Christoph Kumpusch

Christoph a. Kumpusch is a New York-based architect and Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP, where he directs the Extraction Laboratory and teaches design and visual studies.

Kumpusch is the director of Forward-slash, a multidisciplinary practice founded in 2008, and the head of Back-slash, the experimental arm of Forward-slash (/), investigating technology and material effects on form and tectonics. It grounds its work in a concentrated research program focused on architectural details and the spawning of new buildings from the smallest parts outward. A theoretical project runs parallel to this work, identifying historical and cultural contexts triggered by detail innovation. The office is both a design and publishing outfit, producing essays, books, exhibitions, installations, podcasts, performances, films, and buildings. Forward Slash strives to be intellectually rigorous, materially sustainable, and socially responsible.

In 2017, Kumpusch founded the Extraction Laboratory, a Columbia GSAPP research laboratory examining architecture derived from situation, rather than place. The lab reboots and redefines research trajectories; it studies architecture and design of ‘extreme’ situations – repositioning these apogees as centralized norms. In the summer of 2017, the lab’s summer workshop was based at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, where they designed and built a set of nine roof structures. The 2018 workshop, Dry – Wet, traveled to one of the driest landscapes on earth, the United Arab Emirates, then contrasted with one of the wettest, the Republic of the Maldives.

Kumpusch was a Leonardo da Vinci Fellow and a Rudolf M. Schindler Scholar, MAK Center Architect in Residence, USAA Scholar, National Collegiate Engineering Award-winner and a 2013 and 2015 Graham Foundation Grantee. Kumpusch is co-author of System Wien with Lebbeus Woods, Anthony Vidler and Manuel DeLanda (Hatje Cantz, 2005); editor of IDEA(u)topsy ( / Productions, 2010); IDEA(L) ( / Productions, 2011); Built Ideas (Theoharis David, 2012); Light Pavilion (Lars Müller Publishers, 2013); Urban Hopes – Made in China (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014) and Detail Kultur – If Buildings Had DNA (AADCU, 2016).

Christoph Kumpusch coordinated the Core I Architecture Studios at Columbia GSAPP from 2015 to 2018. He has previously taught at the Cornell University’s AAP, Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, MIT, Ohio State University, Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and the Department of Humanities and Media Studies, and SCI-Arc. He has been an invited juror at Harvard University, Yale University, The Architectural Association, Bartlett and Greenwich University in London and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Marseille, and he serves as an external examiner of the Architectural Association’s PhD colloquium.

In 2010 Kumpusch co-founded the Institute of Mutating Cities with Youmna Chlala. In 2012 Kumpusch completed his Ph.D. on “Detail Kultur – If Buildings Had DNA: Case Studies of Mutations” at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst - Wien. Recent projects include an elephant playground and water park in Patong, Thailand; an East Village Think Tank; a co-working-space in Shoreditch, London and a feasibility study for a theater in Havana, Cuba. The Light Pavilion at the Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, China, one of several projects spanning a decade of collaboration with Lebbeus Woods, was recently completed.

Forward Slash was the winner of an international competition to build the first ever hub and theater-space for Performa 15 - a world-renowned venue for performing arts in New York’s TriBeCa. In 2017, Forward Slash competed in the Burning Man Temple competition.


In this Bonus Episode of the GSAPP Conversations podcast, Christoph Kumpusch introduces GSAPP’s new Extraction Lab in a conversation with ArchDaily’s Editor at Large, James Taylor-Foster.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4105‑12 Fall 2019
Advanced Studio V
Kate Ascher, Christoph Kumpusch
0 Points
A4832‑1 Fall 2019
Lines Not Splines: Drawing as Invention
Christoph Kumpusch
TH 7 PM - 9 PM
3 Points
PLA6853‑1 Fall 2019
Joint RED_Arch Studio
Kate Ascher, Christoph Kumpusch
M 1:30 PM - 6:30 PM
4 Points
This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice.