limits The challenge for this course was to design a component based structure through one dynamic component which could yield a wide range of outputs to produce various systems. The component based system could then lend itself to serve a particular or various functions, whether structural or landscape. Furthermore, the system was to be fabricated through digital techniques and laser cutting technology.

parameter 01 change

parameter 02 change

parameter 03 change

The component constitutes three parameters, which control thickening and thinning and opening and closing of segments. The components were designed to be stackable and arrayed along and constrained to four curves. The components respond to a change in the curves, thus yielding various outputs.

output 1 physical model

output 2 physical and digital model

Museum Station Competition Upon completion of two new museums, the Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum, the existing Metromover Station will reopen and become the main hub for cultural institutions in Miami. It will facilitate access to sorrounding buildings of importance, such as the Performing Arts Center and the American Airlines Arena. The proposal aims to improve connectivity from Museum Park, north to the Performing Arts Center whle providing a secondary program to connect to the future Museum Plaza.

Currently, the entry ramp to the highway cuts through the sidewalk that links the Performing Arts Center and the new Museums.

In order to create a seamless connection between cultural institutions, the entry ramp has been sunk to allow for an uninterrupted pedestrian journey.

Presently, the station is uneventful, squeezed between the tracks ruining all chances to properly use sorrounding space on site.

By shifting the entire west-bound track to the north and the platform station to the east, the opportunity arises to create an ample linear plaza which would lead to Metromovers and connect to Museum Plaza. In response to the mayor’s 20 year Master Plan to make Miami a biker’s paradise, the installation of bike racks/parking will support and encourage Miami residents and tourists to visit the museum and tour the city on a bicycle.

A canopy is proposed to sit between the tracks to provide a covered and exciting walk to the museum. In theme of ocean & ocean life, the structure emulates patterns inherent in tropical fish.

The new station can lend itself to become a Market, either an Artists’ Market or Produce Market, offering goods to local residents thus encouraging movement and activity.


I-395 A


1 3











6 N



platform station

bicycle parking


museum plaza

sunken highway access road

covered linear plaza

Samples of Professional Work

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - Burj Dubai Gateway

schemes produced for the Burj Dubai Gateway Entry

Elwell Studio - Schuylkill River Trail Expansion Master Plan

detailed view of boardwalk

aerial perspective showing access from the South Street bridge

Borges + Associates - Hibiscus Island Private Residence

This competition entry for an Executive Center consisted of a gym, spa, library, business center, restaurant and banquet facilities. The idea was to pair and stack programs of similar function to establish vertical relationships. Through assigning further programs on the roof, the various functions come together as extensions of underlying programmatic elements. BUSINESS










































Borges + Associates - Najmat Executive Center


Borges + Associates - Islamorada Residence

Carlos Fornos Penn Portfolio  

Academic portfolio from the Master of Architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design

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