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Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control

fcaooc1.jpgWe turned my final submission for the Kinne Research Fellowship at Columbia into a big, beautiful book, published by Blurb. Jackie edited the original entries for an easier, more photo-focused flow (or because she thinks I talk too much). The electronic book can be viewed/downloaded on issuu, and if you want the unbridled, even-more-enthusiastic version, browse the original posts here. Also, definitely check out the interactive map that outlines the entire six-week trip after the jump. Now we just have to complete the second session in Mexico City. Fingers crossed we carve the time out this summer! more»

Kinne Fellowship Road Trip

kinne_990.jpgIt’s great to be back after a post-graduate road trip through the desert Southwest and northern Mexico. After a while, the wide open spaces had me longing for the confined claustrophobia of the city. I walked or drove through five international border stations, saw the sun rise over the Oscuras Mountains, toured a missile park and decommissioned nuclear silo, walked the Spiral Jetty, dreamed of lightning in central New Mexico, swam in the great Salt Lake, slept in a utopia, sped through a dystopia, shopped with polygamous Mormons, and hiked next to a legal brothel. All in all, I clocked over 6,000 miles in six weeks. You can read about the trip origins and research goals here and, because there’s still so much information to parse, you can follow the progress here.


_dsc5237b.jpgNo trip through the American Southwest would be complete without a stop in Marfa, Texas. The 1.6-square-mile town of roughly 2,100 owes much of its success as a major hub for minimalist art to Donald Judd, who, in 1979, purchased a large parcel of land—a decommissioned fort—that would serve as the palette for his reinvention of art outside of the New York scene. Today, the Chinati Foundation preserves Judd’s large-scale works, which can be found throughout the town. Perhaps his most identifiable work—his concrete blocks—are in a field adjacent to the renovated artillery sheds that house additional works by Judd as well as many of his contemporaries (most notably Dan Flavin).But about these concrete works: although inexplicably not part of the guided tours hosted by the Chinati Foundation, we actually found the self-exploratory aspect to be far more rewarding. (We determined that group tours make us feel rushed and, inevitably, lead to others—impatient as they are—feeling irritated with our slowing them down.) The rain’s coming and going gave us some torrential clouds and amazing lighting opportunities, and also allowed us to seek shelter within the structures themselves (although, it’s my understanding that that was somewhat forbidden). more»


beijing00.jpgWhen William Gibson said that the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed, he could certainly have been talking about Beijing. Through sheer force of will, swaths of the city leapt into the future, producing some of the most interesting urban experiments. All while creating amazing contradictions in proximity. Where else can you snack on live scorpions on sticks next to a gleaming nike flagship store. But it works, it was fun, and could provide infrastructural guidance for the u.s. I hope Jackie can go with me next time! more»

Heading East

yao_cctv_1024.jpgOne of the great things about this semester is that a component of our studio involves an overseas trip during spring break and the preceding week. Our studio at this point is broadly looking at future technology concepts through the lens of film, science fiction, and philosophy; and the role of the architect to shape that world. We’ve narrowed our trip down to half the time in Beijing and the other half in Tokyo. I was also thinking that a giant Yao Ming caryatid could have saved Arup a lot of trouble on the CCTV construction.

Two Down…

img01_1024.jpgCreating a parametric model in catia, whose inputs are optimized through the engineering program modeFrontier with additional structural finite element analysis coming from autodesk’s newly aquired robot. The challenge became how to convert your design position, parti, whatever, into a quantifiable metric that the software can optimize for. For instance, to optimize for material efficiency, you could let the software optimize a shape for maximize volume with minimal surface area. After 3000 designs you’d have a sphere, but things can get very complex fast when you begin optimizing for competing objectives. See our complete studio blog here. Project description… more»

From the Boroughs

johnlocke_05_1024.jpgCombining my favorite things: walking around aimlessly for hours on end, exploring new areas of the city, and taking pictures. See the complete collection at issuu here. more»

Airport Progress

render_1000.jpgBeginning of including the Robot structural analysis into the workflow. Running a script through catia, Robot can now dynamically update and change from fixed to free columns - a structural objective. While programmatic and surface are efficiency requirements tend to create hanging and clumping column elements that directly compete with the structural program, which will optimize the ratio of hanging vs. full height columns and the angle and placement of the supports. The interior airport terminal space is engaged in a dance to optimize for the most efficient arrangement to satisfy multiple objectives. more»

Evolving Designs_Midterm

mdterm_1300.jpgIf there’s one thing I learned from midterm, it’s that it’s hard as hell to explain these projects to a jury in less than six minutes, and unfortunately a lot of the discussions invariably include detours into how the process works and what exactly the parametric inputs and geometric objectives were meant to show. You can download the pdf presentation here, to get a better feel for the project, otherwise the general gist of the attached image is showing that after 23 generations of designs (100 designs per generation) the form started optimizing for structure and placed the columns at opposite ends of the space frame to minimize deflection. The columns include programmatic space and another goal was that they begin to clump together and cease to be columns, but begin to evolve into stalagmite forms hanging from the roof. The challenge moving forward becomes to begin to wrap the design possibilities into a coherent narrative regarding an airport in the completely insane site in Mumbai. more»

Breeding Designs

experiment05_1024.jpgMix up a little computer science, genetic algorithms, with a touch of structural analysis and a bit of Architecture and you have our Proof3 studio. We’re using an exciting suite of programs - Catia, ModeFrontier, and Robot Stuctural Analysis to ideally create “unexpected, high-performing designs.” Parametric modeling software can produce infinite variations of the same design, and the goal of the studio is to use metrics and performance based testing to produce optimal solutions through the process of testing. Visit the studio blog here.


new_rend1000.jpgSometimes you can’t let a project go. Working on some renders for my ultrareal class in 3dsMax using my project for the summer. more»

Final Proposal, First Semester

img01_900.jpgMoving forward from midterm, I began identifying eight specific sites in the six battleground states that will have the most impact on the 2008 election. Two sites were explored further, specifically the purplest county - Franklin - in the purplest state - Ohio - located in the Columbus metroplex area. The Easton Town Center in Ohio displays a number of contradictions, home to the largest university in the country, but also numerous military contracting connections, including North American Aviation which manufactured components for the B-1 bomber in addition to missiles and guidance systems.Each site was chosen not only for its status as a battleground state, but also as the 21st century incarnation of what constitutes public and civic space in America today, the outdoor shopping, dining, living spaces that are labeled as the new urban Town Centers, evolutions of the 1970s covered mall. If the goal is to affect and inform the greatest number of voters/shoppers, this is where the project would have to go, a placeless place lacking any form of civic engagement. more»

Pavilion Fabrication

detail_900.jpgWe had free range of the lab this summer, and tried to use as many of the machines as possible: waterjet aluminum, foam milling with plaster casting, and metal cnc milling of a 1″ thick slab of aluminum (inaugural use!) for the joint capsules. It all came together in five minutes, ten minutes before the presentation. more»

One Down…

image_01_web.jpgMy first post-grad review wasn’t the trial by fire I feared. It went pretty well and once I get my thoughts together after a deep rest I’ll post the final project. Teaser image for now…

Campaign Fever Midterm

render00_950.jpgWith a very short breather between the midterm and the rapidly approaching final, I have some time to compose my thoughts and push forward. The jury comments were very helpful and the discussion centered around how to further flex the project by reconsidering the scale and configuration. How will this encompass a debate with 500 people, but also a rally with 80,000 people. The first step will be to choose a site and further explore how the platform can engage in diferent locations. Also, to further think about what the moveable skin can project - what are the possibilities of a future technological billboard. Campaign Fever 3010! more»

Political Fever - Stump Speech Platform

speech_900.jpgLiterally three weeks after the studio lottery we had our first review. I’ll try not to post too much school work here, but since it’s pretty much all I do everyday and my twos of fans are clamoring for images, I present the first phase of our project - the stump speech platform. I was looking at the idea of an easily deployable core component structure that can be arranged in multiple configurations. The form that hangs from the structure can be adaptable to the situation, from the single expandable billboard of Barack Obama’s individual stump speech that can be unfurled for a rally, to the rolls of paper the candidates run through, when they face eachother at a debate. All the projects in the studio were really exciting and it will great to collaborate on ideas together. As we move forward, I hope to get more hardcore into the parametric and fabrication aspects of the project. more»