Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee: Performing Architecture
Charles C. Colman Lecture Series
Brandon Clifford mines knowledge from the past to design new futures. He is best known for bringing megalithic sculptures to life to perform tasks. Clifford is the director and cofounder of Matter Design Studio, a design practice and research lab. He is also an assistant professor at MIT. He received his Master of Architecture from Princeton University and his Bachelor of Science in architecture from Georgia Tech. He was the LeFevre Fellow at The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture. Clifford is a designer and researcher who has received recognition with prizes such as the American Academy in Rome Prize, a TED Fellowship, the SOM Prize, the Design Biennial Boston Award, and the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers. His most recent authored work, The Cannibal's Cookbook, demonstrates his dedication to bringing ancient knowledge into contemporary practice with theatrical captivation. His work at Matter Design is focused on advancing architectural research through spectacle and mysticism. He creates new ideas by critically evaluating ancient ways of thinking and experimenting with their value today. This work ranges from an award-winning play structure for kids to a colossal system of construction elements that can be guided into place with ease by mere mortals. He is dedicated to re-imagining the role of the architect and his speculative work continues to provoke new directions for design in the digital era.
Wes McGee explores the integration of advanced manufacturing technologies with design-driven workflows. He is known for innovating in the space of design and fabrication across a range of material processes, particularly in the application of industrial robotic tools to architectural production. McGee is cofounder and partner of Matter Design Studio and an associate professor and the director of the Fabrication and Robotics Lab at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Industrial Design, both from Georgia Tech. He has taught workshops and masterclasses across the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and in Australia. McGee has been recognized with awards such as the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, the Design Biennial Boston Award, and the ACADIA Award for Innovative Research, as well as multiple Architect Magazine R+D awards. His work has been published widely in books, periodicals, conferences, and peer-reviewed journals, and he has collaborated with an extensive range of architects, engineers, and artists. McGee's research revolves around the interrogation of the means and methods of material production in architecture, focusing on developing new connections between design, engineering, materials, and manufacturing processes as they relate to the built environment. At Matter Design Studio, he explores these techniques across a range of scales and materials, with the goal of creating new possibilities for design and architecture.
Matter Design Studio