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Hans Steffes Selected works

Table of Contents Academic............................................2 Indiscretions of the Discrete.....................................3 Retail Ruin.................................................................13 Digital Cronenberg..................................................19 Urban Undulations...................................................27 Anxiety.......................................................................35

Professional......................................43 Kaunas Concert Hall...............................................46 Harvey Milk Plaza....................................................56

Art / Renders......................................61 Resume.............................................67


Indiscretions of the Discrete Maya, Grasshopper, Rhino

When systems are too dependent on the optimal function of each individual part the failure of a single element becomes catastrophic. In most cases, this failure is avoided through tolerance or design for a certain degree of failure. But how does one design in/for a system that is already broken? The discrete Indescretion attempts to address this question and take on the task of designing an intentionally broken system that manages to still be functional. This broken functionality is a reflection of both it’s program and its context, the broken zoning of Houston and the broken social programs of neoliberal capitalism. The combination of traditional and parametric modeling removes dependence on one method of generation to produce idealized forms, instead misusing functionalities of four different software in order to achieve the final result. This perversion extends to the geometry of the building itself, negating traditional flat floorplates and glazing in favor of forms and systems that obscure traditional comprehension of space and deny a reduction to conventional parts.

Studio 5 | ENDS 305 | Fall 2017 | Texas A&M University


Studio 2 | ENDS 106 | Summer 2016 | Texas A&M University


The geometry of the floors and walls force a new understanding of spatial division blurring the boundary between the room and the open floorplan and embracing elements of Loos’ Raumplan. In some places the discrete structural elements penetrate the space without regard for program forcing the inhabitant to develop layouts and habits that react to the space, bringing the qualities of the building to the forefront of their consciousness. This rejection of resolved program critiques and misuses the frameworks of parametricism as laid out by Schumacher and stands as an attempt to define a counter-aesthetic of imperfect parametricism. The project also has roots in traditional Japanese philosophy and design practices which have embraced imperfection and the broken object long before its western resurgence in deconstructivism and OOO. The practice of Kintsugi, the repair of broken pottery with golden lacquer, addresses the beauty of the broken object and was a direct inspiration for the golden discrete vector based columns that tie together the large fragments of the tower. The practice of Kintsugi places emphasis an object’s unique history and has its roots in the philosophical practices of WabiSabi, the appreciation of the flawed and imperfect, and Mushin, the acceptance of change. Both philosophies are reflected in the tower itself, with Wabi-Sabi informing the plan, section, and structure and Mushin influencing the initial conception of the project as a ruinated tower. The Discrete Indescretion would stand as a bold aesthetic and theoretical addition to the Houston skyline and serve as an ontological and tautological break, defining a new movement in design thinking and urban development. Studio 5 | ENDS 305 | Fall 2017 | Texas A&M University


Retail Ruin Rhino, Grasshopper, Keyshot

The Retail Ruin is a speculative project that looks at the nature of the urban fabric of Houston and a commentary on the explicitly degraded reality of the city, something often masked by the facade of modernity in new development. The true chaotic nature of the city and the project is that of a aggregation of parts that come together to form a whole in a haphazard booleaning of space. The project opens discussions on the way we care for our urban environment as it ages, looking describing the current state of degradation as neo-brutalist due to the large amount of open concrete and pavement, and furthers this argument by asking how do we design our environment to age well. Along with these arguments the project has a sense of temporal ambiguity, being unclear as to whether it is a ancestral object, a contemporary monument, or an unfinished future construction. This ambiguity is continued by a series of dualities presented by the project: Poche // Void Order // Chaos Seen // Hidden Towering // Embedded New // Old Studio 3 | ENDS 205 | Fall 2016 | Texas A&M University


A retail project for designer Issey Miyake including show rooms, shops and presentation spaces. The project is a speculative exploration on the urban fabric of Houston, Texas; a city whose lack of zoning laws has resulted in a fragmented aggregation of spaces, districts and functions. The project reflects the nature of the city further through the void scars that run across the skin like the highways that act as the only real organizing factor of the city.

Studio 3 | ENDS 205 | Fall 2016 | Texas A&M University


Digital Cronenberg Processing Voxel Model Group: Colin Stone, Luis Ramero, Yasmin Solomin This project demonstrates machine vision as a distorting mechanism that absorbs and digests information to produce the geometry of a building that challenges how far data can be br­oken down and reunderstood. In this case of automated architecture, the sample becomes the bases from which we entrust machine vision with to reconstruct a reality that it rebuilds based off of patterns and information that it has collected from our existence. This breakdown and re-structuring of information ends up accumulating into a data-scape where we are then witness to a mangled reflection of our own architectural beliefs, and morals as humanity, in the form of our digital traces, that have been chewed up and spat out into the project you see here. While much of the buildings output is beyond a conceivable level of complexity, traces of ourselves and the essence of original samples become readable as an interface between us and the machine. When data is being processed to create the building, information is being pulled from a data base vastly wider that anything a human could ever comprehend. Studio 4 | ENDS 206 | Spring 2017 | Texas A&M University


By nature of pulling from so much data/ information, this creates an architecture through an inherently additive process of repetitive generation. This manifests in geometry being organized from the roots of an infinitely dense micro grid, in which the scale of elements in the building have the ability to shift deeper, or towards the surface of the grid. {} Through its metabolism of data the system removes and negates traditional hierarchy and breaks information down to its baser part, through the use of this universal micro grid. The infinite density of the micro grid forms a framework for the anabolic process of voxelization, the re-assemblage of data into a cohesive whole. The re-assemblage of this data creates a shift in hierarchy that leads to phenomena such as digital misreading, digital imposition, and digital

Studio 4 | ENDS 206 | Spring 2017 | Texas A&M University


splice. These re-associative processes result in the usage of imposed objects such as bananas and strawberry as definers of space that carve throughout the mass. At certain levels in the heirarchy, elements ­ such as furnniture become misread by the machine as the splicing of chairs forms walls and partitions. Traditional objects and discrete parts start to morph and splice together creating dismorphic, but recognizable figure through the process of digital decimation, breakdown, and reformation, much in the way molecular data is spliced in the Cronenburg classic, the fly. Cronenburg’s philosophical assertion that traces of ourselves are still recognizable even through genetic destruction and reassemblage aligned with the assertion that traces of our culture are still readable through the digital sampling of our previous architectural beliefs. Though this decimation, breakdown and reformation of data and heirarchy would seemingly result in the removal of human authorship, the result is a shift in scale of authorship from the individual to the societal. Studio 4 | ENDS 206 | Spring 2017 | Texas A&M University


Urban Undulation Cinema 4D, Redshift Partner: Luis Rubio

The projects primary function is an urban farm, bringing produce into the city center much as the aqueduct once brought water. Barcelona, like many modern cities relies on the importation of virtually all of its food from rural production and agricultural zones. Placing a means of fresh production in the center of the city would guaranteed fresh produce and fish to the four markets within half a kilometer of the site: The Cathedral Mkt, St. Catarina, Carafour, and La Boquria. The facility uses an Aquaponic system, pioneered in Barcelona by Aquapioneer, to produce both fresh fish and produce. The herbs and vegetables produced would be showcased both a gallery exhibit and in the on site bar, fostering a relationship with the city and inviting residents to reexamine their cultural assumptions about how food is produced. Agricultural production has slowly moved farther and farther from the city center since roman times, to the point where all produce available in the city has to be shipped in from far beyond the city limits, even the markets that traditionally provided fresh local produce now rely Studio 6 | CARC 306 | Spring 2018 | Barcelona Architecture Center


on production far outside the city. The introduction of agriculture into the city is a reaction to this condition and a pilot program to lead the way to further similar developments. The use of aquaponics is a reaction to the historic presence of water on the site in the form of the aqueduct. The start of our site analysis, we immediately noticed the narrow alley that separates the two plazas. We wanted to create a more central axis that connects the two rather than seeing them as two different spaces. We took inspiration from Marius Quintana Architects with Avenida GaudĂ­ and Avenida Catedral with the idea of giving more circulation to pedestrians rather than automobiles. By creating two masses and two plazas we created visual tension in the site defining two separate plazas connected by central circulation.

Studio 6 | CARC 306 | Spring 2018 | Barcelona Architecture Center


The massing of the building reacts to the context in several ways, the massing, the form, and the constituent arches. The general massing of the building consists to two main volumes situated at a diagonal to each other on the site, one opposite the aqueduct and one where “The Kiss� mural currently exists. These two volumes were designed to have roughly the shape of mountains, in indirect reference two the two mountains that border the city. Historically Mon Juic and Monserrat have provided geographic borders to the city as well as means of agricultural production through water and building materials. The massing and form of the building’s reference to the mountain further solidifies the references made in the program and further links the building to its context.

Studio 6 | CARC 306 | Spring 2018 | Barcelona Architecture Center


ANXIETY Keyshot Virtual Reality Space

The rise of Virtual Reality and the design of virtual space raises a critical issue that the architectural discourse has ignored since the earliest days of digital space; how to design outside of our own reality. The design of space in digital media has largely been turned over to those outside of the profession leading to an abundance of cold, sterile, undefined space in the digital world. The introduction of Virtual Reality to the public eye makes it critical that architects begin to design for the virtual as the distinction between physical and virtual reality blurs and collapses marking the shift to the episteme of the virtual. Anxiety has long been present in the virtual, many of us are familiar with the experience of playing a video game and hearing the fight music start but no enemies in sight. The space, defined by gradually converging walls and heavy horizontal elements, is designed to look as if though it is frozen in time at the moment it begins to Collapse, creating a palpable anxiety in the space. This suggests that failure is inevitable and on the edge of appearing but never quite actualized is the desired effect of the space.

Studio 5 | ENDS 305 | Fall 2017 | Texas A&M University


Studio 5 | ENDS 305 | Fall 2017 | Texas A&M University



KAUNAS CONCERT HALL Mark Foster Gage Architects Kaunas, Lithuania

Worked On: Site Models, Massing Studies, Program Blocks, Asthetic Studies Description by Mark Foster Gage The development of the new Ciurlionis Concert Centre in Kaunas provides an opportunity to dramatically reconfigure the urban fabric of the surrounding city. Such actions require vision, as is not though timid and conservative thinking that great cities emerge and are sustained. is vision is required now more than ever—as countries and constituents split and reconfigure into new factions and forces, the world seems to be splitting apart at its very social seams. We propose that social interaction and understanding can be prompted through great architecture, urbanism and the production of new civil public spaces. rough our design, the new Ciurlionis Centre features a large public plaza that radially organizes all of the associated programs and dramatically overlooks the river and city. It is our goal that these buildings and the public space they surround, become a vibrant cultural and social gathering place, accessible by all, that will function as the new urban heart of the city as it pulses into the new 21st century with renewed vigor and cultural status. While it is commonly rehearsed that beauty is only skin deep, for cities that skin is rather thick— containing as it does buildings, plazas, green spaces, transportation networks and natural features. As such, to make a city beautiful requires significant investment by its citizens over many generations and great periods of time. e Ciurlionis Center is an opportunity for today’s generation of Kaunas citizens to make their own contribution to the history and beauty


of this great city. As such, the design should not only function, but seek to add important aesthetic value to the overall urban whole. Our design addresses this by proposing a new form of digital picturesqueness—with new and technologically enabled forms that dene the public riverfront, tower elements, building facades and public spaces. We are not recreating forms of the past, but are also not erasing the historic value of beauty, detail and composition that make them great. rough innovative architectural design we simply hope to produce an original, and stunning, contribution to the historic Kaunas skyline and urban fabric.e Renaissance architect and theorist Leon Battista Alberti once wrote that the city is like a large house. In all great houses, and cities, there should be a “room” in which people truly live- where they gather, speak, relax and where they celebrate. We have produced a highly visible and city-sized version of this room—a new elevated Ciurlionis plaza that overlooks all of Kaunas’s surrounding sin every direction and that is universally accessible from the waterfront, north and south banks, new public park area and parking facilities. is is a new public space to be enjoyed by all, with not only a new concert venue but also opportunities for other indoor and outdoor events ranging from markets to city-wide celebrations. Our design for the Ciurlionis concert hall is based on the premise that while concert halls have very particular requirements for seating and acoustics, through technology they can also be made exible to accommodate not only the innovative forms of performance today but encourage those of a vibrantly active tomorrow. Our design has multiple moving partitions that allow for re-configurability without losing the acoustic value of a rigorous concert venue format. rough sliding, folding and collapsing partitions the two performance spaces can accommodate a wide range of performance types at a variety of scales.Within philosophy Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation for a problem is more likely to be the correct one. is is our organization goal for the programming of the Ciurlionis Center— simplicity. Toward this end the service areas, well hidden by landscaping and berms, are located on the eastern portion of the site, thereby allowing the western section to be free for uninterrupted park, plaza and lobby areas. By using vertical tower elements and breaking up the overall massing into multiple complex forms, however, we have assured that there is no aesthetic ‘back - side’ to the complex. The building is not a massive monolithic box, but rather appears, from all directions, contextually picturesque. 50

HARVEY MILK PLAZA Mark Foster Gage Architects San Fransico, California Worked On: All Aspects Description by Mark Foster Gage A common theme for great cities is that they are not mere collections of buildings, but sites of revolution. The story of Harvey Milk and San Francisco is just such a story, one deserving of not only commemoration, but permanence, beauty, and civic stature commensurate with his achievements and extraordinary sacrifice. Few things are more defining of cities than their cultural histories. Within San Francisco’s great history is the story of LGBTQ rights and how they redefined American ideals of social equality significantly through the work of Harvey Milk. The goal of our proposal for Harvey Milk Plaza is to both tell this story and provide a new civic space for its ongoing future development. As such our redesign is first and foremost based on equality--- reflecting the words of Harvey Milk himself when he spoke “All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.” By unifying the plaza on one level we state unequivocally, as Harvey Milk did, that we are all equally deserving of a place in American life. While the primary plaza occurs at a single level slightly elevated above the Castro, yet accessible from multiple points, the underground area and subway access is given equal attention in our proposal. Our design transforms the underground passage to the MTA station into a welcoming “arts grotto” with carefully designed dramatic sunlight from above—all used to illuminate temporary installations and other community projects. While the upper plaza is a space of political equity,


and freedom to relax, meet, or act—the underground grotto for the arts is a space of public experimentation and more radical engagement. What might new generations of artists and activist do with a public grotto space rather than merely the leftovers of a subway station? How can the Harvey Milk arts grotto provide a new type of arts space that does not exist anywhere in the world? The upper and lower areas are intertwined thematically and physically, and are connected by a series of openings— themselves telling of the story of the link between our social freedoms and our freedoms of artistic expression. Art installations occur on both levels and are mutually visible through openings that allow for plaza-goers to be visible from the arts grotto below and visa versa—creating a new type of space of commemoration that is one of life and action rather than detached isolation. If Milk taught us anything it is that in order to be equal we must be heard, as so our proposal for the plaza and arts grotto that carry his name seeks to become a physical manifestation of these life-affirming ambitions.


A R T / R E N D E R S

MARTROPOLIS Model By: Will Zhu







Environmental Design

Undergraduate Candidate U4 Class of 2018 - Graduating May 2019 Cumulative GPA: 3.20 Major GPA: 3.53


Architecture History Product Design and Fabrication


AIAS // AXIOM Editor (2017-18) // Member (2016-Present) BUILD // Student Supervisor (2016-17)

Published Works

ARCH/OLOGIST Magazine // Retail Ruin (2017-18) AXIOM // Retail Ruin (2016-17), Discrete Ind iscretion (2017-18) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Junior Designer

Was intimately involved in every stage of projects including: Massing, Floorplans, Facade Design, Conceptual Design, Contacting Manufacturers, Renderings, and Post Processing.


Deadline Based Projects Working Collaboratively Advanced Architectural Theory Discussions

P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S ARCHITECTURE Los Angeles, California, 2018

Junior Designer

Was involved in ater stages of projects including: Facade Design, Contacting Manufacturers, Renderings, and Post Processing.


Deadline Based Projects Working Collaboratively Publication Production ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SOFTWARE Cinema 4D, Rhino, Zbrush, Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, Octane Redshift, Maxwell, Keyshot, Microsoft Office

Selected Works Spring 2018  
Selected Works Spring 2018