M.Arch. Studio Work

ARCH 5111 Core Design Studio I

The first semester design studio explores conceptual design in architecture and representation. Students integrate drawings, models, and theories to orchestrate architectural designs that include aspects of site, program, and context.

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Fall 2016: Bubbles, Bones, and Bodies: Manifesting Reciprocal Relationships between Anatomy and Umwelt

Course Overview

Bubbles, Bones, and Bodies investigates worlds bounded by enclosures at various scales, with an emphasis on exploring reciprocal relationships between beings, things, and their environments.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2015: Bubbles, Bones, and Bodies: Manifesting Reciprocal Relationships between Anatomy and Umwelt

Course Overview

Bubbles, Bones, and Bodies investigates worlds bounded by enclosures at various scales, with an emphasis on exploring reciprocal relationships between beings, things, and their environments.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014: Three-act Studio

Course Overview

Students build a strong analog and digital skill-set while exploring a wide range of ideas, design techniques, and modes of criticism through three "acts": memory, monologue, and penthouse. Their programmatic cues draw on experimental theater and a unique play authored by Jean Cocteau (1889–1963). The sites are within and without the celebrated La MaMA Experimental Theatre Club.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 5112 Core Design Studio II

As a continuation of the first semester, the second design studio focuses on investigative process in architectural design and site planning. Using different tools — drawings, models, and digital media — students experiment and discover design possibilities.

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Spring 2017: Primitive Games

Course Overview

The studio explores the process of architectural design through a series of exercises that drew from and built upon one another. Students engage in the analysis of a precedent, the design of a game and a set of game rules, and the design of a primitive construction, each informed by the procedures investigated in the preceding exercises. Through the exploration of variations of this primitive structure within different contexts, scales, and programs, students arrive at a proposal for a preschool in the city of Skaneateles, New York.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2016: City-Building

Course Overview

The studio explores the urbanism of buildings: the conjecturing, in architectural works, of subjects/occupants and the choreography of their interrelationship in space and time. At their most ambitious, such constructions can be seen as tectonic experiments on policy — figurations of civic entities and engagements made concrete in the many ways that architecture divides and joins.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015: City-Building

Course Overview

The studio explores the urbanism of buildings: the conjecturing, in architectural works, of subjects/occupants and the choreography of their interrelationship in space and time. At their most ambitious, such constructions can be seen as tectonic experiments on policy — figurations of civic entities and engagements made concrete in the many ways that architecture divides and joins.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 5113 Core Design Studio III

The third semester focuses on relational and ecological design thinking through interpretive, analytical, programmatic, and generative uses of digital media. The emphasis is on context, nonstandard architectonics, and systems in the design of a midscale building.

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Fall 2016: Bike + Station

Course Overview

The studio explores the dynamics of form through the program of a bicycle station sited in the historic Navy Yard of Philadelphia. Through this context, we examine existing precedents and platforms in computational design. Central to the studio is the formation and construction of dynamic surface architecture and unitized modules for bicycle storage through a rigorous and playful exploration of geometry and matter in the context of the bicyclist in the city.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2015: Nanofab and Atomic-Level Design

Course Overview

Nanotechnology is an emerging science in which new materials and tiny structures are built atom-by-atom, or molecule-by-molecule, instead of the more conventional approach of sculpting parts from pre-existing materials. The project aims to design a new nanotechnology research center for thin crystalline materials, a real project called CASCADE (at proposal and funding stages) that will be based at Cornell University.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014: Car Park Theatre

Course Overview

The studio explores the dynamics of form through the program of a car park theater sited on the East River in the heart of Brooklyn. Central to the studio is the formation and construction of dynamic surface architecture through a rigorous and playful exploration of geometry and matter in the context of the current and future storage and performance needs of the car in a city with ever pressing ecological requirements.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 5114 Core Design Studio IV: Integrated Design Practice

The integrative design studio, located in New York City, focuses on the development of architectural design with aspects of building systems and constructability in collaboration with New York City architects and consultants. Students pursue opportunistic exploitation of practical restrictions that can provide the catalyst for architectural invention.

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Spring 2017: Re: Public School

  • Jason Long, OMA Visiting Critic (spring 2017)
  • Yusef Dennis, OMA Visiting Critic (spring 2017)
  • Scott Abrahams, OMA Visiting Critic (spring 2017)

Course Overview

The studio explores the role of architecture in current issues that public education faces. Through the comprehensive design and investigation process of an 80,000-square-foot junior high school, students explore the systems that underpin and shape the experience of education and the public nature of both the typology of a school and the institution that it houses.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2016: Municipal Arts Society in the West Village

Course Overview

Sited at a critical urban intersection, in the context of an ever-changing neighborhood, and on a geometrically unique gateway site, the studio's project provides an opportunity to investigate civic identity, public space, community, and memory in the West Village through the design of a new headquarters building for the Municipal Arts Society of New York City.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015: Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station

Course Overview

The studio examines the complex relationship between urban ecologies, civic infrastructures, and public space through the design of the new Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station and Environmental Center on Manhattan's west side. As an integrated design studio, there is an investigation into thermally logical site design, multivalent performance of roof structures, innovative skins and tectonic assemblies, as well as the demands of a complex site as catalysts for architectural design.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015: Art Space

  • Martin Cox Visiting Critic (spring 2014–15)
  • Timothy Bade Visiting Critic (spring 2014–15)
  • Jane Stageberg Visiting Critic (spring 2015)

Course Overview

Through the design of a new kind of cultural building that is part exhibition space, part community space, and part workspace, this studio explores the relationships between architecture, artistic practices, and public space today. As an integrated studio, our pedagogical goal will be the development of projects that synthesize a response to site, program, and cultural context into a conceptual framework for architectural design that guides the resolution of the project across scales and systems of structure, tectonic assembly, enclosure, and environmental regulation.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2014: Urban Maker Lab and Market in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Course Overview

Students seek to create potentials for architectural invention through the ruthless application of an excess of logic: the studio explores productive overlaps between structure and site, program and performance. The vehicle for these investigations is an urban maker lab and market in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. The facility comprises a collaborative fabrication space for new forms of bespoke digital manufacturing, providing the tools and resources for the prototyping, testing, and development of innovative products, ideas, and inventions.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 5115 Core Design Studios V: Expanded Practice

The fifth semester uses an expanded form of design practice to address meta-issues in global urbanism. This approach recognizes that architectural production is becoming increasingly heterogeneously networked, and that real-world projects are seldom defined by site boundaries, or the work of a single profession. On-site design research and speculation are used to situate projects within larger social, political, and environmental systems, creatively engage the perspectives of other actors shaping the built environment, and opportunistically orchestrate real world processes and interactions.

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Fall 2016: Bogotá's los Cerros Orientales: Constructing a Sustainable Relationship Between City and Nature

Course Overview

Starting with geo-data provided by an environmental advocate in Bogotá, student groups are given project sites within the city's Cerros Orientales boundary and tasked to develop strategic visions for site interventions along the eastern mountains of Bogotá. Decades of conflict in the rural areas of the country dramatically increased rural migration to the city, and Bogotá now has some of the largest numbers of inhabitants living in informal conditions in the world. Project proposals range from looking at the informal communities linked with the university neighborhoods to surgical interventions in the landscape.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2015: Incremental City: Bogotá, Colombia

Course Overview

Incremental City: Bogotá looks to explore the question in exploring how architecture might operate as an open framework for urban living. Following the city's own clues, and using housing as a vehicle and as a unit of urbanism in itself, the studio investigates principles and experiments in open architecture, flexibility, and adaptability to propose strategies for growing Bogotá.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014: Floating Cities: Mekong, Ca Mau, Vietnam

Course Overview

Drawing from contemporary resources and from the Mekong's own urban, landscape, and water traditions, the Floating Cities studio explores alternatives to current development proposals in considering fluidity, mobility, and indeterminacy as points of departure. The studio focuses on developing new housing prototypes in response to the shifting and emerging conditions in Ca Mau, the most southerly, lowest lying, and rapidly growing town in the Mekong Delta.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014: Water and the City, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Kunlé Adeyemi Gensler Visiting Critic (fall 2014–15)
  • Suzanne Lettieri Visiting Critic (2014–16)

Course Overview

Water and the City builds upon NLE's African Water Cities project and explores the convergence of rapid urbanization and climate change in African cities and communities. The studio travels to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and investigates its edge conditions to understand the city's transformation and potential adaptation as a water city. Student interventions range from the urban scale to the scale of street furniture, each one being equally powerful as an urban agent of change.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 5116 Vertical Design Studio VI

Students are assigned one of their preferred studios from an array of options, which are topical in nature and engage contemporary issues in architectural practice throughout the world. The studios are mixed with upper-level undergraduate students. The following studios represent a small sampling of option studios offered over the last few years.

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Spring 2017: Designing on the Limit

Course Overview

The studio takes advantage of the particular topography and geography of the volcanic island of Madeira in Portugal to explore notions of scale, program, time, materiality, and technique. Students investigate ways in which to read an unknown territory and the importance of past, using these to propose interventions that act as rehearsals on the future or even utopic and experimental projects within the general theme of a poetic architecture.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2017: Digital Ceramics, Clay Tectonics

Course Overview

The studio explores the possibilities that CAD/CAM and robotic technologies afford clay as a material. Investigating the ways in which ceramic blocks and tiles can work together with generative design and digital fabrication, it looks into the potential and importance of these materials as architectural elements.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2017: Site-Specific, Small-Scale Interventions

Course Overview

The intention of this studio is to engage in the detailed design of site-specific, small-scale interventions within the context of large-scale natural landscapes. The final project looks at the Lofoten peninsula in northern Norway. Site specificity in such remote places has a lot to do with the human beings who have been living there for centuries, their culture, and their understanding of their landscape. The design of the interventions is highly material-specific and closely detailed. Structural form and its relation to design ideas/concepts is of central focus and concern, as is the close relation of these interventions to their immediate site and larger landscape context.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2017: Havana II, Projections

Course Overview

An extension of the fall 2016 studio Havana After Nature, this studio is concerned with the environmental question of urban transformation in the post-Fidel era. Through methods of architectural inquiry which function from the scale of the construction detail to that of urban-territorial form, it analyzes a design problem of inter-projection: to reimagine the scales of prefabrication and environmental landscapes in terms of each other and propose alternative paradigms for the ongoing architectural-political project that is Havana.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2017: Weavers, An Artisan Colony in Downtown Bogotá

  • Julian Palacio Visiting Critic (2014–17)

Course Overview

The studio tests the capacity for material and spatial strategies to become catalysts for the transformation of urban areas by exploring ideas for the redevelopment of the historic downtown of Bogotá through the design of an arts and crafts center for a community of artists and artisans. In tandem with the contextual aspects of the project, the studio is also concerned with engaging materiality as a social and cultural project, and thus exploring the potential of one of the city's most widely-used materials — the brick.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2016: Villa Additiva, Design Research in 3D Printing

Course Overview

The studio introduces students to advanced digital fabrication tools and techniques in the field of additive manufacturing. By designing the manufacturing tool — a large-scale, 3D printer — as well as the object of interest — a villa — the studio is able to calibrate designs as well as manufacturing processes through direct and immediate feedback. Through a rigorous and iterative design process, students develop a comprehensive residential design project by utilizing digital form-finding, simulation, and streamlined fabrication.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015: Contemporary Monastery for Cloistered Monks

  • Suzanne Lettieri Visiting Critic (2014–16)

Course Overview

The monastery is a very special architectural type, with clear functions and rich symbolic baggage that has developed over centuries. The primary challenge is to create space conducive to reflection, focusing on elements such as light, sequence, and routes.

A basic question is 'time.' Can time be represented? Time, the most important material in the making and enjoyment of architecture, is unfortunately very scarce nowadays. The assigned place and theme should spark the search for, and enjoyment of, a stretch of time which can be measured and savored, and somehow, through architecture and its relationship with the environment, represented.

The project should be tackled in the spirit of actually materializing the architecture.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014: U.S. and Them: Architectures of National and Global identity, Venice Biennale, Italy

Course Overview

As an outpost of Office U.S., the U.S. component of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the studio investigates the U.S. embassy and its love/hate relationship with its host nation. Through the lens of ecological theory, students study embassy typologies in order to understand how U.S. embassies have been designed in the past (and present), and how we might be equipped to critique these practices, before entering into the manifesto and site-specific design phases.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2014: Right of Way, Queens Way, NY

  • Nahyun Hwang Visiting Critic (2014–15)
  • David Eugin Moon Visiting Critic (2014–16)

Course Overview

The studio operates in collaboration with the Sixth International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and the Trust for Public Land. Students explore variegated historical and contemporary notions of the (public) right of way and its future meanings in the contemporary city. The project harnesses New York City and its extended territories as the ground of experimentation.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2014: City S[t]imulator, New York

Course Overview

The studio builds on the critiques and promises of the Continuous Monument and its Supersurface: to reimagine the contemporary city (New York City), already a discursive mediated space, as reshaped by the energy of mass participation. New forms of visualization made possible by networked communication devices are exploited as s[t]imulators for new forms of urban space and experience.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2013: Winter Urbanism, Montréal, Canada

  • Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Visiting Critic (spring 2013)
  • Steven Chodoriwsky Visiting Critic (spring 2013)

Course Overview

Students interrogate the central and essential role of shelter: the housing, use, and maintenance of the city that was not restricted to just the human. The context for this interrogation is the city of Montréal. Students study the complex spatial forms and behaviors of the winter city — local and universal — from a variety of angles, employing analytical, observational, and design tactics.

Selected Student Work

ARCH 8912 Independent Design Thesis

As the culmination of the student's academic career in architecture, each student explores an independent design research project that defines an individual position and critical engagement with the discipline of architecture.

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M.Arch. Seminars

Accompanying the design studios are a range of seminars (both required and elective) that support and enrich the design curriculum. Below is a small sampling of the work produced in recent elective and required courses. Go to the M.Arch. Curriculum and Requirements page to view all the required courses.

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Fall 2016 Drawing City Manifestos

Course Overview

ARCH 6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation

With architecture and urbanism as modes of inquiry, city manifestos reflect architectural visions in relation to a broad spectrum of shifting sociocultural contexts and technological progresses. The seminar uses city manifestos as precedents for analysis and design provocation in order to elicit alternate resonances between urban attributes and imagery. Utilizing the theoretical underpinnings of city manifestos, students "invent cities" and critically position their work in relation to the precedents by generating derivative manifestos. The focus of the experiments is to build an in-depth understanding of manifestos by developing corresponding visual representations, as well as individual visual leanings by coupling scripted and manual digital methods. The exploration of digital representation techniques extracts the core elements (rule sets) of the precedent manifesto to generate a series of abstracted plans, axons, and perspectives.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015 Drawing from the City

Course Overview

ARCH 6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation

Project 1: A series of pencil drawing exercises using solids. The idea is to understand and imagine light and shadow casted/reflected on the plaster objects.

Project 2: Interior perspective of Grand Central Station to develop a technique of slow/quick drawing. The first slow drawing is made at the station, which serves as the original observation sketch for the next two drawings. The second one is developed quickly by extending perspective guidelines to expand the space from memory. This drawing reveals the horizontal and vertical sectional conditions that create the space occupied by the viewer. Adding another sheet on the first slow drawing, based on the quick sketch, the third part of this project is to imagine revisiting the site and to express the spatial depths of the station.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015 Expanding Mat-Organizations

Course Overview

ARCH 6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation

Informed by the mat typology in buildings, the course explores large-scale complex spatial conglomerations (mat-organizations) in cities and reconsiders urban formation as it relates to density, networked systems, hierarchy, program, and infrastructural frameworks. With the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta megalopolises as sites of investigation, students explore latent urban systems and relationships derived from geometrical and programmatic rule sets. The design research leads to a series of descriptive formal studies that establish new correlations between distinct urban layers and infrastructural patterns.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014 Constructed Drawing I

Course Overview

ARCH 5511

Constructed Drawing I introduces the topic of hand drawing through a series of technical investigations, supplemented by theoretical considerations. The course serves to introduce students to fundamental principles of synthetic geometry and techniques of projection — descriptive, orthographic, and perspective — and thus frames drawing as a mode of "geometrical thinking" that is inherent in the practice of constructing figures through instruments manipulable directly by the human hand. Students developed independent drawing constructions, mediating and transforming freehand methods through the systematic manipulation of geometric projection techniques.

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014 Adaptable Shell

Course Overview

ARCH 6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation II: Post-Digital Formalisms

How can the primitive form of a sphere be manipulated to interact with different types of materials? This study of form and materiality ends with an "adaptable shell." It starts with creating a primitive form with shell; form follows function, and generating deformation of primitive forms; rupture caused by force, the idea of further developing "flexibility" comes into place. Different types of overlapping shells in various types of materials are generated. The first stage of the project involves making overlapping shell models, using different 3D-printing materials, and pushing settings to the limit to experiment with different organizations of the overlapping shells. The behaviors of these shells are very promising in the cross-section of the model, not only producing new and unique shapes and forms but also having some flexibility in movement. To further explore the extent of the shell's structure, force is applied in different directions and rotations. These continuous attempts to enhance the idea of shell structure and forces that bring deformation to its primitive form come to its final stage of "semi-sphere to sphere" and "cube to square."

Selected Student Work

Fall 2014 Sympathy and Surface

  • Andrew Lucia Visiting Critic (2011–15)

Course Overview

ARCH 6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation I

This visual representation seminar examines the act of seeing, of mutual engagement leading to emergent perceptual qualities. Using systems and ecological approaches to the analysis and generation of surface and material organization, this course moves beyond traditional geometric aspects of the architect's palette while offering alternate understandings of form and appearance via the organization and order of light, and subsequently affect. This inherently favors the statistical over the geometric (the noisy over the pure) rooted in the structure of data and information. Beginning with the analysis and reproduction of Louis Sullivan's Ornamentation as an initial prompt, this project-based, experimental class was conducted through a series of digital and analog studies, accompanied by lectures, short readings, and discussion.

Selected Student Work

Spring 2015 The Jello Pavilion

  • Lorena del Río Visiting Assistant Professor (2012–16)

Course Overview

ARCH 6605 Special Topic in Construction: A Journey into Plastic

The Jello Pavilion is an inflatable structure in the spirit of Ant Farm: the avant-garde group of architects who revolutionized the use of plastics with the ambition of creating flexible, democratic, and fun spaces for people in the 1970s. Students in Lorena del Rio's A Journey into Plastic seminar conceived The Jello Pavilion as a collaborative design-build project to bring a wave of fun to campus during the stressful final weeks of the semester. With a budget of approximately $300, the pavilion is comprised of more than 100 plastic panels of various geometries secured together through a calibrated technique of heating. This thin plastic shell achieves its volumetric potential with a high-power fan that inflates air in through a tubular appendage in a constant way. A globular shape when fully inflated, the pavilion is easily manipulated into different formal configurations through the fastening of Velcro strips attached throughout the volume.

Despite its complex system of assembly, the pavilion portrays a simple image of fun and is filled with balloons and light projections at various times throughout the day. The Jello Pavilion is an opportunity for all to literally enter a bubble of fun in the midst of hectic campus life. It also carries on the tradition of plastics as a cheap, malleable, and flexible material with incredible potential for designers.

Selected Student Work