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Published by The American Institute of Architects

The Architecture and Design Journal of the National Associates Committee



COVER IMAGE Aggregate Modulation Study Using Playing Cards by Wintress Cloud Architecture Studio, Fall 2011, Prof. Gregory Marinic, University of Houston SUBMISSIONS Forward welcomes the submission of essays, projects and responses to articles. Submitted materials are subject to editorial review. All Forward issues are themed, so articles and projects are selected relative to the issue’s specific subject. Please contact the Forward Director, Olivia Graf Doyle, at if you are interested in contributing. NATIONAL ASSOCIATES COMMITTEE (NAC) EXECUTIVE BOARD Wayne Mortensen, Assoc. AIA, NASW - Chair Ashley Clark, Assoc. AIA - Associate Director William Turner, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C - Senior Associate Director April Trojniak, Assoc. AIA - Advocacy Director Patrick Weber, Assoc. AIA - Community & Communications Director Matthew Hart, Assoc. AIA - Knowledge & Programming Director Gary Demele, AIA, NCARB - NCARB Liaison Laura Meador, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP - AIAS Liaison Erin Murphy, AIA, LEED AP - AIA Staff Director, Staff Liaison NATIONAL ASSOCIATES COMMITTEE MISSION The National Associates Committee is dedicated to representing and advocating for Associates, both mainstream and alternative, in the national, regional, state, and local components of the AIA. FORWARD MISSION To be the architectural journal of young, aspiring architects and designers of the built environment specifically targeting design issues.

FORWARD Olivia Graf Doyle, Assoc. AIA - Director Christina A. Noble, AIA, LEED AP - Past Director Gregory Marinic, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director C.A. Debelius, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director Meg Jackson, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director Joe Lawton, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director Cindy Louie, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director Janice Ninan, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Director FORWARD 112 Process Summer 2012. Volume 12, No. 1. Published biannually by the AIA. THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS 1735 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC 20006-5292 P: 800-AIA-3837 or 202-626-7300 F: 202-626-7547 ISSN 2153-7526 © Copyright 2012 The American Institute of Architects Finding Structure, published in the initial release, was removed due to a modification to the copyright holders publication criteria. Each article reflects the opinions of the individual authors and not The American Institute of Architects. © Copyright of Individual Articles belongs to the Author. All image permissions are obtained by the articles’ authors.










































“…when he could find no possibility of bringing calm and order into that arbitrary turmoil – he told himself (…) that the most sensible thing was to make every sacrifice if there existed even the smallest hope of thereby freeing himself…” - Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis ¹


s designers, we often look outside our own profession to literature, technology, culture, art, fashion and engineering to find inspiration for a discovery that is both structured and liberating. This issue of Forward explores the processes we follow and invent when learning, teaching and practicing design. To express our own values and beliefs, we explore these dualities and synthesize a design process by combining the ephemeral and permanent, the theoretical and practical, the ethereal and tangible. Some questions this issue seeks to answer include how we balance intuitive inspiration and rational analysis, how we recognize patterns and points of connection, and how we weigh the means to good design as well as methods? How might we create something that is simultaneously functional and an intellectual and aesthetic delight? How can we create a well-crafted and poetic prototype through a rigorous process of study and investigation? Where do our design skills and methods originate? How do we develop a cogent design philosophy?

Learned Process In architecture school we are taught to look at and think about the world in new and compelling ways. Organizing principles such as composition, datum, grid, or focal point tied to an abstract or narrative concept can become a means to begin an architectural language. The design process includes techniques of synthesis and analysis, and our studies lead to proposals based on significant theoretical or experiential spatial qualities. As graduates, we are well versed in a process that places a premium on clarity of design concept and on the graphic description of concept via a concise, elegant, and poetic diagram.

putting together a set of construction documents or a client presentation or a marketing proposal? As emerging professionals, we hope to use the guiding principles learned in school to carry us through the process of creation at work. Yet, those with considerably more experience in practicebased architecture can sometimes have completely different attitudes to design processes than that of the familiar academic method. What affects that change? Have they forgotten those principles and the strength of a cohesive concept, replacing that knowledge with budget consciousness, restrictions from clients and time constraints? Code analysis, feasibility and cost studies, sustainable strategies, consultant coordination, detailing and construction administration are also part of the process – perhaps a little less glamorous, but none-theless an important part. An expanded set of

We must question our transformations and seek the advice of teachers, colleagues and mentors.

Practiced Process But what about the process of production;


rules developed to guide a project from initial design through detailing to construction creates a sense of purpose and a connection. It begs the question of how time and experience affect the development of a personal design process, a process that encompasses production and project execution as well as clarity and richness of concept. A project with a big idea that is carried through from beginning to end creates a perception both ethereal and tangible.

Personal Process Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis describes the impossible occurrence of how the main character, Gregor Samsa, turns into a giant bug by a seemingly supernatural transformation that is missing cause or reason.² This represents that a transformative process is as likely to be informed by the unknown as it is by a more fixed or rational response. Unlike Gregor, we must question the changes that result, reflect on them, and seek the advice of teachers, colleagues and mentors. We continue to grow, learn, question, experiment, and evaluate. Forward seeks to do just that. Where do our design skills and methods originate and how do we develop our philosophies through an integral approach?

preferences are formed by personality and philosophy. The key to maintaining the link to our guiding design principles is to immerse ourselves in a process of continual personal and professional growth and transformation. We must seek to find a personal process we can call our own; one that is defined by our beliefs and experiences, while simultaneously drawing from the methods of others, whether from academic, professional, or alternative careers.

Art + Practice A new series of illustrated architect monographs by Moleskine, called Inspiration and Process In Architecture, features notes, sketches and stories by four architects: Zaha Hadid, Bolles+Wilson, Alberto Kalach and Giancarlo De Carlo.³ My fascination with diagrams is that they can describe a project in one glance. They are a visual document of the process of design. A beautiful diagram can be a work of art, tell the story of concept and at the same time reveal something very personal about the author: their thoughts and emotions. It is a tangible connection to a teacher, a student, a co-worker, a mentor, or an idol.

We should aim to find a personal process we can call our own.

A personal design process evolves over a lifetime and includes not only the development of the process itself but the path we take to enrich, inform, and personalize the process. It is that internal process of transformation that intrigues me. By remaining open to the exploration of new approaches and new ideas, we rejuvenate our design spirits. We learn what actually works and what doesn’t, how to meld academia with practice, and that

Theory + Science Theoretical discoveries based on established or new principles, as well as innovations rooted in science, math or logic, dictate modified approaches to design. What we are taught, and what we learn, provides unexpected insights into both age-old methods and new philosophies. We must aim to make at least one new discovery, learn one new thing, every day.

Finally, we must remain open to the adoption of new tools and techniques. As architecture continues to evolve, computational and parametric strategies, digital fabrication and building information modeling are changing the way we view, observe and execute architecture and design. We should explore the multitude of different methods of creating; as designers, we are always learning, always evolving.

Forward 112 raises a number of provocative questions about the nature of the design process and explores possibilities for design discovery. The articles describe a series of balancing acts, compelling cross-sections of thought and design process that direct us to look inward to our own balance of art and practice, theory and science, teaching and learning. Most importantly, the trajectory of a design exploration is, in and of itself, a personal process of change.

Teaching + Learning

We transform our buildings, our students, our artwork, and ourselves.

How do we start the design process and how does it evolve into a building? The development of a personal design method begins in school— or even earlier—and continues over the course of a lifetime. The fundamental knowledge and experience gained in the early years of a career lays the foundation for our development and evolution as designers. The support we receive from colleagues and mentors aids in that development. As we test and alter our design process, the design process changes us.


1. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and Other Short Stories (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1996), 14. 2. Kafka, The Metamorphosis, 11-52. 3. ”Inspiration and Process in Architecture,” Moleskine, accessed June 19, 2012, http:// w w w. m o l e s k i n e . c o m / a b o u t _ u s / n e w s / inspiration_and_process_in_architecture.php

Olivia Graf Doyle, Assoc. AIA Forward Director

Olivia Graf Doyle joined the Forward team as an Assistant Director in 2011, and is excited to be taking on the role of Director for the 2012 and 2013 issues. Olivia is a Design Leader at HMC Architects in Los Angeles. She graduated with degrees in architecture and advertising from the University of Southern California. Olivia has worked on a variety of projects that range from medical to K-12 and university to interior architecture, in addition to being a contributer to her firm’s internal blog. Outside of work, Olivia is actively involved with the local design community; was an Associate Director on the board of AIA Northern Nevada, started chapters of the Young Designer’s Networking Group in Reno and Sacramento, and has been published in several architecture history textbooks.



D OUTPUTS by Jonathon Anderson + Felicia Dean

... a modified process that integrates fashion and interior architecture 11


his article critically reviews why and how fashion and spatial design principles can directly inform the design process. It explores the results of two projects that use various design processes, many of which are pulled from the fashion industry, in order to develop projects that speak an interdisciplinary process. The process of design is presented in a digital realm, physical exhibition, at varying scales, and through non-traditional fabrication methods. The projects were completed in a second year design studio led by assistant professor Jonathon Anderson, and the thesis work of Felicia Dean who is working under the guidance of Jonathon Anderson.

Image 01_Design process for “Anthropometric Branching� revealing the logic behind the garment

Image 02_Student project “Anthropometric Branching”


The human body has been instrumental in structuring and developing knowledge about us and the built environment. For example, Leonardo de Vinci developed drawings of human organs so that each drawing became vital to other disciplines such as medicine and philosophy. And, Le Corbusier’s Modulor man established a measuring device which advanced and developed our modern understanding of the standardized systems. Evidence of how the human body acutely influences the design process is surfacing in the things

Image 03_Student project “Anthropometric Branching�

Why are these notations important to the design disciplines? Architects, spatial, and visual designers seek further understandings of these fundamental changes/shifts in scale and proportion in order to gain insightful data that will denote how our bodies move and operate in an environment which supports and enhances human’s spatial design methods. The Anthropometric Runway is a studio project that explored these pressing issues as students designed, built, and showcased a garment in a runway show.

“...the human scale is always the constant in the dynamic built environment…the output of this exploration showed the way our bodies operate under constrained situations...” This exercise introduced students to a process of observing and documenting the human body through anthropometric and ergonomic analyses, as it is fundamental to the principles of spatial design. Young designers must be able to gain a greater understanding of their own body in order to design spaces/objects that are conscious of the human experience. The human scale is always the constant in the dynamic built environment and one way to reference the space you inhabit. With this framework set in place, each student learned how to measure their body, log data, and make use of such Image 04_A garment based on a solid/void study of her body within a context. Resulting in a coalesced pattern that wrapped around her body and gained its 3rd dimension by extruding blocks based on their proximity to the bodies’ navel. The garment is a result of extracting and processing of anthropometric data.


information to construct a story about their own findings, discoveries, techniques, and process. The output of this exploration showed the way our bodies operate under constrained situations and produce outcomes that are aesthetically, structurally, functionally, and spatially tectonic in quality. The studio turned to the fashion industry, since it engages directly with an understanding of anthropometrics. Fashion designers have a keen ability to understand how bodies can be unrolled, diagramed, and assembled through a collection of parts. This type of pattern making is a process in which a trained eye begins to change and alter the body in not only space and time but also in the techniques used to fabricate complexities. Beginning designers, in this case second year interior architecture students, learned about their scale and proportions by exploring the fashion industries design process, fabrication techniques, anthropometric studies, and graphic/ visual presentation.

Fashion as a design driver of spatial objects Extending the fashion industry’s fabric manipulation techniques to the upholstery and structural systems of chairs reveals the potential of developing construction methods that inform fashion and furniture. Textile manipulation, upholstery patterning, and sewing methods were explored within this interdisciplinary design process. The developed process transforms two-dimensional flat upholstered surfaces into three-dimensional upholstered forms. It is imperative that a dialog exists between the making techniques and the influence of the object in any context. Here, the exchange of production practices between the soft and hard networks greatly influences the design process. Two examples below further explore the process of marrying fashion and furniture design where the fabric manipulation technique generates the forms, a process that does not impose geometry or forms into the design process.

“...the students underwent a parametric mindset where form finding was used rather than form making...”

It was a process of which the students underwent a parametric mindset where form finding was used rather than form making. This exercise challenged students to visually present, relate, and diagram information extracted from data which is not immediately visible or apparent to the untrained eye. The studies depicted the body as a system that can be plotted and fabricated through a series of points and lines which respond to issues such as scale, proportion, and time. This conceptual mapping revealed how the body interacts and moves through the built environment in the form of a garment that would be exhibited at a spring runway show.

Cocoon Chair The design process of the Cocoon chair evolved from focused research on fabric manipulation techniques employed in the apparel industry. Felt mockups were integrated into the sewing of fiberglass for the marriage of the chair’s structural and upholstery system. A smocking technique was used to create a truss-like system for a fiberglass structure. The overall material make-up of the chair included two layers of fiberglass, a layer of Tyvek paper, one layer of dacron, and one layer of fabric. It was realized that both the cushion system and supporting frame could be integrated through one process of layering


Image 05_Cocoon Chair

materials and hand-stitching them together. After patterning, cutting, and layering the materials, a triangular point pattern was drawn on the fiberglass side; all points of the diagram were hand-stitched and knotted to gather them. In the end, it is the hand stitching and resin

process which integrated the upholstery and chairs shell into one structure. This design process identifies possibilities for an extreme restructuring of future seating compositions by integrating their material organization and fabrication.

Image 06_Design process showing the pattern layout and material make-up of the chair

Image 07_Construction process showing the stitch pattern and sanding of fiberglass process

Image 08_Construction process showing the stitch pattern and sewing process

Imgae 09_Construction process showing the lash knotting process

Knotty Chair Knotty focuses on the existence of knots as a common process amongst various fashion sewing modification methods. In this process a lash knot technique was used for the fabrication of a steel frame. Galvanized steel wire, wrapped, and cinched around two-inch incremental intersections, comprises the metal body. The strategic ties generate the rigid strength of the chair form where each lash fortifies the surrounding knots and the

final framework. The upholstery includes a twist fabric manipulation technique applied to felt. The two-inch grid of the skeleton influenced the scale of the stitched motif, which helped to develop a rich relationship between the structural and the upholstery systems. The twist pattern investigated the generation of a multi-dimensional textile form for seating and created upholstery characterized by depth and layers.


Image 10_Knotty chair

More of the design process for both the Cocoon chair and Knotty can be seen at

Final Thoughts This paper presents a thesis where form is found through the design process rather than using intuition to develop form. The fast pace of the fashion industry provides a platform that facilitates experimentation and the advancement of innovative construction techniques. Both the anthropometric study and the chair designs were directly influenced by the fashion industries intensity, response to the human form, innovative making process, and experimentation of materiality. A variety of applications were presented, from stitching techniques to extraction of data that drives a form, however, what is of importance is the fact that designers are cognitively engaged in a multidisciplinary process where logic is defining design.

Image Credits Title Image_Felicia Dean - graduate student at UNCG - Cocoon Chair Images 01,02,03_Laura Kimmel - 2nd year undergraduate student at UNCG - “Branching anthropometric” Image 04_Christine Luman Image 05_Felicia Dean - graduate student at UNCG - Cocoon Chair Images 06,07,08,09_Felicia Dean - graduate student at UNCG Image 10_Felicia Dean - graduate student at UNCG - Knotty Chair

Jonathon R. Anderson, MFA Jonathon R. Anderson is an award winning designer and assistant professor of interior architecture at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and director of the CAMstudio: IARc Digital Fabrication Facility. He is principal of surFACE studio + MADcubic and Editor in Chief of IDEC Exchange. His research explores the impacts on and integration of industrial manufacturing on the design process. His most recent project critically analyzes the influence of digital fabrication, as it informs the design process, within China’s creative industry parks. Jonathon has been published and presented both nationally and internationally, placed in several international design competitions, and presents his research around the world.

Felicia Dean Felicia Dean studies Interior Product Design in the Department of Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She helps to oversee CAMstudio under the direction of Professor Jonathon Anderson. Felicia Dean’s current research investigates the potential for the transfer of fashion apparel fabric manipulation techniques into construction processes for furniture and upholstery design. During her time at UNCG, she has received numerous accolades, including the opportunity to exhibit in Herman Miller’s student sponsored gallery exhibit at NeoCon, Chicago, IL, 2011, and published as a “Young Gun” in the May 2012 issue of Dwell magazine.



by Kevin Erickson

Bridging the Gap Between Representation and Production



nstead of relying solely on standard architectural and fabrication drawings to communicate intent and for construction, ROPE pavilion – a 100 sf. design-build competition project, employed over 25 full-scale prototypes and models to help bridge the gap between representation and production. Prototypes, often used to verify assumptions rather than innovate, were pushed in an iterative fashion to develop knowledge about material, connections, and fabrication, which was used to establish design criteria. This methodology brought forward various latent potentials and proved invaluable during all phases of the project. Through the combination of simple materials, ROPE pavilion creates a highly articulated form and space, while nestling itself into the Assiniboine River Trail’s landscape. Its relationship of skin – unmanila rope and structure – birch frame, merge to form a pavilion whose dense shell blocks winter winds while still being perforated for light and views. The wood interior creates a sense of warmth through color and texture and its multilayered rope exterior collects snow, further embedding it within the site. The pavilion’s dome-like form is optimized for heat retention, bifurcating only for an entry threshold and oculus to the sky above.

selected out of 140 submissions in the 201112 open competition.

In Winnipeg, the Assiniboine River Trail is the Guinness World Record-holder for the longest naturally frozen skating trail. Stretching west 10km from the city center, it receives over 4 million visitors annually. With temperatures exceeding -40 degrees C, shelters are placed along the trail for visitors to escape the cold.

Unlike most wrapped surface materials, rope is ‘particlized’, allowing us to create enclosure with porosity. Predicting how this material would behave was difficult. Digital models provided information on how much material was needed but failed to accurately illustrate the overall geometry, even with multiple Grasshopper scripts.

In 2009, Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Exposition on Ice launched an annual international design competition to create five very different pieces of art and architecture each year, giving visitors a chance to engage the site in unique ways. Concurrent to the competition, a prominent firm is asked to design and build a warming hut – Antoine Predock 2010, Patkau Architects 2011 and this year Frank Gehry. ROPE pavilion was one of three proposals

Sited in such an interesting and extreme condition, creating porosity between the pavilion’s interior and surrounding landscape was important. In placing an object within this field, we put a lot of emphasis on creating a sympathetic artifact, mainly through form and material. The form originated from an idea to create a simple wrapped frame, which could be shaped effortlessly and the use of rope carried over from a previous competition project, which we didn’t win but continued developing.

The first attempt to use only arched vertical ribs supported horizontally by rope helped us discovered the challenge of creating a curvilinear form with a ‘point-to-point’ material. By developing unique curves on each rib it generated enough variation to blend the ropes linear movement in both plan and elevation. Using a series of digital models, scaled prototypes, and structural calculations

Image 01_Site Plan

we created a balance between the rope’s physical behavior and desired appearance. After testing this system with engineers from Arup, we realized additional horizontal bracing was required. Moving forward with the curvilinear form – because of its visual relationship to the landscape and ability to deflect wind – adjustments were made to the wooden ribs so they could withstand loads from snow, wind, and weight of the rope (nearly 1,300lbs). Originally we intended to use manila hemp rope. After consulting with a supplier, we learned this material could expand and contract up to 10 percent depending on temperature, humidity, and precipitation. ROPE pavilion called for nearly 6,000 linear feet of rope, meaning the surface could shrink by 600 feet, potentially crushing the wooden frame.

Image 02_Site Image


Deciding on which diameter of rope to use involved several factors – visual pattern, coverage, and most importantly cost per linear foot. Due to their varied curvature, each vertical rib has a different length; so we developed another Grasshopper script to consistently distribute the layers of rope across the overall geometry based on the shortest member. This resulted in 128 layers of ¾ inch unmanila rope (made of polystyrene), which proved best in terms of rope size to coverage cost. A first attempt to connect the rope and frame was through steel looped pins. Rather than adding another component, we began testing the rib’s ability to hold the rope through a series of notches on their perimeter edges. Strictly using notches failed because the rope slipped from its seating when the frame’s curvature became extreme. Eventually we developed a

combination of notches and holes to secure the rope. The rope alternates on every other rib by either being seated in a notch or strung through a hole. This oscillating pattern created a nice subtle texture across the pavilion’s surface. After solving the rope’s connection we began working out how to fabricate and assemble the wooden structure. With temperatures exceeding -40 degrees Celsius, assembly time became a major factor. The frame is made of 12 vertical ribs that span between 12 base members and a continuous compression ring on top. It’s further supported by three intermittent layers of horizontal bracing that create stiffness through custom steel plates. The entire system bolts together and was assembled and dissembled in our shop prior to transportation to Winnipeg. The wood structure is a composite of multiple layers of exterior grade plywood, which provides stability for load transfer. Each layer had to be separated into several pieces due to the 4’x8’ stock material size that were later bonded together. In order to bond the vertical ribs together, a special table was constructed to accommodate multiple clamps and ensure equal pressure. After each member was bonded they were sanded, sealed, and the custom steel plates were inserted.

Image 03_sketch of two cuts

Thirty-five custom steel plates were the only component we could not fabricate in-house. Each rib had 3 unique 11-gauge plates inserted to form a moment connection between the vertical ‘column’ and horizontal bracing. This detail proved, by far, to be the most difficult. The plates were plasma cut, bent on one side, inserted into the ribs, scored, bent, welded and then bolted to both the vertical rib and horizontal members. The process of creating ROPE pavilion occurred at a very accelerated pace. After being notified

Image 04_form study model

of winning the competition we had 2 weeks to complete a feasibility study, another 4 for engineering & technical drawings, leaving roughly 7 weeks for fabrication, transportation, and construction. Prototyping each component and connection at full scale made this possible. As with many projects of this type, budgets are limited. Therefore we tested relationships such as: form vs. structure, material vs. form, structure vs. material, and fabrication vs. material to arrive at optimal conditions for both production and cost. In the end, physical artifacts, digital scripting, and time spent on efficient machining played the most significant

roles in expediting the process. It would have been impossible to develop this project using only architectural drawings or a parametric model. Working through various media, we realized the value of testing pieces physically early in the process – the rope’s behavior would have been impossible to calculate without gravity or physically pulling on it (the pavilion was climbed, on several occasions while on the trail). Developing a quality script, which allowed us to populate the rope notches and holes on each rib, was invaluable. This detail changed at least 10 times and if we had to


Image 05_exploded axon of ribs

Image 06_ribs gluing

manually locate 128 holes on all 12 ribs, we would never have finished. Finally, testing how the wooden structure was going to be manufactured at the beginning saved time in post processing. Each screw and bolt hole was located using the CNC router. Careful tool/ bit selection saved time on sanding while accurate tolerances ensured each piece fit perfectly both in the shop and on site, where temperatures varied by over 100 degrees. The gap between design ideas and end products is an interesting and fertile territory. When any new idea is translated into a product for the first time, success or failure is often difficult to recognize while being absorbed within the process. In the case of ROPE pavilion, we relied heavily on making full-scale working prototypes to test and advance our original premises. This method of working, made possible by the commonplace of digital technologies, enabled us to understand our failures and capitalize on our successes. The ease and fluidity in which we were able to produce so many prototypes eradicated many linear processes, enabling us to produce a highly articulated pavilion whose final figure was greatly enhanced through the process of production.

Image 07_interior detail photograph, as built


Image 08_process catalog


Image 09_interior photograph as built

Image 10_section, elevation, and plan

KNEstudio Design Team Kevin Erickson – Principalin Charge Adam Garrett Johann Rischau MathewStrack Martin Grym Geoffery Clarkson

Structural Engineer Arup, New York NY

Build Team Kevin Jele Alvin Hamilton Anna Gutsch William Hodges

Additional Sponsorship University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, College of Fine and Applied Arts, Creative Research Award

Public Artist Allison Warren

Post Production Marlo Messier


Image 11_night photograph, as built


Image 12_exterior rope detail photograh as built

IMAGE CREDITS Title Image_Photograph by Brian Gould Photography Image 01_Drawing by KNEstudio Image 02_Photograph by KNEstudio Image 03_Sketch by KNEstudio Image 04_Photograph by KNEstudio Image 05_Drawing by KNEstudio Image 06_Photograph by KNEstudio Image 07_Photograph by KNEstudio Image 08_Process Diagram by KNEstudio Image 09_Photograph by KNEstudio Image 10_Drawings by KNEstudio Image 11_Photograph by Brian Gould Photography Image 12_Photograph by KNEstudio

Kevin Erickson Kevin Erickson is a designer and founding principal of New York City based KNEstudio,whose worked has been nationally and internationally recognized in exhibitions, design competitions, and publications. In 2006 he served as Artistin-Residence at the Geoffrey BawaLunagunga Trust in Sri Lanka and following, he was invited to submit work for the American Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Biennale. In 2007 he edited a monograph and curated an international traveling exhibition on the works of KengoKuma. RecentlyKNEstudio was selected 1 of 3 finalists in the urbanSHED International Design Competition, to rethink the 1 million linear feet of sidewalk sheds and street scaffolding in New York City and received honorable mention in the Tokyo 2010 Fashion Museum in Omotesando Street Competition. Kevin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois and last year, he was awarded a Faculty Design Award by the Associated Colligate Schools of Architecture and an Un-built Architecture Award by the American Institute of Architecture for his project urbanCLOUD.




hile artists have an established record of scholarship about the role of found objects in their work, there is a disappointing lack of scholarship that considers the role of found objects in design. Perhaps this can first be attributed to the different motivations by which an artist and a designer choose to incorporate a found object.

Discipline-centric Motivations If we generalize, artists are creative thinkers who produce aesthetic objects that respond to problems of their own creation. However, designers are both creative and analytical thinkers who produce functional objects responding to performance-based problems demonstrated by the needs of others. Despite the similarities and differences between the realms of art and design, the defining characteristic between them is this level of utility found in the artifacts produced. Between these two realms however is a thin threshold that places equal weight upon both the aesthetic and pragmatic qualities of a specific object. As this threshold is enjoying an increasing amount of scholarship, designers are renewing an interest in the discipline of Craft. Members of this discipline whose work is particularly expressive of Craft principles include George Nakashima, Dale Chihuly, and the Teutul family. With regards to our interest in found objects, this difference in attitudes illuminates that primary reasons for selection are rooted in the source

disciplines themselves. The found object in art has no responsibility to perform beyond its aesthetic affect, and the found object in design has no further responsibility beyond its pragmatic (i.e. mechanical, structural) affect. Across all disciplines, design solutions typically require the deliberate processing of raw materials to produce a new idealized solution that is performatively consistent throughout its entirety. This holistic approach enables designers to combine the desired structural and performative attributes thereby finding an economy in design that is not burdened with extraneous and superfluous parts. In turn, the integrated aesthetic dimension of this designed object can either be of deliberate consideration or of collateral effect.

The Impact of Found Objects The incorporation of a found object in a design solution presents interesting generative opportunities that are not otherwise available in more traditional acts of design.

Image 01_Nightstand

While some designers are personally comfortable with, and effectively operate within, the openness afforded by traditionally-formed design problems, the decision to incorporate a found object impacts the structure of the design problem with a high degree of new information. No longer does design generation begin in response to an assessment of constraints; now there is a physical artifact within the larger problem space that exudes intelligible information regarding its own structural, mechanical and compositional qualities. In many ways, this starting point for design thinking suddenly advances the maturity of the final design, thereby illuminating the importance of good decisions in the selection of found objects in the first place. While the found object effect can positively disrupt the performative and aesthetic expectations of end users and find new appreciation, it can also bomb when the merit of the final designed craftwork fails to transcend the incorporated found object on its own terms, thereby revealing a kitsch appreciation for the found object incorporated and exuding an unhelpful reverence for the original found object.

Because the incorporation of found objects is non-essential to all design solutions, there is a need to explicitly understand the benefit of incorporating found objects, the criteria for their selection, their impact on design thinking, and their ramifications for use. This essay identifies four generative strategies for how found objects are / can be used within the design discipline: Resourcefulness, Political Heuristics, Creative Heuristics and Aesthetic Heuristics.

Resourcefulness For non-designers solving their own problems of need, using found objects in an ad-hoc manner is the most popular strategy found in contemporary society. While the examples featured on websites such as is not the result of professional design services, the solutions are very much the result of an act of design by nondesigners, however precarious, short-sighted, or ill-advised. For these ad-hocist solutions, found objects present a means for practical solutions to problems rooted in necessity.


Resourcefulness is a strategy typically found at the lower end of the economic spectrum, and the work of the Rural Studio at Auburn is particularly expressive of this. While I do not want to deny this group any Creative Heuristics that were also in play, it remains that this group of designers sought to achieve the most architecturally with the limited resources that were available to them. Whether it be dumped tires, road signs, glass bottles, wax-impregnated cardboard, or donated replacement windshields, these resources have themselves become obsolete and have found new use in an architectural application. However, Resourcefulness may also be in play independent of financial circumstances. Since 1991, RoTo Architects has developed an approach to architectural design that welcomes uncertainty and openness. For RoTo, the final design solution is not conceived in an idealized state in which additional design energy is invested in exhaustively-thorough documentation, but rather is conceived in a comparatively loose way which allows for the joint shaping of the final solution by their conception, by other stakeholders such as the client and builder, and by the availability of new resources that were not known at the time of original project conception. While their internal office design process works to eliminate individual authorship, RoTo oftentimes achieves this with final solutions that capitalize upon the “availability of recyclable materials and skills that are within the comfort level of the builder.”1 RoTo Architects’ designs for both the Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota and the Carlson-Reges residence in downtown Los Angeles express this.

The Carlson-Reges Residence is a design for a couple already living in a once electric company cabling structure amidst an industrial salvage yard with an inventory accumulated over two generations. This design provided an expanded ability to publicly showcase a collection of two and three dimensional art, but without impeding upon their more private living spaces. The solution incorporates many components found throughout the salvage yard, and was dependent upon the construction skills of the client / builder. While industrial steel sections were plentiful for re-use as architectural columns and beams, cylindrical gasoline tanks from the client’s materials yard were modified to serve as a second floor pool. According to Michael Rotondi, “all non-structural steel detailing [for the Carlson-Reges Residence] occurred on site in an improvisational fashion and was determined by the availability of materials and labor.”2 For designers solving problems of need, using found objects from a generative strategy of Resourcefulness requires a suspension of the level of control typically found in professional design service. However, for those willing to entertain design solutions that are both uncertain and open at the time of conception, then the opportunitybased incorporation of a found object will achieve heightened design economy in the absence of either new raw material resources or the means to deliberately process them.

“... final solutions capitalize upon the availability of recyclable materials and skills that are within the comfort level of the builder”

Political Heuristics When a designer chooses to incorporate a found object to signify a larger political position, whether it be a protest of a politico-socio system, or a

personal position in support of a larger political context, then Political Heuristics are in play. For Charles Jencks in 1973, Ad-Hocism provided a vehicle for combating the standardization and limitation of choice by large corporations and was believed to trigger a “rebirth of a democratic mode and style, where everyone can create [their] personal environment out of impersonal subsystems…”3 For us in 2012, we find a number of designers who are incorporating found objects prompted by their respective position on environmental issues and who seek to reduce their footprint. These green-minded designers intentionally recycle found objects and reclaim other materials that have outlasted their original usefulness as it relates to their selfperceived role in a larger handling of waste.

“to him, almost anything discarded and durable is potential building material.”4 Found materials already incorporated into his residences include picture frame samples for an interior ceiling, misshapen bricks, broken ceramic tiles and mirrors, wine corks, worn DVDs, and cattle bones from a nearby cattle yard. While the overall look and feel of these residences are quirky and circumstantial, they are completely code-compliant and have already proven their resale value to a more affluent audience. For those designers using founds objects as a Political Heuristic, there is a lessened appreciation for wholeness, clarity and legibility of use, and a heightened satisfaction from knowing they h av e l e s s e n e d t h e r e s p e c t iv e footprint of waste for its design field. Furthermore, the resulting aesthetic achieved is one that, however holistic or not, cannot be pre-conceived independently from working with the actual found materials at 1:1 scale.

“rebirth of a democratic mode and style, where everyone can create [their] personal environment out of impersonal subsystems…”

While the repurposing of a found object requires the least amount of embodied energy for materials for design, this strategy often leads to solutions that have no larger holistic aesthetic agenda. At its extreme, this design strategy can produce aesthetically-schizophrenic solutions that lack an overarching design vision for wholeness. However, this is perfectly acceptable for the designer using political heuristics, as the resulting aesthetic is of circumstance to the larger politically-charged act of designing with recycled and reclaimed material. Mr. Dan Phillips is the principal of Phoenix Commotion homebuilding based in Huntsville TX and has successfully built (14) residences that incorporates found objects from a political heuristic sensibility. While Mr. Phillips will acquire approximately 80% of his construction materials from other builders’ construction sites,

Creative Heuristics In this instance, the designer is looking to exploit the generative potential of found objects that stem from an assessment of the found object’s mechanical and/or structural properties, and then allow that assessment to determine the program or use for a forthcoming design solution. If a Creative Heuristic is in play, then no longer is the final design solution in response to an articulated need. Instead, the use and function for the final design is only determined after the designer has entered into a dialogue with the properties and qualities of the found object.


Image 02_Aileron Shelf

For furniture designer Scott Baker of Baker+Hesseldenz Inc, the moment of design conception occurred immediately upon viewing the found object. More specifically, Mr. Baker was browsing the only remaining publiclyaccessible military aircraft salvage yard in Tucson AZ when he came upon an aileron bracket sitting amongst other components and began handling it. As he rotated it in space, he began visualizing the aileron bracket as a single support for a long shelf on a wall. Mr. Baker designed three new components to be made from cherry wood, and he fabricated the final Aileron shelf himself. Although the shelf was a personal endeavor for Mr. Baker’s own satisfaction, it is currently on

the market as a consignment piece in his art gallery, Metroform Ltd. If we recall that found objects incorporated from a sensibility of Resourcefulness presents a means for practical solutions to address problems of necessity, then found objects incorporated from a Creative Heuristic sensibility either guarantee a desired condition within a larger final solution to problems not yet identified or are engaged only after the creation of the new designed object. While this generative strategy holds the most promise for creative design solutions, it also explains why it is the rarest of types. In a designer’s commitment to addressing the needs

of others, the pre-selection of a found object for creative action does not empower the level of analytical consideration necessary for generating truly need-based solutions.

Aesthetic Heuristics A designer who decides to incorporate a found object from a sensibility of an aesthetic heuristic is one who believes a found object is either particularly beautiful or cool. In short, this explains why designers will incorporate a found object for its own sake. In this scenario, there is larger design value in the ability of end users to read the found object, and recognize its respective origin while simultaneously appreciating its new role in a larger design solution. While it is possible within this generative strategy to allow nostalgia into one’s design thinking, it can also establish the underpinnings of distinguished architectural practices such as LOT-EK in New York City and Richard Goodwin in Sydney Australia.

ARCH 516: “Modern Craft” As a general position for an architectural educator, all schools of architecture should have strong respective Cultures of Making. To this end, it is necessary for our curriculums to guarantee multiple opportunities for working, and experimenting with, “live” materials at a 1:1 scale. In light of this, I created a new 3 credit hour course titled “Modern Craft,” which is open to students of fifth year, sixth year, and PhD standing. The course examines Craft as its own creative discipline at the threshold between Fine Art and Design, and is composed of equal parts lecture, seminar and lab. Whereas the seminar portion anchors the conversation in issues surrounding craft objects and industrial products, the lab component effectively offers Architecture students their first curricular opportunity to consider material-based investigations. in an explicit way, for (16) weeks.

FOCO: The Found Object Craft Object Since first seeing the Aileron shelf by Tucson designer Scott Baker in 2003, I have become increasingly interested in the creative heuristics that found objects provide when incorporated into a larger design problem. To this end, I enjoy issuing an eight-week design assignment titled “FOCO: The Found Object Craft Object,” in the “Modern Craft” course. This assignment requires student designers to polemically argue how found objects ought to be used in design, and demonstrate their creative effectiveness firsthand through the conception, development and execution of a new craft object. Per this assignment, all FOCOs must: 01.

incorporate a found object that is chosen only after careful consideration. The selection of the found object must not be circumstantial.

02. incorporate a found object that has structural or mechanical merit. Found objects with emotional value are prohibited. be designed using the observable properties of the found object as a point of departure. The purpose and use of the FOCO shall be determined only after the found object is selected.


incorporate a found object that plays a performative role within the larger FOCO solution – The craft object incorporates the found object, yet the found object does not equal the craft object.


05. re-purpose the original found object within the intentional and deliberate design of a new craft object. 06. commit to a particular type of site (i.e. stands on floor, anchors to table, wallmounted, suspended from ceiling) without committing to a site-specific Place. 07. recognize their role as craft objects in the 21st Century, and consider their own materiality.


Across the course enrollment, there is typically a genuine enthusiasm for this assignment, as it presents an opportunity that students have not yet experienced in their design studios. Since its first issue in Spring 2008, I have tweaked the source and methods for Found Object acquisition in order to make refined observations about this design methodology, and it also prevents future students from anticipating forthcoming designs. In the most open model, I have asked the class to do some found object reconnaissance over their Spring Break in salvage yards, pawn shops, antique shops, auctions, yard sales, or their grandparents’ garage. Each student was required to bring three found objects to class for discussion, and the group then took turns speculating upon the various ways in which each found object in the room could function in larger structural or mechanical applications. This produces the greatest range of found object types: In one particular year, students selected an engine dolly, a 75-lb steel caster, a cast aluminum combustion chamber from a Mazda RX-7 rotary engine, a pair of suspension swingarms, a clutch assembly, a pair of ice skate blades, a poker chip holder, and a hand-operated apple peeler. In a less open model, I have asked students to meet me at an automotive junkyard, and I give them a two hour window of time in which they are expected to identify, select, and purchase no more than three found objects of interest. The students do not have to commit to a particular single found object by this time, but the object ultimately chosen must have been identified within this window. In the most closed model, I install a series of pre-selected found objects that I have acquired in a small room, allowed students to preview them, have numbers drawn, and then according to their number, release each of them to choose their respective found object. Since the purpose or use of the larger forthcoming FOCO was to be determined after the selection of the found object, students were dealing with

a design problem in which purpose or use no longer preceded their search for design solutions. In turn, they must enter into a dialogue with the found object, assess its structural and mechanical characteristics, and only then design uses for the found object. Across the various solutions that have emerged, the final FOCO solutions vary widely in terms of their utility, level of found object incorporation, and overall compositional complexity.

Front-End Suspension Swingarms

Image 03_Coffee table

Mr. Dodson was attracted to both the structural and compositional qualities of these swingarms. As kinetic structural horizontal supports found in a vehicle’s front suspension, these swingarms can resist considerable weight and force. Compositionally, these cast steel swingarms have several large “lightening” holes within its profile, and also features several bolted hole connections. During preliminary design, Mr. Dodson would position the swingarms in an upright position, and

it became possible to perceive the swingarms as structural supports that would allow the circular ends to become the actual bearing points for the forthcoming assemblage. Once this observation was made, the use of the FOCO was determined to be a low coffee table.

Image 04_Coffee table

After considering some design options with a blockish symmetrical proportion, Mr. Dodson decided to elongate the proportion of the structural gesture in order to showcase the table elements that would require new construction. The structural spine was shaped from a single piece of maple, and was accentuated at both ends with walnut bearing points. Whereas one end is a modest shaped footing that comes in contact with the ground plane, the other end is a shaped connector stout enough to receive the ½” diameter bolted connections with both swingarms. Mr. Dodson subcontracted a local glass supplier to provide a shaped tempered glass profile, and this glass rests on three new rods. While these rods were conceived as appropriate attachments to the found compositional qualities of the swingarms themselves, an identical rod was used in an identical geometry and attached directly to the maple structural spine.

Engine Dolly While Mr. Mielke produced three found objects of varying scale for consideration, he was drawn to working with his largest since this was the scale he was most comfortable. The found object is a dolly for lifting and storing pulled engines from automobiles. The dolly is essentially three pieces of tube steel butted and welded together to form “T” configurations in both plan and side elevations. The dolly meets the ground with three ¾” diameter rolling casters and interfaces with engines only through a pipe fitting that caps the top of the single vertical tube steel member. This particular dolly became obsolete when one of its small steel casters jammed, and no one took the initiative to service or repair it. The dolly originally had a bright orange painted finish, but this finish has weathered from both heavy use and lack of care. Mr. Mielke decided early that he was interested in retaining the weathered finish quality of the dolly, and wanted to creatively contrast it with highly refined new construction. From its side “L” profile, one notices the composition of this dolly anticipates cantilevering the engine over its lower half. In response to this, Mr. Mielke projected regulating lines from hard material edges found on the dolly and allowed these 2d lines to act as planes to demarcate the extents of two large three dimensional volumes. Furthermore, just as a suspended engine would have airspace trapped below, then so do these volumes hover over the dolly assemblage and connect back only at the vertical support. These two persimmons-wood volumes are physically identical to each other in overall dimensions, and both work together as saddlebags to balance the load about the high structural support arm made of steel flatstock. However, one volume is a chest of drawers with full extension glides, and the other is a single vertical drawer with


adjustable shelving. To the best of my knowledge, the one steel caster remains jammed.

the caster’s side profile as a point of departure for his larger design thinking. The final desk design is characterized by two steel bases with white painted finish which are rigidly attached to an orange desk surface. Although this orange desk component appears as one piece, it was fabricated from a solidcore door and laminated plywood shapes for the downturn. Both of these pieces read as one due to several layers of bondo work and several coats of automotive-grade painted finish. The desk surface has integrated handles for moving the desk and its repositioning.

Image 05_ Chest of Drawers

Industrial-Scale Caster At a curb weight of 75 lbs., this large caster is one from a set of four identical casters that supported an automotive sled used by body repair services to move car chassis within a garage. Mr. Reimers started his process with a series of sketches of upright furniture pieces that integrated the caster as a heavyweight footing and bearing point with the ground plane. After considering the likely physical awkwardness of moving these upright pieces, the proportion of the furniture piece then became low and long. This proportion was found to offer more leverage and ease to the user, and would allow for moving the piece with less effort and greater control. After diagramming a wheelbarrow-like proportion to the FOCO, Mr. Reimers determined its purpose would be a new desk. Beyond knowing that this desk would require a prominent horizontal surface to accommodate various desk-based actions, Mr. Reimers found it difficult to explore design options without using a photograph of

Image 06_A desk for a home office

Image 07_An end table

Iceskates Mr. Williams’ found object(s) with the best creative potential was a pair of antique ice skates. These ice skates possessed a number of attractive material features including the worn leather ice skate envelope, the excessively-long cloth laces, the shaped steel ice skate blades, and their nailed connection to the underside of the skate’s sole. Upon further evaluating the skate blades, Mr. Williams became interested in the creation of a FOCO that would become structurally codependent with the skate blades themselves. In order to best focus upon this compositional expectation, he was encouraged to work in a scale relatively smaller than his colleagues, and he then decided to design an occasional table. The first iteration of this table design was drawn in marker pen, and was dismissed by the author due

to its resemblance to a woman’s shoe. However, the second iteration had a changed proportion and still possessed the trait of structural codependence between the two found objects and the new construction. Mr. Williams began fabrication of this table by laminating a series of plywood shapes to then be shaped using electric and hand sanding methods. Once the ice skate blades were attached to the new wood construction, this assemblage served as the table base. The table surface itself was a single piece of 16 gauge sheet metal shaped in an ovular form, and was connected to the neck of the wood base with a series of piping connections that intentionally resembled the eyelets found on the original ice skates. All steel edges at this connection were brought to align with the outer surfaces. of the wood.


Across the course enrollment, the polemical arguments for how found objects ought to be used in design varied, but otherwise reveal the impetus in which each student found the incorporation of a found object to be personally meaningful. In turn, it was an analysis of their written responses that helped to forge the four larger design strategies presented earlier in this essay.

Image 08


Image Credits

carter, brian. rotobook. michigan architecture papers one. ann arbor: university of michigan, 1996, p23.

Title Page_Graphic design by Janice C Ninan

carter, brian. rotobook. michigan architecture papers one. ann arbor: university of michigan, 1996, p45.

Image 02_object by Baker + Hesseldenz Inc.

jencks, charles and nathan silver. adhocism: the case for improvisation. garden city: anchor press, 1973, p15.

Image 04_object by John Dodson

murphy, kate. “one man’s trash…,” home & garden, the new york times. september 02, 2009.

Image 06_object by Brandon Reimers





Image 01_object by Casey Roberts, Spring 2011

Image 03_object by John Dodson

Image 05_object by Karl Mielke

Image 07_object by Chris William Image 08_tudents at work in Studio

Chris Ford

Associate Professor & Assistant Director College of Architecture University of Nebraska

Upon graduating from North Carolina State University, Chris joined the New York office of Richard Meier & Partners where he assisted the design development of several international competition entries and commissions. The majority of Chris’ tenure was spent in assisting the execution of the 173 / 176 Perry Street residential towers located on Manhattan’s west side. Chris also worked for Rick Joy Architects and Rob Paulus Architects in Tucson AZ as both an architectural project manager and construction manager. While an Associate with RPA, Chris was also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Arizona, School of Architecture. In Fall 2005, Chris joined the University of Nebraska College of Architecture where he regularly teaches design studios at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a former coordinator of the Architecture Internship program, a past chair of the Hyde Lecture series, and was the 2008-2010 Steward Professor in Sustainable Design for his funded research project titled “REIs: Renewable Energy Infrastructures.” This REI project was also a recipient of a 2009 AIA Upjohn Research Initiative grant. Chris maintains scholarly interests in infrastructure, design methodology and modern Craft. Websites


RECLAIM MARKET by Ali Sant & Studio for Urban Projects

Temporary Urban Experiments for Creating



ontext: San Francisco’s civic and commercial spine, Market Street, will be reconcieved in 2015. The design of the street will be the culmination of a four-year process of public engagement and discussion initiated through the Better Market Street Project. Central to this dialogue are a number of questions, about how (and by whom) Market Street might be used. In preparation for permanent changes to the street, the city government inadvertently began a process of experimentation and testing in 2008 by asking a provocative question: could the city evaluate new schemes before making them permanent?

The first modifications to the street rerouted eastbound private car traffic south, through mandatory right turns at 10th and 6th streets. This simple change was found to increase the number of pedestrians and cyclists on Market Street, reduce Muni running times and have no adverse effect on traffic in the SoMa neighborhood. Based on this success, the six-week trial was extended and ultimately made permanent in March 2011. In addition, green bike boxes, and separated bike lanes on Market Street between 8th and Octavia continue to bring faster buses and more people biking and walking on Market Street. Bicycles now outnumber motor vehicles during rush hour. The Market Street trial is part of a new movement in urban planning: rather than expensive top-down changes that are assumed to work, cities can test and evaluate multiple cheap and temporary strategies for urban improvement.

Image 1_Plaza

RECLAIM MARKET STREET! Reclaim Market Street!, a project created by the Studio for Urban Projects and exhibited by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), has augmented these municipal process and experiments by staging a series of temporary interventions provoking us to re-imagine the ways in which the street might be configured. These interventions ask us to consider questions about the social life of the street: Beyond commerce, business and the movement of the automobile, what do we want to use our streets for? Can we claim the street for conversation, action, play, lounging and making? Can we make this space hospitable to those who walk, bike or take public transport? Can we prioritize the social life of the street? These interventions responded to three of the street conditions; the sidewalk, plaza, and street; and were created in collaboration with with artists, activists, designers and city officials.


“We have given a disproportionate amount of our street space to vehicles, and the time has come to start giving some of it back to the pedestrians from whom it was taken.” –William Whyte, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980)

Image 2_Exhibition


“How does our relationship to the street change when we tend it, plant it, or perform for it?

Image 3_Sidewalk

Interventions: Sidewalk “Poetry is in the streets.” –Situationists This one-day event, held on October 8, examined the ways in which we can redefine the social life of the sidewalk. Amidst the hustle and bustle of commerce and business how do we slow to the pace of conversation, interaction or reflection? Can we create places to sit, make or play? How does our relationship to the street change when we tend it, plant it, or perform for it? The day profiled six artists’ projects along Market Street from UN Plaza to Powell Street. Michael Swaine and Paul Benny created a project called Broomtrade in which they created a series of brooms that required groups of two, four, and six people to operate, transforming the simple act of sweeping into a collaborative, public dance event. Futurefarmers enlivened a derelict marquee between 5th and 6th streets with their project After the Market. Passersby were invited to write statements imagining a new Market Street that were applied to the marquee and left remaining at the day’s end. Amber Hasselbring hosted Urban Hedgerow, a public think-tank of artists, designers, and plant experts engaged in a discussion and workshop, set in a temporary native habitat at UN plaza. Genine Lentine created Listening Booth, a piece which invited stangers to sit down and talk with an attentive listener for five minutes. Finally, Joshua Short facilitated Red Carpet for the Commons at various locations around the Civic Center and Powell Street BART stations. Unsuspecting citizens found themselves walking across a red carpet, greeted by applause and reverence.

Plaza “Play is freedom.” –Johan Hizinga On October 15th, UN Plaza was temporarily transformed into a play space for children, parents and friends. The Imagination Playground, a kit of “loose parts” designed by David Rockwell, was configured and reconfigured over four-hours during the day by over 120 kids. The intervention looked at ways in which children may be better integrated into the life of the street. In the evening this space was transformed to host a public screening attended by 200 people. Archivist Rick Prelinger showed films from his collection focusing on the history of Market Street as captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen and industrial filmmakers. San Francisco filmmaker Melinda Stone showed the 1906 film A Trip Down Market Street and its 2005 remake by herself and Liz Keim. Inspired by Jane Jacobs’ writing in the Death and Life of Great American Cities, how plazas might be made more dynamic by serving different age groups and interests over the course of a day?

Street “Space is a practiced place.” –Michel de Certeau Our final intervention was a bike tour and mock up of potential new bike lanes along Market Street created in collaboration with Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design group. Over 70 participants used chalk paint to stencil a new bike lane that meandered up onto the sidewalk and Market and 1st. On Market Street between 3rd and Grant, we temporarily blocked traffic to create a two-lane bikeway with a slow and fast lane. The stencils we used featured traditional street graphics including arrows and dashed lines as well as more whimsical elements such as a stencil of the


Tiger Swallowtale, a native butterfly that has adapted to the non-native London Plane Tree planted along Market Street. These elements were included in the lanes in which bikes were meant to slow or detour. “Space is a practiced place,” a quote by Michel de Certeau in his book The Practice of Everyday Life was also stenciled along the freshly chalked lanes. Flanking these two guerilla bike lane interventions, the tour featured talks with city officials, bicycle advocates, and artists. Our guests included Sabrina Merlo, the former Regional Advocacy Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition and co-creator of Civic Cycle; Will Tabajonda of the SFMTA who is helping to launch San Francisco’s bike-share program, Andrew Lee and Nate Chanchareon of the Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; Chris Carlsson, author, historian, and cooriginator of Critical Mass; Kit Hodge, Director of the San Francisco Great Streets Project; Brian Smith of Huckleberry Bicycles, the newly opened bike repair kiosk on Market Street; and John Bela, a collaborator in Rebar. Throughout the day we discussed bike sharing, bike lane trials on Market Street, and the history of bicycle protests. We visited the newly opened Huckleberry bike repair shop created in a defunct newspaper kiosk. Several bikes were also outfitted with Contrails devices fabricated by ULICU, to leave a trace of our route. The event concluded at UN Plaza, where participants relaxed in Rebar’s Bubble Lounge with refreshments powered by their Juicecycle. All of these events attracted large groups of participants, including passerby, visitors from other cities and countries, and even participants in San Francisco’s Occupy Wall Street protests. The Studio’s interventions were direct and participatory rather than theoretical: participants were exposed to new urban experiences, not just new ideas. Our aim was

to create an inspiring spectacle of what is possible on Market Street and to engage the public in helping to create a new vision for the street.

Exhibition The accompanying exhibition at SPUR provides further context to the interventions by highlighting the many ways in which cities, nationally and internationally, are engaged in reimagining their public spaces- streets, plazas and sidewalks- through experimental urban planning. These efforts are part of a broad movement of urban experiments, trials and prototypes. A few examples from the exhibition include: Permanent Breakfast is a temporary urban intervention in which participants are invited to a public breakfast and then asked to continue the action by staging breakfasts of their own. By occupying public spaces, participants change the nature of the places they are in, converting sidewalks, plazas and parking spots to spaces of food preparation, eating and conversation. According to the snowball concept of the project, 1.6 million people would have participated in a public breakfast by the 10th day of the project. Permanent Breakfast began in 1996 in Vienna’s Schwarzenbergplatz, as an intervention by artist Friedeman Derschmidt; since then the event has been staged in many cities, including Prague, Berlin, Oslo and Melbourne, and hundreds of breakfasts have been documented. PARK(ing) Day is a daylong global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Franciscobased art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park.

A quintessentially “open source” project, PARK(ing) Day has since been adapted and remixed to address a variety of social issues in diverse urban contexts around the world. Over the years, PARK(ing) Day has expanded to include a broad range of interventions well beyond the basic “tree-bench-sod” park typology first modeled by Rebar. Participants have created interventions ranging from free health clinics, urban farming and ecology demonstrations to political seminars, art installations, free bike repair shops and even a wedding ceremony!

part of the commons—a site for generosity, expression, socializing and play. And although temporary, PARK(ing) Day has inspired direct participation in the civic processes that permanently alter the urban landscape. In San Francisco, it has inspired the city’s official parklet program and is a model for how artists’ interventions can help to provoke official city policy.

Occurring annually on the third Friday in September, in hundreds of cities around the globe, PARK(ing) Day has effectively re-valued the metered parking space as an important

Image 4_Street


Paris Plages First initiated in 2002 by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, Paris Plages (“Paris Beaches”) is a month-long annual event where the City of Paris creates temporary urban “beaches” along the right banks of the Seine River. A major motorway clogged with heavy traffic most of the year, the Georges Pompidou Expressway transforms into an outdoor getaway. This temporary pedestrian promenade offers sandfilled beaches with deck chairs, palm trees, hammocks, a swimming pool that floats on top of the river and fine-water misters to cool off in. The beach is animated day and night with activity, including dance lessons, beach volleyball, music concerts and sandcastle building. Now, in 2011, there are three different beach areas along the Seine River running from the Louvre to Pont de Sully to the Port de la Gare and the Bassin de la Villette. The event has been duplicated in other cities, including Rome, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Ciclovías Recreativas are events in which streets are temporarily closed to vehicle traffic, providing a safe space for people to bike, walk and engage in other social and recreational activities. The concept originated in the 1970s in Bogota, Colombia, then was greatly expanded by that country’s progressive mayor, Enrique Penalosa, in the 1990s, as part of a broader strategy to make Bogota safer and more livable. Today, Ciclovías are enacted on the main streets of Bogota every Sunday. Parks and sidewalks along Ciclovías are filled with street vendors and performers; temporary stages host live music, dancing, aerobics and yoga classes. On a typical Sunday, two million people—a third of the city’s population—are out on Bogota’s streets. Ciclovías have been credited with building

civic pride and public engagement, and helping to effect a dramatic reduction in the city’s crime and accident rates. Due to its enormous success, the concept has spread to cities and countries around the world, including San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, which began in 2008. These projects, and many others documented in the exhibition, are part of a broad national and international movement in which people are claiming streets and making experiments, trials and prototypes. All over the world people are closing roads to the automobile for a day, a week, a month or a year and exploring new ways to define our city streets. These experiments are being propagated by artists, advocacy groups and progressive city governments. They stand in marked contrast to the top-down planning model of previous generations, in which expensive urban renewal schemes were enacted, and only afterwards did the urban and social consequences become clear. Experimental interventions help us to imagine what is possible in our cities, test different possibilities, and ultimately become catalysts for permanent change.

Image Credits Title Image_Photograph by Studio for Urban Projects Image 1_Photograph by Studio for Urban Projects Image 2_Photograph by Studio for Urban Projects Image 3_Photograph by Studio for Urban Projects Image 4_Photograph by Studio for Urban Projects

Studio for Urban Projects Founded in 2006, the Studio for Urban Projects is an art and design collective that perceives art as a means of advancing civic engagement and furthering public dialogue. Our interdisciplinary and research-based projects aim to provoke change by re-framing our perceptions of the city and physically transforming elements of the built environment. Engaging the broad themes of ecology and urbanism, our projects have taken the form of audio tours, interactive websites, exhibitions, urban interventions, and architectural environments. Through these projects we reflect upon the cultural dynamics that shape our urban landscapes.





esign translation is an increasingly notable phenomenon, both in academia and in the practice of architecture. Many architects take an existing artwork as a departure point to formulate architectural designs. This is an issue of both transformation and translation. For instance, influenced by the composition of a painting, the architect designs a space with visual similarities to the original painting. Further, ideas are translated into designs of spaces that are visually dissimilar to the original work of art. In many cases of design translation, unconventional designs are the goal. The original artwork becomes the generator of progressive forms of architecture. Design translation seems to be an alternative strategy for form-finding. However, design translation can be more than just a design strategy because its assumptions and implications tackle the core relationship between form and meaning in architecture and its design processes.

Assumptions Design translation is based on four major assumptions: architecture has symbolic meaning, there is a constructive way of understanding both the original work and the new work, the design languages in both the new and the old work make sense in their autonomous systems, and the new work is a motivated partial restatement of the original work.1 Architectural space has symbolic meaning over and above functional meaning. Architecture negotiates the different agendas of its symbolic and practical aspects. A building is not merely a shelter that protects, or a container that functions, but a place that has significance, meaning, and symbolic content, and makes references to a range of precedents. As Nelson Goodman argues, only when a building signifies does it become a work of art.2 Like other works of art, the design of architectural space can be understood as a process of construction. In “design translation,�

one must understand how an original work was constructed and how that way of making can influence the new work. Therefore, construction, rather than mere recognition, connects works through generative processes. In addition, design translation does not imply that the meaning of a work resides in its ability to refer to another work. Each work should be considered in its own right. The tension among works in different media must be studied not from the point of view of reference, but rather from the point of view of design language. Finally, in design translation, the new work is specifically motivated by, and a partial restatement of, the original work. Such restatement not only depends on what is explicitly stated in the original work but also, and more importantly, on what the architect looks for and perceives. The latter leads the architect to approach an original work with a previously established motive.

Questions The assumptions of design translation prompt questions regarding the nature of form and meaning in architectural design. The process of design translation makes architects aware of the following four questions and their philosophical implications. The questions are: how does architecture “mean”? How is meaning constructed in architectural space? How are spatial meanings received? How are intentions embedded in architectural space?

How Does Architecture Mean? The assumption that architecture has meaning leads to the question of how architecture “means.” How architecture “means” is a concept from the article “How Buildings Mean,” in which Nelson Goodman discusses how architecture gains meaning. Goodman proposes three concepts as elementary varieties of symbolization in art: denotation (representation), exemplification, and expression. According to Goodman, denotation includes “any labeling, any application of a symbol of any kind to an object, event, or other instance of it.”3 Architecture is essentially an abstract art, like modern abstract painting; it does not contrive meaning by literally referencing other objects. Instead, architecture “means” by referencing properties. As Goodman writes, “reference by a building to properties possessed either literally or metaphorically is exemplification, but

exemplification of metaphorically possessed properties is what we more commonly call ‘expression.’”4 If architectural meaning is more relevant to exemplification and expression than to denotation, restatement across media involves two kinds of meanings: commonly exemplified qualities and commonly expressed concepts and feelings. Qualities of the original work can be exemplified in varying degrees in the restatement. What is exemplified and then restated could be literally shared properties. For example, a composition in painting may be restated as a composition in architecture – a straightforward connection from the visual to the visual.5 Another case might involve a certain structure embedded in a non-visual art, which may be registered visually and spatially in architecture. Musical rhythm (measure and punctuation of time) may be restated in architecture as the occurrence of spatial changes or suggested movement changes (measure and punctuation of space). However, this is a less straightforward connection because it is a transition from non-visual to visual art.

“Architecture is essentially an abstract art, like modern abstract painting; it does not contrive meaning by literally referencing other objects.”

An even more complex case occurs when what is literally exemplified is more qualitatively complex. For example, one may read Juan Gris’ painting Still Life as an exemplification of frontally-aligned objects in a shallow, abstract space and then embed his or her own architecture with this quality. This quality is not achieved through measurement, nor can the composition of the 67

Image 1_Experiments from the author’s studio. Top: Space emerged from a painting. Center: Space emerged from music. Bottom: Space translated from the narrative of the film: Slide Doors.

painting be directly borrowed. The architect must find a unique language rooted in the medium of architecture to exemplify the same quality. Further, one may abstract the qualities in Gris’ Still Life, as Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky did, by formulating the concept of phenomenal transparency. This is the moment when exemplification moves towards expression: it involves abstraction of thought. Commonly expressed concepts and feelings, the two kinds of symbolic meaning expressed in art, are also important to consider in restatements across media. The distinction between concepts and feelings is that concepts are logical and feelings are not. A concept is an abstract form of varied appearances of multiple situations while a feeling relates to one situation. Further, an “actual feeling” differs from the understanding of feeling. While an “actual feeling” is subjective, the understanding of feeling is objective. Expressing concepts and feelings involves a mechanism in which specific exemplification leads to specific expression. For example, a study of the relationship between Sergei Eisenstein’s cinematic form and its expression may lead to a design of a space that embeds both form and expression. Since restatement is a mediaspecific construction of meaning, we must understand not only the specific medium that involves meaning but also the mechanism that relates exemplification to expression in order to allow the new work to express concepts or feelings (Image 01).

How is Meaning Constructed in Architectural Space? The second assumption – that design translation is a way of understanding both the original work and the new work – leads to the issue of spatial construction. The medium of physical space differentiates architecture from music,

painting, dance, and film. Meaning is medium specific.6 Just as intriguing is how expressions of concepts and feelings are established and built into spatial properties; 7 architects employ spatial properties to express thoughts beyond these properties. If we assume concepts and feelings can be expressed through spatial properties, we are in fact assuming an objectivity of the relationship between expression and spatial properties. What can be objectified in the relationship between thoughts and physical properties? They seem to be linked with the idea of structure. According to Susanne K. Langer, “the bridge that connects all the various meanings of form–from geometric form to the form of ritual or etiquette–is the notion of structure.”8 Structure is a set of logical relationships, like concepts, which may share a common form with physical construction. That is, concepts and construction may exemplify the same logic. Thus, the form of concepts and the form of construction can be related under the notion of Isomorphosis. For example, Peter Eisenman’s “Romeo and Juliet” Project for the Venice Biennale in 1985 expresses the concept of love in three structural relationships: division, union, and the dialectical relationship between the two lovers. Although these relationships are drawn from the original Romeo and Juliet narrative, they are not embedded in the form of the play. They are thoughts that are highlighted in the narrative and embed strong physical connotations of structure. However, the concept of love differs from the feeling of love. That one understands division, union, and dialectical relationships as logical relationships of love does not necessarily mean that one is in love. The concepts of love represent distanced understanding. The feelings of love, on the other hand, are internalized states.9 69

Image 02_Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin.

How are Spatial Meanings Received? The third assumption – that the autonomous system of architectural space makes sense within its own medium – raises the question ”How does one perceive meaning embedded in architecture?” There are two ways in which meaning in space is conveyed to the viewer: an externalized view and an internalized view. The former focuses on the logical relationships among the spatial elements. The viewer’s body is outside the space. The latter focuses on the experiential aspects of space. The viewer’s body is inside the space. From an externalized view, the structure of space is foregrounded. Spatial structure corresponds to relevant concepts, as well as abstract and intellectual principles embedded in the construction of a work. For example, the concept of “wall corner condition” and certain rules derived from this concept may be perceived from an analysis of the main building of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.10 By recognizing specific structures visually, the viewer understands the logical form of the space. However, what is examined through the above example are two-dimensional representations of space. What is required for the spatial structures to be understood experientially? Architectural space is occupied by bodies

so its meaning is contingent upon what is inferred and experienced through such occupancy. Spatial challenges to the body are registered on various levels such as elementary conditions and spatial sequences. Elementary conditions are immediate spatial challenges to the body. They involve senses such as sight, hearing, touch, and even smell and taste. Direct stimulation of the five senses arouses feelings in viewers. For example, the Holocaust Hall of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is a room of average size. Its extensive height, tapered-in walls, and a single light source from the top traps the viewer’s body, evoking a feeling of claustrophobia. Furthermore, when immediate spatial challenges to the body are strung in a sequence, a structure of elementary conditions is unavoidably formed. Once an understanding of such structure is established, viewers’ feelings of claustrophobia may intensify. For viewers who pass through the Holocaust Hall and find themselves at the garden, the claustrophobic experience has been exhausted. Facing the garden with its tilted columns, the viewer may be still adjusting to a new horizon of views. Understanding the past and the present, she is relieved by a feeling of survival (Image 02). The embodied experience within the space eventually leads to a realization of a spatial metaphor.

How are Intentions Embedded in Architectural Space?

Image 03_John Hejduk’s Diamond Museum in relation to Piet Mondrian’s Diamond Series.

An architect has to formulate and embed an intention in her designs in order to make working across media purposeful. This task becomes the actual design task that synthesizes the previous three questions: how does architecture “mean”? How is meaning constructed in architectural space? How are spatial meanings received? For example, flatness was the intention of John Hejduk’s Diamond series. Hejduk always stressed the appearance of drawing or space, particularly in the construction of flatness. He made interesting observations on how a 45-degree rotation of a diamond shape in an oblique projection drawing can result in the flat appearance of the diamond shape. Based on this observation, he eliminated the depiction of the third dimension in the drawings of the Diamond series; these drawings became a clear statement of the intention of flatness for his architecture. The diamond configuration, as imagined by Hejduk, also involves a perspectival effect whereby the two sides of a diamond appear to flatten out onto the hypotenuse when the viewer approaches the building from the exterior, or looks at the building from the inside. Flatness as a visual effect gives way to flatness as an essential concept. However, such flatness is not visually overt in the real-scale diamond space. That is because one cannot perceive the space of the whole diamond shape from any angle within the space. The space is only activated for an intimate communication with the one who moves through the different spaces in the building. The viewer’s body mediates the space. When moving along the periphery of the diamond space, the viewer recognizes the diamond shape of the space through its rotated fin elements (Image 03). With this diamond shape in mind, the viewer realizes the angle sustained between herself 71

and the two side corners is gradually flattened out when moving from one corner of the diamond across to its opposite. Hejduk’s Diamond series demonstrates a comprehensive process of translating a visual appearance to an architectural piece. Architectural space is occupied by bodies.

Conclusion Examining the implications of design translation, we proceeded through fundamental discussions on architectural space in terms of form and meaning. The construction of meaning in architectural space is not through arbitrary associations. Instead, it is rooted in a system composed of the medium of space and the embodiment of space. Therefore, the partial restating of artworks, insights, or feelings across symbolic systems can function as a trigger for an experimental interrogation of the systems themselves. The tension between works in different symbolic systems makes an architect manipulate her own symbolic system critically. Being conscious about such interrogation ensures design thinking through various processes.

Weiling He, PhD

Weiling He is an associate professor at the College of Architecture in Texas A&M University, Texas, United States. She received her PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005. Her research field is design theory with particular focuses on translations across different forms of art, metaphors of making, diagramming and visual thinking.



1 The position of this paper aligns with Jorge Silvettis’ “criticism from within” elaborated in his article “The Beauty of Shadows.”

1. Eisenman, Peter. Moving Arrows, Eros and Other Errors : An Architecture of Absence. London: Architectural Association, 1986.

2 Nelson Goodman, “How Buildings Mean,” in Reconceptions in Philosophy and Other Arts and Sciences (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988), 31-48. Goodman points out how the formalists’ argument that pure art must be free of all symbolism “rests upon a cramped conception of reference.”

2. Goodman, Nelson. Languages of Art. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1976.

3 Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1976), 369. 4 Goodman, Languages of Art, 372. To minimize the confusion, as Goodman does, “exemplification” is short for “literal exemplification,” and we reserve “expression” for metaphorical cases.

3. Goodman, Nelson. “How Buildings Mean.” Reconceptions in Philosophy and Other Arts and Sciences. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988, 31-48. 4. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books, 1999. 5. Langer, Susanne K. An Introduction to Symbolic Logic. 3rd Edition. New York: Dover Publications, 1953.

5 This kind of exercise seems common in foundation year design studios. The premise can be transforming a two dimensional painting into a three dimentional space.

6. Langer, Susanne K. Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1979.

6 This is not to say that works in two different mediums cannot share the same meaning. Instead, how meanings are constructed in two different mediums is specific to the nature of the mediums.

7. Silvettis, Jorge. “The Beauty of Shadows.“ Architecture Theory since 1968. The MIT Press, 2000.

7 Other aspects of architecture besides space that can be constructed are color, texture, and icon; however, this paper will deal with its very essence, space. 8 Susanne K. Langer, An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd ed. (New York: Dover Publications, 1953), 24. 9 Eisenman, Peter. Moving Arrows, Eros and Other Errors : An Architecture of Absence. London: Architectural Association, 1986. 10 This study by the author focuses on how walls meet in plan as well as its implication in spatial connectivity.

Image Credits Title Image_Graphic design by Joe Lawton, Background Graphic by Bruce R. Baxter Image 01_Top: Art by Jennifer Albrecht (Painted by Pablo Picasso), Center: Art by David Seifert, (Music composed by Morgan Jenks) Bottom: Art by Bruce R. Baxter (Film Directed by Peter Howitt) Image 02_Photograph by Weiling He, Work by Daniel Libeskind Image 03_Art by Weiling He 73

by tom diehl



n a world where even the most speculative and exploratory approaches to design appear possible, both in the studio and the profession, the design of buildings of cultural significance require intentions grounded in organizational and representational strategies that prioritize “internal”, language-based attributes of design. It is important to know and understand the role of decisions governed by internal intentions in relation to “external” aspects of design, those impacted by the site, program, and other performance related design issues. These areas, while vital, do not always impact visual, language-based concerns. Language-based intentions assist in maturing the design process and incorporating strategies for further conceptual development, creating designs resolved with additional depth.

It can be argued that the missing component in the design process is a methodology that establishes precise positions and rules of operation. This is of particular importance in relation to the creation of an architectural language. Intentions influenced by external issues do not carry the singularity of language authority as those grounded in purely internal architectural issues. Intentions conceived regarding these internal issues add validity and relevance to the creation of a comprehensible and accessible architectural language. Identifying the framework within which these intentions operate is the focus of this article. The goal is to describe strategies that add both clarity and depth to the thought process. This is to aid the development of more coherent architectural form, space, and experiential quality.

Recent Historical Context The word “order” does not have the gravitas that it once possessed. In the recent past, when one spoke of an architectural order, one was not just describing the mechanical guidelines that organized columns, windows and other components, but an underlying essence, spirit or

understandability. Issues of design intentionality were guided and informed by an underlying assumption that good design incorporated strategies that had an intended outcome that “made sense” even if the logic was trying to transform established conventions.

Challenges to the conventional acceptance of modern architecture started with the redefinition of design standards beginning with the literal passing of the Mies, Wright and Le Corbusier heroic triad and the figural death of modernism ushered in by Robert Venturi and his book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, published in 1966. A search for inventive strategies forwarding and/or revising the dominant modernist architectural language(s) ensued. A logical rationale undergirding an expanded theoretical discourse directing architectural design became the focus of an expanded discussion, and was manifested in two primary domains.

M. Stern, Jaquelin Robertson, Charles Moore, Romaldo Giurgola and Alan Greenburg, wrote an article published in the Architectural Forum entitled Five on Five. Their position challenged the modernism of the Whites as less concerned with foundational issues such as appropriately responding to the users program, site orientation, etc. While numerous critiques involved performance related issues, a larger commentary focused on the formal languages of the Whites and many of the accepted directions of modern architecture in general. For the Grays, a more accessible and comprehensible architectural language was desired.

Theoretical debate was disseminated in journals such as Oppositions that sought to provide a forum for new directions in architectural thinking. From within the practice of architecture, two divergent viewpoints emerged. Those favoring an advanced modern architectural language became known as the “Whites” and were often associated with a book published in 1972, The New York Five. This book featured the work of Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hedjuk, and Richard Meier. The projects and tenets of that position were critiqued by another group of architects who aligned their thinking with principles outlined in Venturi’s book, and became known as the “Grays”. These architects, Robert A.

These views frame the paradox underlying the diverse modern architectural directions and the languages created to define them. On one hand there is a desire for greater accessibility and an increased understanding of modern a r c h i t e c t u r e ’s r e l e va n c e a n d appropriateness to society. This approach suggests multiple continuities, traditions and viewpoints be understood and maintained for a shared, relevant and comprehensible language to occur and gain a level of acceptance. On the other, there is the desire for a language of transformation, equating architecture to a constantly evolving modern world. This position suggests architectural intentions grounded on continual change and invention.

“... It is the conceptual linking of languagebased intentions with decisions required for the external-based aspects of design that provide the continuities necessary for the creation of an understandable and accessible architectural language.“


Unless an unanticipated event or force creates a shared design belief, one utilized by many architects, this diversity of approaches will remain. Given this freedom to develop individual directions, utilizing language- based design strategies is required to establish a more inclusive design process. Understanding the role intentions, and the strategies required for their expression, play as agents for the creation of a unified and coherent architectural language is vital. Whether derived from highly ordered determinate qualities, or ones exploring themes deriving from more indeterminate preferences, it is the conceptual linking of language-based intentions with decisions required for the external-based aspects of design that provide the continuities necessary for the creation of an understandable and accessible architectural language.

based intentions. Language-based intentions relate the external factors to the “larger,” purely architectural, concerns of the design. These larger aesthetic concerns must exert priority over the local concerns to which the externalities typically relate. External functional and performance related ideas must be vetted through intentions that control architectural themes if coherence is to emerge. The authority of the language has to be understood and maintained from initial investigations and diagrams to the design of final detail considerations.

“The concept of coherence in and of itself may be debated as current design themes often rely on positions that question its conventional definition.“

Internal vs External Spatial, formal, material and phenomenological qualities deriving from intentions and strategies that organize them, yet express transcendent or “poetic” design themes, all relate to what are described as internal issues. These qualities require the development of a language that has an authority over the external factors influencing the design of a building. External factors do not typically possess comprehensive language attributes with the visual qualities necessary for binding together the entirety of the aesthetic related decision-making process. Incorporating these externalities so that they do not become a set of independent unrelated form-giving attributes requires the use of clear, language-

The concept of coherence in and of itself may be debated as current design themes often rely on positions that question its conventional definition. Today, a variety of organizational types representing directions exploring various arrangements of elements and spaces less directly ordered are frequently employed. Examples from the work of OMA, UNStudio or Coop Himmelb(l)au may ultimately be understood as practices defining this field. Yet even these strategies promote an intention, its expression, and ultimately a desire or belief that that idea can be comprehended or “make sense”. This returns the discussion to the development of design strategies and the rationality underlying them. The intentions of the heroic modernists, conceived to usher in new, transformative approaches to architectural design, nonetheless maintained a rational underpinning in relationship to the search for a “truth” underlying their viewpoints. These transformations were expressed not through new

understandings of the program or relationships to the site, but through the creation of new architectural languages. The transforming visions expressed in structures such as the Robie House, the Villa Savoye and the Barcelona Pavilion established clearly understood relationships between intentions and language, providing clues to new directions in architecture. While these structures did not avoid issues relating to site and program, ideas driven by those criteria were not seen as critical to the success of their transformative goals. The nature of the operative strategies underlying the internal language-based themes can be understood as falling into two domains; one is an organizational domain, the other representational.

Organizational While the Robie House, the Villa Savoye and the Barcelona Pavilion use established determinate modern architectural organizational strategies s u ch a s a x i a l , l i n e a r, n u c l e a r and field forms of organization for the arrangement of space and form, today these organizational types are joined by additional “indeterminate” ones such as splaying, wrapping, warping, perforating, etc. The common aspect of these approaches is that all require an understanding of the unifying strategies that give coherence to the decision making process, even if the intention is to create an anti-cohering effect. For successful design, clear organizational strategies have to be understood. This does not relate only to how organizational themes can impact the arrangement and definition of components constituting the plan, as is often

the case, but also how the same strategies can affect section, elevation, and material jointing conceptualizations.

Representational As with the structures of early Modern Architecture, many designs start with a global design interest that is often representational in nature. The use of this term is not to be confused with metaphorical associations, but rather with the development of a design decision-making process. Today, one example of design intentions that are representational in nature is found in the work of Morphosis. The evolving character of the design interests and how they are conceived is seen most clearly in the representational shift occurring between the Crawford House, continuing through the Diamond Ranch High School, and “completed” with the building for Cooper Union. The evolving differences in these structures are due, in large measure, to a shift in representational interests from themes dependent on strategies that represent “conventional” ordering systems reflecting a desire to represent “articulated wholes,” to ones that are less orderly, ones based upon a growing interest, on the part of Thom Mayne in representational themes that explore the more indeterminate, less predictable and mysterious side of experience.

“... Internal language-based themes can be understood as falling into two domains; one is an organizational domain, the other representational.“

The plan of the Crawford House, while not based upon a grid, exhibits an interest in modern architectural organizational principles of bays, rhythms, regulating lines, lines of extension, etc. Diamond Ranch presents a less regulated plan and section given, in


Image 01_Diamond Ranch

part, that the representational interests derive from both a reinterpretation and re-creation of the surrounding topography and the larger global interests of Thom Mayne outlined earlier. However, in comparing the “indeterminacy” of Diamond Ranch to that of Cooper Union, one can see a number of regulating systems still in place. Different organizational systems, multiple repeated modules, lines of extension and other established ordering tools clearly demark and link, through a system of clear formal and spatial relationships, the definition of precise “worlds” where specific language-based tools are used to identify one zone as distinct yet related to another.

In the new facility for Cooper Union, themes deriving from interests originating from chance and indeterminacy impact the design of the primary interior public spaces and facades. Conscious strategies are employed to create formal and spatial conditions promoting an intended effect of imbalance, an overall disquietness and a condition where intrigue is created through the utilization of non-straightforward configurations of space, form and structure. Previous language-based rules such as regulating lines, bays and repetitions are replaced by ones inserting twisting and curving lines, angled and rounded elements and other architectural components placed with a strategy allowing multiple indeterminate relationships and orientations.

Process Through research, investigation or input from other members of a design team, the designer becomes aware of the significance of the site, as well as the programmatic and code based issues impacting the direction of the project. This information, largely external to the issues affecting the formation of an architectural language, plays a significant role in the project’s development. However, what have been referred to as internal language-based strategies are necessary for the project’s full conceptual development. It is the employment of these intentions and strategies, which transcend the required external design criteria, that mature the design effort through adding the necessary conceptual depth to embed the project with a framework to create a cohering language. At a point early in the design process, it is necessary that the designer become acutely aware that ultimately, every decision must be understood in its relationship to languagebased concepts. Understanding the domain in which one is working, either organizational or representational, is significant as that understanding assists in the targeting of precise conceptual utilization. In familiarizing oneself with the existence of these domains, the designer is able to utilize concepts appropriate to each and ensure that all intentions have been understood in, and vetted by, each domain. Typically, an over-reliance on one domain produces design shortfalls.

lack an understanding of (or development of) the narrative or representational nature of design. Concepts corresponding to what the building eventually represents, even if mere functionalism or technological expression, are left unattended and the spaces and architectural components defining the building are typically under-conceptualized in section and elevation. They often become generic responses created by the upward extrusion of the architectural elements developed in the organization of the plan. Conversely, processes that overly rely on representational themes do not often develop the rigor required to create a design that resonates on a level other than superficial metaphorical imagery. Representational concerns are not understood as having organizational biases or requirements and appear unresolved in relation to a fully integrated design strategy. The requisite internal organizational strategies are unknown, or not understood as attributes necessary for the enrichment of representational concepts. The outcome of this lack of developmental and organizational rigor is expressed in a “thinness” that is related to a conceptual image, one less concerned with readings and experiences that derive from material essences, construction based aesthetics and foundational clarity.

“Internal language-based strategies are necessary for the project’s full conceptual development.”

Approaches that excessively utilize organizational processes frequently have clearly organized plans expressing strong ordering qualities, yet

Consequently, it can be anticipated that both organizational and representational conceptual fields are required for the development of a mature project. Intentions that incorporate both domains ensure that the project is not under-conceptualized. This under-utilization of language-based intentions defines outcomes


common for many buildings in that the external based influences derive from necessary information that is both practical and defensible, while language-based intentions often originate from broader, more abstract positions. However, as has been stated, the external based influences do not possess information having the authority of language because they are external to purely language-based concepts. For language-based intentions to mature, architects must define their process precisely and consciously, with a clear use of intentions emanating from both domains. Without incorporating both, one domain will be utilized as a conceptual armature without understanding the validation the other provides. The role of language-based intentions in the development and diversification of design narratives has been expanding from the beginning of the initial heroic period of modern architecture. This phenomenon will continue as modern architecture, intertwined with the continued ascendency of democratic forms of expression

and the growth of individualism in society, will constantly be shaped by these cultural forces and by architects seeking to define or re-define them. It is the impact of these forces, and the issues underlying them, that will remain the primary stimulant for continued diversification of design directions. The range of information impacting the design of buildings deriving from the external influences of site, program and other performance related aspects will remain fairly consistent. The ability of this external-based information to create wholeness in relation to the larger narrative of the design will remain minimal. Narratives will primarily be created and defined through the understanding and development of language-based intentions. It is the narrative derived from these language-based intentions, with mature organizational and representation strategies employed, that remains the primary responsibility of the architect to create in order to instill an experiential, moving spirit into a building.

Image 02_Rachofsky House / Gallery - Interior view at second floor

Precedents Given the diversity of design directions today, it is improper to suggest that one domain should carry greater value than another. The precedents documenting this discussion are defined by a range of architectural intentions that are expressed in diverse architectural languages. It is to be expected that some language-based concepts originate more consciously in one domain or other. While a fuller analysis of the use of the various intentions is beyond the scope of this paper, a brief synopsis of intentions discernable in each project accompanies the documentation. The four projects selected incorporate both representational and organizational intentions into their design. There is a temptation to suggest that the Rachofsky House / Gallery and the Nasher Sculpture Center exhibit stronger use of organizational strategies and Diamond Ranch High School and BMW Central place greater

emphasis on the representational aspects of their design intentions. This is not necessarily true, but the assessment does raise a relevant point. Both the Rachofsky House / Gallery and the Nasher Sculpture Center do, in their representational modes, accept a role of conferring and uplifting common values that have resided in much of architecture, past and present. The architecture of Diamond Ranch High School and BMW Central explores the potential of design intentions to challenge expectations or transform them. The importance of this aspect is that buildings will always represent something, whether expressing values and timeless principles or expressing the realities of basic commercial necessities and second-rate construction expressed through cheap materials and inferior assembly. In each project description the representational intentions are discussed first, followed by an outline of the organizational concepts and strategies. A hallmark of these projects is that often a certain blurring occurs regarding to

Image 03_Diamond Ranch


which domain the various design intentions and attributes most clearly belong. One is sometimes forced to enquire which domain is more useful, more important to the experiential quality of the building. The blurring is valuable; it is an indicator of a mature use of strategies emanating from each domain.

Rachofsky House / Gallery The representational aspects of much of Richard Meier’s work derive from global themes adapted from the early work of Le Corbusier and are couched in general statements such as “Openness and clarity are qualities that represent American architecture at it’s best…. 1 and ”one must be concerned with constructing a physical fabric that is equally durable, rational and architecturally vibrant”. 2 While these statements and the adopted Corbusian language represent positions that are very broad, they do set themes that establish representational attributes. These attributes qualify - whether through the re-establishment of the analytical

origins underpinning Le Corbusier’s early work or through themes implied in the use of words like “clarity” and “rational” - the use of white, spatial types promoting transparent linkages, precision in relation to regulation and construction, and other highly ordered aspects of Meier’s work. A desire for “…an emphasis on the character of the whole” 3 acknowledges representational aspirations marking an architecture defined by an expression of knowable relationships and intangible essences. These themes extend into the organizational realm as the “knowable” is defined through a rigorous employment of regulating systems establishing a common framework for making a unified set of decisions. These decisions, in turn, exhibit a coherent strategy for integrating architectural space and form. Spatial qualities are defined through multiple components bound together through intricate regulating systems made understandable through analysis of the ordering systems used to relate the diverse components and, more importantly, made visible as one moves through and experiences

Image 04_Rachofsky House / Gallery

Image 05_Diagrams indicating formal / spatial relationships and organizational methodologies


the integrated and open spatial quality of the building. A quality of wholeness is achieved by employing organizational strategies where underlying ordering systems such as structural and modular repetitions, alignments extending and relating one space to an other, and the continual reference back to a system where one component’s relationship to another can always be indentified, provide controlling frameworks to which elements are placed upon, align with and extend from. Looser, more offset spatial qualities are allowed, yet remain integrated and true to the system regulating points, lines, planes and masses through very clear relationships.

Diamond Ranch Diamond Ranch High School marks a point in the transition of Thom Mayne and Morphosis’ focus on representational aspects expressed in their

architecture. In Diamond Ranch formal and spatial coherence remain a focus, but one that is refined. Evolving global intentions underlie modifications in the understanding and use of different representational themes, which in turn impact the decision making process. “I’ve been interested in the space between chance and intention. I am fascinated with that as a part of life. I probably put a preference on chance.” 4 While the representational intentions are different, the understanding of the need for cohering strategies remains. “Without the intentions creating a guiding framework through which all decisions must pass would be like a minister directing a ballet; you probably can’t do it. It is the same in design; it is the constant rebuilding or reuse of the initial intentions. 5 In Diamond Ranch these intentions are twofold. The reinterpretation of topography and the growing

Image 06_Diamond Ranch

Image 07_Diamond Ranch


interest in relationships more casually ordered define primary intentions. The transition to a different representational position necessitated the creation of different organizational strategies for the building’s spaces and forms. “The whole project becomes a resolution of two systems: the organizational strategy of the program and the conceptual land strategy. We intentionally shifted them in order to make evident the tension that exists between the operation of the school and the fabricated landscape. Everything in this project has to do with resolving this opposition. While the forms take on a certain sculptural quality as a result of these operations, they really have nothing to do with sculpture. The process is absolutely rigorous and rule driven”. 6 In the plans the organizational rules are evident, but different, as splays, rotated orthogonal systems, repetitions of ovoid shapes and linear components all correspond to define a new topography. In section and elevation similar topographic manifestations occur as splays, rotations and diagonal slopes of roof planes and material claddings contribute similar qualities.

not only from the influences of automobile production but also interests in maximizing continuities. “In terms of my own work, I would say that after twenty years, an interest in fragmentation gave way to an obsession with fluidity” 8 The representational quality of the spaces was seen as “articulated complexity”. “In the building, we attempt to deploy architectural language and formal discipline to organize a series of connections and to orient various flows… The architecture is characterized by key decisions made early in the project: We employed only homogeneous, continuous materials such as concrete and welded steel: we strove to eliminate as many columns as possible; and we minimized the number of corners.” 9 This process, one utilizing surface continuities, represents a simplified, more fluid form of articulation, permitting a clearer expression of linear flowing space.

BMW Central An “infill” building on a site measuring 295’ x 950’ and surrounded on three sides by existing manufacturing facilities, The BMW Central building acts as the nerve center for the entire factory complex. Given that the essential attribute of the production aspect of the building revolved around movement, whether of product, automobiles or people, Zaha Hadid Architects envisioned a complex linearity deriving from automobile production lines. “This project is about making space through lines. In each case, the space derives from a linear process, an exploration into the way a system of twodimensional lines can devise a three-dimensional space.” 7 These spatial characteristics derived

Image 08_BMW Central_site plan: - Parking and vehicular circulation configured to relate to building representational and organizational themes.

Image 09_BMW Central Perspective: Linear flows and cascades organized and expressed in stairs, handrails, structure, lighting and sprinkler systems.


The “obsession with fluidity” and linearity becomes an organizational strategy in which created parallel bands of weaving forms, spaces and materials impact decisions ranging from the configuration of the arrival sequence, layout of the parking lot, organization of the structural systems - whether concrete or steel - and ceiling / lighting systems. In section, fluidity and linearity are organized as a series of “cascades” impacting and shaping the load-bearing concrete walls to remove a structural reading from them. In addition, the organizing attribute of cascading sets multiple floor levels and provides an articulation strategy for the stairs connecting them. Curiously, the exterior elevations fall short of the continuities of the linear flows defining the decision making process on the interior. Many elevations represent an example of organizational strategies not fulfilling representational intentions. Punched orthogonal windows and doors stand out as distractions in contrast to the seamless integration of lighting, HVAC ductwork, sprinkler systems and other components placed by the organizational rules of parallel and bifurcating linearity. Cascading is replaced by pinching and abrupt terminations as exterior cladding systems intersect in decidedly non-organized expressions of cascading or flowing.

timeless presence complemented by a glazed roof represented as a thin rendition of technology articulately detailed to admit only northern light. The timeless attributes of archeology are further reinforced through the concealment of “external” realities. Gutters and downspouts are located within the walls, which, in turn are given further solidarity through precise mitering of the end corners achieving a look of solid stone blocks. Representational themes are united with organizational strategies by incorporating the use of neutral ordering systems. To promote the idea of transparency the stone walls are organized in a repetitive array spaced 34 feet on center, perpendicular to a glass entry façade paralleling the street. The regular bays and singular height of the walls, in addition to the conscious repetition of different modules - whether the stone blocks,

Nasher Sculpture Center Landscape, or more precisely, garden-space, archeology, weight, lightness, transparency and quietness all become representational attributes of the Nasher Sculpture Center. 10 Designed to accommodate an extensive sculpture collection and not compete with it or a context dominated by large scale buildings and freeway infrastructure, Renzo Piano Building Workshop chose to create a building that was both archeological and technological in its creation and definition of space. Stone clad walls 2 feet wide by 144 feet long mark the building and the site with a

Image 10_Nasher Sculpture Center_Exterior Photograph Elevation showing archaeological and technological attributes

Image 11_Site Plan

closely spaced curved roof beams or delicately repeating light screening panels on the roof - all support a quietness created by the utilization of simple and clear systems of order.

the outdoor sculpture space at the rear of the building, to the front. Additionally, an alee of trees, aligning with and extending the interior entry space into the sculpture court, maintains similar organizing rules.

Modularity, linearity and lines of extension are also used as site organizing strategies. A tight tree module for planting perimeter trees along the sides of the site, along with segmented linear perimeter walls, provide privacy and definition to the exterior sculpture space. Tree plantings at the front of the building align with the stone walls, extending the garden quality that defines


Image 12_Interior Photograph_no “external” distractions of HVAC components, gutters, downspouts


Image Credits

Richard Meier, Introduction to the Atlas of American Architecture, 2009, http:

Title Image_Graphic design by Janice C Ninan


Richard Meier, Richard Meier Architect 3 (Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 1999) Acknowledgements.




Thom Mane, Personal Interview, July 2009.



Jeffrey Kipnis and Todd Gannon, eds. Source Books in Architecture 1, Morphosis Diamond Ranch High School (Montecelli Press, 2001) 25. Todd Gannon, ed, Source Books in Architecture 7, Zaha Hadid BMW Central Building (Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2006) 14. 7


Ibid, 19.

Image 04_Photograph courtesy of Richard Meier Image 05_Photograph courtesy of Richard Meier


Ibid, 17.

Image 02_Photograph by Duke Fleshman Image 03_Photograph courtesy of Morphosis



Image 01_Photograph courtesy of Morphosis

Image 06_Photograph by Tom Diehl Image 07_Photograph by Tom Diehl Image 08_Sketch by Tom Diehl Image 09_Sketch by Tom Diehl Image 10_Photograph by Duke Fleshman Image 11_Photograph courtesy of Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Complete Workshop Volume 5 (Phaidon Press Ltd., London, New York, 2008) 152. 10

Image 12_Photograph by Duke Fleshman

Tom Diehl

Tom Diehl is an Assistant Professor at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. In addition to his teaching responsibilities he is a co-principle investigator in the development of POWERPACK, a prototype solar parking shade structure to be constructed on the University of Houston campus. He also maintains an architectural practice in Houston.


DATA DRIVEN TRANSMUTATION by Ming Tang; Aijla Aksamija, PhD; Jonathon Anderson; Michael Hodge

an Investigation of Performance Based Design and Adaptive Systems


Image 01_Solar position and daylight simulations studies for interior light-well design; Right: Shadow studies and daylight levels within interior spaces surrounding the light-well. By Ajla Aksamija.

erformance-based design is a process where information and data-analysis augment prior design experience with the goal of improving the design decision-making process. For example, building performance analyses are an integral part of the design process for energy efficient and high-performance buildings. Information and data analysis aid the investigation of design options and simultaneously assess the environmental and energy impacts of design decisions (Augenbroe et al. 2004; Aksamija 2009; Wetter 2011).


Energy and thermal simulations, daylight studies, and solar exposure analysis are additional examples of performance-based design (Image 01), where the objective is to develop an energy efficient building. Thus, buildings are designed to improve overall building performance, reduce energy consumption required for the building’s operation, and improve the comfort of the occupants. Quantifiable predictions and simulations can help in identifying strategies and methods to improve building energy efficiency and the overall building performance.

Building Performance-Based Design Method:

A design method that integrates energy, environmental, and other types of analysis at early design stages is the basis of performancebased design. The differences between this approach and those of traditional design methods are:

A performance-based design process can be integrated with various generative and parametric design methods. Many architects have employed methods such as decision trees and rule based systems as a means of solving design problems. Some of the emerging aspects in contemporary architecture include the utilization of genetic algorithms in the design process, as well as the use of simulations and performance-driven design approaches to generate complex building forms that respond to environmental criteria. Comparatively speaking, genetic evolution and transmutation are successful in biology,

Traditional Method: Is deficient because: (1) the method may include simplified assumptions based on rules-of-thumb that may be inaccurate; and (2) the method may not provide performance measurement/ evaluation of a certain design solution.

Has the ability to estimate the impact of a design solution since: (1) performance measures are investigated with actual quantifiable data and not rules-of-thumb; (2) the method uses detailed building models to simulate, analyze and predict behavior of a system; (3) the method produces an evaluation of multiple design alternatives (Aksamija and Mallasi, 2010).


Image 02_Generative modeling with L-system. Left: house archetype. Right: courtyard archetype.

but the use of these processes in the architecture field is limited by a major constraint: the lack of a “shared body plan.” As described by Manuel De Landa, a shared body plan is “a kind of ‘abstract vertebrate’ which, if folded and curled in particular sequences during embryogenesis, yields an elephant, twisted and stretched in another sequence yields a giraffe, and in yet other sequences of intensive operations yields snakes, eagles, sharks and humans.” In other words, by changing the proportions of the components in the shared body plan, various types of creatures begin to be generated. Manuel adds “…if evolved architectural structures are to enjoy the same degree of combinatorial productivity as biological ones they must also begin with an adequate diagram, an abstract building corresponding to the abstract vertebrate”. (De Landa, 2001). Architectural objects may lack the common ancestors found in natural life forms that

pass their shared body to offspring however, emerging digital tools and parametric design approaches offer flexibility and computational methods for the adaptation of architectural forms, geometries, and elements (Image_02). Coupled with performance-based design, this approach allows architects to develop forms, geometries and building forms using data that responds to environmental constraints. (Image_03).

Performance-Based Design and Prototyping In 2011, the authors launched a collaborative research and teaching project between the University of Cincinnati, Perkins + Will’s Tech Lab1 and nD group2, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This collaboration was based on a close working relationship between academic institutions and the design practice. The primary focus was on the design and fabrication of adaptive building components

generated through the use of performancebased design processes. The design process integrated computational tools, simulations, and fabrication techniques while responding to the criteria of performance-based design. This platform provided a method to investigate innovative design methods, observe the design development phases, implement novel fabrication techniques, and document the experimental results of introducing performance based design principles. Students explored computational methods for generating designs through in-depth studies of digital model generation and analysis,

and design prototyping. Students applied a parametric design sequence associated with procedural modeling, performance-based decision making, and digital fabrication. Through the utilization of several digital design tools, including Galapagos engine in Grasshopper, MEL scripting in Maya, and Revit API, students explored parametric design approaches. The entire process relied on quantifiable performance data, coming from analysis applications, to influence and impact form, performance, and geometry.

Image 03_The geometric morphing and transmutation of paneling system is interactively driven in real time by the solar access simulation. Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Geco, Ecotect, Maya.


Image 04_Genetic Evolution computed with Galapagos. The massing diagrams are generated by a single Grasshopper script in conjunction with the Galapagos tool to produce multiple iterations. Each programmatic mass is defined by a set volume and distance or relationship to another program. The rules of predefined spatial adjacency create a score system for the evolution engine to compute.

Digital Prototyping In these explorations, performance data is represented as sets of numbers illustrated and processed through computational methods. The relationship of performance data and building form were examined in real time. Digital models were the primary medium for representation and performance evaluation. Once a digital model was generated, the performance data was obtained through Vassari, Ecotect simulations and/or predefined rules in Galapagos. It is at this point that the performance-based design process acts as a system where the performance data drives parametric controls. As a result, the revised model and simulations are processed as a feedback loop until the intended level of performance is reached (Image_04). Instead of separating the design and analysis processes, the performance analysis became the driver for

a set of iterations and form finding. For instance, students used a Revit Plug-in, developed at Perkins+Will, to generate a building skin based on the solar radiation patterns on each faรงade. This proprietary plug-in allowed for use of analytical data, coming from applications such as Ecotect, to parametrically control BIM families in Revit (Aksamija et al., 2010). The data (e.g., incident solar radiation striking a surface) was imported into Revit through Excel spreadsheets. This data can be used to parametrically position and size shading elements, apertures, and other facade elements by manipulating geometry and properties of the Revit families. For example, solar radiation levels can drive the depth of a shading device or the density of the wire mesh across the building skin (Image_05).

Image 05_Solar radiation data became the driver to make adaptive curtain wall system.


Image 06_Digital + physical prototyping, adaptive wall panel.

Physical Prototyping The authors realized the necessity for expanding the performance-driven form seeking process into the physical realm through fabrication and physical prototyping. This integrated approach investigated how a large quantity of iterations can be filtered and selected based on the feasibility of fabrication. The essential values of architectural prototyping, such as the property of the material or size constraints of fabrication machines, often evolve into a process that we are coining “artificial selection�. The selection process yields a design that can be explored by a number of fabrication techniques, such as laser cutting, 3D printing and CNC milling.

This process, the synthesis of performancebased design and physical prototyping, is viewed as an investigation of varying scales, the creation of hierarchy within prototypes, and a platform for understanding the performance of parts in the context of an integrated whole. As a simplified representation of the actual design, the tangible artifacts facilitate constructability reviews. The process also served as a way to investigate manufacturing process and material properties such as tolerance, strength, and elasticity (Image_06). In some cases, the design solutions had to be modified during the fabrication phase to adapt to material properties (Image_07).

Image 07_A computer generated CNC milled high density foam mold serves as the casting medium for the flat-cast liquid urethane component. A tooling path is embedded in the mold to allow a subtle surface texture to capture and reflect light qualities.




The use of performance analysis to control an adaptive system is just one of many approaches for informing design decisions. Designers must understand the formation process that nature permits in order to define a generative system. As a simplified approximation of a complex system, both digital and physical prototyping methods were used to study the relationships of the parts to the whole. Digital prototyping provides a platform for testing and reworking the design until it reaches desired performance levels. Physical prototyping allows the analysis of material properties and behaviors under stress, vibration, and other forces. In our case, both processes combined were viewed as the performance driven design process. We feel that this process should be the foundation for decision-making in architecture, both in the academy and practice. We are continuing explorations around how these design approaches can be used to develop innovative and performance-driven design solutions.

1. Aksamija, A., 2009. “Integration in Architectural Design: Methods and Implementations”, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 151-160.

Image Credits Title Image_Graphic design by Joe Lawton, original background image by Ming Tang Image 01_By Ajla Aksamija Image 02_By Ming Tang Image 03_By Ming Tang Image 04_By George Faber, University of Cincinnati. Image 05_By student Francis D’Andrea, University of Cincinnati Image 06_By student Drew Newman Image 07_By students Brian Ballok and Trevor Jordan, University of Cincinnati

2. Aksamija, A. and Mallasi, Z., 2010. “Building Performance Predictions: How Simulations Can Improve Design Decisions”, Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 7-32. 3. Aksamija, A., Guttman, M., Rangarajan, H. and Meador, T., 2010. “Parametric Control of BIM Elements for Sustainable Design in Revit: Linking Design and Analytical Software Applications through Customization”, Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 32-45. 4. Augenbroe, P., de Wilde, H., Moon, J. and A. Malkawi. 2004. “An Interoperability Workbench for Design Analysis Integration”, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 737-48. 5. De Landa, M., 2001. “Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm in Architecture”, Design for a Digital World, New York, NY: Wiley, pp. 117-120. 6. Frazer, J, 1995. An Evolutionary Architecture. London, UK:: Architectural Association Publications. 7. Wetter, M., 2011. “A View on Future Building System Modeling and Simulation”, In Building Performance Simulation for Design and Operation, Hensen, J. and Lamberts, R., (eds.), Oxford, UK: Francis&Taylor,. 1. Tech Lab is an on-going program of Perkins+Will’s Excellence in Execution Initiative to advance the performance of project designs, to improve design decision-making and documentation, and to inspire greater achievement in Perkins+WIll projects. The research agenda focuses on advanced and emerging building technologies, materials, high-performance buildings and computational design. 2. The nD group is a collective of individuals in Perkins+Will researching, promoting, knowledge management, and developing techniques and methods adapting computation to the design culture of Perkins+Will.

Ming Tang, LEED AP Ming Tang is the Assistant Professor at School of Architecture and Interior Design, University of Cincinnati. His multi-disciplinary research includes parametric architecture & urban design, fabrication, BIM, performance driven design, computation, virtual reality, algorithm & math & programming, GIS, simulation, interactive design and visual effects.

Aijla Aksamija, PhD, LEED AP BD+C, CDT Dr. Ajla Aksamija leads Perkins+Will’s Tech Lab, whose research objectives are to advance the performance of project designs, to improve design decision making and documentation and to promote commitments to sustainability, innovation, and value. Dr. Aksamija has worked on developing building analysis applications, implementation of novel materials in architectural design, and development of computational models. She has contributed to several books, has published numerous research articles, and has presented at international and national conferences.

Jonathon Anderson, MFA, ACADIA, IDEC, ACSA Jonathon Anderson is currently an assistant professor of Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. His work explores how industrial manufacturing and CNC technology influence the design process and the act of making architecture. He is a founding partner of the international design firm sur:FACE studio with offices in Greensboro, NC and Hangzhou, China. In 2011, Jonathon co-founded MADcubic – a research and experimental design firm.

Mike Hodge Michael Hodge is a designer in the Atlanta office and a Design Technology Leader. He is involved in a number of firm wide initiatives where interdisciplinary approaches to design computation are being investigated and defined. He is the coordinator/moderator of a firm wide focus group titled nD. The group is an interdisciplinary think-tank, currently organized to bridge research and development as applicable to process-centric design approaches. The nD group is a collective of individuals in the firm researching, promoting knowledge management, and developing techniques and methods adapting computation to the design culture of the firm.


GENERATIONS by Meg Jackson & Gregory Marinic Teaching and Learning a Generative Design Process


he education of a young architect or designer focuses on various fundamental understandings including composition, order, assembly, and craft. These aspects of ‘making’ are typically configured into a series of relatively discrete and controlled exercises. Beyond intuitive notions of aesthetic, architecture students must also be taught analytical skills and how to develop conceptual strategies. Furthermore, they must learn how to critique their own work and engage with work authored by others. The ability to think critically is the means by which designers observe, learn, investigate, and innovate. In the academic design studio, critical thinking must complement more normative techniques. As a pedagogical approach, it simultaneously fosters an awareness of and respect for the continuum of design disciplines that shape our built environment. The education of a young architect or designer focuses on various fundamental understandings including composition, order, assembly, and craft. These aspects of ‘making’ are typically configured into a series of relatively discrete and controlled exercises. Beyond intuitive notions of aesthetic, architecture students must also be taught analytical skills and how to develop conceptual strategies. Furthermore, they must learn how to critique their own work and engage with work authored by others. The ability to think critically is the means by which designers observe, learn, investigate, and innovate. In the academic design studio, critical thinking must complement more normative techniques. As a pedagogical approach, it simultaneously fosters an awareness of and respect for the continuum of design disciplines that shape our built environment. If conventional methodologies tend to isolate learning into relatively prescribed outcomes, generative approaches promote greater variance and complexity. Teaching through an alternative process need not contradict traditional methods; rather, emergent awareness adds an additional tool for the beginning designer. The emergent approach, as opposed to a task-based one, privileges the process instead of the product. By focusing on relationships of information, generative thinking increases solutions

variance—resulting in outcomes that are neither preconceived nor prescribed. Unlike other generative methods, the approach does not serve exclusively as a form generator, but rather, as a catalyst for conceptual inspiration and understanding of the inherent complexities that design must acknowledge. This essay examines, interrogates, and reveals teaching methods that increase the beginning design student’s ability to think critically using rigorous generative processes. The work illustrated here emphasizes research, communication, evaluation, and problem-solving.

Origins Throughout his scholarly musings, Aristotle pondered the significance of generation to design variance.1 The case for generative architecture is linked to the notion of generations and the inherent complexity and derivation embedded within all natural life forms. The architectural potential for harnessing the endlessness of conceptual innovation, modeled on natural processes, is compelling. Thus, the idea of deriving architectural outcomes generatively, whereby the results with the most potential are harvested and advanced, makes sense. So, generative pedagogies offer the design disciplines an opportunity to embed natural inspiration, natural growth, and natural process

Image 1,2_A multi-disciplinary approach to Iterative, generative processes exposes beginning design students to methods of making, complex organizations, diverse materiality, alternative ordering systems, and construction tectonics.

not only to the geometries of designed objects and environments, but also to the process of design itself. While generative awareness has grown recently with the emergence of digital tools, generative learning has been proposed and debated within academia since 1974.2 Pioneered by Merlin Wittrock, it rejects the notion that learning is centered upon the passive reception of information, but rather, embraces learning as a didactic activity. Grounded in the constructivist pedagogical perspective, generative methods offer an alternative platform for architectural design process. With its obvious need to maintain a solid knowledge base and shared techniques that must be learned, claimed, and advanced, generative teaching and learning allows for new growth and innovation. By allowing teachers to advance research, learners actively organize and transform information according to their own expectations and desires. In this sense, the framework provides structure, while satisfying an enviable level of intellectual independence for both instructor and student.

Process vs. Product In beginning design studios, the architecture educator occupies a significant role in the early development of a young architect’s design methodology. Accordingly, the responsibility of the educator is not simply to teach building design as a product, but rather to instill the more integrative philosophy of design as a complex process. Likewise, the notion of design independence rather than apprenticeship extends to the issue of style as well. Many architecture educators define their role of design critic more narrowly as ‘stylist’— as an advocate of a particular, and thus very personal, aesthetic. Narrowly focusing design sensibilities results in an underdeveloped appreciation for the procedural complexities of design. Arguably, in our increasingly contested, diverse, and interconnected world, the simplicity of a rigid modernism, filtered by Western bias, has become increasingly irrelevant as a shared mantra. The simultaneous rise of interdisciplinary design pedagogies, parametric tools, and digital fabrication techniques challenges the 109

Image 3_Studio desks showcase the diversity of means and methods that students fluidly navigate during a rigorous generative design process.

singularity and rigidness of mid-twentieth century modernism. Alternatively, teaching practices that promote an unbiased aesthetic allow for difference, growth, and complexity rather than conformance, compliance, and derivation. So, if modernism represents the ultimate theoretical liberalization of architectural thinking, generative teaching assumes its position from within that tradition. Critics may argue that order and rigor is lost in a more open approach, however such considerations are more effectively and more intensively engaged through generative design processes. Complex processes of translation

are rigorously engaged through thinking and making. Generative processes require constant production and diverse media. Students simultaneously draw, dissect, build, draft, construct, craft, diagram, assemble, cut, color, fabricate, compute, disassemble, sketch, and repeat. These acts are fluidly, freely and independently advanced, moving between mediums in two- and three-dimensions. Composition, technique, and craft can be more effectively taught in the adaptive environment of generative research. Likewise, thinking skills that prepare students for computational methodologies are more suited to the freedoms embedded within emergent means.

Thinking before Building Before students can be instructed in the act of building, they must be introduced to the fundamental importance of determining conceptual strategies. The use of multidisciplinary metaphors in the design process leads to new understandings of context that challenge normative methods. However, these tactics instill authenticity, originality, and innovation. Multi-disciplinary generative formfinding exercises, unlike self-referential or compositional ones, allow for purpose rather than promoting a purely aesthetic outcome. The challenge to the discipline is that architecture should perform rather than form; structurally, environmentally, economically, programmatically, and contextually. In discussing recent trends in parametric design, Michael Meredith of MOS describes the discipline as “simultaneously searching for a unified organizational clarity and visual complexity, but…that architecture is

inevitably a fragment…” He goes on to predict that architecture, even if generated through parametric methods, “requires a differentiation for it to become Architectural, and it is the sociopolitical that allows it to escape the emptiness of objects.”3 As a response against pure formalism, introducing form-finding through art, biology, music, dance, film, fashion, anatomy, or culture produces contextual architecture with woven relationships. Thus, multi-disciplinary generative exercises privilege the performance of architecture – both function and context – while embedding meaning, value, and relevance. The responsibility of immersing students in a learning environment that promotes comfort with un-prescribed, un-tested, and thus, unpredictable outcomes rests solely upon the architectural educator. This challenges the notion that students need to know how to ‘build’ before they can be trusted to steward their own speculative ‘ideas’.

Image 4_An indexical matrix of regional biological studies and cultural textile investigations -- from image to diagram to physical model – defines one student’s rigorous initial discovery process.


We propose that both processes are, in fact, one. Preference of technical skills, and lack of exposure to ‘concept’ at the very beginning of a design education typically results in students that can build, but not design, in later years.

Thinking through Diagramming Architects generally share an appreciation for functional or performative notions of aesthetic, and therefore, identify clarity as a central issue in design and information visualization. Beyond the obvious assumption that orthogonal systems underpin clarity, architecture students may gain an early understanding of the importance of order through parallel and complementary investigations that employ diagramming. For example, systems and patterns taken from explorations of ordering in biology, anatomy, migration or even textiles, can be clarified by diagrammatic techniques. Diagramming allows the beginning design student to effectively organize and communicate information, space, form, and performance. Diagrams are effective for interpreting quantitative and performance information and, thus, are helpful in graphically conveying data. Like a score to a musician or chorographer, a diagram acts as a tool for an architect. In Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, he concludes with the gentle warning: “What is to be sought in design for the display of information is the clear portrayal of complexity. Not the complication of the simple; rather the task of the designer is to give visual access to the subtle and the difficult – that is, the revelation of the complex.”4 WhileTufte refers to visualizing two-dimensional graphics, his summary is perhaps the ultimate goal of good architecture, since architecture can be understood as the culmination of vision.5

Teaching diagramming is uniquely suited to the process of making architecture. In addition, the ability of diagrams to dissect, layer, and process complexity makes them a successful generative tool. Thus, relative to generative theory, we consider data characterization the systematic use of graphic means of expression, while visual representation acts as a parallel concern to conventional techniques, modelbuilding, and craft. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘architectonics’ as both the science of architecture and the systematic arrangement of knowledge. Several examples of process-based foundation projects offer students richly abstract, conceptual, and diagrammatic experiences. These include body-event timelines, film studies, biological (cellular) membranes, and controlled modulebased assemblies.

Neat & Tidy vs. Complex & Messy Generative process is a flexible, self-motivated, and self-directed exploration based on continual problem discovery and problem-solving. Depth of critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and understanding are the basis of evaluation. To that end, exercises must be designed not to encourage a finite conclusion, but, rather, to establish a limitless territory for exploration through iterative process, evolution of thought, and individual expression. Responding to a constructivist critique, architecture design studios should return to the spirit of Bauhaus laboratories of discovery where the merits of experimentation are valued. Uncertainty and discomfort are deliberately built into generative process. While this assumes risk, controlled confusion allows for collaborative academic development. The balance between abstract concepts and traditional principles in a process-based studio is tenuous; there is a need to create a studio environment that offers a safe place to experiment. Self-directed experimentation is encouraged to achieve a

Image 5_Immigration patterns to a particular region led to textile investigations and an iterative process of producing two-dimensional and three-dimensional diagrams.

Image 6_Two-dimensional body-event diagrams define anthropomorphic investigations and map the program for a transformable cabinet system.


Image 7,8_ Students fabricate surfaces inspired by modular assembly systems of found components.

level of understanding beyond the familiar. Furthermore, each exercise begins and ends with the potentiality for discourse beyond both merely the original problem and the finite solution. Students learn that process is an ongoing investigation not a singular act. Through generative project variance, students learn from one another and develop a true studio culture.

Reflecting: The Promise of Generative Design The design disciplines have always been guided by an imperative need for innovation. As the teaching of design focuses on increasingly conceptual, interdisciplinary, and computational strategies, generative teaching provides a hybrid platform that remains committed to conventional craft and technique. However, as a constructivist learning theory, generative design and generative learning put specific emphasis on processes, independent paths to process, design development, emerging tools, and tool innovation. These notions link generative design teaching to bottom-up approaches which, at least in the early phase of learning, privilege the development of thinking over technical precision. Yet, critical skills that are acquired by beginning design students through generative means must also be engaged with conventional design problems. Generative design, generative teaching, and generative learning offer an interconnected system of potentialities. Unlike top-down approaches, this triad of actions shifts our understanding of ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ whereby learners teach and teachers learn.


References 1. Mandelbrot, Benoit B. (1983): The Fractal Geometry of Nature 2. Wittrock, Merlin C. (1974): “Learning as a Generative Process�, Journal of Educational Psychology, 67, 446-489 3. Introductory essay by Michael Meredith (Barcelona: Actar 2008): Tomoko Sakamoto and Albert Ferre, eds., From Control to Design: Parametric/Algorithmic Architecture, 3. 4. Tufte, Edward. (Cheshire, Graphics Press 2001): The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 191. 5. Friedman, Jonathan. (Cambridge: Kendall/ Hunt 1999): Creation in Space: A Course in the Fundamentals of Architecture, Vol. 1, p. 1

Image Credits Title Page, Image 1,2_Photographs taken by authors. Work by various students. Image 3_Photograph taken by authors. Image 4_Process matrix by Javier Marcano. Image 5_Process matrix by Javier Marcano. Image 6_Body-event diagrams by Felipe Cosio. Image 7,8_Photographs taken by authors.Work by various students. Image 9_Photograph taken by authors.

Meg Jackson

Meg Jackson is an adjunct associate professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. Her previous teaching experience includes design studios at Maryland Institute College of Art and Texas A&M University. She received her M.Arch from the Columbia University GSAPP and her BA in History of Art and Architecture from Middlebury College where she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Her portfolio includes work at Atopia in New York City, RTKL Associates and award-winning work at Baltimore based Ziger Snead Architects. Meg Jackson is also the director of megapixelstudios, as well as a designer at the Houston based architecture firm, Context3. Meg currently serves as Associate Director of the AIA Forward Journal.

Gregory Marinic

Gregory Marinic, Assoc. AIA, is Director of Interior Architecture and Assistant Professor of Architecture in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. His previously taught at Pratt Institute, City University of New York, and Universidad de Monterrey. Gregory is director and co-founder of d3, a New York-based art-architecture-design stewardship organization. He is principal of Archipelago, a New York- and Houston-based architectural practice engaged in design, research, teaching, and experimentation. The practice has received awards from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Socio-Design Foundation, AIA-IJRAA, and ACSA. Prior to independent practice, Gregory worked in the New York and London offices of Rafael Vi単oly Architects and his portfolio includes AIA and RIBA award-winning work undertaken at Rafael Vi単oly, Yoshihara McKee, and ABS Architects. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography/Urban Planning from Ohio University. Gregory currently serves as editor of AIA Forward Journal, International Journal of the Arts in Society, Design Principles and Practices, IDEC Exchange, and d3:dialog. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture at Texas A&M University where his research focuses on utopianism and diasporas.


TAKING BACK TERR by Alexis Gregory

Adapting Architectural Education and Prac to Reclaim the Role of Master


ctice r Builder


The word “architect” comes from the Greek arkhi, meaning “chief”, and tekton, meaning “builder” or “craftsman.”

Advances in technology with the creation of Building Information Modeling (BIM), Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and digital fabrication have created transformational opportunities in the profession and education of architecture. Architects must harness these new opportunities in order to regain the past influence and knowledge of the master builder. We slowly gave away our control to builders and developers as they focused more exclusively on design. This model is no longer valid. We must reclaim the role of master builder through a proactive integration of construction and technology in our practices. Architectural education is the opportunity to begin this transition, but the profession cannot rely on the academe alone. Practitioners and educators must work together to train current and future architects to utilize BIM, IPD, and digital fabrication in the classroom and the office. This article presents a challenge to all architects, both practitioners and educators, to reclaim our traditional role as the leader of an architectural process that includes greater control over building construction.

Education The master builder can be brought back into the world of architecture through the convergence of the digital tools currently being utilized by the profession, but in support of analog making that teaches the current millennial students the process of being a master builder and architect for the future. Architectural educators are beginning to revisit this notion of the master builder through the use of digital tools such as BIM and parametric design. Construction is beginning to be integrated into classes and design studios at various universities such as Auburn University through projects like the Rural Studio. IPD has begun to be utilized in architecture programs to help students learn building construction teamwork. However, how are these important tools and skills integrated into the education of architects?

Image 1_“ReBarn” – A multi-use community project that uses human scale to formulate the design of this platform was created with reclaimed barn wood and formed with digital fabrication technology such as Rhinoceros and a 3-axis CNC (computer numerical controlled) router.


Construction Integration In an effort to better educate architects on the construction of the buildings they design, various architecture programs have attempted to integrate technical lecture courses on construction, structural design, and systems integration into design studios. Many of these attempts are nascent explorations with results that remain to be seen. But one of the largest hurdles is resistance from faculty and administration who are uncomfortable with change and the integration of new teaching techniques. The age old debate of what should be taught in school versus what should be taught during internship still rages on when the integration of professional learning and skills are brought up as part of curricular development. Yet, integration is the answer to

the issues we face in educating and preparing our students for professional careers. Why? The answer is with our students. Students ask their faculty to teach them not only about constructability but how construction and design inform one another. This is compounded with the issues we see arising from teaching Millennials. Not only do we need to address education for the next 100 years due to changes in building construction, design and technology, but also for the new generations that will be leading the transformation in the building arts. We cannot only teach our students the way that we were taught. Traditional architectural education

Image 2_“Smart Scrap� – Utilizing leftover materials this project harnessed digital technologies to create a system to improve information flow from designer to fabricator.

must remain, but can be utilized in a new way to integrate the emerging tools of the profession. Harnessing the traits and interests of our students in community, teamwork and civic engagement can do this. The present generation of design students have already created non-profits that feed the homeless and are acting less like the lone “starchitect” of years past and more like the teams that are vital to successful project delivery. As Mark L. Taylor asserts in his article “Generation NeXt Comes to College: 2006 Updates and Emerging Issues” the focus can no longer be on the faculty and university, the focus must be on the education of the student. These transitions from the teaching model to the learning model will not only address the issues of the future of architecture education through integration, but also will help architecture programs remain current and relevant to student needs. As noted above there are two basic program structures that are attempting to address the issue of integration in architecture programs. One is composed of various programs that are working to integrate technical lecture courses on construction, structural design, and systems integration into design studio courses. A program that has recently begun integration of technology courses with design studio is the University of Houston College of Architecture. The second type of program structure consists of locating architecture and construction programs in the same college or school, e.g., the College of Architecture & Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University.” This idea aims to promote integration between disciplines in a less formal wall through contains programs in architectural engineering, architecture, city and regional planning, construction management, and landscape architecture. The combination of the two, the integration of technical courses as well as collaboration with other professional building arts programs within the same college, is an emerging option. The university in which

Image 3_“Constructing Information” – Site conditions and light inspired this acrylic project installed on a curtain wall in the architecture building that employed a “feedback loop” of information to help students understand the connection of the design and construction of the project.

I work is also pursing this path. The integrated studio could also begin to address some of the issues raised by Boyer and Mitgang in relation to a unified profession. The issue of the contentious relationship between architecture educators and architecture professionals was raised by the authors and seen as a very important and urgent issue. The integrated studio could be used to better prepare students to enter the profession, not just because the profession is demanding that from educators, but also because Millennial students are less prepared to enter the workplace than previous generations. According to Taylor “A significant disconnect exists between the skills students need to be successful at work and what they think they need to be successful…” and “today’s graduates are unable to think longterm, handle details, or delay gratification.” The integrated studio can help prepare student to enter the profession, not just as drafters but also as critical thinkers. 123

Image 5_“Cellophane House” – Created as a commission from the Museum of Modern Art ( this project was designed to explore the temporality of the construction process and buildings.

Image 4 _“Ceramic 3D Printing” – The Harvard GSD Design Robtics Group uses ceramic 3D printing and flexible robotic molds to create a shading lamella prototype.

Digitization and Manufacturing Technologies Digitization in both education and practice is as important as integration in the effort to reclaim the architect’s role as master builder. Not only must the architect master an understanding of construction and the role architects play in the building arts, but must also master the digital tools that are leading the way in the future development of architecture. Programs such as Ball State University’s Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture and Planning, and more specifically its Institute for Digital Fabrication (i.M.A.D.E), is one of the leading programs in the use of digital technologies to push design thinking and improve the education of future architects. Led by Professor Kevin Klinger, the projects range

from interactive shading devices (Title Image) to the reuse of scrap materials for design and construction (Image 2). These projects also encourage the integration of construction and design as the students use digital fabrication technologies to address the needs of a client, like Muncie Parks Department (Image 1), and work with partners including A. Zahner Metals and Indiana Limestone Fabricators. These real world projects teach students valuable skills in addition to design. The students learn the connection of new and evolving technologies and how relevant the technologies are to the profession by the creation of projects through design, digital development and construction (Image 3). 125

Image 6_“Loblolly House” – This project pushes the idea of modular design to confront the issues of cost overruns and quality that most prefabricated projects have experienced. Using an off-the-shelf “kit-of-parts” the house also draws on the site influences of the tall, thin trees and reflects its namesake.

Another leader in the exploration of digital technologies is the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). One faculty member at the forefront of digitization and manufacturing technologies is Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology and Director of the GSD Fabrication Labs, as well as head of the Design Robotics Group. The GSD Fabrication Lab is used by all students and faculty at the GSD and is an integral part of the studies in the program. They utilize “cutting edge robotic workcells, rapid prototyping machines and

several CNC milling machines and material testing machines.” The Design Robotics Group is exploring the use of robotics and how they can be used to help execute the digitally created designs of the future. Their projects include research on the manufacturing and processing of ceramics for construction (Image 4), tooling options for customized fabrication, and the use of design automation with parametric design tools. Additionally, architecture educators who are researching the role and impact of

Image 7_“Make It Right, Special NO 9 House” – Influenced by the idea of automobile construction, as in the Loblolly House, this project allows customizable options through flexible assemblies integrated into the design.

digitization on architecture education and the profession are also exploring those ideas in their professional practices. Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake, partners in the awardwinning firm KieranTimberlake, are also design faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Both have taught at a variety of undergraduate and graduate architecture programs; and their interest in manufacturing technologies is evident in their work and even in their writings. The book Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies Are Poised to Transform Building Construction is the authors’ manifesto on the future of architecture. Various processes are explored in their relevance to architecture and even how architecture should harness these ideas on manufacturing for the future of the profession (Images 5,6,7).

Image 8_“SmartWrap™” – Pushing the design and construction of building envelopes, this project explores ways to make walls less “bulky” by integrating necessary components of building envelopes into one layer.

Practice While KieranTimberlake looks at manufacturing technologies and processes (Image 8), SHoP Architects look at “evolving computer-aided design technologies not only to produce innovative architectural forms but to streamline the design and construction process and create new efficiencies and cost-savings.” (Image 9) This immersion into emerging technologies and construction technology is what is so important for the profession to explore at a greater level (Image 10), and in more depth through both our educational programs and our practices (Image 11). We must first admit that these things are vital to the evolution of our field and then work together to move ourselves forward. This requires practitioners 127

Image 9 – “Hangil Book House” – A wood planked pathway links this project’s spaces with views of the landscape and movement through the building.

and educators to work together, which is especially important as educators struggle to make professionals realize that architecture education is about teaching students to think, not just draft. Inviting local professionals to lecture in design studios and to participate as review critics, and encouraging design studios to visit architecture firms and review ongoing projects, will not only integrate the studios across disciplines, but also integrate education with the profession. A significant benefit of this approach is the connection to practical application, a necessity to teaching Millennials. Our

students place more significance on the materials presented and then focus more on learning the information once educators can show the reasons why students must learn the information. Visits to architecture firms, and from architecture professionals, can help instill this important message. Many programs are also using real clients and projects in design studio to both challenge and engage students and building arts professionals in a successful manner. These methods will allow practitioners and educators to work together to take back our territory through architectural process and become the master builder that architects were truly meant to be.

Image 10– “Camera Obscura” – Created as a vehicle for research and development this project was the first that merged more than one process and trade together using digital fabrication.


Image 11– “Dunescape” – The winner of a competition for emerging architects conducted by the Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, this project was designed to allow a variety of uses during the summer.


References Roth, Leland. Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, And Meaning. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 2006:


Howe, Neil, William Strauss, R.J. Matson. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. New York: Vintage Books, 2000: 214.


Ibid, 215.


Taylor, Mark L. Generation NeXt Comes to College: 2006 Updates and Emerging Issues. A Collection of Papers on Self-Study and Institutional Improvement, 2006. Volume 2, Chapter 2: 2:51.


Kacmar, Donna. Changing Curriculum. Beginning of/In the End: National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Eds. Bahe, Lindsey, Peter Hind and Brian Kelly. Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011: 68-72. v

Taylor, 2:49.


“I.M.A.D.E INFO.” I.M.A.D.E. Institute for Digital Fabrication, 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <>. ix

“Graduate School of Design Faculty - Martin Bechthold.” Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <http:// bechthold/index.html>. x

“GSD - Cadcam Home.” Graduate School of Design - Harvard University - Homepage. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <http://www.gsd.harvard. edu/inside/cadcam//>. xi

Kieran, Stephen, and James Timberlake. Refabricating Architecture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.


“What We Think.” SHoP Architects : SHoP ARCHITECTS. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <http://>.


CAED > Prospective Students. California Polytechnic State University. 03 February 2011. Web. 18 September 2011. <http://www.>. vi

Boyer, Ernest L. and Lee D. Mitgang. Building Community: A New Future for Architecture Education and Practice. New Jersey: Carnegie, 1996: 109.


Boyer and Mitgang, 11.


Taylor, 2:52.


Image Credits Title Image_“Transformer” photo by Andre Haffenden

Image 6_“Loblolly House” photo © Peter Aaron / Esto

Image 1_“ReBarn” photo by Adam Buente

Image 7_“Make It Right, Special NO 9 House” photo © Will Crocker

Image 2_“Smart Scrap” image by i.M.A.D.E Image 3_“Constructing Information” photo by Michael Gibson

Image 8_“SmartWrap™” photo © Barry Halkin Image 9_“Hangil Book House” photo © SHoP Architects

Image 4_“Ceramic 3D Printing” by Design Robotics Group, Harvard GSD and Justin Knight

Image 10_ “Camera Obscura” photo © SHoP Architects

Image 5_“Cellophane House” photo © Peter Aaron / Esto

Image 11_ “Dunescape” photo © SHoP Architects

Alexis Gregory, AIA

Alexis Gregory is a registered architect and assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University. She earned a Master of Science in Architecture with a concentration in Women’s Studies and History from Clemson University, as well as a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech. Her professional experience includes professional licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia and ten years working in various architecture firms in Washington, D.C. During this time, she worked on a variety of architectural project types such as residential, corporate interiors, shopping centers, grocery stores, speculative office buildings, environmental/sustainable design, and non-profit architecture. Her teaching and research interests include construction technology and making, design/build, low-cost/low-income housing and architecture, community design, and diversity in architecture.


[TEMPORAL] adaptations by Gregory Marinic Embedding Information, Fluidity, and Time within Design Process

Image 1

lvin Tofflerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future Shock postulated that times of rapid change threaten the human mind with over-saturation and implosion. Published in 1970, his book became a notable force in the study of futurism and helped to define the trajectory of the discipline for several decades. Over forty years after its publication, Future Shock remains relevant as societies worldwide confront limitless abundance and consumption of information.


Tofflerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theories influenced a radical shift in futurist studies that placed greater significance on the perception of time. More recently, and consistent with his claims, notions of information abundance and temporality have become increasingly central within a transdisciplinary discourse that supports alternative responses to shocks to global economic and environmental systems. This essay examines time-place-migration research embedded within the conceptual architectural design process. It illustrates examples of process-based design research that engage Alvin Tofflerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assessment of the quickening pace of life and the effortless access to information. It reveals design practices that embrace natural, cultural, and social rhythms that leverage their impact on the design of architecture and urban space within a context of shifting paradigms.

Shifting Processes In recent years, and parallel to a rise of global socio-economic instability, an emphasis on the adaptive within architecture and urban design has emerged. This awareness contradicts a predominant world view that celebrates the importance of growth regardless of its appropriateness. If economic stability and growth are inherently connected, how might designed environments engage with these contradictory forces in light of conservation? Limitless economic expansion is deeply negative to the environment, yet lucrative for architects and designers. Acknowledging the limits of such excess, can our architectural expectations be adapted to more modest , yet potentially more profound, approaches to design process and problem-solving? How

might the processes of ‘making’ architecture and ‘teaching’ architecture be adapted to this 21st century paradigm shift?

Rhythm Science Equally relevant in an era of technological change, Paul Miller’s book Rhythm Science (2004) casts its lens on the changing architecture of everyday life. Miller, an American disc jockey and media artist, reconsiders the creative process of ‘life-editing’ through ‘sampling’ and ‘scratching’ music. Architects can work in a similar way by sampling old ‘songs’ into new ones while scratching a physical ‘record’ into new interpretations. By engaging and editing various media, designers occupy the leading role, but the primary influence is the impact of information. Miller asserts that rhythm scientists act as archivists of sound, text, and image. In this sense, designers of the built environment can learn from media artists. Today, media artists have developed complex ways to map everyday human flows and environmental movements using information technologies such as emotion mapping and biomapping. These mappings offer clear ways to reconsider temporal forces. How can architecture and urban design be informed through similar processes of information collection and mapping? How might these activities offer alternative conceptual processes leading to alternative architectural futures?

This essay presents case studies that demonstrate tensions between the temporal and the permanent. It examines contested relationships that arise from organizational attempts to create order, as well as the unplanned chaos that is often a by-product of that process. Focusing on research-based methodologies that employ information and mapping, the projects presented here investigate organizational strategies based on interpretation, mitigation, adaptation, and change. This process embeds culturally- and ecologically-adapted ‘information-based’ architectures into dense social environments and contested urban fabrics. The following three speculative proposals were conceived for sites in Baltimore, Tallinn, and Houston. Two projects were generated within professional practice, while the third was produced in academia by second-year students of architecture and interior architecture at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. Each project employs generative conceptual processes to reassess ‘place’ within architecture, urban design, and interiors. By adapting various ‘architectural’ conditions to continual change and unpredictability, ‘concept’ emerges from a generative platform of collection, analysis, and transformation.


Case Study: BALTIMORE Engaging Time as Process In the 21st century, methods and means of communication have undergone a rapid transformation. A dying icon, the public telephone was once a symbol of modernity and communication. Baltimore Calling recalls the fading memory of this mid-20th century communication device by reinterpreting its form, function, and performance. The project offers a way to simultaneously connect people with information, culture, and nature. Here, the physical dimensions of the classic telephone booth (4’ x 4’ x 8’), as well as informal geometries of stacked cast-off construction pallets informed the design of site-specific performative architectural installations for Baltimore. Conceived as a mitigating device to be deployed throughout Baltimore MTA construction zones, Batimore Calling resulted from a form-finding study of Baltimore’s urban grids. The construct is based on a repetitive, yet site-specific module, generated from three assemblies coded by geometries derived from central Baltimore’s city streets. Six grids were identified, then two were paired and shifted 11 degrees to position the construct within time.

Built from unfinished spruce, Baltimore Calling has been designed to flexibly adapt to interstitial ‘lost’ spaces within MTA construction zones, rights-of-way, and existing stations. Constructs may be temporarily installed at various locations impacted by construction activity throughout the MTA system. The ‘telephone booth’ houses a classic telephone, and acts as a ‘call center’ both literally and figuratively. As temporary installations, Baltimore Calling offers nesting habitat for migratory birds. Seasonally changing and hosting native plant material, each installation will continually adapt to and merge with its site over time. As individual installations wear into their locales, each will acquire native vines, tall grasses, mosses, and lichens. Attracting migratory birds, butterflies, and plantlife, the installations will become unexpected ecological amenities for citizens. Baltimore Calling has been designed to effortlessly transform over time with zero maintenance. Materially, installations will continually weather from gold-to-amberto gray, and grow into a network of microenvironments that change from season-toseason and year-to-year.

Image 2_Abandoned telephone booth

Image 3_Stacked construction pallets

Image 4-6_Baltimore Calling - Insertable and adaptive ecological infrastructure for MTA construction zones and lost territories.


Image 7-8_ Transitory Sanctuary:Estonian Flyaway Ecological built infrastructure for central Tallinn offering wildlife habitats, bike paths, and greeenspace.

Case Study: TALLINN Engaging Ecology as Process Natural migratory patterns offer a point of ecological engagement for generative conceptual process. Conceived for the Tallinn Biennale 2011, this proposal for the Street 2012 competition reconsiders the notion of wildlife sanctuary within a dense urban environment. The proposal builds upon previous research undertaken in Baltimore by developing a permanent, site-specific, bird habitat infrastructure for the heart of the capital city of Estonia. Adapted to material and environmental specificities, Transitory Sanctuary:Estonian Flyway inserts nature into central Tallinn. Here, the urban grid of central Tallinn and the Northeastern European prairie landscape simultaneously informed development of twelve place-relevant modular components. Modular geometries were derived from an investigation and analysis of formal organization of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s downtown core. Three grids compose a module, with each set incorporating a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;shiftedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; grid. Transitory Sanctuary:Estonian Flyway mitigates the adverse effects of vehicular traffic, hardscape

density, and environmental degredation, thus allowing the environmental system as a whole to achieve greater balance. Built from recycled and repurposed wood, Transitory Sanctuary:Estonian Flyway has been designed to adapt to natural and urban conditions, acting as a refuge and nesting habitat for migratory birds and field animals year-round. The installation has been conceived to interface with processes of temporal change. As an urban scale installation, it will continually merge with its site and host additional native plant material over time. As it wears into its geographic location, the habitat will eventually become fully overgrown with vines, tall grasses, mosses, and lichens. Birdhouse, viewing platform, morning glory trellis--these roles suggest only three opportunities for the installation. A source of both curiosity and delight, Transitory Sanctuary:Estonian Flyway proposes a timerelevant construct that activates, supports, and responds to its urban environment.


Image 9_ Students mapped indigenous ecologies and diasporic cultural patterns found within the Southeastern Texas region.

Case Study: HOUSTON Engaging Migration as Process Throughout its history, the United States has received continual worldwide immigration from shifting points of origin. In the 20th century, waves of immigration impacted the growth, rise, and transformation of the large cities of the Northeast and Midwest. With the rise of the Sunbelt and the resulting internationalization of its cities, an increasingly diverse populace has emerged. Greater Houston is now the fourth largest and most diverse city in the United States. Over the past 30 years, the region has witnessed an unprecedented expansion. Dramatic growth and demographic shifts have transformed the city into a thoroughly international metropolis. With over 90 languages are spoken, Houston is home to over 1.1 million foreign-born residents and undeniably the multicultural hub

of the south central United States. oustonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unzoned land use policy promotes inherently fluid occupancies. Cultural shifts register considerably faster in Houston than in cities governed by more conventional regulation. With demographic diversity and free market commercialism as a filter, a singularly Western perspective has arguably become increasingly irrelevant in southeastern Texas. If architecture and landscape reflect culture, how can contemporary architects engage influences that more accurately convey recent flows and influences on the region? How can we engage the cultural, territorial, and temporal memory of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;newâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Houstonians? How might we reappropriate aspects of their experience into the built and natural landscapes of the city?

Second-year students at the University of Houston investigated various generative processbased activities to examine the impact of cultural migration on the Houston metropolitan area. Working collaboratively, students visualized seen-unseen cultural and biological systems and connectivity operating upon the city and region. Texas is an inherently hybrid place existing within a blurred territory between Anglo and Latin America that has attracted an international populace. This studio engaged with a globalized perspective by examining the textile, horticultural, and landscape traditions linking Houston with global cultures. The investigation provided a platform for various formal, spatial, material, and performative opportunities that reconsider the ecological diversity and multicultural richness of the city through the lens of various diasporic influences.

From Diasporas to Design Diasporas represent movements, migrations, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral territory. The phenomenon also references people dispersed by various reasons to more than one location, as well as populations settled far from their ancestral homelands. Some diaspora communities maintain significant political ties with their homeland, while others have grown virtually isolated by distance and assimilation. How can diasporic memory activate alternative design approaches to the built environment?

space, form, and landscape In North America. Students engaged textiles, horticultural, and landscape from the transferred traditions of migratory cultures. As a counterpoint to the ambiguity and imposed notion of ‘culture’, students identified ‘native’ conditions related to biology, mineralogy, and geography. Collage studies and mappings revealed built, natural, ecological, and migratory conditions relevant to the site. Both generative families of information allowed students to identify precedent, analyze underpinnings, and generate a series of interpretative diagrams and collages. Each student produced a 2D-3D diagrammatic matrix that reflected underlying principles of biology and culture as generators for architectonic transformation. Various aspects were derived from their studies including embedded hierarchies, topographies, layers, color, scale, proportion, repetition, rhythm, space, time, and sequence.

Image 10_ Students mapped indigenous ecologies and diasporic cultural patterns found within the Southeastern Texas region.

Southeast Texas exists within a cultural landscape defined by its relationship to historically Spanish, French, and Anglo-American influences, but also links to diasporic migrations over time. Traces of these cultures continue to impact the land use and architectural vernaculars of the region. As an increasingly internationalized city engaged in a global economy, Houston provides an opportunity to challenge the relevance of a singularly Western European influence on 143


Greater Houston is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Over the last 30 years, the region has witnessed an unprecedented expansion. DramaƟ Ɵc growth and demographic shiŌ shiŌs have transformed the city into a thoroughly internaƟ internaƟonal place. With over 90 languages are spoken, Houston is undeniably a mulƟ Ɵcultural region and home to an esƟ esƟmated 1.1 million foreign-born residents. Two internaƟ internaƟonal airports and a major seaport make the city a natural base for the naƟ naƟon’s third-largest concentraƟ concentraƟon of consular oĸ ĸces. Houston’s unzoned land use policy promotes inherently Ňuid occupancies. Cultural shiŌ shiŌs correspondingly register considerably faster in Houston than in ciƟ ciƟes governed by more convenƟ convenƟonal regulaƟ regulaƟon. With demographic diversity and free market commercialism as a perspecƟ Įlter, it may be argued that a singularly Western perspec Ɵve has become increasingly irrelevant. ows and inŇ If architecture and landscape reŇ eŇect culture, how can contemporary architects engage inŇ in nŇuences that more accurately convey recent Ň Ňows in nŇuences on the region? How might we engage the cultural, territorial, and temporal memory of the ‘new’ Houstonians? How might we appropriate aspects of their experience into the built and natural landscapes of the city?

Layer. Penetrate. Divide. Stack. Web. Diffuse. Cross. Blend d. Frame.

LANDSCAPE RENEWAL Rigoberto Moreno Texas can be considered consideered a place deĮ deeĮned by the space it embodies. embodiees. The inner quality of lies that movement lie es within the paths that connecƟ connect, thus con nnecƟng Texas with the Uni ited States and Mexico. United By focusing on highway hig ghway systems through their form al use, we can begin to formal reconsider how h components found wit thin that infrastructure within shape our experience experiencce of urban landscapes. As we examine Ho ouston’s Memorial Park Houston’s Arboretum and Nat Nature Center, I propose a monumental applicaƟ applicaƟon Ɵon that will merge the metropolitan expriencee with a unique wildlife park. The design dessign proposal begins by formalizing the exisƟ exxisƟng language of the Through the buildings accents Nature Center. Through Ɵon of we lost translaƟ Centeer could potenƟ potenƟal mean what the Nature Center eraƟon of Houstonians. to a new gene generaƟ spea aks with mulƟ mulƟple tones The Nature Center speaks society that seeks comfort to a society d through a universal design. That design is in progrressive oscillaƟ oscillaƟng path. the form of a progressive p support supp pp p The path is supported with shoulders that aĸrm thee dwellers dw wellers shoes, bicycle or help reaĸ baby carriage. By now n the infrastructure is at full capacit ty byy the trees, insects, and capacity ssoun nds are fully revved and wildlife. Their sounds suddenly a rush hour hour gridlock over takes the envirronm ment Į Įlls dweller. The environment lls into the builddw welleer into a move and stop ing leaving the dweller program As they begin begin to make way through program. overp pass, s, they are clear of their an overpass, Ɵon, and begin beg gin tto see the opƟ opƟonal veslocaƟ d by the Nature Center. This sels allowed nosta algia a of a great expansion, clarity creates nostalgia vessselss that travel in cardinal in which vessels Ɵons meet meeet wi ith framed portals. The direcƟ with opportunitty to o travel in all direcƟ direcƟons opportunity adepa artu ure into trails accompabecomes adeparture bra anches, trees and light. nied by ceilings off branches, Ɵcalconveyance calcon nveyyance is how a highway The criƟ ccrea ates a duality in form of infrastructure creates nega aƟve andposiƟ andposiƟve space. negaƟ As the occupied paths become challenged by dwellers,,the buildings ability to density of the dwellers,the organize and disperse man into nature works lea ading to rightlane exits. by leading d to work as a highway The trails are designed loo op, thus reconnecƟ reconnecƟng a loop, Ɵonship wit th the building through relaƟ with paths. The complexity of this interconnected paths. new language became persuasive as stacked infrastructure unbounded by its ability to retain and house volume. Looking at this system we see how monumental infrastructure can serve a Ɵ-plaƞ -plaƞorm program. As light breaks into mulƟ the sub-level, opportunity for inhabitable space through program becomes visible through natural daylight. As dwellers pull to the side shoulders they give their feet a rest. By now the keys have turne turned and dwellers vehicle lights are on. Thee Nature center is but a contra ast of volume and path. contrast volu ume we need to Į Įllll and A volume a path full of travel.


PERSIAN PATHS PERS MIRVA OVALLE VALLE Through an analysis of Persian gardens and Houston’s Memorial Park Arboretum & Nature Center site, my collage conveys an interacƟ Ɵon between nature and building. Given the task of designing a public and private space on Memorial Park, my design will combine Houston and Iranian landscape. By taking the ancient Persian concept of having a series of thresholds that bring together the elements of light, space, and boundary into their gardens and courtyards, my building will itself become the transiƟ Ɵon from the urban city to a natural environment. Ɵon of interior calm The ancient Persian noƟ provides contrast between the inside and the outside. This space or threshold, Ɵcal columns, allows light lined with many verƟ inĮltrate the space. sp to inĮ eīect of its shadows sh hadows and design reveal a The eī Ɵc look, outlined outtlined by a series of gardens. majesƟ At the park, trees create colonnade-like architecture for the th he trails, providing changing ligh g Ɵng eeī īects ov ver the course of the day lighƟ over an nd throughout the th he year. and Ass an architectural architectura hi al proposiƟ proposiƟon for my prroposed building g, ‘colonnades’ will provide proposed building, th he skeletal framin ng that creates the the framing co onnecƟon betwe een nature and building. connecƟ between Th hese are the cha racterisƟcs that These characterisƟ m collage considers, consid ders, my cƟng as the basiss for my design acƟ CULTURAL LAYERS Roberto Cantu Studying tthe he culture of Persian miniature painƟ Ɵng, I id denƟĮ ƟĮed a speci iĮc technique of idenƟ speciĮ creaƟ Ɵng a sense sen nse of space through painƟ painƟngs. Perrsian miniature painƟ Ɵng started Since Persian peakeed at a very early point in Ɵme, and peaked Ɵng technique their painƟ considered somewhat primiƟ Ɵve. may be considered Att that Ɵme, they did not use the tecchnique of perspecƟ Ɵve drawing. technique Perssian miniature arƟ arƟsts Ɵsts employed Instead, Persian Ɵng itself. layerings technique within the painƟ This appraoch was considered advanced for that Ɵme. With that in mind, a collage was in response, Ɵng a building concept that generaƟ similar layering to create space. would use a similar iniature painƟ Ɵng was purposed A Persian mi miniature as an underlay. th he building was infused into the he The site of the o generate a layering of the site art, in order to h the structure. The collage also with Ɵgated tthe he noƟ noƟon of material poten Ɵal Ɵal invesƟ potenƟ Ɵsts used for the building. Persian arƟ high-qualiity materials in their miniatures high-quality sincee their artworks portrayed very important texts and scripts. an approach may be translated Such an use of high-quality materials for toward the use th his structure. As demonstrated this th he collage, Persian brick, wood, through the Ɵon. and plaster could be used in construcƟ People were rendered into the collagee to imply modes of occupancy. With their placement, the collage may be viewed as an inhabitable space. viewed reeinterpreted miniature painƟ Ɵng This reinterpreted representa p Ɵon Ɵon is an abstract representaƟ of the concept for the building, and vice versa.

DIASPORIC BLEND Marc Whitmore Ɵon and nature are intertwined to show MoƟ relaƟonship Ɵonship between human acƟ acƟvi ƟviƟ Ɵes Ɵes the relaƟ within the surrounding environment and within the structure itself. The procession of inhabitants is controlled and directed within the structure, leading to prescribed paths towards the surrounding environment. iĮed experience of the natural chaoƟ chaoƟc Ɵc A uniĮ world and the sense of security is inferred by the design. A memory of the Asian Mughal landscape architectural techniques of the 15th centry is embedded within the layout. Orthogonal axes separate the landscape into creaƟng Ɵng unique experiences. individual zones creaƟ Certain elements in nature are highlighted for signiĮ iĮcance, such as the use of eŇecƟ ecƟ Ɵon running water, reŇ on ponds, shade trees, Ňowing Ň transiƟons in owing grass, and the slight transiƟ topography. The varying layers of Ɵplicity of themes transparency show a mulƟ represented within the composiƟ Ɵon. Green colors of vegetaƟ Ɵon, blues of running water, dark grays of shadows cast overhead, and earth tones of the soil and structural walls are integrated and blurred. The iintenƟ Th intenƟon is i to blend bl d occupancy of the structure and nature into a uniĮ iĮed whole. TEMPORAL LIGHT Amanda Kroll

TRANSSFORMATION NATURAL TRANSFORMATION Myles Chumcha Chumchall relaƟng them to Discovering new things and relaƟ in ntroduces a new richness and design process introduces diversity to whatt is in the becoming. d When thinking dives under the surface, becom me unveiled that can new things become nŇuence one’s ideas. id deas. The thought process inŇ Ɵon that can be can absorb new informa informaƟ o reality. It can be transformed into d converted into transformed and Ɵlizing liizing all resources available new media. UƟ eĸciency c will increase eĸ thus increasing output furrther success. and deeming further preliminarry invesƟ invesƟgaƟ gaƟon I began to In my preliminary research Islamic gardens. They are a Ɵon of heavenly paradise on earth. representaƟ Ɵon n of a place that is a reward A representaƟ obedience and discipline. for a life long obedience cƟon in beauty, atmosphere, A place of perfecƟ whateever one desires. It is in an soliity and whatever fect place and represents all essence the perfe perfect Thiis topic became a that is good. This aƟon because in creaƟ creaƟng a wonderful inspiraƟ Ɵon and place, one tries ffor a sense of perfec perfecƟ Ɵng heavenly h when depicƟ paradise, aŌer. Things that the same goal is sought aŌ exhiibit portray a sense of beauty the gardens exhibit and peace. One key element is water. qualiƟes that can be Water has manyy innate qualiƟ ad dmired. It is an important observed and admired. aspect of Islamicc gardens and is used th hem. It is used to direct in almost all of them. h movement and highlight importance. peacefful ambience. It creates peaceful It brings ushnesss to an arid environment.

Vietnamese art incorporates nature through one of two landscape dialects: the rainy or the dry season. Vietnamese landscape Ɵngs disƟ disƟncƟ ncƟvely convey either painƟ depic ep Ɵons of their season through vernacular depicƟ agricultura ult all livelihood. ultura livelihood. d unique agricultural dingly, their architecture architect it tu ure typically lly Accordingly, cons of unobtrusiv rusive ve,, pragmaƟ pragmaƟc consists unobtrusive, structurees. structures. mou locccal al Water, massing by way off mountains, local elem ment of structure, structurre, people, and an element organiized in a balanced balance ced ed nature, and trees organized tradi Ɵon nal trad Ɵ style, are all components of a tradiƟ onal silk-screeneed Vietnamese, silk-screened la an ndscape painƟ painƟ Ɵng. n landscape ng. suppor ports Houston’s Memorial Park ecosystem supports local plants and animals that tha at preceded the city’s urbanizaƟ urbaniza aƟon. To encapsulate the natural elements of rur ral rural Vietnam and urban Houston, n, my collage collag ge amesse ideology of of hybridizes the Vietna Vietnamese havin ng only on nlyy the th necesneceesstructural minimalism- having Ɵes of a structure- with th the chaoƟ chao ch Ɵc siƟ Houston s landscape, land dscape through a dscape, growth of Houston’s i Ɵon off layer l rs. rs deconstructed depic depicƟ layers. Light plays an important role in both cultures; Vietnam sunlight s nlight permits in Vietnam, g is a sacred amesustenance. Houston’s light nity to the otherwise unorganized iīerent natural landscape. To portray light, diī canopies of piles of branches, leaves, and trees suggest employable structural methods.

SY YMMETRY CHALLENGING SYMMETRY Mohammed Gowayed symm metry and In this collage I convey the symmetry la andscapes. balance in Moghul gardens and landscapes. Moghuls use a Charbagh system that were nŇuenced by the Persians. The top to op photo is inŇ exam mple of the mple the Tomb of Humayun, an example ul gardens. symmetry employed in Moghu Moghul treee cropped It has been underlayed with a tree Moghul rug forground images and Moghul Ɵng the origins of symmetry. symmetry. represenƟ symmeetry begins Moving down the page the symmetry the page a to disappear. Toward the center of the Persian rug, with Charbagh symbol, is used as lan ndscape of a Ňoor aligned with the landscape Ɵng on the Humayun. There are people resƟ la andscape. rug within a natural landscape. the layout, Lower in the Moghul gardens and landscapes transform sitte. The Taj into the Houston arboretum site. Mahal is layered onto the Texas landscape, in skky. Images front of Charbagh background, or sky. of the arboretum site include a pond and eŌ shows a two trails. One trail on the leŌ extractted from a Moghul warrior extracted Ɵng. The trail on n the right miniature painƟ n Houston. superimposes a photo of downtown balan nce that is This implies the balance embedded in Moghul gardens-Ɵfes a diaspor ric overlay. a gesture that idenƟ diasporic Ʃempts to blur noƟ noƟ Ɵons The concept aƩ ons of ultures of landscapse between the ccultures Mo oghul India Moghul Houstton, Texas. and Houston,

Image 11-12_Process collage compilation received an Honorable Mention in the ACSA Beauty Pagaent competition.

DIASPORIC BLEND Marc Whitmore MoƟon and nature are intertwined to show the relaƟonship between human acƟviƟes within the surrounding environment and within the structure itself. The procession of inhabitants is controlled and directed within the structure, leading to prescribed paths towards the surrounding environment. A uniĮed experience of the natural chaoƟc world and the sense of security is inferred by the design. A memory of the Asian Mughal landscape architectural techniques of the 15th centry is embedded within the layout. Orthogonal axes separate the landscape into individual zones creaƟng unique experiences. Certain elements in nature are highlighted for signiĮcance, such as the use of running water, reŇecƟon ponds, shade trees, Ňowing grass, and the slight transiƟons in topography. The varying layers of transparency show a mulƟplicity of themes represented within the composiƟon. Green colors of vegetaƟon, blues of running water, dark grays of shadows cast overhead, and earth tones of the soil and structural walls are integrated and blurred. The intenƟon is to blend occupancy of the structure and nature into a uniĮed whole.


Reflecting on Time, Change and Migration Like Toffler’s interest in time-use and changing rhythms, the architectural case studies featured here identify these forces as increasingly relevant to contemporary architecture and design process. Future Shock revealed the regularity and variance that is a consequence of millions of singular activities, moments, and desires. Within variance, convergence emerges as interwined individual activities coordinate into broader efforts. These notions may be equally applied to ecological forces as well as the force of human activities. Within the social realm, the rhythms of consumption and everyday life are interactions that mitigate complexities into networked systems. Parallel to the fragmentation and greater diversity that has emerged within architectural discourse, the study of grand patterns of change has become a foundational part of Future Studies, as well as trans-disciplinary design discourse (Galtung & Inayatullah, 1997). For designers, this approach requires new research methods,

tools, and theories of organization that challenge conventional top-down notions of space, time, order, and form, as well as the conceptual processes that study such conditions. How can architects engage the general shifts in time-use and social rhythms that Toffler asserts? How might present methods of time-use research offer alternative approaches and conceptualizations? As architects engage increasingly fluid territories, as well as forms of information collection, analysis, and visualization--the ‘processing’ of that body of knowledge becomes increasingly complex. Thus, the simplicity and singularity of classic modernist approaches to the ‘thinking’ and ‘making’ of our built environments runs counter to complexity, asserting the utopian memory of a much simpler time, place, and society. Generative processes actively challenge the relevance of such rigidity, offering an alternative strategy that combines variance and ecology with the human factor.

Gregory Marinic Gregory Marinic is Assistant Professor and Director of Interior Architecture in the Gerald D. Hines Collge of Architecture at the University of Houston. He is Director and co-founder of d3. He previously taught at Pratt Institute, City University of New York, and the Universidad de Monterrey, and serves as visiting jury critic at various universities. Gregory is Associate Director of AIA Forward Journal, and editor of Design Principles and Practices, International Journal of the Arts in Society, IDEC:Exchange, and d3:dialog. Gregory is principal of Arquipelago, an award-winning New York- and Houstonbased architectural practice engaged in design, research, teaching, and experimentation. Prior to independent practice, he worked in the London and New York offices of Rafael Vinoly Architects. Arquipelagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work has been awarded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government/Seoul Public Design Competition, SocioDesign Foundation, IJRAA, and the ACSA, as well as widely exhibited in the United States and internationally. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Maryland and BS Geography/Urban Planning from Ohio University. Gregory is currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture at Texas A&M Univesrity where his research focuses on utopianism and diasporas.

Image Credits Title Image_Second Year architecture studio, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston; Student: Enrique Badillo; Faculty: Gregory Marinic

Image 10_Second Year architecture studio, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston; Student: Javier Marcano; Faculty: Gregory Marinic

Images 1-6_Arquipelago, New York/Houston; Principal: Gregory Marinic Project Team: Carlos Contreras, Jaime Garcia

Image 11-12_Second Year architecture studio, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston; Faculty: Gregory Marinic Students: Enrique Badillo, Roberto Cantu, Myles Chumchal, Mohammed Gowayed, Amanda Kroll, Rigo Moreno, Mirna Ovalle, Marc Whitmore

Images 7-8_Arquipelago, New York/Houston; Principal: Gregory Marinic Project Team: Ivan Aguirre, Miriam Cazares Image 9_Second Year architecture studio, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston; Student: David Yao; Faculty: Gregory Marinic


FORWARD TEAM Olivia Graf Doyle, Director

Olivia Graf Doyle, Assoc. AIA, is a Design Leader at HMC Architects in Los Angeles. She graduated with degrees in architecture and advertising from the University of Southern California. Olivia has worked on a variety of projects that range from medical to K-12 and university to interior architecture, in addition to being a contributer to her firm’s internal blog. Outside of work Olivia is actively involved with the local design community; was an Associate Director on the board of AIA Northern Nevada, started chapters of the Young Designer’s Networking Group in Reno and Sacramento, has been published in several architecture history textbooks, and was an Assistant Director for Forward in 2011.

Christina Noble, Past Director/ Senior Advisor

Christina Noble, AIA, LEED AP, founder of Contour Architecture, has a special affection for projects focused on revitalizing communities through sensitive, inclusive and sustainable design. Christina offers 11 years experience with community focused and environmentally responsible projects ranging across a broad spectrum of building types. She has worked on numerous high-profile projects including collegiate, mixeduse, government, and private development projects. Christina frequently writes about design and architecture. In addition to six years of service with the National Associates Committee as editor of various publications, she is also the editor for Forum, AIA Arizona’s design journal, and has contributed to Texas Architect Magazine, The Arizona Republic, and various national architecture and design blogs.

Gregory Marinic, Assistant Director

Gregory Marinic, Assoc. AIA, is Director of Interior Architecture and Assistant Professor of Architecture in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. His previously taught at Pratt Institute, City University of New York, and Universidad de Monterrey. Gregory is director and co-founder of d3, a New York-based art-architecture-design stewardship organization. He is principal of Archipelago, a New York- and Houston-based architectural practice engaged in design, research, teaching, and experimentation. The practice has received awards from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Socio-Design Foundation, AIA-IJRAA, and ACSA. Prior to independent practice, Gregory worked in the New York and London offices of Rafael Viñoly Architects and his portfolio includes AIA and RIBA award-winning work undertaken at Rafael Viñoly, Yoshihara McKee, and ABS Architects. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography/ Urban Planning from Ohio University. Gregory currently serves as editor of AIA Forward Journal, International Journal of the Arts in Society, Design Principles and Practices, IDEC Exchange, and d3:dialog. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture at Texas A&M University where his research focuses on utopianism and diasporas.

Meg Jackson, Assistant Director

Meg Jackson, Assoc. AIA, is an adjunct associate professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. Her previous teaching experience includes design studios at Maryland Institute College of Art and Texas A&M University. She received her M.Arch from the Columbia University GSAPP and her BA in History of Art and Architecture from Middlebury College where she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Her portfolio includes work at Atopia in New York City, RTKL Associates and award-winning work at Baltimore based Ziger Snead Architects. Meg Jackson is also the director of megapixelstudios, as well as a designer at the Houston based architecture firm, Context3.

C.A. Debelius, Assistant Director

C. A. Debelius, Assoc. AIA, is an Associate Professor at Appalachian State University where he teaches undergraduate architectural design studios and statics in the Building Science program. He has taught previously at the University of Arkansas, UNC/ Charlotte, Kansas State University, and the University of Tennessee. Professor Debelius is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His most recent paper, “Landscape with Human Figure,” was presented and published in the proceedings of the 2011 ACSA Fall Conference in Houston. In 2007, Debelius’s design work was the subject of a solo exhibition at The Knoxville Museum of Art. C. A. Debelius’s professional experience includes design positions at SOM/San Francisco, The FWA Group/Charlotte, The Lewis Group/Knoxville, and Spectra Tech/Oak Ridge TN. Debelius was a co-designer of Knoxville’s newest high school, Hardin Valley Academy, completed in August 2008.

Joe Lawton, Assistant Director

Joe Lawton, Assoc. AIA, is the Director of Graphic Design and Marketing for Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, located in Chicago, Illinois. He is passionate about creating a unique identity and brand experience, driven by research. Recent projects include creating environmental graphics for the University of California San Diego Rita Atkinson Residences and SunPower Corporate Headquarters. Currently he is working with a multi disciplinary team to develop a new architectural and graphic brand experience for a high-rise residential building in Chicago. On a daily basis Joe manages the firm’s marketing efforts, most recently he lead the design efforts of the new VDTA Web site, Joe graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Certificate of Urban Planning. He has served as the communications manager for AIA Milwaukee, the FORUM 2007 Chair for the AIAS, and is the founding editor of Studio 2131.

Cindy Louie, Assistant Director

Cindy Louie, Assoc. AIA, is a recent graduate of the Masters of Architecture Program at Arizona State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Arizona State University with concurrent studies in Graphic Design. Cindy Louie is currently a designer at Durkin + Durkin architects and serves on the membership development committee for the Phoenix Metro chapter of AIA, as well as a graphic/web editor for the AIA Forward Journal.

Janice Christine Ninan, Assistant Director

Janice Ninan, Assoc. AIA, is an ‘artrepreneur.’ She started her own company, J-Space Studio, Inc in March 2012, offering architecture-related design services. She graduated with a Masters in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago in August 2011 with a focus on highrise and long span structures. Janice earned her Bachelors in Architecture from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India. Ms Ninan worked for numerous firms in India prior to moving to the United States. Her professional portfolio covers a wide gamut of projects - residential, hospitality, tourism related government projects, residential and commercial interiors and conservation work. Apart from design, Janice is an avid photographer and is a contributor to CTBUH’s photography database of tall buildings. One of her images of the GSW tower has been chosen to be published in the manual for the natural ventilation of tall buildings by CTBUH, due for publication in September 2012.



Profile for Forward AIA NAC

PROCESS_Forward 112  

2012 Summer issue of 'Forward' - the design journal of the AIA NAC (American Institute of Architects - National Associates Committee)

PROCESS_Forward 112  

2012 Summer issue of 'Forward' - the design journal of the AIA NAC (American Institute of Architects - National Associates Committee)