UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD) today announced the launch of IDEAS, a new platform for cross-disciplinary research collaborations among students, faculty, industry and other partners that will radically question, challenge and expand the current parameters of architecture practice. As part of this initiative, the department has added a new Los Angeles satellite location and significantly expanded its master's of architecture program, which will now feature studio courses taught by several of the biggest luminaries in the field — Thom Mayne, Greg Lynn and Frank Gehry, with Gehry Partners and Gehry Technologies.
The revamped, self-supported Master of Architecture II program, which will continue to be known as SUPRASTUDIO, has been expanded threefold, from 15 to 45 students, for the 2013–14 academic year. During these yearlong, post-professional studios, students will study with one of the three world-renowned, award-winning architects, focusing on a research theme in collaboration with an industry or nonprofit partner and a broad array of outside consultants.
Such collaborative approaches to addressing next-generation design questions have become increasingly important as rapid advances in technology and more complex problems in urbanism have led to greater areas of overlap between architecture and urban design and adjacent industries like transportation, entertainment and technology, said Hitoshi Abe, professor and chair of A.UD.
The new applied research platform provided by IDEAS and the expansion of SUPRASTUDIO will allow students to pivot out from traditional architecture to discover new applications for architectural expertise, he stressed.
"Industry often uses the language of architecture to speculate on the future of their fields," Abe said. "SUPRASTUDIO, with its unique format, works with these partners in collaborative research and opens up the future possibilities for architecture from the outside in."
To test new design concepts, SUPRASTUDIO students will have access to the 6,000-square-foot Advanced Technologies Lab, located at A.UD's new hub at the Hercules Campus in Playa Vista, Calif., where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose aircraft in the 1940s and where A.UD's current neighbors include YouTube and Earthbound Media Group. The lab offers students the opportunity to examine not only how robotics and other technologies can change the way buildings are made but how to integrate such advanced technologies into architecture and urban design methodology.
The Advanced Technologies Lab is sponsored in part by Toyota, which served as a corporate sponsor for A.UD's 2008–09 SUPRASTUDIO and is an A.UD partner in ongoing initiatives.
The three studios for the 2013–14 academic year are:
Frank Gehry | Gehry Partners | Gehry Technologies
Led by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry, this studio will explore the possibilities for intelligent micro-technologies that support going "off the grid" at both the building scale and the urban scale. Currently, the built environment is organized around networks of distribution infrastructures — for power, water, heat, fuel and other services — that over the past century have dramatically affected the structure of the environment and people's way of way of life. Often, this design for the grid comes at the expense of the needs of people. But what if the grid itself were unnecessary? The studio will hypothesize what new cities might look like if inhabitants could control their own creation and consumption of energy, cooling, water and other services.
Lynn, A.UD professor and winner of the 2008 Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, will team up with an industry leader to research the future implications of robotic and intelligent environments. The studio will explore the potential for "transformable structures" — buildings and other structures equipped with robotics and intelligent sensing technologies that can adapt, move and transform smartly in response to various environmental situations.
Thom Mayne | NOW Institute
In collaboration with policymakers and government partners, Thom Mayne, recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and a distinguished professor at A.UD, will lead the newly formed NOW Institute with director Eui-Sung Yi, building on 10 years of previous research initiatives that span cities across the United States and the world, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, Madrid, Beijing and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The focus of this studio will be the investigation and application of urban strategies to complex problems in modern, advanced metropolises and informal settlements, encompassing cities affected by the challenges of resilience, culture, sustainability and mobility.
UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD)
, part of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, pursues issues confronting contemporary architecture and urbanism through its bachelor's of arts program in architectural studies and its four advanced degree programs: the master's of architecture I, master's of architecture II, master's of arts in architecture and doctorate of philosophy in architecture. The programs' primary focus on advanced design is complemented by concentrations in technology and critical studies of architectural culture.