Computational Design+

ARCH 201
Professor Lisa Iwamoto

The Digital Weave project was completed in a 5-week design-build segment of a design studio by the students and instructor in 2005.

Designed for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Contemporary Extension (SFMOMA CX), the Digital Weave had the constraint of extreme temporality – it was shown for one night only, installed and de-installed on site in a matter of hours. The design engages constructional and material investigations on how to create an architecture for such a transitory condition.

The Digital Weave project utilizes CAD/CAM techniques as a conceptual and constructional strategy to meet these strict time and set-up constraints. It is an accordion-like structure that is able to be compressed to a fraction of the size for transportation, and is constructed from a series of woven ribs made from inexpensive translucent corrugated sign material and aluminum plates riveted together. The ribs slot into a puzzle-like plywood floor. All the pieces for the design are fabricated digitally using a computer controlled waterjet cutter.

--images courtesy of Professor Iwamoto

Designing Virtual Worlds
Yehuda Kalay, Professor of Architecture

Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) are online “worlds,” populated by avatars representing individuals who can participate in online activities that mimic bygone, future, or fantasy worlds. Technically, such worlds are the combined product of principles borrowed from physical reality and game technology. They have been recognized as having significant potential to foster social activities, putting participants in contact with others in an immersive environment. While playful in nature, virtual worlds have serious applications: they can teach us about cultural heritage sites that no longer exist or exist in a dilapidated state. They can be used to design and test new places (e.g., buildings, cities, etc.). They can even be used as substitutes for physical environments to create new types of combined physical/informational spaces that can exist only in Cyberspace, where the laws of nature are suspended or fantasies are played out. In each case, these are ‘inhabitable’ places, with their own community of users, social narratives, and cultural norms.

This display presents some such virtual world projects that have been undertaken by students and faculty in the Department of Architecture over the past few years. They include:

• Oakland Blues – a reconstruction of 7th Street in Oakland, CA, as it was in the 1940s and 1950s. 
ARCH 235 (now 221)
Seminar in Digital Design Research, joint listed in Journalism

• Sambur Prei Kuk – a 7th century temple complex in Cambodia.
ARCH 235 (now 221)
Seminar in Digital Design Research

• Virtual Smithsonian Institution – a virtual museum of nature, culture, and technology.
ARCH 101
Design Studio, Fall 2008
Additional instructors of the course included: John Marx, Principal, Form4 Architects (San Francisco); and D. Roger Hay, Principal, Ratcliff Architects (Emeryville).