Rensselaer | Architecture Rensselaer | Architecture Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fall 2015 Electives Tue, 10 Mar 2015 20:49:34 +0000 Elective courses available:

ARCH4020/CIVIL4020 Bedford Sem: Advanced Building Structures (Civil)

This interdisciplinary seminar consists of students from both the School of Architecture and Civil Engineering department. Presentation of a variety of structural typologies bears direct relation to practical experience and the necessity for constructive interdisciplinary discourse. Specific structural typologies are examined through historic and contemporary project examples that are critically deconstructed and critically analyzed with respect to their basic engineering principles and architectural concepts. Students will be exposed to the collaborative methods inherent within the architect/engineer relationship. The course consists of lectures concerning each topic, case studies and presentations of relevant projects, an interdisciplinary design project and discussion of the projects and presentations with respect to interdisciplinary discourse. Content and delivery may vary by instructor.  Staff R 6- 8:50 pm. Cr. 3. Taught with CIVL4020. Prerequisite: Arch2230 Structures 1.

ARCH4750 Sustainable Building Design Metrics

A review of current and anticipated metrics associated with sustainable building design will be reviewed as well as construction practices in the building industry will be discussed.  We will review how sustainable design practices can mitigate the climate change in a positive way. An understanding of energy terminology is useful for this course. Lectures, discussions, field trips and assigned reading will be utilized to explore the subject matter.

ARCH4840.01 Architectural Acoustics 1

Providing an overview of the essentials for architectural acoustics design of performance and public spaces, including concert halls, theaters, museums, classrooms, sports arenas, courtrooms, and religious buildings.  The course may be used as a concentration in an architecture student’s professional electives, or the beginning of a master’s degree in acoustics. Covering basic principles of sound, room acoustics, sound absorption in rooms, sound isolation and privacy, acoustics of mechanical systems, and sound quality.  After Architecture Acoustics 1 & 2, students should be prepared for a basic entry-level position in either acoustics in architecture, or in acoustical consulting.  Todd Brooks  F 10–11:50, F 12–1:50 pm. Cr 4. (can be used towards a minor in Acoustics).

ARCH4960.01 PIP Planning Seminar

The Production Installment and Performance program has been a Rensselaer Tradition for many years. It is an opportunity to bring together students and faculty from architecture and the arts, and from other disciplines to collaborate with an guest artist in the making of a new work. This Seminar will engage the faculty and the invited artist in the initial discussions and planning stages of the PIP Studio that will happen in the Spring of 2016. The seminar will be both creative and organizational setting the groundwork for a productive studio and performance. The seminar and studio are not requirements for each other. Krueger. R 10-12. Cr. 2.

ARCH4961.01 Latin American Architecture

This seminar will explore current developments in Latin American architecture and urbanism within a research matrix connecting issues such as domestic and public space, hybridity, nature, informality, politics, and history. Canonical and recent projects, and main tendencies will be identify, analyzed and discussed in relation to their own architectural tradition as well to current global trends. Pre-requisites: ARCH-2140 (required), ARCH-4140 (recommended). Crembil, T 2-4 pm, Cr. 2

ARCH4964.01 Sensitive Skins: phenomenon, matter and technology

Matter structures the physical and formal qualities of the art work playing a determinant role in the emotional perception of it, especially when these qualities are able to manifest signs of something primordial producing an emotional resonance that reaches cross cultural realms. The familiarity with matter involves a sensory experience that also activates our memory in our negotiation with the physical. Matter matters. Matter stretches out to our body and, reciprocally, our body expands and occupies matter. Then what is the role our own skin plays within this context, as mediator between work and body, as an organism that filtrates emotions, conditions sensuality and links our body with the environment? What would be the architectural implications if we understand architecture as a projection of our own skin, an extension of our own body, or an organism that is able to reconnect us with the natural landscape? As the 21st century enters a phase where Earth’s ecological balance is threatened by humanity’s short-term economic imperatives, there is an increased poignancy to the sustenance we once used to derive from the natural world. Reconnecting with the natural world implies reconnecting with our own nature as well. What is the role architecture can play in this sustenance? This seminar engages with the phenomenological and the role that matter -and eventually technology- plays in the way we experience the phenomenon in architecture. It is about looking at the past –and therefore learning from it- with present eyes, to project wisely into a future in which technology should be at our own service. Perez Guembe. R 10-12. Cr. 2.

ARCH4967 Robotic Material Assemblies

This course is an advanced design seminar that explores the use of robotic gantry for direct material assembly. The primary objective is to understand all the different processes involved in the emerging 3D / 4D printing technologies, from modifying the material properties to writing motion control code that directs the assembly process. The main goal of the course will be to teach students how to control material deposition through a 3-axis robotic gantry, as well as to modify and tune all necessary robotic motion control to accommodate different material behavior. This course will require students to have prior knowledge of Rhino 3D and preferably Rhino Grasshopper. The course will be conducted based on 6 workshop sessions on scripting and writing G-Code,

ARCH6120.01 Design Explorations 2

ARCH6120.80 Design Explorations 2

ARCH6130.02 Design Explorations 3 (meets wARCH6810)

Taught w/6810

LGHT4230 Lighting Design

A design studio that explores the roles of light in architecture and its application by design. Students conceive, evaluate, and synthesize solutions that contribute to successful lighting and architectural design. Russ Leslie. TF 2–4:50 pm. Cr 4. (Recommended for 4th and 5th year architecture undergraduate students – also can be used towards a minor in Lighting).

LGHT4770 Lighting Tech and App

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the components of advanced lighting systems and enables them to critically explore applications of those components. Through lectures, readings, assignments, and application projects, students acquire working knowledge of the relevant products and techniques for lighting application and develop solutions to lighting problems. Students will undertake practical applications of advanced lighting technologies and develop skills in the application of photometric data, use of manual and computer-based lighting calculations, and the development of lighting specifications. TF10–11:50 am. LRC Gurley Bldg.

LGHT4840 Human Factors in Lighting

An introduction to lighting and human factors, including classical literature and contemporary studies and development of skills needed to conduct and evaluate human factors research. Fall term annually. Mariana Figueiro. MR 10–11:50 am. Cr 4. (Recommended for 4th and 5th year architecture undergraduate students – also can be used towards a minor in Lighting).

LGHT6830 Physics of Light

A comprehensive overview of the physics of light and its applications for lighting. The course uses a variety of instructional methodologies, including lectures, laboratory sessions, hands-on experimentation, and individual student projects and presentations to cover various areas of lighting study. Topics include geometric optics, physical optics, lighting calculations and measures, spectroradiometry, measurement techniques for advanced light sources, radiometry, and photometry. Nadarajh Narendran. TF 10-11:50 am. Cr 4.


ARCH4968.01 MESTIZO ROBOTICS [3 credits option]

A design-and-build workshop dedicated to the development of an artistic robotic installation based on a fragment of the Popol Vuh (the Mayan book of creation) that narrates a failed attempt by the gods to create humankind from mud. This is an artistic/academic project comprised of a community of robotic agents “made of mud” dispersed and developed by different research academic units throughout the Americas. A cluster of 3 or 4 robotic units will be developed and installed at Rensselaer. These “mestizo robots” should have two levels of interactivity: local (among themselves and their environment) and remote (with other distant robots of the community and external data). The characteristics (technology, materials, mechanics, etc) and ‘personality’ (autonomy, behavior, etc.) of the RPI robotic cluster is to be defined during a dedicated studio / seminar course. This studio is developed under the framework of ART_X@Rensselaer, an “art across the curriculum initiative” aimed to promote art, science and design interchanges among the institute’s diverse academic units. This 3-credit option is open to non-architecture students only, who will work together with students at the School of Architecture in a larger dedicated design studio. Taught with ARCH 4250 / 60. Gustavo Crembil and others TBD. MR 4-6. Prerequisites: 3th and 4th year non-arch students only. Credits: 3. Enrollment: 8 students max.

ARCH4969.01 MESTIZO ROBOTICS [2 credits option]

A seminar dedicated to revising and expanding the notion of ‘mestizo technology’ and its larger theoretical implications. ‘Mestizaje’, a Spanish word normally used to describe the process that blends races or languages, is also understood in contemporary cultural discourse as a phenomena with a non-harmonic resolution, “an heterogeneous juxtaposition aiming toward hybridity” (G. Yudice), interactions, interchanges, and re-appropriations. Under this lens, could a ‘mestizo technology’ be possible? This seminar will provide the theoretical ground for the development of the robotic installation based on a fragment of the Popol Vuh (the Mayan book of creation) that narrates a failed attempt by the gods to create humankind from mud. This is an artistic/academic project comprised of a community of robotic agents “made of mud” dispersed and developed by different research academic units throughout the Americas. A cluster of 3 or 4 robotic units will be developed and installed at Rensselaer. This seminar is developed under the framework of ART_X@Rensselaer, an “art across the curriculum initiative” aimed to promote art, science and design interchanges among the institute’s diverse academic units. This 2-credit option is open to non-architecture students only, who will work together with students at the School of Architecture in a larger dedicated design studio. Taught with ARCH 4250 / 60. Gustavo Crembil and others TBD.  Days: M 4-6. Prerequisites: 3th and 4th year non-arch students only. Credits: 2. Enrollment Max: 6 students max.

]]> 0 Mestizo Robotics (Art_X@Rensselaer) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:29:15 +0000 arch course for non-arch students:


Architecture Rensselaer is looking for a small group of curious and self-motivated engineering students (junior or senior) to participate in a novel initiative coordinated by the School of Architecture and EMPAC.

We are interested on students with a basic knowledge of and/or interest in the following areas:


Students will participate in the development of an artistic academic project comprised of an interconnected spherical robotic community dispersed and developed by different research units throughout the Americas. [1]


The overarching interest linking the different research groups across the continent is the exploration of the notion of “technological mestizaje.” Mestizaje is understood here as phenomenon with a non-harmonic resolution, but a “heterogeneous juxtaposition aiming toward hybridity” (G. Yudice). The term ‘mestizo technology’ is used to frame the discussion on how technology is embodied, appropriated, transformed and assimilated in unexpected forms in different development contexts.

Inspired by the Mayan creationist myth of the Popol Vuh, Gustavo Crembil and Paula Gaetano Adi (2) proposed  this territorial installation comprised of a community of autonomous robotic spheres “made out of mud.” The project advocates for the integration of high and low technology, materials, processes, and cultures; and claims a tactical approach to fabrication and thinking in which western methods, expertises, and colonial technologies collide, and are absorbed with existing traditions and local knowledges.

One cluster of 3 or 4 robotic spheres will be developed and installed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) under the framework of the ART_X@Rensselaer, an “art across the curriculum initiative” aimed to promote innovative educational and research interchanges among the institute’s diverse academic units.

The project will be developed under the umbrella of dedicated advanced design studio at Rensselaer’s School of Architecture coordinated by Prof. Gustavo Crembil, under which different curricular tiers will co-exist to allow the participation of students of different schools who will work together and co-develop the project with architecture students.

Non-architecture students will have the following curricular options to sign up:


Design-and-build workshop focused on developing a robotic art installation mixing high and low technologies. Research to include: robotics, mechatronics, sensing, signal processing. Mondays and Thursdays 4-6pm.


Seminar dedicated to exploring and expanding the notion of “mestizo technology” and its theoretical implications. Mondays 4-6pm.





[1] So far, the Nano Lab / Universidade Federal of Rio de Janeiro and the Electronic & Media Arts / Universidad Tres de Febrero (Buenos Aires, Argentina) have confirmed their participation. Others may be added soon.

[2] Paula Gaetano Adi taught at eMAC / RPI and worked at EMPAC. Currently a faculty at Rhode Island School of Design, she will be a regular guest critic of these courses.

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[Upcoming Lecture] Achim Menges Tue, 21 Apr 2015 05:23:04 +0000 Mon April 27th, 6:00 pm @ EMPAC Concert Hall

ACHIM MENGES: “Computational Material Culture”

ACHIM MENGES is a a registered architect in Frankfurt, Germany and a professor at the University of Stuttgart, where he is the founding director of the Institute for Computational Design since 2008. Additionally, Menges is a Visiting Professor in Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design since 2008.

Achim Menges’ practice and research focuses on the development of integral design processes at the intersection of morphogenetic design computation, biomimetic engineering, and computer-aided manufacturing that enables a highly articulated, performative built environment. His work is based on an interdisciplinary approach in collaboration with structural engineers, computer scientists, material scientists, and biologists. Menges has published several books on his work and related fields of design research, and he is the author and co-author of numerous articles and scientific papers. His projects and design research have received many international awards, have been published and exhibited world wide, and form parts of several renowned museum collections, including the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Menges graduated with honors from the AA school of Architecture in London where he subsequently taught as Studio Master of Emergent Technologies and Design Graduate Program from 2002 to 2009, as a visiting professor from 2009 to 2012, and as Unit Master of Diploma Unit 4 from 2003 to 2006. From 2005 to 2008 Menges was Professor for Form Generation and Materialisation at the HfG Offenbach University for Art and Design in Germany. Menges is a member of several international research evaluation boards and of numerous scientific committees of leading peer-reviewed international journals and conferences.

From Achim Menges’ profile at the University of Stuttgart Institute for Computational Design, read more here.


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[Recent Lecture] Aires Mateus Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:52:32 +0000 DATE CHANGE TO Mon Apr 20th, 6:00 pm @ EMPAC

MANUEL AIRES MATEUS: “Recent Projects”

MANUEL AIRES MATEUS is a Portuguese architect and founding co-principal at Aires Mateus. Born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1963, Aires Mateus earned his degree in architecture from F.A./U.T.L., Lisbon Portugal in 1986. He has collaborated with architect Gonçalo Byrne, and since 1988, has been practicing alongside his brother, architect Francisco Aires Mateus. Aires Mateus is an acclaimed contemporary practice that upholds the strong tradition of Portuguese architecture.

In 2002 and 2005, Manuel Aires Mateus taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He served as a visiting professor at Fakulteta za Arhitekturo,Universa v Ljubljani, Ljubljana, in Slovenia in 2003/2004, at the Academia di Architectura, in Mendrízio, Switzerland since 2001, as Professor at Universidade Autónoma in Lisbon since 1998, and as Professor at Universidade Lusíada in Lisbon since 1997. Aires Mateus has spoken and shared his work at several seminars and conferences across the world, including in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.

This is a Professor Kenneth L. Warriner Lecture and will take place in EMPAC’s Concert Hall.


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Prof. Fleet Hower Featured in c|net Wed, 15 Apr 2015 02:47:29 +0000 PROFESSOR FLEET HOWER FEATURED IN C|NET MAGAZINE

Adjunct Professor Fleet Hower is the featured artist for “In The Gallery” for this quarter’s c|net magazine.

The magazine’s gallery, which is the last spread of each issue, features “work by brilliant young artists and the technology they rely on.” Hower’s recently released line of 3d printed three-dimensional puzzles, the Lock-Nesters, are the featured work. Find out more about his work at

Fleet Hower is a designer and educator with expertise in computational methodologies. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania where he received the Lewis Dales Traveling Fellowship and Will M. Mehlhorn Scholarship for academic excellence. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Hower assisted studios and seminars for Cecil Balmond, Jenny Sabin, and Roland Snooks. He has also taught at Philadelphia University and directed workshops at Tongji University in Shanghai. In addition to teaching, Hower has worked in offices in New York, Beijing, Shanghai, and Washington D.C., primarily developing procedural logics for large scale projects. Hower’s current design research is focused on topological formation using non-linear generative techniques. Hower recently gave a lecture, “Novel Assemblies,” at the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. The lecture highlighted Fleet’s interest in the organization and manipulation of large data sets as a design methodology.


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[Upcoming Event] Section Cut Pin-Up Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:53:37 +0000 Wed April 15, 2015 @ Greene Gallery | 2:00-6:00 pm


Please join us this Wednesday, April 15 in the Greene Gallery for the AIAS sponsored all school pin-up and open house. Two representatives from each studio, selected by their studio professors, will present their work from this semester so far. This is a Grand Marshal week event.

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Rome-China Show Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:34:41 +0000 Wed Apr. 8th, 6:00pm @ GR201

Rome-China Show

This Wednesday at 6:00pm, Professors Elena Perez-Guembe and Kyle Stover will host an exhibition on their recent abroad programs to Italy and China. Students and faculty are invited to come learn about School of Architecture abroad programs and hear the experiences of fellow students who most recently visited these parts of the world.


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Prof. Oatman: “Best Local Visual Artist” (Metroland) Sun, 05 Apr 2015 23:51:28 +0000

Associate Professor Michael Oatman has been recognized by Metroland News, a capital-region news source, as #1 of “The Capital Region’s 10 Most Significant Visual Artists of the Past 30 Years” for his globally exhibited drawings, collages, and installations, which integrate thousands of found, modified and handmade components, including artifacts of material culture, painting, drawing, video, and food.  These architectural ‘unvironments’ have been installed at museums, public spaces and private homes. His installations are ‘context-specific’, and demand from him a total immersion into physical location, sonic/haptic realms, local history and the personal stories of those he encounters while working. He has exhibited extensively in the US and abroad.

Oatman received his BFA from RISD, and his MFA from the University at Albany.  He has taught at Harvard, UVM, UAlbany St. Michael’s College and Vermont College.  He has been a visiting critic at RISD from 1986 to the present.  He has been a faculty member in the School of Architecture at Renssealer since 1999.


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[Recent Event] “Integrated Ideation” Symposium Fri, 03 Apr 2015 21:06:09 +0000 Mon. April 6th, 4:30 pm @ EMPAC Theater


MICHAEL STEIN, Schlaich Bergermann & Pnr.

Craig Schwitter of Burohappold is a leader in the engineering design of complex buildings and large scale developments that include educational, performing arts, cultural, civic, stadia, transportation, and master planning projects. Craig founded the first North American office of BuroHappold Engineers in 1999. Since its inception, the North American practice has grown to over 200 staff based in multiple office locations including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. Under Craig’s leadership, the North America region offices expanded to offer a full suite of engineering arts including: structural, MEP, geotechnical and façade engineering, lighting design, fire and life safety, sustainability consulting, and sustainable master planning services.

Bruce Danziger of Arup possesses a broad range of expertise that includes lightweight structures, tensile mast and membrane construction, and non-linear structural analysis. He has engineered for Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaus, Renzo Piano, Eric Owen Moss, as well as over a half dozen siteworks with Stephen Glassman. Selected notable projects include the LA County Museum of Art, the Koln/Bonn, Atlanta Hartsfield, Munich and San Francisco Airports, and the Philadelphia Eagles NFL Stadium.

Michael Stein of Schlaich Bergermann & Partner heads their New York office, and guides projects within and beyond North America. His work as a structural consulting engineer has contributed to projects at the scale of the One World Trade Center, for which he and other consultants worked on conceptual design and detailed design of the antenna structure and glass structures, Gehry’s Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, and the Porsche Pavilion Autostadt in Wolfsburg.

Will Laufs of LaufsED is the Bedford Chair at the RPI School of Architecture. Laufs works in the field of structural, façade engineering and specialty structures design in North America and worldwide, focusing on the use of new materials, energy efficiency, transparent glass enclosures, challenging international structures with complex geometries, and architectural building elements, where 3D structural form-finding and detailing have an important influence on aesthetic appearance and identity of spaces. He lives and works in New York City, and was raised and educated in Germany. Will believes in the unity of architecture, sustainability, and structural engineering, focusing towards one single integrated design approach, having been trained in both Structural Engineering and Architecture.


The Bedford Architecture/Engineering initiatives aims to create meaningful cross-disciplinary experiences that address the increasing complexity and rising expectations for building performance and design. Under the direction of a visiting professorship designed to engage accomplished engineers with records of effective collaboration, there are three initiatives: 1) an upper-level interdisciplinary design studio, 2) an upper-level interdisciplinary seminar, and 3) an international traveling workshop.

For more information on the Bedford Initiative, please click here.




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AIAS T-Shirt Design Competition Tue, 07 Apr 2015 02:50:57 +0000 Mon Apr. 6th – Fri Apr. 10th

AIAS T-Shirt Design Competition

AIAS is holding a student T-Shirt design competition this week, Mon Apr. 6th – Fri Apr. 10th. Submissions are due 4:00pm Friday, April 10th, via email. Both voting processes will be done online and will open for 48 hours starting 4:00pm Friday. The top three designs will undergo a second voting process which will begin at 4:00pm on Sunday.

Please send all questions and submissions to *protected email*


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