ken marold : maker / architect / designer / coder

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maker architect designer coder

Digest Architecture Design + Fabrication Art + Code For more information and full collection of work please visit:

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Photo by Tgjh

Digest I am a maker, architect, designer, and coder with over twenty years of practical and conceptual experience spanning the fields of architecture and landscape design, industrial design and fabrication, interaction design, ui/ux, graphic design, marketing, sound design and recording, programming and electronics, installation and web art, painting, sculpture, creative coding, and software development.

The rest of my work these days focuses on making real projects, for real people, with real needs. Keeping a creative flow, working with my hands, relentlessly designing, experimenting, learning, and contributing my best to make environments and spaces better experiences for everyone. These are the things that keep me satisfied. I love to stay busy, and creative work is the thing that keeps me grounded and happy.

I strive to make rad work that is engaging, thoughtful, and experiential; whether I’m pushing wood through a table saw, designing or constructing buildings or spaces, making music, writing code, making art, cooking, mentoring and being the best dad I can be to my son, teaching students to be problem seekers, or just enjoying the hell out of working with people I gel with. Critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving are ‘always on’ skills that I enjoy applying everyday.

In addition to professional work, I have designed and instructed undergraduate and graduate level studios, and digital design and fabrication courses at both the University of Oklahoma’s School of Visual Arts, and the College of Architecture, and the University of New Mexico. Other course topics I have introduced include computational design, environmental art, game development, graphic design and web development.

A lot of my research and experimental work takes place at a confluence of architecture, art, maker culture, electronic prototyping, interface, industrial design, and graphic design. My recent work comes from a space of wanting to understand how different modes of digital design, fabrication and manufacturing can coexist in novel ways to create new experiences that are informed by and engage with physical and/or virtual space.

My range of practical experience and creative inquiry has given me the professional agility to bridge a wide collection of artistic mediums, and design and technical disciplines. I have the capacity to apply a high level of personal drive, conceptual depth, industry insight and digital literacy to any creative challenge that is presented.

Wichita Mobile Clinic Designing for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes started with a comprehensive exploration of the tribe’s history, values, and current project needs. Learning about the tribe’s identity with place and space was critical in developing ideas that relayed connections to local environments and traditional architectural forms. Historical research drove the conceptual process through studying the Southern Plains and the Wichita grass houses. The structural strategy was based on the construction methodology and system of the grass house, which was applied to a contemporary fabrication and construction workflow using a readily accessible building resource today, plywood. The relationship between vertical and horizontal structural elements and their assembly sequence follows historic patterns. In grass house construction horizontal poles are first installed and then a grid lattice of secondary components run perpendicularly across the primary structure. This project also deployed a lattice-like structural system of interlocking structural elements to follow the historic construction logic and visual outcome of the historic grass house (adjacent image).

SA Architects New studio and office spaces for SA Architects in Cranston, Rhode Island. A previously vacant furniture warehouse was selected for adaptive reuse. The original concrete block building shell highlights moments of modification on the north and west facades, through the use of sculpted and linear extrusions. The extrusions mark new programmatic elements; the primary point of entry and a rhythmic strip of operable windows for ventilation and natural light throughout the interior spaces. All exterior modifications are skinned with Rheinzinc rain shielding Rheinzinc was selected for its environmental durability and material contrast against the surrounding concrete block assembly. A thin strip of site work along the western facade is deployed to carve geometric volumes and voids. These geometries define spaces for growing, circulation and, at the point of entrance, an extruded wedge of cast concrete, for seating. Interior modifications were designed to pull and fold away from the original aged wood stud roof framing to expose and contrast old building layers with new interior assemblies to function historically and didactically. Particular interior assemblies within entry, reception and conference zones, are expressed as singular massings that float within the field of the building’s total interior volume. The resulting experience creates unmoored geometries that physically engage visitors upon entry. These fractured moments redirect and attenuate circulation along an angular approach that wraps and compresses around the client conference space before reorienting and expanding the visitor’s view into the large, open studio space and private offices beyond.

Meeting Street While designing at SA Architects I was given the opportunity to conceptualize, design and develop the Meeting Street Center, a 76,000square-foot building situated on a nine-acre campus specializing in special-needs educational, therapeutic and diagnostic services to over 3,000 children and their families each year. The main design objectives for the campus include: creating a dialog between an unfolding urban landscape and the natural environment, developing public spaces that engage students through overlapping meeting spaces, indoor gardens and galleries, outward gestures into the landscape to engage its surroundings, an expansion and contraction of spaces in order to create private/intimate corridors that morph into public/social spaces for gatherings, and fragmented/linear circulation that combines notions of “hallway” (mechanical) and “pathway” (organic).

Corrales Comunity Pathway + Pedestrian Park The current pathway along the shoulder through Corrales, New Mexico is a wasteland, an unsafe, poorly maintained, hostile space where pedestrians, realistically have no place. The challenge of this project was to transform an isolating and dangerous highway shoulder from an unsafe, unstable and detached space into a place of engagement, immersion and balance, centered around the pedestrian’s experience and their safe travel along the Corrales Road Commercial Corridor. In addition to designing a safe and enjoyable pathway, secondary automobile circulation needed to be addressed. From studying the unobstructed nature of automobile access off Corrales Road, there was an underlying need to consolidate vehicular circulation, relegating its access along existing crossroads with connections and parking located behind clusters of adjacent commercial businesses. Lastly, the goal in developing a larger community park within the commercial core of Corrales was to create a social center for community activities and individual repose. The design aesthetic was executed through traditional agricultural patterns and proportions. The design and layout of the landscape reflects long lots, celebrating the village’s deep ties to acequia-based farming. The landform shapes and overall tectonics of the community park are derived from soil architecture, planting patterns and mechanical forms.



Pawtucket Day Nursery This addition was generated from the idea of tumbling blocks and the energy of the primary inhabitants of the space – children. The interaction between new and existing construction is energized through the use of familiar textures renewed through alternative building materials and skewed geometries These interlocking geometries stimulate conflict and contrast, harmony and comfort – creating distinction between the new expression and existing structure while remaining readable as a whole. Designing with these parameters in mind a conceptual translation was developed corresponding to the energy, enthusiasm, playfulness and logic existing in the creative minds of children.

Construction Of Art Vanguard at the Armory A rapid assemblage of metal scaffolding and donated or scavenged construction and traffic mitigation materials were used to carve gallery spaces for a group art show in the endangered Cranston Street Armory. The challenge of the exhibition was to mediate between the soaring open web trusses and heroics of the 38,000-sf structure and the smaller scale of the art. The scaffolding slices diagonally across the grain of the drill hall, its vertical elements punching up through the massive volume of space to anchor the exhibit and lock back into the existing structure. This project was achieved through partnerships with the Vanguard Group of Artists, the Convergence International Art Festival and the Providence Preservation Society.

Surface Flux Surface Flux is an architecturally driven exhibit of spatial exploration through computationally designed and digitally fabricated surfaces. Each of the three surfaces have been inspired by a philosophical text that describes networks, objects or an individual’s relationship with their environment. The exhibit was created by Deborah Richards and Ken Marold and combines their unique and complimentary research and design interests. Computational design is a specific process where algorithmic or step by step logic is used to generate a design. We see algorithms with feedback loops generating design all around us in nature – from snowflakes to trees to the swarming behavior of a flock of birds. Architects have been designing computationally for hundreds of years by allowing embedded characteristics of materials to perform calculations. For the past 30 years architects have primarily used computers and digital tools to generate computational designs that explore materials and structures that can address a variety of problems in the built environment or create new types environments.


Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture Joined exhibition team as principle fabricator for all furniture and signage components in the exhibit. Components developed include: nine 8′ tall typographic elements, nine 9′ long freestanding workstations, one 32′ long bench, three architectural drawing display tables ranging in length from 7-12′, one virtual reality workstation, four stools Initiated fabrication, construction, joinery, and material research used for developing a novel assembly system and production workflow for creating of a collection of furniture pieces and large-scale objects using honeycomb cardboard and wood. Subsequent R+D resulted in a provisional patent Also developed and instructed a supporting student fabrication seminar titled ” Topological Ecotones”. The works produced in this seminar were also part of the Fred Jones exhibit.

Acoustic Diffusion Panels This three-dimensional sound diffusion panel prototype is designed for installation into sound recording spaces or other areas with acoustical control needs. Using a 7×10 grid array distributed across a 1-foot x 2-foot panel, each element or single ‘pixel’ within the array undergoes a series of modulations in their normal angle, extrusion height and side angles, and central void spaces. Through these unique modulations per pixel, the panel provides excellent multi-reflection on both vertical and horizontal planes in sound critical spaces. It performs on mid and high frequencies, brightening and clarifying sound and is designed to evenly scatter sound energy and help eliminate comb filtering and flutter echo, acoustical problems that can seriously affect the clarity of sound in a room. The prototype was parametrically generated through a custom written acoustic form finding algorithm using Rhino3D and Grasshopper. This algorithm allowed for unlimited visual iterations while performing optimization and energy calculation to determine the performant characteristics of each pixel manipulation.

Carbon Fiber Connections

Sweet Crude Examining the history of oil extraction in the state of Oklahoma through the expression of a physical form that directly represents energy expansion across the state through years of incessant growth starting in 1945 and continuing to the present. Each individual piece embodies a single operator’s oil extraction well location. Designed to incite a dialogue and increase community awareness around groundwater infiltration, contamination and the danger of over consumption and unchecked growth. Aesthetically, a grotesque form emerges from the pure drilling data – a sinuous extrusion of folded connections results in an oily viscera — a timeline described through blackness, a vein of contamination and the corrupting, nocuous outcome of greed and overconsumption.

Volumetric Aggregations

Cellulose Bookcase This shelving system was created to explore the cellular alignment found in wood and plants. The shelving and sides are made of yellow pine, black walnut, and compressed wood fiber board. All of these components represent the cellular walls of of wood. The voids, typically filled with water at a cellular level are replaced at a macro level with manmade refined cellulose — books. The pine shelf ends are oriented to expose the end grain thereby developing a dialogue between it and the highly magnified graphical representation of offsetting and volumetric variability that is present but imperceptible in the yellow pine to the naked eye.

Cholla Looking at pore patterning throughout hardwood xylem this work seeks to recreate natural patterns through code. The final piece is milled on four sides from a single mass of walnut heartwood and reflects at a macroscopic level the unseen structural dynamics found in wood at a microscopic level.

Andraditic Mass With its initial beginnings as a milling exercise to produce a series of mitered polygons that form a single complex polyhedron, new opportunities for exploration emerged with the idea of introducing layers of real-time interaction. Continuing research into responsive surfaces, I am looking at integrating physical computing, computer vision and responsive movement within the polyhedron shell. These three systems offer a huge range of fabrication and embedded electronics research opportunities that I have started to explore. My goal after this initial research will be to bring these systems up to an architectural scale in order to study the impact of these responsive systems in built environments.

Asher Chair Concept for a furniture system that functioned as a didactic assemblage – to illustrate connectivity and analog/digital relationships. Both of these factors influenced the ideas that went into this chair. Version 1 of the system (green connections) was first envisioned as a modular kid's chair. Wanting to work with wood but also developing and manufacturing a printable connective system that could snap together (and unsnap) so that as an individual grew, they could swap out the wooden panels to adjust to their size – to re-engaging the furniture in order to actively modify its dimensions. In version 2 (white connections), snap-fit parts were swapped with bolt though connections for a more robust connection system necessary for adult sizes while still maintaining the ability to flat-pack the system for shipping.

Elemental Worlds The Science Museum Oklahoma Elemental Worlds exhibit consists of a two-part custom designed hardware/software system coauthored with Pete Froslie. The interactive exhibit fully engages and immerses visitors into a virtual dynamic environment and includes both touch-based interactive experiences and ultrawide panoramic projected environments. Visitors design an array of digital creatures and customize their selection through a set of digital drawing tools. Using a touchscreen, visitors use touch gestures to apply color, select drawing tools and bring their creations to like within a surrounding projected virtual environment. The projected environment is a rich and immersive experience with time-of-day-based dynamic lighting and weather, gorgeous atmospheric effects and interactive AI driven wildlife. Despite its playful, lighthearted nature, the project offered a number of research opportunities. Of primary note, the development of novel processes to dynamically consume twodimensional visual data and apply it as a wrapper to three-dimensional objects that are projected in real-time.

Gonzo Cubes Gonzo Cubes are 10,000 uniquely generated digital collectibles living on the Polygon blockchain. Each Gonzo Cube is unique and programmatically generated from over 570 possible traits, including expressions, headwear, accessories, body and leg parts, fillings, specials, suprises and more. Every cube is gonzo, but some are more gonzo than others. Owning a cube gives you an unprecedented advantage and exclusive access to a growing number of members-only benefits. They’re cute, kind of gritty, pretty twisted, not afraid to get nasty, and always up for gonzo challenges. Gonzo Cubes are tough little nuggets and ready to jump into our first play to earn game launching in the Gonzopolis metaverse, Gonzo Fight Club (Q2/2023). Battle other cubes for dominance, rule the scoreboard and leave with the biggest stake! Gonzo Cubes are built to serve community, gaming and utility-oriented projects. We want all Gonzo Cube holders to have access to exclusive benefits that are rewarding and fun and that’s why we’re bringing our best ideas to the table when it comes to growing our ecosystem and elevating our community.

Squall This project examines environment and extensive development and sprawl, pulling our view back to view the approaching storm. Examining infrastructure and encroachment, this project uses geo-tagging as a way to record spatial coordinates that, when connected, tag a message onto an area of ground. GPS points were dropped within and around Petroglyph Estates, a cookie cutter creation of southwest suburban sprawl. This residential development abuts Petroglyph National Monument. Petroglyph National Monument protects more than 24,000 petroglyphs carved into the volcanic rock in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drawings and symbols were created 400 to 700 years ago, mostly by ancestors of today’s Pueblo people, with some later additional art by Spanish settlers. The site is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America.

Prairie Fire

Dixieland Death Cult

The Drift A drift, or dérive is an unplanned journey through a landscape, on which the subtle aesthetic geographic contours subconsciously direct a traveller, with the ultimate goal of creating an entirely new and authentic experience. I developed this app as tool to encourage new ways of seeing our environment and to support courses dealing with web interactivity in order to engage students in developing photographic series of work that they may incorporate into their interactive web art – to act as a catalyst to develop new creative trajectories.

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