Graduate Research Studio
Fall 2009

This research studio builds on the Situated Technologies Research Group’s yearlong investigation on atmospheres. It explores the instrumentalizing of air within architecture as a method of space-making, environmental control and construction. We began our research with formal investigations of pneus and other air actuated structures, from which we developed a catalogue of design strategies that examine architecture and engineering literature on building techniques as well as notable examples of built and unbuilt constructions. We also revisited the extensive research and experiments conducted by the Institute for Lightweight Structures under the direction of Frei Otto as a basis for developing our own methods using computing and fabrication tools. Our focus was on the responsive and adaptive qualities of this architecture- ease of deployment, formal variation, mediation of forces and lightweight material technologies.

The studio applied this research to the design of architectures for the freeway. The freeway is a non-place primarily experienced through movement and duration. Drivers perceive its space as a sequence of events unrolling cinematically through their windshield. It is the site of multiple desires including freedom, rootlessness and new beginnings. However, the highway is also a place, located within specific geographies whose atmosphere is radically affected by its presence. Changing air turbulence causes adverse environmental effects including, noise pollution, increased ozone, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions, and heat sinks, all of which affect the health of local populations and ecosystems. We approached the highway site with some anxiety seeing it both as a non-place open to projection and as a place, contingent on the specific needs of a local population and ecosystem. We researched ways in which its atmosphere could be monitored to better inform and engage drivers as well as actuate a variety of architecture to mediate its turbulence within the local environment. These proposals programmatically range from pollution control, energy harvesting, traffic control, driver safety, driver perception and driving entertainment.

Visit the studio website.

Toward the Sentient City


An exhibition critically exploring the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing, architecture and urban space.

Day For Night


Day For Night was a temporary architectural environment that operated on the street life of downtown San Jose, California […]

Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series


The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism.

Propagative Urbanism


Propagative Urbanism is a way of thinking about shaping the architecture of urban space in terms of a bottom-up, participatory approach to the evolution of cities.

Sentient City: ubiquitous computing, architecture and the future of urban space


Sentient City explores the experience of living in a city that employs networked digital technologies to remember, correlate, and anticipate.

Turbulence: Air Responsive Architecture


A graduate research studio that explores the atmosphere of the freeway and proposes various responsive architecture that engage its ecology.

SEEN-Fruits of your labor


An infrared urban screen for promoting dialogue and interaction between remote publics.

Relational Geometries


A technic course that introduces students to parametric design and rapid prototyping technologies.

Extreme Homeostats: the architecture of ill-tempered environments


A graduate design studio that develops responsive architecture for the NYC subway and addresses environmental health problems.

Media Robotics I: Physical Computing


This course introduces basic concepts and techniques for creating objects, spaces and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings.

Atmospheric Urbanism


Investigating how natural and artificial atmospheric systems can serve as models for the design, analysis and interpretation of the architecture of urban environments.

Configure Widgets