Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marcus Studio v.3

Marcus Prize Studio 2010

10 Proposals for the City.

Alejandro Aravena

Ryan O’Connor

"The greatest difficulty of this vertiginous and massive urban growth in world globalization is that the socially conflicted city and the wealth-generating city are joined in an unprecedented way. Never before has the relationship between the city as a problem and the city as an opportunity, between the city as a time bomb and the city as a goldmine had such clear ties to cause and effect.” –Alejandro Aravena

Scope: Attractive Milwaukee, Inclusive Milwaukee

The context of this studio, is that we should operate from both ends. To make a city competitive, identify and implement proposals for the elite and for the disadvantaged.

Attract the knowledge creators which are going to make the difference in the economies of the cities and countries by creating high quality urban environments able to persuade these people to choose this city: redevelop urban leftovers, improve public space connected to geographical events, enhance transport and mobility, intensify urban amenities and cultural offerings, have an excellent educational offerings embedded in the neighborhoods (one of the main reasons for knowledge creators to choose a city where to work).

On the other end, cities are a shortcut towards equality, since they can improve the quality of life of the poor, without having to wait for income redistribution. So we need to identify strategic projects that can reshape declining communities and neighborhoods and integrate them with the network of opportunities that cities concentrate, using housing, public space, transportation and urban infrastructure as tools.

Students will each identify a problem or opportunity in the city, which belongs to the broader discussion (newspapers, city council, academia) at very different scales and create an architectural or urban proposal that then can be collected into a set of propositions for the city.

Why take the Marcus Prize Studio?

  • Internationally known studio
  • Work with an internationally respected architect (Icon Magazine online: top 20 architects under 40)
  • Professional publication opportunity (e.g. Skycar City, available at
  • Exhibition potential (e.g. Marcus Prize 1: Skycar City, exhibited at Venice Bienalle, Marcus Prize 2: Designers as Builders, exhibited at Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Berlin)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Design Thinking

“Design thinking is an approach that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods for problem solving to meet people’s needs in a technologically feasible and commercially viable way. In other words, design thinking is human-centered innovation.” —Tim Brown (IDEO)

Design challenges are inherently complex and deserving of more than a step-by-step plan in order to resolve emerging nuances and provide pathways to implementation. Because design is messy and non-linear, each project we do is bespoke. We customize it for the challenge at hand. The scoping of the project plan is when our approach starts to take shape, and where our partnership with you begins. We refer to our overall approach as "design thinking": a means of problem solving that uses design methodologies to tap into a deep reservoir of opportunity. These methods include observation, prototyping, building, and storytelling, and can be applied by a wide range of people to a breadth of organizational challenges.

An inherently shared approach, design thinking brings together people from different disciplines to effectively explore new ideas—ideas that are more human-centered, that are better able to be executed, and that generate valuable new outcomes.
Design thinking also enables us to collectively tackle problems and ideas that are more complex than the lone designer can imagine: inaccessible healthcare, billions of people living on a few dollars a day, energy usage outpacing the planet's ability to support it, education systems that fail students, and beyond. These problems all have people at their heart. They require a collaborative, human-centered, iterative, and practical approach to finding the best ideas and ultimate solutions. Design thinking is just such an approach to innovation.

CEO Tim Brown is using his blog to share ideas about design thinking.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Connect the dots:

Connect the dots: Dubai, labor, urbanism, sustainability, and the education of architects

By Michael Sorkin

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Imagining Recovery Competition Entry

Team: Ryan O'Connor, Dan Hesketh, Kevin Dunphy

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Transient Studio: On Temporality, Scale and Movement

New Studio for Fall 09 - SARUP

“… space is not a passive, unchanging physical object inside of which interesting things happen but is actually the interesting thing itself: a living tissue constantly changing and adapting to events. Indeed space is created by those events and is inseparable from them: it is an event or organism itself and not just the container for them or a background phenomenon.”

Sanford Kwinter

Milwaukee exists on the edge of a unique global geographic feature, Lake Michigan. Historically this edge was either privately owned or exploited for industrial purposes. It was not until the 20th century that this edge became a mediator between City and Horizon; a new urban concept was created: Recreation. Milwaukee exploits this edge in various manifestations. This studio will isolate a position/duration along the edge, specifically the Summerfest grounds due to its unique urban, temporal, and ‘Event’ spaces. It remains at once a permanent Milwaukee fixture and yet is highly transient, fluctuating between being activated and de-activated.

This general area is bounded by 5 sides, each with its own duration and scale. It is bounded to the south by the port entry; the north by the Milwaukee Art Museum; the east by Lake Michigan; the west by the Third Ward; and above by I-794.

The studio will use several sites within or near the Summerfest grounds and, through two projects and several exercises , explore the themes of Scale, Temporality (i.e. winter vs. summer, day vs. night, auto vs. human), and Movement. These issues by their very nature cannot exist in isolation; each is established through relative judgments, producing a multiplicity of complex physical, social, historic and temporal relationships within and around this piece of urban landscape.

Diagramming and physical model exploration will be used in conjunction with digital fabrication/emergent design techniques (knowing scripting is not required). Emphasis will be on developing and honing students’ design processes and artifact production.

Students should have a general knowledge of a 3D software platform, rendering program(s), and use of the Rapid Prototyping Lab.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

lecture april 6th

learning designing making

room 345 -

trevor you can come too.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SARUP finally questions/replys/questions...

i hope this is contagious...
great stuff!

i will be giving a presentation to my studio, 820 in the next week or so (location tbd) ... those interested may attend. Chris Ludwig's section of 420 will also be there. Most things I will be showing/discussing are well tread ground in the Microcosm studio - but if you need to kill some time... (it is mostly my current definition of architecture, process, and products...)

It is titled :

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Highspeed Train track - Pylon

A more detailed parametric study using rhino's grasshopper of the pylons used to support the train lines designed during my thesis:

Moire Wall

This grasshopper definition uses a base line as an input. From that 2-3 layers are created with differing curves to produce a Moire effect. Control over curvature, angle, shift height and depth allow for real-time study of the moire effect. Surfaces should be lofted over each 'fin', however much more tweaking is needed for this.

grasshopper tutorial links

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The Great Recession

How are leading architects coping with the global financial storm?

7 January, 2009
By David Littlefield

As architecture is battered by the chill winds of recession, how do leading firms plan to cope with the lean years ahead? David Littlefield asked some of the world’s largest architecture practices about their strategies
"Now, having shrunk, firms may decide to stay smaller. Rather than opening new offices in distant cities or hiring experts in special building types, they may rely increasingly on alliances with other firms. And rather than adding full-time staff when work comes in, they may continue to hire temporary employees."

Recession Is Ravaging Architectural Firms
Published: Sunday, May 17, 1992

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pleated Developable-Curve Wall

the input is the two rail curves for the double curve surface.... the grasshopper script divides the surface into folded triangular pleats which do not contain any bending.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

CoffeeSleeve - grasshopper

here is my newest project: with Chris Ludwig, we plan to make screen wall using coffee sleeves... so as a way to learn mor about grasshopper, i'm also trying to construct the geometries/ movement relationships in grasshopper/rhino. above is the sleeve alone... below they are arrayed along "cables" or pulls, like a mini-blind. the idea is they pulls can control the entire array of sleeves (this section is a work in progress)

pull chords about the same length

pull chords drastically different. note how the coffee sleeve responds.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Parametric? vs. Generative? vs. Logical?

"Although I more or less agree with that definition my personal view of Generative Design is slightly different. For lack of a better example I'm going to go with DNA. In its raw state, DNA contains all of the instructions by which life can be created. It will dictate the growth of cells as well as the type/characteristics of cells. Theoretically you could clone someone from their DNA and get an exact "copy" of that person (remember Dolly?). However, the end result of that clone would not be an exact copy. Why? The growth of cells is not dictated solely by DNA, but also by its interactions with its surroundings. Since the clone invariably develops in conditions that were different from the "source being" there will always be a difference between the two.

To me, this is the characteristic of generative design. Its not just a product of the parameters that generate it, but of the conditions that surround and interact with it. Even within that definition, there's a very thin line that separates parametric design from generative design, since both rely on defining their operations through external values. That thin line, to me, is parametric design being generated by a singular reference to an outside piece of data and generative design being generated by a multitude of references an some interpretation of those references in an interconnected manner.

I've moved towards defining GH as a Logical Modeler rather than parametric or generative. The main reason is that most parametric modelers rarely focus on the link between parameters as an artifact of their process. Because of this, their process, though parametrically based, is still embedded within model itself, which is certainly fine. GH does not operate in this manner. The creation of a GH definition is more of a representation of the logical steps used to create a given output, where as with parametric modelers, the representation of the inheritance of all parameters is not nearly as evident. Considering the control, amount of information that is immediately available by looking at a definition, and the interaction with those logical steps I would certainly argue that THAT is an extremely valuable aspect of the GH process. I could possibly argue that the GH definition itself is more valuable than the output it creates.

As to the Generative capabilities of parametric modelers and GH, it all depends on how you structure the interactions with external data. A 1 to 1 relationship between a value and an output is more parametric in my book, where the interaction between a multitude of values is more of a generative approach.
Just my 2 cents "
Best, Damien

Monday, February 23, 2009


(rhino 4.0 book)
(all rhino news, all the time)

(designanlyze.... cool grasshopper tutorial)
(new grasshopper disscussion posts)
(very cool tools)
(3rd Party Rhino Plug-in. (beta version) begins to perform BIM type architectural element creation)