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GSAPP Incubator Prize Recipients

The GSAPP Incubator seeks to expand the territory between academia and the profession, and promotes new models of practice by supporting alumni in the development of a wide range of new ideas and projects about architecture, contemporary culture, and the future of the city. Initially founded as a co-working space in 2014 at the New Museum’s NEW INC platform, it was relaunched as the GSAPP Incubator Prize in 2019.

2020–21

Sean Ansanelli ‘13 MSUP

“makeithappen.city” is a platform that strives to provide an end-to-end solution for more distributed and democratic urban planning - from initial visions to long term reinvesting in communities. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how many aspects of our system are under tremendous strain and deeply interwoven (particularly those of inequality, race/power, and health). This moment demands an extensive re-imaging of nearly every dimension of our cities and daily lived experiences, and makeithappen.city is designed specifically with this goal in mind.

Sean Ansanelli received his Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP in 2013.

Carlo Bailey ‘15 MARCH
Platea

Platea is a platform that enables users to make better and more conscious decisions about where to live. By gathering data from thousands of sources, we are democratizing place data and providing rich insights to support sustainability, affordability, and equity in our cities. Choosing where to live is political, with far reaching consequences for the neighborhoods we inhabit. A neighborhood’s tax base, rent and house prices all rise and fall based on the residents that choose to live there; and as a result, funding for schools, upkeep of public services, and demographic diversity are all impacted. Platea, an open-source platform, aims to achieve multifaceted impact by: (1) shifting the desirability of neighborhoods and apartments from “affordable and good looking” to “equitable, fair and sustainable”; (2) enable users to navigate conflicting trade-offs in an informed way; (3) increasing awareness of the social, economic and environmental implications of choosing where to live at the neighborhood and city scale.

Carlo Bailey received his Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2015 and a BA from Kingston University, London in 2009. He works on the data analytics & insights team at Squarespace and co-leads graduate classes on urban analytics at the Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at CUNY.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Lorenzo Villaggi ‘15 MARCH.

Lorenzo villaggi carlo bailey
Platea by Lorenzo Villaggi ‘15 MARCH and Carlo Bailey ‘15 MARCH
Zoe Kauder Nalebuff ‘20 MSCCCP

America: The New Domestic Landscape

America: The New Domestic Landscape is a research project about architecture’s role in propagating a climate of fear for a city and its inhabitants. As cities confront both COVID and climate change, a looming culture of anxiety exacerbates the mental and physical health consequences of each crisis. We believe that architecture must prioritize affect as a framework for addressing health and climate. And that to do so requires historical understanding.Through archival material we consider architecture’s relationship to historical anxieties about the postindustrial metropolis, the disintegration of the social safety net, and the media infatuation with danger which all precipitate the present. Inspired by the legacy of experimental filmmaking in architecture, we test documentary film as an expanded mode of practice. This allows us to critically unpack archival footage in its native media, point to the affective power of film, and make visible how the built environment—just like cinema—is a project of power and control. The Incubator Prize supports the production of a pilot episode introducing the home as a site where fear in and of the city takes hold.

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff received her Master of Science in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices from Columbia GSAPP in 2020, and her BA in Geography from the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on storage, archives, and systems of control. She wants your healthcare to be free.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Alexandra Tell ‘20 MSCCCP.

Panic Button Personal Protection Alarm manufactured by Clairol
Panic Button Personal Protection Alarm manufactured by Clairol
Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD

Lots of People

This project attempts to challenge the repeating pattern of unutilized lots in the city fabric, and address the shortage in public space that cities are facing due to massive developments and increases in population - all while addressing climate challenges such as flash floods, heat islands effect, and lack of shading.  Introducing a smart model of “Borrowing Space Concept” addresses these gaps within the dense cities by encouraging public-private partnerships. Leveraging timeframes (scope) of vacant lots until they obtain permits, a sizable amount of temporary public spaces - “Pop-ups” could be allocated to benefit the needs of the community: temporary community pop-up spaces designed on privately-owned lots and semi-permanent spaces on public lots. The project aims to further explore this concept, design interventions, public engagement process, policies, and implementation in varying contexts and climate conditions worldwide. Using private entities for public good has the opportunity to provide quality public spaces, promote sustainable design, and give equal resources to the diverse communities within the city. The project aims to develop on multiple scales and locations in the future to introduce this concept and idea.

Palvasha Sophia Khan received her Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2020. She lived in multiple cities and countries where she developed her interest in observing and designing cities. She started her B.Arch at the National College of Arts, Pakistan, and then studied as a transfer student at Pratt Institute, New York in 2016. She aspires to be an entrepreneur and keep exploring different avenues of the city’s design and the changing world.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Einat Lubliner ‘20 MSAUD and Yile Xu '20 MSAUD.

Pop-up urban intervention of a bright yellow play area in a vacant lot along a busy street
“Lots of People” by Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD, Einat Lubliner '20 MSAUD, and Yile Xu '20 MSAUD
Maider Llaguno-Munitxa ‘10 MSAAD
Urban Microenvironments

Environmental inequity is one of the most critical contemporary urban challenges. The death rates from the pathogenic respiratory disease SARS-CoV-2 virus have shown disconcerting spatial patterns disproportionally affecting low income neighborhoods which are often environmentally most disadvantageous. Through mobile urban sensing technologies, we have also recently learnt that within an urban block distance, the air quality conditions can get up to 8 times worse. Following our prior work on environmental neighborhoods where urban environmental health metrics were shown to be directly affected by local urban design parameters such as building heights or roof geometries, our ambition is to develop a methodology which correlates environmental conditions and architectural and urban design traits to generate a critical pathway for future scenario planning. Datasets on the physical attributes, socioeconomic metrics and environmental parameters have been collected for various cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, or London, to develop a comparison of the areas with most compromised urban environmental health conditions.

Maider Llaguno-Munitxa received her Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2010. Maider is currently Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture CAMD at Northeastern University and director at AZPML. After completing her PhD at the ETH Zurich in 2016, Maider joined the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate.

Data Visualization of Princeton by Maider Llaguno-Munitxa '10 MSAAD
Data Visualization of Princeton by Maider Llaguno-Munitxa ‘10 MSAAD
Einat Lubliner ‘20 MSAUD

Lots of People

This project attempts to challenge the repeating pattern of unutilized lots in the city fabric, and address the shortage in public space that cities are facing due to massive developments and increases in population - all while addressing climate challenges such as flash floods, heat islands effect, and lack of shading.  Introducing a smart model of “Borrowing Space Concept” addresses these gaps within the dense cities by encouraging public-private partnerships. Leveraging timeframes (scope) of vacant lots until they obtain permits, a sizable amount of temporary public spaces - “Pop-ups” could be allocated to benefit the needs of the community: temporary community pop-up spaces designed on privately-owned lots and semi-permanent spaces on public lots. The project aims to further explore this concept, design interventions, public engagement process, policies, and implementation in varying contexts and climate conditions worldwide. Using private entities for public good has the opportunity to provide quality public spaces, promote sustainable design, and give equal resources to the diverse communities within the city. The project aims to develop on multiple scales and locations in the future to introduce this concept and idea.

Einat Lubliner received her Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2020, her Bachelor of Architecture at The Technion University in Israel in 2014 and participated in an exchange program at TUdelft in the Netherlands in 2013. Moving between cities and exploring different realities and challenges is a major part of developing her agenda as an Architect and Urbanist. Einat is currently an Urban Designer at BIG, and volunteers as a part of an advocacy group with the community and Transportation Alternatives to a more connected and safer Eastern Queens Greenway.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD and Yile Xu '20 MSAUD.

Twelve variations of pop-up interventions to support different activities such as a food shelter, outdoor gym, or bar
“Lots of People” by Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD, Einat Lubliner '20 MSAUD, and Yile Xu '20 MSAUD
Frank Mandell ‘20 MArch

Nature is Everyone’s Business

Nature is Everyone’s Business is a game of carbon emissions trading, offsetting, and corporate greenwashing. Engaging with the standards and strategies that compose the US voluntary carbon market, players will compete and collaborate for power and profit at the potential cost of the planet. It transforms a series of deliberately opaque policies into easily learnable rules that, through participation, reveals contemporary financial mechanisms to fund carbon sequestration projects and ineffective climate solutions. In a landscape where policy is inaccessible to the stakeholders made most vulnerable by changes, the game allows players to actively engage with the decisions made in corporate boardrooms and community board meetings, on the game board. Through a critical systemic legibility of the voluntary carbon market’s neoliberal environmental transformations, Nature is Everyone’s Business will serve as a strategic platform for revealing and generating contemporary climate solutions.

Frank Mandell received his Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2020. He previously received a Master of Arts from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Bachelor of Arts from Bard College. He works as an Architectural Designer in New York, and is currently developing the project karbonfunkc.io for the 2020 Percival & Naomi Goodman Fellowship with Max St. Pierre and Kate McNamara.

Kate McNamara ‘20 MArch

Carbon Futures

Carbon Futures is a proposal to develop a series of speculative financial models and prototypes for the emissions trading market that would allow for the generation of credits through financializing carbon sequestering building materials and sustainable infrastructures at the building scale. Following in the footsteps of the financialization of nature, it proposes new frameworks that dissolve an immaterial market of carbon credits, into a material market of carbon sequestering building materials and strategies. Carbon Futures is an attempt to pursue the mitigation of climate catastrophe at all costs, even within a predatory, exploitative market economy.

Kate McNamara received her Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2020, and her BA in Mathematics from Swarthmore College in 2012. Kate is currently a designer at Dattner Architects, and is pursuing research for the 2020 Percival and Naomi Goodman Fellowship with Frank Mandell and Max St. Pierre.

Eduardo Meneses ‘20 MArch

Country Sewers: From the Home to the Town

This project is a research proposal for reworking failing wastewater and sewage infrastructures with the goal of documenting and developing prototypes of alternative wastewater solutions, at both the scale of the house and that of the city, for rural communities in Southern Alabama. The research builds from information and work being done by community organizations that are advocating to end the gross inequalities that overwhelm the US. While plumbing and sewage management is often thought of as guaranteed, for many in smaller communities, outdated systems have resulted in growing concerns for the health and well-being for many residents. In areas where septic tanks, retention ponds, and wastewater lagoons reign supreme, to update these systems is not just only a question of how to update, but how much it will cost to update.  At its core, ‘Country Sewers’ is an attempt to redistribute architectural energy and expand the discipline to better support a greater number of smaller communities.

Eduardo Meneses received his Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2020. Currently, he is researching, collecting vibes, and figuring out where architecture can intervene, what it’s limits are, and how a design practice could operate.

Data Visualization of population data extruded from a map of Alabama
“Country Sewers” by Eduardo Meneses ‘20 MArch
Rafaela Olivares ‘20 MSAAD

Non-typology: Ollas Comunes

This proposal seeks to put together a catalog of all the “ollas comunes” across the country happening in the soccer fields, the community centers, the squares or in the hybridization of them, documenting the spatiality of the system, interactions and the diverse activities that take place around them, understanding that the soccer field, the community center and the square are the urban typological elements that have conditioned the public space on Chilean popular neighborhoods the most. This catalog is not an attempt to solve the spatiality of the “ollas comunes” but rather a way to define guidelines to generate an operating manual for creating new spaces for community interaction around cooking, eating, leisure and meeting.

The system created by the urban typologies and the layer of domestic activities is questioning the boundaries of the domestic and the public, a new space of cooperation that does not correspond with any known typology. A non-typology that not only arises as a crisis response but triggering permanent new public ways of domestic interaction.

Rafaela Olivares received her Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2020. This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Ernesto Silva ‘13 MSAAD. Olivares and Silva are the founding partners of estudio sin—apellido, an architectural practice focused on projects that are pushing to the limit their programmatic and typological conditions. They are currently teaching in different undergraduate and graduate schools of architecture in Chile.

Rafaela olivares 3
“Non-typology: Ollas Comunes” by Rafaela Olivares ‘20 MSAAD
James Piacentini ‘20 MArch, '20 MSUP

TREE.3

TREE.3 [tree3.io] is an interactive, web-based data visualization platform aimed at providing architects, designers, developers, urbanists, and advocates up-to-date knowledge of the global distribution of mass timber construction and its impacts on forest-to-city and forest-to-forest carbon networks. Global climate networks are deeply connected to the health of cities, particularly in relation to the employment of emerging ‘sustainable’ timber construction. The project aims to ask and answer two fundamental questions underpinning the incredible growth of heavy timber: (1) Where does our wood come from? and (2) What are the global impacts of our local interventions? TREE.3 will provide a dynamic and controllable interface encouraging users to investigate the ecological pathways that underscore architectural production. The site will provide users an inventive and dynamic modality to explore the cross- scalar relationships between the production of architectural and urban spaces, the carbon and climate networks that tie them to their natural forest sources, and the larger health and sustainability implications of these networks.

James Piacentini received his Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP in 2020 and his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Before studying at GSAPP, James was a Fulbright Scholar affiliated with the Sapienza University of Rome, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2020 GSAPP Visualization Prize. He has professional experience in design, development, and planning, and recently began working as a cartographer at Apple.

Data Visualization by James Piacentini '20 MArch, '20 MSUP
Data Visualization by James Piacentini ‘20 MArch, '20 MSUP
Linda Schilling Cuellar ‘18 MSAUD

(EXTRACTOPIA) And then what?: New world-making strategies

(EXTRACTOPIA) And then what? Is a project proposal to research and enact possibilities of new modes of living by repurposing the discrete extraction infrastructures atomized throughout the Chilean landscape. In our Climate Crisis age, the research has a departure point that sees these economies as obsolete. Their infrastructures soon to be vestigial spatial arrangements that can be reclaimed by the communities it once enacted microaggressions on to. With case studies that look into cooper and avocados, the project will test the untapped potential of extractive economies loose ends with strategies that bring back agency and accelerate a paradigm shift in livelihoods and multispecies coexistence.

Linda Schilling received her Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2018 and her Bachelor Degree in Architecture from UTFSM in Valparaíso, Chile. She is a founding partner of AHORA, a research and design practice with Claudio Astudillo (UTFSM 10`). She currently teaches at Universidad Andrés Bello and Universidad Las Américas in Chile.

Los Vilos morning fog nearby a eucalyptus plantation, a co-opted nature-based strategy to deal with waste ware from the cooper sludge. (“Los Pelambres” mine in Chile).
Los Vilos morning fog nearby a eucalyptus plantation, a co-opted nature-based strategy to deal with waste ware from the cooper sludge. (“Los Pelambres” mine in Chile). Photo by Linda Schilling Cuellar ‘18 MSAUD.
Amewusika “Sika” Sedzro ‘13 MSUP

This project is a pilot that will create a crowd-sourced cloud application that will serve as a repository for tracking the economic and environmental impacts of climate change in Sub-Saharan African coastal cities. The pilot will focus specifically on the Ghanaian coastal cities of Aflao, Keta, Winneba, Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi, Axim, Cape Coast, and Elmina. In these cities, both lagoons and coastlines have been ravaged by climate change. This phase of the project focuses on identifying and testing two use cases for the first iteration of a cloud application. The Bit City Collective will engage traders, physical planners, scientists, and climatologists to track tidal data, economic data, and changes to land cover.

Amewusika “Sika” Sedzro received her Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP in 2013 and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in 2001. She was the Columbia University’s Africa Institute’s Leitner Family Fellowship recipient in 2012 and served as a Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Fellow between 2016 and 2019. She presently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Uncut Lab, a Boston-based software development company that coordinates the Bit City Collective, a multi-country collaboration focused on climate change, urban development, and environmental technologies.

Alexandra Tell ‘20 MSCCCP

America: The New Domestic Landscape

America: The New Domestic Landscape is a research project about architecture’s role in propagating a climate of fear for a city and its inhabitants. As cities confront both COVID and climate change, a looming culture of anxiety exacerbates the mental and physical health consequences of each crisis. We believe that architecture must prioritize affect as a framework for addressing health and climate. And that to do so requires historical understanding.Through archival material we consider architecture’s relationship to historical anxieties about the postindustrial metropolis, the disintegration of the social safety net, and the media infatuation with danger which all precipitate the present. Inspired by the legacy of experimental filmmaking in architecture, we test documentary film as an expanded mode of practice. This allows us to critically unpack archival footage in its native media, point to the affective power of film, and make visible how the built environment—just like cinema—is a project of power and control. The Incubator Prize supports the production of a pilot episode introducing the home as a site where fear in and of the city takes hold.

Alexandra Tell received her Master of Science in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2020, and her BA in Art History from Oberlin College. Her work looks at the intersections of media, environmentalism, and spatial politics. Her writing has been published in BOMB Magazine, Places Journal, and The Avery Review, among others.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Zoe Kauder Nalebuff ‘20 MSCCCP.

Patent Drawing for a home security system that utilizes TV surveillance
Patent Drawing for a home security system that utilizes TV surveillance
Lorenzo Villaggi ‘15 MARCH

Platea

Platea is a platform that enables users to make better and more conscious decisions about where to live. By gathering data from thousands of sources, we are democratizing place data and providing rich insights to support sustainability, affordability, and equity in our cities. Choosing where to live is political, with far reaching consequences for the neighborhoods we inhabit. A neighborhood’s tax base, rent and house prices all rise and fall based on the residents that choose to live there; and as a result, funding for schools, upkeep of public services, and demographic diversity are all impacted. Platea, an open-source platform, aims to achieve multifaceted impact by: (1) shifting the desirability of neighborhoods and apartments from “affordable and good looking” to “equitable, fair and sustainable”; (2) enable users to navigate conflicting trade-offs in an informed way; (3) increasing awareness of the social, economic and environmental implications of choosing where to live at the neighborhood and city scale.

Lorenzo Villaggi received his Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2015 and since taught graduate seminars at the School. He is a research scientist and designer with The Living, an Autodesk Studio where he focuses on novel data-driven design workflows, data analysis, computational geometry and new materials.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Carlo Bailey ‘15 MARCH.

Platea superimposed above a photo of a city skyline
Platea by Lorenzo Villaggi ‘15 MARCH and Carlo Bailey ‘15 MARCH
Yile Xu ‘20 MSAUD

Lots of People

This project attempts to challenge the repeating pattern of unutilized lots in the city fabric, and address the shortage in public space that cities are facing due to massive developments and increases in population - all while addressing climate challenges such as flash floods, heat islands effect, and lack of shading.  Introducing a smart model of “Borrowing Space Concept” addresses these gaps within the dense cities by encouraging public-private partnerships. Leveraging timeframes (scope) of vacant lots until they obtain permits, a sizable amount of temporary public spaces - “Pop-ups” could be allocated to benefit the needs of the community: temporary community pop-up spaces designed on privately-owned lots and semi-permanent spaces on public lots. The project aims to further explore this concept, design interventions, public engagement process, policies, and implementation in varying contexts and climate conditions worldwide. Using private entities for public good has the opportunity to provide quality public spaces, promote sustainable design, and give equal resources to the diverse communities within the city. The project aims to develop on multiple scales and locations in the future to introduce this concept and idea.

Yile Xu received her Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2020, and her Bachelor of Architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China in 2019. She also was part of an exchange program in Norway at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in 2018. Now, she is currently working at Coen+Partners as a project designer. She has always been curious about different cultures and how the individuality of ‘place’ is reflected in the environment, and believes that designers can innovate and explore new possibilities to build better connections between people and the environment.

This proposal is being developed in conjunction with Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD and Einat Lubliner '20 MSAUD.

Drawing illustrating how a pop-up venue can be inserted into a vacant lot before the construction of a new building
“Lots of People” by Palvasha Sophia Khan ‘20 MSAUD, Einat Lubliner '20 MSAUD, and Yile Xu '20 MSAUD

2019–20

Greta Hansen ‘09 MArch

Hempcrete Houses: Exploring the Possibilities of Building with Industrial Hemp in Cities

Greta Hansen’s project is a research investigation and design proposal for the use of hempcrete in cities. Hansen explores the potential of hempcrete as an ecological alternative to concrete. While concrete is responsible for 4-8% of the world’s CO2, hemp is highly carbon negative. As hemp grows it absorbs CO2 from the soil and releases oxygen, and as hempcrete it absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere than wood products. Hansen will research the use of hempcrete at the scale of an urban building through three trajectories: material research into the possibilities of hempcrete block production, research and awareness with regards to municipal restrictions, and the design of a prototypical low rise residential building to demonstrate the possibilities for the use of hempcrete in urban construction.

Greta Hansen received her Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2009, and her BS in Architecture from University of Cincinnati. She leads the architecture studio Wolfgang & Hite in New York and has taught at Pratt School of Interior Design, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and University of Saint Joseph in Macau.

Dan Luo ‘14 MArch

Nature Reclaiming Abandoned Villages

Dan Luo investigates issues caused by the massive migration of rural populations to urban areas in China, and this project is designed to engage the re-growth of nature in abandoned villages, with a specific installation to be realized in Guizhou. Instead of re-occupying vacated village land with new programs and built space, the project integrates a return of nature within the community. Luo has designed installations to be placed in relation to the buildings in rural villages, with a careful selection of local plants to be placed around and onto the structure. Over time, a unique landscape will be created as an interplay between built structure and growing nature.

Dan Luo received her Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2014, and her B.A. in Architectural Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She is a doctoral candidate in Engineering with a focus on Digital Architecture Design and Fabrication at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Luo was Director of International Collaboration for the China Building Center, and has previously worked at UNStudio Shanghai and other architectural offices.

Eugenia Manwelyan ‘11 MSUP

The Mountaindale School

The Mountaindale School is an ambitious project to reimagine a historic building located in the rural Catskills region of New York, as a multidisciplinary center for art and ecology. Its aim is to offer indoor and outdoor contemporary art exhibitions, artist studio spaces, educational programs, workshops, and public events. The GSAPP Incubator Prize will support an initial phase for Environmental Testing led by Manwelyan, alongside a community-engaged architectural design process. The project addresses “Climate Change at the Building Scale” not only through the intended use and educational mission of the Mountaindale School, but also in how the building renovation process and outcome reflect values of resiliency, sustainability, and interdependence by being designed to withstand the increasing impact of changing climate in the region.

Eugenia Manwelyan received her Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP in 2011 and her Bachelor of Arts in International Development from McGill University. She also studied Ecology and Political Science at Tel Aviv University, and is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pioneer Works, and the Columbia University President’s Global Innovation Fund, among others.

Adam Marcus ‘05 MArch

Ecologically Productive Floating Structures as a Form of Sea Level Rise Adaptation

Adam Marcus is conducting research into ecologically productive floating structures as a form of sea level rise adaptation. The premise of the research challenges conventional notions of “fouling”–the accumulation of marine life on the underside of floating structures–which is typically seen as a nuisance. The project considers the positive potential of biofouling, proposing that controlled upside-down habitats can become an ecological resource that contributes to broader ecosystemic health. The research seeks to bridge architectural methods of design computation and digital fabrication with the emerging field of computational ecology, which studies how ecological behaviors can be computationally modeled. The research is part of the Buoyant Ecologies project at the Architectural Ecologies Lab at California College of the Arts, and additional research partners include marine ecologists at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), and Kreysler & Associates, a global leader in advanced composites manufacturing. The collaborative project synthesizes architectural design, marine ecology, and material innovation to develop new low-cost and adaptive ways for architecture to address ecological change.

Adam Marcus received his Master of Architecture from Columbia GSAPP in 2005, and his B.A. in Architectural Studies from Brown University. After working for studios including Bernard Tschumi Architects and Marble Fairbanks, he founded the architecture, design, and research practice Variable Projects in Oakland, California in 2011. Marcus is Associate Professor of Architecture at the California College of the Arts, where his is co-director of the Architectural Ecologies Lab.

Stephen Mueller ‘06 MSAAD

Irradiated Shade

The project endeavors to develop and calibrate a means of uncovering, representing, and designing for the unseen dangers of irradiated shade, where the body is exposed to harmful, ambient or scattered UVB radiation even in apparent shade. The project will leverage its position in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez metroplex, a vital testing ground in which the effects of solar radiation are felt especially by vulnerable populations occupying the increasingly austere and securitized public spaces of the border zone. Where pedestrians are subjected to high levels of solar radiation on cross-border commutes, access to shade is an “index of inequality”. Safe shade is contingent on the nuances of the surrounding built environment, and designers must be empowered to observe and respond to a wider context than current representational tools allow. The project aims to expand the architect’s toolkit in conceiving and representing solar radiation and its impact on bodies, through the production of custom representational tools, drawings, and interactive visualizations addressing a number of scales.

Stephen Mueller received his Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2006, and his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas. He is a founding partner of AGENCY with Ersela Kripa (’06 MSAAD) and teaches at Texas Tech University El Paso.

Anahid Simitian ‘15 MSAAD

Crop Wild Relatives in the Fertile Crescent

The project was developed by Anahid Simitian and Bruno Nakaguma Gondo to study changing agricultural uses of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East often referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization”, and to specifically develop a community-based seed inventory and experimental kitchen in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. The intention is to make seeds available to local Lebanese farmers and Syrian Refugees who fled their lands in Syria in a collaborative effort to plant, grow, and share knowledge on Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) – crops prior to being domesticated. The project is divided into two phases, beginning with collaborative research with experts studying Crop Wild Relatives in the Fertile Crescent in order to collect a seed inventory, and a second phase including the design and construction of the experimental kitchen and community hub.

Anahid Simitian received her Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2015, and her Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Architecture and Design at the Lebanese American University, Beirut. She co-founded the practice Oficina Aberta, with Bruno Nakaguma Gondo (’15 MSAAD), an architecture and design practice based in São Paulo and Beirut.