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The Master of Science in Architectural Technologies is a one-year, three-semester program focused on contemporary and near-future design technologies.

Coordinator: M. Casey Rehm

In a time when platform-based corporations like Katera, Sidewalk Labs, and WeWork have been encroaching upon territories traditionally associated with architectural practice, there is an increasing urgency for architecture to develop strategic practices that can work within the context of the growing prevalence of systematized workflows within design-oriented disciplines and industries. Moving forward, the program will seek to formalize connections between advanced topics in computational research with the rapidly developing innovations in platform applications, game engines, machine vision, and AI.

In recent years, Los Angeles has become an important international hub for technology startups, as companies have been drawn to the city’s unique geographical, cultural, and economic advantages. Tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Netflix have recently established a presence to benefit from the dynamic startup culture that is developing research and applications in AI, blockchain, and interactive media. Los Angeles is also the long-standing home to important venture capital culture and business incubators and accelerators such as Idealab in Pasadena, among others.

Students worked with research leaders Benjamin Bratton and M. Casey Rehm on a project funded through the Google AMI Focused Research Grant, to redesign downtown Los Angeles. The design proposals use a mix of scanning and generative techniques to amplify the urban environment's legibility for non-human perception. Students: Laure Michelon, Pedro Ferrazini, Sofia Ospina, Gonca Tunc, and Anthony Samaha

The program seeks to actively engage new models of entrepreneurship to maximize student involvement with multiple forms of technological expertise in order to bring disruptive ideas into reality.

A primary interest of the program is to investigate how new platforms are fundamentally transforming the way we inhabit and experience the world.

Though phenomena such as social media, data platforms, and automated infrastructures have not typically been thought of as problems of architectural technology, as machine intelligence converges with new managerial practices and automation, a new world is undeniably being built which is only beginning to be understood. In this contemporary context, the program seeks to engage the cutting edge of technology and develop new forms of architectural thinking.

Student Projects

Unexpected Aspects of Control

Agustina Alaines & Galileo Morandi Studio

“The unexpected is the object of design.”

The tension between the technical approach, the architectural -and human- interpretation of data and the material agency of some elements offers a blurry limit for unexpected aspects of a highly controlled process. An expandable system of buildings is approached at different scales -where the relationship of what is a part and what is a whole interchanges subject- and at multiple levels: urban, architectural and constructive. At an urban scale, the project is generated by a 2d designed process of image reading that decompresses spatial graphic information and determines the outlines of intervention. Immediately after, at an architectural scale, those perimeters are transformed into volumes. The tensions and hidden directions inside them are materialized by a repetitive component that offers a rich gradient of void-solidity and textures. Finally, when approaching the fabrication -either for a multi-material 3d printing simulation, either for real construction speculation- the support material needed in order to build the permanent structure becomes a part of the design. Instead of removing it, a slow process of natural dissolution is appreciated: the building will continuously re-propose itself from a formal and programmatic point of view. It's the non-control of the expected.

Hoax Assemblies

Carlos Navarro & Rishabh Khurana

The project speculates about the generative role of the image in the creation of objects. It acknowledges potential qualities inherent to images, both perceived or withdrawn, coexisting in an unresolved tension within a framework of a speculative reality. An image of an object having actual object qualities or being an object in itself is a matter addressed in the project, by exploring the potential of image processing techniques when confronted with real geometric generative processes. A series of rendering iterations of monolithic object assemblies are utilized to inform the project, producing a representational paradox in which both image and object coexist physically but in tension, resulting in a recursively eroding process and an even more indeterminate mass. Deliberately altered assembly conditions, through representation, drive predefined parts of the processed images to behave as entropic entities, hence portraying intricate misreadings and conforming new vague wholes

Programmed Ruination

Daniela Atencio & Camil Bosch

This project aims to investigate the tension between assemblage and monolithic readings. The project is a dialog between aggregated form and subtractive interventions which obscure the hierarchy of mass, tectonic and materiality. This approach blurs the threshold between artificial intervention and context through a systemic approach to entropic effects. A process of aggregation is used to form an artificial landscape, which establishes the foundations for the design of the Agricultural and Water Preservation Campus. This aggregation system formed a non-uniform body with moments where the landscape transforms into monolithic elements. After this aggregation process a second level of resolution is introduced using erosion. These natural phenomena of erosion are difficult to control and it acts randomly, so by digitalizing the process, its noise gets reduced, moving from erosion to a controlled artificial rustication. The result is an object that yields a tension between the natural and the artificial. This digital rustication is made possible by a robot arm that, following a precise tool path, textures the surface of the physical model giving it detail at an architectural scale.

Crypto-Architecture

José David Mejías & Daniel Horowitz

What is the aesthetics of the digital in craftsmanship or how the digital world could jump out of the screen on a dirty, imperfect physical environment?

The creation of objects is always a contemporary challenge that both architects and artists have to take into the game. Digital and analog are more and more close to each other creating a new uncomfortable space of speculation. The project is an experiment on how the human and nonhuman biases could possibly contribute in the creation of new types of objects, yet undefined and

speculative. The object has uncanny visual and physical results because it is not any more a predefined still object created through a linear human vision process. The object is created through a loop between traditional making technics and real-time ‘fab-creation’, where the object is partially designed the moment is being created.

The Aesthetics of Digital Craftsmanship

Arsenios Zachariadis & Hsiao-Chiao Peng

What is the aesthetics of the digital in craftsmanship or how the digital world could jump out of the screen on a dirty, imperfect physical environment?’

The creation of objects is always a contemporary challenge that both architects and artists have to take into the game. Digitality and analogicity are more and more close to each other creating a new uncomfortable space of speculation. The project is an experiment on how the human and nonhuman biases could possibly contribute in the creation of new types of objects, yet undefined and speculative. The object has uncanny visual and physical results because it is not any more a predefined still object created through a linear human vision process. The object is created through a loop between traditional making technics and real time ‘fab-creation’, where the object is partially designed the moment is being created.

Resurgence

Moheb Hezkial & Shabnam Moravveji

Our agenda was to discover a novel contextual relationship between architecture and its site. By utilizing alternative forms of perception to engage contextual information allows for an exquisite form of architectural production. In this project’s technical apparatus happen to produce a new style of representation. Using color information as an organizational model of the site lead to produce an alternative formal production for context. Through reading and misreading of information, drawing became space. Our aim was to create a unique form of spatiality derived from a found satellite image, by deriving a projection map and interpreting them through various layers of hue with a color based algorithm. Since satellite doesn’t reflect contextual history, drawings became a novel version of intuitively interpreting and projecting the future of the site

Biophilia

Burcin Nalinci & Sanhita Vartak

The project produces a platform that generates an autonomous agricultural system in order to reintroduce the nature into a domesticated environment. Historically, we define “wilderness” as an environment which is unknowable to humans, a complex ecosystem outside of the familial. Traditionally within architecture, we create a series of thresholds which mediate the house, to the medieval cities and to the agricultural field. Now, wilderness is an entire pocket within the larger Anthropocene. The project mitigates the danger and risks of human proximity to wilderness. Using AI, it reintroduces a domestic component to the environment, so that we can benefit from wilderness as a computational engine for evolving new chemical products. The Artificial Intelligence interface controls the autonomous aggregation of growing components by initiating plant growth, nurturing it and terminating it. The system operates between the risks of the rainforest and the luxury of the garden mall.

Hybrid Canopies

Mengtin Liu & Min Duan

This project explores different methods to extract formal and tectonic information from planimetric site images, translating them into three dimensional forms. In order to acknowledge the need for affordable housing and to improve the quality of pedestrian life around Glorieta de Insurgentes, three typologies of assemblage respond to the needs of this area: residential buildings, canopies and landscape structures. With the combinations of different material processes and performative ambitions, we are trying to extend the use of 3D printing techniques beyond extrusion into the fabricated world of architecture.

Bestrewn Composite

Elias Darham

This structure is an argument for the void in the solid void relationship and its creation of form. It blends the lines of the whole by creating structure through destruction of mass, subtraction from mass, and the combination of voids into wholes. The discussion is further blurred by the application of atmospheric pollution onto the form through a process of natural precipitation and electrostatic charge. An ever-changing form is deposited and eroded on the preexisting structure, bringing the creation of further solid spaces and their erosion to void into the fourth dimension.