"Intermittency" Studio wins Co-Works Pilot Project

The upcoming design research studio entitled "Intermittency" a collaboration between RISD Int/AR and the RISD Museum was selected as the first full-semester studio to be featured in the newly established Co-Works Lab.


Intermittency - the irregular alternation of phases or configurations in a dynamic system.

We often think of adaptation and reuse as a long-term and relatively stable repurposing of an existing, underutilized space towards a new agenda. The RISD Intermittency Studio questions the coupling of adaptation/reuse with expectations of long-term, stable interventions. Likewise the expectations of the museum has evolved to encompass immersive experiences that go beyond architecture to incorporate interactive digital environments, way-finding, and the transformation of existing spaces.   Working in tandem with the RISD Museum, this collaborative studio explores how existing interior and exterior spaces can be intermittently redefined and delimited through graphical, material, and structural cues - reprogramming and reimagining its the parameters, program and identity.

Our studio brings together students from Interior Architecture/Adaptive Reuse, Graphic Design, and Furniture Design to work with the RISD Museum on the design and construction of a intermittent space for display, commerce, and communication at the Chase Center for the Arts. From a pedagogical standpoint, the use digital design and production methodologies that allow us to span from design concept to physical construction to interactive project documentation  will provide a common ground for a cross-disciplinary approach to design practice.

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"Material Practices + Design Representation" | Lecture @ Harvard University, GSD

Material Practices + Design Representation

GSD Talks:  Kiley Fellow Zaneta Hong in conversation with Charles Waldheim

Harvard University, Graduate School of Design

Gund Hall, Stubbins

11248 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

November 18, 2014

Designers are paradoxically generalists and specialists. We are trained + practiced in creating organizations and logistics; and across disciplines + manners of practice, investigations can take on many forms. Even though research and design projects can vary greatly in their modality, they are all part of a larger body of work built on the ideas of iterative processes that deal with material information and composite forms of communication.In the open lecture at the Harvard GSD, Zaneta Hong presents past work and introduces her current research, the Landformation Catalogue. The research, funded in part by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts will be an upcoming public exhibition at Harvard in March 2015.

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"Transformations" | Lecture @ the Fogg Art Museum

The Transformation Studio is a collaboration between Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the History of Art + Architecture Department. As an undergraduate architecture studies concentration, students are presented basic architectural concepts (surface, frame, volume, composite) and techniques used to address issues of form, function, ornament and material. The course provides instruction in project analysis, visualization, communication, and fabrication using both physical and digital modeling and software. The public lecture presented studio work from the last two years with a broad overview of transformational processes, context, program, and material assemblages.

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"Applied Geometries" ii Journal Vol. 03 Now Available

ii Journal Vol. 03: Applied Geometries is now available at Amazon.

Jonathon Anderson + Meg Jackson_editors

Geometry has always informed the process of design, serving as both as an inspiration and generator of space. More recently, the spatial design fields have increasingly engaged applied geometries in the analysis and optimization of the manufacturing and construction processes. As evidenced through the historical avant-garde interior architectures of Gaudi, Saarinen, and Fuller, the performative potential of geometry is nothing new, yet recent investigations have begun to challenge conventional practices by expanding the potential for complexity in design. Contemporary advances in the design process, largely due to digital technologies, continue to challenge the means and methods of architecture through emerging hybrids of advanced geometry.  While technological innovation has transformed the spatial and formal opportunities of designers, the unique context of architecture, as well as its humanist and social agencies, continues to challenge the fantastical potential of alternative geometries. It is within this relationship – at the interstitial space between architecture and geometry

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Interview with Lake Flato & NBBJ about Sefaira Energy Analysis

Following last year’s release of several tools, including an energy analysis plug-in for SketchUp, the five-year old software company Sefaira has released a revamped plug-in for Autodesk’s Revit.  San Antonio, Texas-based Lake/Flato Architects, which had already been using Sefaira for SketchUp and the web application, is now using the Revit plug-in. Like Lake/Flato, NBBJ also still relies on targeted analysis from consultants who use their own analytical tools, according to Sean Burke, digital practice leader in the Seattle office. But Sefaira works well with NBBJ’s “rapid conceptual design” process, he says.

 Read the entire article in  Architectural Recordrticle.

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Interview with Frank Gehry about Gehry Technologies

On Tuesday, GT revealed it has spun off Digital Project into an independent company, Digital Project Inc. This followed Monday's announcement that Trimble Navigation Limited—a company that may not be familiar by name, but one whose products are widely known and used—acquired GT (but not Digital Project) for an undisclosed amount.

I spoke with Frank Gehry about this new direction for Gehry Technologies for Architectural Record.  You can read more about it here

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Beta-field featured in Our RISD

Beta-field's Landformation Catalogue project is now featured in the Rhode Island School of Design's Magazine Our RISD. The article discusses how we use grant funding to prompt design inquiry.

The Land formation Catalogue, which has received funding from the  Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts examines the formalization of constructed landscapes through three information categories.  Our preliminary research will be exhibited at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the spring of 2015.  Check back here for project updates and more information.

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Beta-field wins Graham Foundation Grant

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts awarded Zaneta Hong + Leighton Beaman a Graham Grant towards the Landformation Catalogue.

The Landformation Catalogue focused on revealing the generative methods of landform design and construction. Three parameters - operations, materials and technologies - provide the basis for this research. With the goal to communicate the formative relationships between these three defining parameters across scales and geographies, the Landformation Catalogue establishes a morphologic index of forms and taxonometric organization of effects. By combining computational-based simulations, digitally-fabricated artifacts, and graphic illustrations, the Landformation Catalogue provides an alternative categorical structure and analytical framework for exploring the inception and evolutionary development of constructed landforms.

The work from the Landformation Catalogue will be exhibited at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

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Transformations Exhibition opens at the Sackler Museum

The Transformations Studio introduces basic architectural concepts and techniques used to address issues of form, function, ornament, and material. The course provides instruction in project analysis, visualization, communication, and fabrication, using both physical and digital modeling. Students proceed through a series of progressively complex investigations of transformational processes, contexts, programs, and material assemblages. As an introduction to architectural design, the course explores comprehensive and foundational design principles, skill sets + critical thinking with making.

Transformations, an exhibition of student work from the undergraduate architecture studio is open May 5-7,2014 at the Sackler Museum on the campus of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Studio Instructor: Zaneta Hong

Teaching Assistants: Fred Thwainy + Phoebe White

Undergraduate Students: Kathleen Hanley, Angie Jo, 

Matthew Ricotta, Linda Song, James Thurm,

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, John Wang, Sherrie Wang, Gianina Yumul

Harvard University, Sackler Museum

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Fundraising for The Masoro Village Project | GA Collaborative

GA Collaborative (GAC), a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit group of designers research and design with new and old building technologies to find the right balance of practical, cultural, and community needs to best serve our local partners. 

The Masoro Project + Fundraising

We are currently fundraising The Masoro Project at Our model is to enable self-building traditions common in Africa, and develop local community organizations that want to learn to build and to meet their own needs. GAC's direct involvement is limited to the first several houses, and is focused as much on developing capacity and resilience as it is on construction and technical knowledge.

In Rwanda, we are working with a new builder's association to develop the potential of EarthBag construction as a way of enabling them to build their own homes. EarthBags are stitched from recycled polypropylene, packed with sifted site soil, and stacked like masonry. The technology has a long history and can be found around the world but is new to Rwanda - in fact, we built the country's first EarthBag structure last summer. Our new goal is to build a 2-story building with the same group of builders in 2014.

You can find out more about us at the GAC website.

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Beaman, Hong + Sho present the session: "Preemption", at the 2014 Design for Urban Disasters Conference

We will be leading a conference session at the Design for Urban Disasters Conference at Harvard University on May 5, 2014. 


With the advances in both climatological modeling and the computational power to run them, we are becoming better adept at forecasting the effects of climate change on global environmental conditions. The transformations that await our environment are increasingly predictable, quantifiable, visually accessible, and readily available. While this information may allow designers to better understand the impact our disciplines will have on the future state of the world as we continue our current trajectory, its says little about how we can mitigate or reverse this path. Within this quantifiable climate change, where human actions have knowingly and demonstrably altered the patterns and qualities of the world's environment, post-disaster solutions may only serve as an acknowledgement of our political and cultural failure to act. Are designers relegated to focus on preparedness and response, positioning disasters as immanent phenomena, or are there more preemptive approaches? Should designers be preparing for disasters or actively working against their formation?

The etymological origin of preemption is translated as "buy before." This suggests that we have a choice in how and when our intellectual, social, political and financial capital can be directed to address environmental changes. If preemption rather than reaction is a possibility for designers and design thinkers, a number of questions arise.

This Design for Urban Disaster conference session asks architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and industrial designers to present the ways in which they have begun to address climate change as a problem of preemption.


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Leighton Beaman holds "Landforming" workshop at Harvard University

Using google satellite imagery,  image processing algorithms, and parametric modeling software the Landforming workshop held at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design examines how observational modes of data collection and projective methods of surface modelling can be combined to generate speculative landformations rooted in topological ontologies of landscape. The workshop is part of a newly formed undergraduate concentration in architecture at Harvard University between the VES + GSD.

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"Materials As Collections" the Illinois Institute of Technology

Leighton Beaman + Zaneta Hong will be presenting "Materials As Collections" at this year's National Conference on the Beginning Design Student [NCBDS] at the Illinois Institute of Technology.


"From the master/apprentice paradigm of learning building craft to the hallowed halls of formalized education, the historical trajectory of architectural study presents a challenge to integrating materiality within the conception and delineation of the built environment. Today representational tools and techniques are often compromised substitutes for the physicality of architectural works. Consequently, architecture’s pedagogical structures struggle to infuse tactility, material assembly, and making into the representational methodology of design education today."

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Corporeal Complexities: ii Journal Vol 02 is Now Available

Corporeal Complexities: ii Journal Vol 02 is Now Available at Amazon

Meg Jackson + Jonathon Anderson_editors

The field of spatial design presumes that a designer operates at the scale of the human body.  Whether resulting in the design of furniture, fashion, a residence, event, or urban park, this emergent field of practice privileges the performance of the body and its relationship to space. Spatial design is impacted by scale in relation to the performance of a body, but liberated from the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

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"Ground Form" Presented at CELA Conference

Zaneta Hong + Leighton Beaman will be presenting "Ground Form: Simulation and Representation for Landscape Design" at this year's Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture [CELA] in Baltimore, MD on March 27, 2014.

The presentation examines the epidemiological transition from representational focused media and techniques to ones of simulation in the practice of landscape architectural research and production.

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