Ecologics: Computational techniques for shaping the built environment

Friday 12:00-2:00.                                                                                                                                                                             Lead by Professor Dana Cupkova with TA Amit Nambiar
Ecology posits that all entities within a given system have thermodynamic relationships to each other and are bound together in complex exchanges of energy and information: an ecosystem. This workshop seeks to translate this dynamic exchange into a computational framework directly influencing design processes. Attendees will be introduced to computational design thinking, using contemporary parametric modeling as a method for incorporation of environmental data into systemic dynamic behavior and feedback loops. The objective is to speculate about performative architectural or urban systems, the morphology of which, are informed through design protocols that incorporate environmental data and simulation. We will engage design processes in which the metrics of the systems’ performance underpin creative exploration of organization and form. This exploration results in the design of a specific morphological component system.


Friday, 12:00-2:00. 
Lead by Professor Josh Bard with Richard Tursky.
As technology continues to play a larger role with architecture each forthcoming year, design and construction techniques start to become more and more complex, yet efficient. The fundamentals of architecture are evolving to satisfy the contemporary ideologies of makers in today’s age. Robots, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and many other tools start to redefine the possibilities from which initially were thought of as impossible. This extraordinary workshop, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University SoA's very own Josh Bard in cooperation with Richard Tursky, will allow participants to experience these future technologies live in effect as well as give them an opportunity to engage with coding and robotic exercises. Understanding the link between the digital and physical world and how it becomes a reality only further proves the prodigious importance of this workshop. Check out,, and, for more interesting information.

The race is really the prize : community engagement and the expanded role of design

Friday 2:00-4:00
ead by Christine Mondor, AIA, Carnegie Mellon University, evolveEA with Anna Rosenblum, evolveEA and Fred Brown, Homewood Children’s Village

Cities are interwoven diagrams of economic, social and ecological patterns and as architects, we synthesize these systems into form and space. While much of our expertise is developed around the technical and spatial aspects of performance and place-making, we do our work in communities whose beliefs, aspirations, and behaviors need to be woven into our design. No act of design is neutral and we need to develop methods that acknowledge the situatedness of community design.

This is especially important as we strive for design excellence. Innovative design requires advanced expertise in design and engineering, yet the most effective systems require community capacity to imagine, implement and steward the systems. We will need design methods that acknowledge the interrelatedness of social engagement and the built environment. This dual focus aligns sustainability as a wicked problem where technological issues are interwoven with social issues and puts the very definition of community as an issue of design.

This session will outline a new design problem for architects that includes both the “hardware” of the built environment and the “software” of community resource networks.  This session will be an interactive session where we build a better understanding of how we can creatively gather information and reveal community patterns while concurrently activating the community and building the community’s capacity. We will discuss the “expert barrier” that needs to be overcome when working with communities and will demonstrate human centered design methods that you can use in future practice. Lastly, this session will include presentations from both designers and community leaders to better understand working how this work is especially important in vulnerable communities or those communities who are least likely to have access to our profession.


Gesture and Design Process

Friday, 2:00-4:00.
Lead by Professor Doug Cooper

Years of teaching freehand drawing have suggested a connection between a gestural mark in sketching and ability in design.  I will discuss a correlation between the two by combining the research perspective of Embodied Cognition on hand gesture and  the drawing pedagogy of Kimon Nicolaides (The Natural Way to Draw).  The workshop will include brief drawing exercises and discussion regarding two reasons for the correlation:  1) A dynamic line character assists and sustains spatial imagination.  2) Variation of weight and precision bring a useful level of ambiguity to ongoing design thinking. Both imply changes in the digital workplace.