The Visual Studies sequence brings together a series of courses which link computational design, data analysis, and visualization, with a series of tools, methods and media for design and the built environment across a range of scales. Uses of computation in design—like data visualization, sensors and data analysis, simulation, optimization, procedural modeling, rendering, app design, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Building Information Management (BIM)—are embedded in much of what architects, urbanists, and designers do. Yet simply training students to use and think with these technologies is insufficient. From the scale of the project to that of the planet, the uses of computational design methods and tools are most successful when their limits and their contexts—technical, social, political, aesthetic, and ethical—are confronted and surpassed to show us new ways of imagining and creating space. The tools, data, and technology we deploy in the design process are never neutral. Faculty in the sequence take on discrete parts of this array and expose students to technical, critical, and creative ways to transform and develop their processes of design.
After spring break this year, as our work and teaching all moved online, the limits and potential of our communication and creative tools became glaringly obvious. As we all worked from home to flatten the curve, we also understood the ways in which data and space come together in palpable ways—politically, economically, socially, and personally. The #flattenthecurve diagram
, first conceived by microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW published on Twitter) has drawn together, choreographed, assembled and destroyed more than one ever possibly could have imagined with two curves (peaked and flat), two axes (time since first case of COVID and number of cases), and a horizontal line in between (showing the capacity of a healthcare system). The work this year in Visual Studies reflects a radical transformation in where, how, and with what tools and resources we managed to finish our work.
Visual Studies Sequence TAs: Lucy Navarro and Sarah Zamler
Architectural Drawing and Representation I
This course investigates the current concepts, techniques, and working methods of computer aided ‘drawings’ in architecture. The focus of the course is the construction of architectural representations. However, rather than just experimenting in technique, the course encourages one to define how these new operative techniques are changing the role of drawing in architecture. To this end, students study the operative relationship between 2d and 3d data, exploring the reaches of their analytic and representational potential. While the class is a foundational course in architectural computing, it builds on the student’s advanced ability to question, shape, and interrogate space and time. In doing so, the goal is to reassert the speculative nature of representation in the creation of conceptual, provocative, and data-filled drawings.
Students: Aya Abdallah, Alya Abourezk, Ryan Alexander, Nayef Alsabhan, Andres Alvarez Davila, Agnes Anggada, Henderson Beck, Nikolas Bentel, Henry Black, Livia Calari, Cohaul Chen, Karen Wan Jia Chen, Sixuan Chen, Xuanyi Chen, Adeline Chum,
Johane Clermont, Osvaldo Delbrey, Cara DePippo, Benjamin Diller-Schatz, Novak Djogo, Max Goldner, Anays Gonzalez Sanchez, Alexa Greene, Jiageng Guo, Gene Han,
Han Han, Sonny Han, Ava Heckman, Takashi Honzawa, Qing Hou, Chuqi Huang, Alyna Karachiwala, Gizem Karagoz, Jean Kim, Jules Kleitman, Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton, Meissane Kouassi, Farouk Kwaning, Jo Hee Lee, Jiafeng Li, Yi Liang, Bianca Lin, Minghan Lin, Yiheng Lin, Shuhan Liu, Yumeng Liu, Gustavo Lopez Mendoza, Yang Lu,
Andrew Magnus, Reem Makkawi, Charlton McGlothlin, Stephanie McMorran, Zakios Meghrouni-Brown, Camille Newton, Danielle Nir, Jinseon Noh, Mickaella Pharaon, Charul Punia, Yuchen Qiu, Keneilwe Ramaphosa, Jordan Readyhough, Nupur RoyChaudhury, Estefania Serrano Soto, Allison Shahidi, Jingyi Shao, Aditi Mangesh Shetye, Ansel Sidiadinoto, Lucia Song, Hannah Stollery, Kaeli Streeter, Bisher Tabbaa, Nash Taylor, John Trujillo, Hazel Villena, Adam Vosburgh Kylie Walker, Yerin Won, Muyu Wu, Duo Xu, Ruisheng Yang, Peicong Zhang, Hao Zheng, Hao Zhong, Joyce Zhou
Architectural Drawing and Representation II
As architects, drawing and representation is one of our primary mediums. We draw futures that don’t exist, spaces that haven’t been changed yet. We draw and visualize and represent and render new possibilities, new futures, new kinds of spaces, new imaginations. The tools we use to design, architecture, shape our understanding of what architecture is. Drawing and representation are not just ways of putting our thoughts into the world. They are also ways of shaping our thoughts and our beliefs, and in turn, what we decide to design and in turn, what architecture we believe should be designed.
What is the role of architectural drawing and representation in relation to our built environment? What are the tools that are used to draw and represent? How have they and will they shape the way we draw and design architecture? How can we find ways of drawing that can enable us to be thoughtful and exploratory designers?
Architectural Drawing and Representation II
is a class about drawing and representation, and it’s also a class about thinking about drawing and representation. The ultimate goal of ADR II is to incubate students’ personal relationship with drawing, representation, and architecture by considering drawing as a practice. Students are invited to develop their own style, and to invent their own drawing tools and representational processes. ADR II is an opportunity to play, explore new methods of representation, consider diverse points of view, test alternative outcomes, and to experiment with how our methods of representation shape our relationship to architecture.
This semester the class produced Spatial Quaranzine
, an ongoing online publication/zine about our present moment and near future, using spatial and architectural representations. Each week, we created a drawing or representation that connected with the themes Space, Collaboration, Time, and Agency. We gathered these drawings together into a collective project to be shared.
Students: Aya Abdallah, Alya Abourezk, Ryan Alexander, Nayef Alsabhan, Andres Alvarez Davila, Agnes Anggada, Henderson Beck, Nikolas Bentel, Henry Black, Livia Calari, Cohaul Chen, Karen Wan Jia Chen, Sixuan Chen, Xuanyi Chen, Adeline Chum, Johane Clermont, Osvaldo Delbrey, Cara DePippo, Benjamin Diller-Schatz, Novak Djogo, Max Goldner, Anays Gonzalez Sanchez, Alexa Greene, Jiageng Guo, Gene Han, Han Han, Sonny Han, Ava Heckman, Takashi Honzawa, Qing Hou, Chuqi Huang, Alyna Karachiwala, Gizem Karagoz, Jean Kim, Jules Kleitman, Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton, Meissane Kouassi, Farouk Kwaning, Jo Hee Lee, Jiafeng Li, Yi Liang, Bianca Lin, Minghan Lin, Yiheng Lin, Shuhan Liu, Yumeng Liu, Gustavo, Lopez Mendoza, Yang Lu, Andrew Magnus, Reem Makkawi, Charlton McGlothlin, Stephanie McMorran, Zakios Meghrouni-Brown, Camille Newton, Danielle Nir, Jinseon Noh, Mickaella Pharaon, Charul Punia, Yuchen Qiu, Keneilwe Ramaphosa, Jordan Readyhough, Nupur Roy Chaudhury, Estefania Serrano Soto, Allison Shahidi, Jingyi Shao, Aditi Mangesh Shetye, Ansel Sidiadinoto, Lucia Song, Hannah Stollery, Kaeli Streeter, Bisher Tabbaa, Nash Taylor, John Trujillo, Hazel Villena, Adam Vosburgh, Kylie Walker, Yerin Won, Muyu Wu, Duo Xu, Ruisheng Yang, Peicong Zhang, Hao Zheng, Hao Zhong, Joyce Zhou
To view student projects, visit the SPATIAL QUARANZINE site
User-Centered Design for Emerging Digital-Physical Environments
As emerging technologies such as VR/AR dissolve prior divides between the digital and physical experience, how can we draw upon interdisciplinary methods to design for the future mixed reality that is just around the corner? This course takes a critical and experimental approach to designing mixed reality experiences. Through readings, discussions, and hands‐on projects, this course examines principles of human‐computer interaction and “design thinking” together with qualitative and quantitative strategies in architectural research. Students survey latest technology developments and examine their implications for design and for society. They develop skills in user research, rapid‐prototyping, usability testing, and data collection as methods for excellent interaction and spatial design.
Students: Hajir Al Khusaibi, Dana Barnes, Yasmin Ben Ltaifa, Joyce Chen, Stone Cheng, Thomas Chiu, Bokang Du, Hector Garcia, Niki Kourti, Ri Le, Wenya Liu, Jingyi Shao, Yuanyang Teng, Shangyu Tian, Ian Wach, Tianyu Wang, Troy Williams Gelobter, Ye Xiong, Ruisheng Yang
Plants Augmented Reality Simulation
Objects Augmented Reality Simulation
Gym Privacy Bubble Augmented Reality Simulation
Brownies Augmented Reality Simulation
Mapping for Architecture Urbanism and Humanities
This hybrid theory/practice course provides an introduction to critical mapping discourse and geographic information systems tools. It examines both historical and contemporary questions with reference to the technology of mapping. Additionally, through the use of open-source GIS software (QGIS), browser-based technologies (Mapbox), and open data (OpenStreetMap), students learn how to critically use mapping tools and geographic data for spatial analysis and representation.
Students: Rachel Klepper, Samuel Kraus, Joy Tin Yan, Lee, James Nadel, Sungwoo Park, Tristan Schendel, Hai Lun Tan, Isabella Tincher, Jiacheng Wang
Joy Lee: Hong Kong History: A Century of Cinema, Politics, and Culture
Mapping Morningside Heights
This project asks: how do we use our physical neighborhood environment differently during the COV...
Chinese Grocers in Greenville, Mississippi
This project presents a digital narrative of the Chinese diaspora in the American South in the ea...
This class—cross-listed with Building Science & Technology—explores how technology can be used to leverage nature’s design methods to create new design workflows. Instead of designing objects, students learn to design systems which encode the full range of possibilities of a particular design concept. They then learn methods for measuring and quantifying the performance of these systems so that each design can be evaluated automatically by the computer. Finally, they create automated evolutionary processes which allow the computer to search through a design system to find novel and high-performing designs.
Students: Gauri Bahuguna, Ethan Bennett, Sritoma Bhattacharjee, Shuang Bi, Anirudh Chandar, Yixuan Cheng, Anna Creatura, Berkhan Eminsoy, Shaolin Feng, Hector Garcia, Abhinav Gupta, Mansoo Han Luyi, Huang, Jun Ito, Maini Ke, Daniel Kim, Shailee Kothari, Hyeokyoung Lee, Chengliang Li, Jacob Li, Jingyuan Li, Xinyue Liu, Frank Mandell, Kate McNamara, Isabelle Sophie Modler, Tung Nguyen, James Piacentini, Luo Qingkai, Amber Shen, Sarah Shi, Yixuan Shi, Christopher Spyrakos, Linxiaoyi Wan, Tianyu Wang, Wei Wang, Troy Williams Gelobter, Jingjing Wu, Yizhou Wu, You-Chiao Wu, Yile Xu, Yankun Yang, Jingyuan Zhang, Haocong Zheng, Chenyan Zhou, Xinglu Zhu, Luna Yue Zuo
A video compilation of projects is available here.
Tools for Show
Tools for Show is a technical and conceptual exercise in copying. While the architectural discipline has traditionally been concerned with the one-off, unique and custom object, this class explores techniques of replication, versioning, and scalability. In the age of digital reproduction, the authenticity of an artifact or experience is validated through relentless dissemination. Mediating between digital media and physical full scale replicas, Tools for Show explores the multiplication of objects, bodies, and spaces as a creative process in itself.
Specific to this class addressing changes made during corona:
The class collectively built a website showcasing the work produced in the second half of the semester. Each student created a detailed photogrammetry scan of a section of their interior and then used a set of optimization and filtering methods to display it on the web, sharing stories and previously invisible parts of their lives with their peers. These glimpses into the routine of life in quarantine allow for a reflection of what it means to share three dimensionality online. While not a replacement for physical visits and encounters, these virtual replicas allow for sharing of personal moments, sounds, narratives and movements.
Students: Siying Chen, Dylan Goldweit-Denton, Wendy Yunting Guan, Bassam Kaddoura, Ibrahim Kombarji, Byungryoung Lee, Isabelle Sophie Modler, Jihae Park, Wei Wang, Ziyue Wang, Qian Xu
To view all projects, visit the Tools for Show course website.
Going Crazy Getting Plants
This course is designed and taught as a bridge between disciplines — journalism and architecture. It provides students an opportunity to explore new forms of site analysis. Through pairing the processes of architecture and techniques of journalism, this course explores sites of New York City and the Hudson Valley Region. Students propose a site to investigate from a set of site topics identified for their unique connection to the city, their centrality to demographic populations, and their environmental impact — water, waste, transit, justice, and ecology & resiliency. Students work in groups under the direction of a practicing journalist who serves as editor to help groups explore and report on their site, spending the semester researching and constructing a geospatial narrative. Students conduct research, interviews, perform exploratory and advanced data analysis, and learn various geospatial visualization techniques to produce a comprehensive narrative. From spatial association to pattern analysis, geostatistics to classification, students will employ statistical and analytical processes that both informs their reporting and defines their narratives.
Students: Matthew Acer, Mary Allen, Mariana Avila Flynn, Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Osvaldo Delbrey, Ashley Esparza, Anays Gonzalez Sanchez, Gustava Gruentuch, Aayushi Joshi, Francesca Loiodice, Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic, Kunal Mokasdar, Sharvari Raje, Nupur Roy Chaudhury, Kirthana Sudhakar, Alek Tomich, Adam Vosburgh, Helen Winter, Sarah Zamler
The Contentious Vacancy of Midtown Supertalls
Gowanus on Repeat: Toxicity and Development
Seminar of Section
While most commonly deployed as a retroactive tool to describe constructional requirements or (in the context of the contemporary design studio) an automatic side effect of the digital model, this seminar re-conceives section as an instrumental and projective device. The goal is to provide students with techniques through which they can develop their own approaches to section as a vital analytical and design tool. The seminar also investigates the section to raise broader questions regarding the representational techniques that architects deploy and the complex interrelationship between delineation, ideation, and materialization.
Students: Sultan Alfaisal, Adina Bauman, Ethan Bennett, Benjamin Gomez Arango, Frederico Gualberto, Castello Branco, Ghaidaa Gutub, Hanseul Jang, Jolene Jussif, Sirenia Kim, Haoming Li, U Kei Long, Frank Mandell, Kate McNamara, Jae Kyun Park, Alexandros Prince-Wright, Aseel Sahab, Marcell Sandor, Sanggyu Shin, Adam Susaneck, Han Zhang, Yechi Zhang, Zixuan Zhang
Urbanisms and Algorithms
This course explores the data/urbanism gap and attempts to hybridize, spatialize, and subvert the two approaches of inquiry. Students work in teams to explore algorithmic methods and data visualization as a means of urbanistic analysis, communication, and speculation. Through data exploration, visualization and spatial analysis students develop projects to investigate new methods of design, development and policy in New York City. This course introduces students to a range of data collection, exploration, analysis, and visualization techniques and work with course instructors to establish projects, develop workflows to exchange data, and test proposals. This year we will frame projects through a single theme: How can we use the tools and techniques of this course to explore the potential impact and ethics of urban augmented reality / mixed reality and propose projects and policy for New York?
Students: Regina Joy Alcazar, Sritoma Bhattacharjee, Haitong Chen, Jacey Chon, Yuxin Hu, Chengliang Li, Xiaoxuan Li, Xinyue Liu, Jared Payne, Guangwei Ren, Ugur Tan, Brian Turner, Yao Yao
Architectural Photography: From Model to the Built Environment
The first segment of the class looks at various ways of photographing architectural models from standard depictions in which the images are meant to closely resemble a full-scale construction to alternate approaches that play with what the architectural model can communicate. It attempts to address themes beyond the presentation of a finished building or a rendering. The second half focuses on photographing various constructed spaces, both exterior and interior. The class discusses approaches to photography from “objective” to “ expressive” and explores notions of the iconic, the narrative, and digression in architectural photography.
Students: Isabella Bartenstein, Oliver Bradley, Seid Burka, Hao Chang, Maxwell Chen, Xuanyi Chen, Melissa Chervin, Haeri Choi, James Churchill, Hyung Rok Do, Wendy Yunting Guan, Jing Guo, Guillermo Hevia, Isaac Kim, Byungryoung Lee, Changbin Lee, Wenya Liu, Arvin Mirzakhanian, Rohan Parekh, Skylar Royal, Aseel Sahab, Vera Savory, Christine Shi, Liza Tedeschi, Jamie Vinikoor, Yankun Yang, Tim Zhou
Fall 2019 & Spring 2020
Techniques of the Ultrareal
The use of perspective and rendering is often an afterthought within the design process. The abundance of 3D modeling software and the ability to see every angle of a project instantaneously has confined these techniques to being a last minute tool for representation ‐ a required by‐product of the expectations of architectural presentation. This class challenges the participants to not only think of rendering and perspective as a method of presentation, but also a tool for design, implemented early and often within the design process. In addition to learning techniques for creating photorealistic renderings, we will teach a workflow that encourages early exploration. The class focuses on color, light, material, context, reflection, and opacity throughout the course of the entire design.This class looks for inspiration in many places, including photography, cinematography, and art.
Students: Alina Abouelenin, Stephanie Bigelow, Camille Brustlein, Chutiporn Buranasiri, Mercedes Castrelo-Huntley, Karen Wan Jia Chen, Greta Crispen, Yirmiyahu Gilbert, Gustava Gruentuch, Charlotte Sie W Ho, Eva Jiang, Begum Karaoglu, Talia Li, Shuhan Liu, Sixuan Liu, Xutian Liu, Genevieve Mateyko, Michael McDowell, Dylan Mo, Lucy Navarro, Maria Perez Benavides, Lena Pfeiffer, Xin Qin, Xinyi Qu, Peter Stoll, Angela Sun, Muyu Wu, Florencia Yalale, Charlotte Yu, Peicong Zhang
Fall 2019 & Spring 2020
This course is intended to provide foundational knowledge of relevant modeling software and visual programming interfaces, while also discussing contemporary applications of these tools in the industry. Each lecture is split into two parts: the first being a discussion about a particular topic, and the second part being an instructional demo. In the first third of the semester, students will utilize Revit to model an existing piece of architecture in New York City as a means to learn the basics of the tools with several lectures and tutorials that address more advanced topics. Students will then re-design their initial draft with this new toolset according to a conceptual proposal put forth at the beginning of the semester. This course is cross-listed with Building Science and Technology.
Students: Ethan Bennett, Henry Black, Seid Burka, Haeri Choi, Steven Corsello, Jonathan Foy, Xiaoxuan Hu, Xueqi Hu, Xinning Hua, Zhen Hua, Jo Hee Lee, Einat Lubliner, Sushmita Shekar, Yixuan Shi, Yanni Wang, Ziyue Wang, Kuan-I Wu, Elie Zeinoun, Xinyi Zhang, Zifan Zhang, Shuchang Zhou
Hacking the Urban Experience
This course collaborated with both the UNI Project, a non-profit that creates learning environments in public spaces across NYC, as well as local Harlem organization Brotherhood/Sister Sol , to design, build, deploy, test, and defend a 1:1 scale prototype intervention intended to facilitate interactive participation in public life. The students created a neighborhood radio communication device, centered on Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s public plaza. The student’s sketched together, spoke with, and organized together with local community groups in a work that can adapt and change over time. The students explored unorthodox materials in unconventional settings to understand wider urban issues.
Students: Lino Caceres Caamano, Ian Callender, Simon Li, Nina Lish, Tola Oniyangi, Jaime Palacios Anaya
Echoing Mentorship: Expanding Public Space Boundaries through Sound
Concept Sketch: Street Activation
This course explores, modifies, and develops a suite of real-time architectural design assist tools using the Unreal Gaming Engine. To date, real-time software has predominantly been used in the architecture field to visualize environments and allow users to experience projects at the end of the design process. This course reverses this process and uses real-time software as the generator of architectural design. We do this by problematizing the application of external constraints on the production of architecture.
Students: Jumanah Abbas, Yanan Cheng, Kunal Mokasdar, Ogheneochuko Okor, Guangwei Ren, Yuanyang Teng, Elie Zeinoun, Shiyin Zeng
This project locates a narrative in the year 2060, a date touted by many technology industry experts as when vehicular driving will be fully autonomous. This simulation collects tropes from existing tech industry marketing material, and synthesizes them into a nonlinear narrative of future social life in an era of autonomous vehicular navigation.
A More Responsive Street
This project begins with an analysis of two emerging phenomenon, the co-option of interaction by ...
This project uses a multi-agent system to model civic unrest within an urban context. Five classe...
This course explores the connections among drawing, modeling, and thinking by exploiting traditional representation methods as a means of conceptual exploration. The goal is a structured exploration of different media and methods that work in composite towards the production of an installation, as well as the development of a toolkit of graphical, spatial, and experimental modeling techniques that drive innovative acts of making. These understandings inform the composite model—a mixed media work and a multi-layered narrative. This composite model, the antithesis of a calculated representation of static form, is also a creature of landscape thinking.
Students: Yanan Cheng, Peizhe Fang, Dylan Goldweit-Denton, Euna Song, Sherry Aine Te, CJ Wang, Mingyue Zhang
The premise of this seminar is to produce work that is experimental, personal, difficult, ugly, dirty, weird and investigative – rather than definitive in presenting evidence and conclusions. The seminar is about MAKING, and the work is physical, produced within the precise constraint of a 12”x12”x12” volume through 5 materials – the basic components of architecture: CONCRETE, PLASTIC, METAL, WOOD, FABRIC.
Through MAKING students explore and question their obsessions. They discover and invent, follow and drive, command and listen. The material is both opportunity and constraint. The material is malleable and rigid. The material is vague - you choose it.
Students: Sara Almutlaq, Stephanie Bigelow, Guillermo Hevia, Alex Hudtwalcker Rey, Bassam Kaddoura, Ibrahim Kombarji, James Waxter
From Yelp reviews directing people to preferred restaurants to Airbnb reprogramming homes into vacation rentals, the invisible code that powers a city’s use may have more drastic influence than any physical invention in the last century. This course focuses on encoding spatial analytical processes that enable designers to speculate creatively about the urban environment. Students develop a critical understanding of the social, economic, and political dynamics caused by these technologies as well as technical training in simulation, sorting, and visualization techniques. They hypothesize about the relationships of tools and space, as well as develop models and simulations so designers can gain a foothold in the changing landscape of a platform city.
Students: Hajir Al Khusaibi, Gauri Bahuguna, Sritoma Bhattacharjee, Xiyu Chen, Shuo Han, Daniel Kim, Sirenia Kim, Shailee Kothari, Junwei Li, Qi Lin, Xutian Liu, James Piacentini, Guangwei Ren, Adam Susaneck, Rui Wang, Kachun Alex Wong, Ye Xiong, Yankun Yang, Yao Yao, Haoran Zhang, Joyce Zhou
View the course video here.
The New Domestic
Considering the shifting attitude to sleep and contemporary variable lifestyle, the potential of ...
Xutian Liu, Junwei Li, Yankun Yang: Information Dissemination
The simulation is information dissemination in a crisis. The aim is to see which factor in the in...
My Street — Simulation of Crowds and City Economy on Customized Street Furniture
Nowadays, public space in our city is too crowded with advertisements to gain commercial value in...
Station Inundation uses Unity and Mapbox to simulate the effects of different events of flooding ...