Studio One

Studio One

Graduate research studio

The balance of agency in architectural design culture is not fixed, but rather is in a constant state of renegotiation.

Networks of actors in this material-semiotic space - designers and specialists, professionals and clients, software and users, data and drawings - compete to shape the diffusion of design authorship and the social distribution of design work. This reality has become especially apparent in recent years, as many cultures of design have embraced new and ever more sophisticated data-driven technologies, while simultaneously experiencing major territorial shifts and challenges to their domains of practice.

Recent developments in simulation have produced software that is at once easily-accessible and capable of effectively encapsulating specialist knowledge - thereby lowering barriers of entry, while simultaneously threatening the status of professionals. Similarly, new models of end-user programming have disrupted entrenched conceptions of the role of software tools in design. What was once the exclusive providence of a shrinking consortium of large corporations is now a heterogeneous landscape of designers-cum-toolmakers, populated by crowds of hyper-specialized plug-ins.

During this year-long studio, students speculate on the generative potential of this hybrid, collective, and diffuse notion of authorship, and the idea that in the contemporary context, agency is increasingly located in neither human subjects nor non-human objects alone, but in the composite associations between them. The setting of Northern California, the world's leading region in software development and innovation, combined with UC Berkeley's leadership in building science and simulation, provides studio participants with a unique opportunity to forge radically new design paradigms.

Spring 2015
Occupy Monument

The monuments that litter our cities must be held to account. Too often, they do not serve the infrastructural needs of the public, but rather serve the private interests of privilege. Too often, they do not represent the industriousness of the city's populace, but rather have come to be seen as boondoggles that benefit only the powerful. Too often, these public monuments are not in the interest of the public at all, but rather are some of the most irresponsible actors in the public sphere, contributing significantly to global climate change through inefficiencies of construction and operation. There will come a time when the public asserts its ownership of these monuments, and corrects this misuse of resources through the means by which otherwise powerless publics have historically asserted themselves - through occupation. This thesis speculates on the architecture of this occupation.

ten week project
From Hearth to Fire

Our discipline stands at an inflection point, a shift from static schemas towards an understanding of building as 'a material organization that regulates and brings order to energy flows; and, simultaneously and inseparably; as an energetic organization that stabilizes and maintains material forms.' To achieve this, we must integrate Luis Fernandez-Galiano's vision of energetic and material flows with one that accounts for the fluctuating context of contemporary society. To that end, this project interprets architecture as a system that embraces dynamics, in order to perform both functionally and socially. The proposed designs explore alternative methods that supersede the traditional methods of design, and takes on the realm of data-driven and rule-based design as modus operandi to position and integrate temporarily in architectural design.

ten week project
Displacement and Adaptation

The globalization of capital and the sharp rise in technical capabilities have produced major scaling effects in every aspect of social and economical factor. As architects who design for such societies we need to get evolved with technologies to be able to understand and author control on the relationships that we design for. As Tschumi suggests, architecture should be studied through the three axes of space, movement and event. He defines events as 'a particular item in a program. Events can encompass particular uses, singular function or isolated activities'. When events are added to spatial sequence, they are not qualified independently but they construct a narrative that can be articulated through architectural language.

ten week project
Ludic Office

The ubiquity of information technology has transformed the navigation of spaces at an urban scale, thereby forever changing the way we conceptualize the structure of cities. An analogous transformation at a smaller scale has yet to be realized, as we continue to conceptualize and design buildings from a pre-computational point of view. This thesis speculates on the potential of just this - what new forms of occupation might arise once we have shed the limitations of rational space planning and wayfinding? The contemporary office provides a programmatic context for the investigation.

ten week project
Rules, Adaptation and Inspiration

In this project, the systems inherent in a rule-based design take the position of a prompt, an artifice to activate the imagination of a human designer.

ten week project
The Office on the Street - The Street in the Office

This project reconsiders the relationship between the traditional spaces of work, the office, and the traditional public spaces in cities, the street.

ten week project
Explicit Design

Computational design forces us to be explicit about our intentions, offering an expedient process to precisely articulate the forms and relationships that drive our designs. Further, it empowers us as designers, amplifying our intended moves and propagating our design patterns at scales not possible through other means. Two proposals are offered that seek to exploit these benefits: a corporate campus in downtown Oakland, and four satellite offices across the world.

ten week project
Gestalt: A Negotiation of Publics

A reconsideration of an NSA data exchange hub re-imagined as a public library.

ten week project
Systematize Design Process!

This research explores the application of a total generative design system applied to every aspect of the architecture design workflow. The logics of games, parametric models, thermodynamic and daylight simulation are all brought to bear in this totalizing system. While some aspects of design are more sympathetic to automation than others, this project leaves no obscure corner untouched and no detail in a suboptimal state.

ten week project
The Machines in the Garden

This project aims to account for the potential new forms of architecture that arise from the spatial requirements of autonomous machines, of the humans that interface with them, and the relationship between these two. In contrast with overly utopian or dystopian narratives of an increasingly networked society, this speculation focuses on ways in which the efficient logics of artificial intelligence and the humanistic interests of people might synergistically combine for mutual benefit.

ten week project
Verified View

The visual experience of space is explored through two proposals: a corporate headquarters and a series of 'skybridge' connections between office towers in three cities. In each, a basic spatial logic is established based upon lines of sight, and generative of architectural form. Then, using the well-established ray-tracing techniques that underlie modern rendering engines, simulations of the visual character of these spaces are conducted to verify desired performances.

ten week project
Geometric Ground

Here, a series of day-care facilities are considered through the lens of positive and negative space.

ten week project
Fall 2014
Towards an Architecture Compiler

In computer science, a compiler is a program or set of programs that transforms human-readable source code into machine-executable object code. Compilers translate high-level descriptions of a set of intentions to low-level instructions for a set of actions. An analogous process may be found in architectural design, as the traditional design process proceeds from documents that describe a set of architectural intentions to those that detail instructions for actions on the building site. This project seeks to apply design procedures borrowed from software engineering to architectural design, and speculates on the potentials and problematics of an 'architecture compiler'.

eight week project
Get Lost

Here students propose a graphic presentation of a mental image of San Francisco, representing both a collective image of its inhabitants, derived from crowd-sourced way-finding data, and the individual impressions of authors new to this city.

four week project
Perfect Play

Students develop a 'board game version' of a previously developed design. This original board game is situated such that an instance of gameplay is generative of an instance (or possible version) of the related architectural design. In this way, the design of the board game serves to clarify the the design of an architecture, and prepare us to situate our designs in the context of an optimization.

four week project
The Berkeley Pipe

This project seeks to transfer the idea of the canonical test model from the domain of computer graphics to that of architectural digital fabrication. The form of the 'Berkeley Pipe' is proposed as an initial digital primitive that exhibits useful properties for the benchmarking of digital fabrication techniques.

two week project
Pawn Portmanteau

A design for new standard chess piece (selected from among the catalog of so-called 'fairy' chess pieces) which is generated as a parametric hybrid of two pieces from the standard Staunton competition set.

two week project