Joe MacDonald

Recent Faculty.

Joe MacDonald.


Joe MacDonald is the founding principal of Urban A&O in New York and served as Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at Harvard University for ten years. He regularly incorporates his academic research into practice at the scales of exhibition, building, landscape, and master planning and his work has been published and exhibited widely. His practice emphasizes parametric modeling, design, and research, leveraging the powerful tools of CATIA-based software and digital fabrication processes to produce sculptural and geometrically complex forms and environments. The resulting innovative work tests the limits of material and space through the development of radically new spatial geometries with strong conceptual underpinnings. He designed the core of the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, The Water Planet, in collaboration with Thinc Design in New York. A merging of living
exhibits and interactive technology melded together with sensual, tactile surfaces sculpted into the forms of rippling, flowing water, it received an IDEA International Design Excellence Silver Award for Environments. Other work has included the design for Johnson & Johnson’s Olympic Games Pavilion for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, which received the 2009 China’s Most Successful Design Award, and exhibition architecture for GE projects in New York and Washington, D.C., also in collaboration with Thinc. He has designed urban and residential development planning projects in China and India, as well as residential and commercial projects in the United States. MacDonald has been awarded several grants for his research on social patterns within dense urban environments including speculative mapping for Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. MacDonald’s work has been exhibited widely and published regularly in the popular press: Time Magazine, The New York Times, Metropolis Magazine, The Architect’s Newspaper, Domus, Interior Design Market Tabloid Best in Show, Harvard Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He received Architecture Magazine’s Vanguard award in 2008, and the highest award of the New York AIA New Practices Award in the same year. He is a Visiting Professor of Architecture at several universities in addition to RPI, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and Washington University in St. Louis.


2012 Fall

  • ARCH 4240: Architecture Design 4

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Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Troy, NY 12180 - USA

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