“Pliant Bodies” opens at the University of Virginia

“Pliant Bodies” is a series of constructions that examine resilient and materially co-mingled structures produced during the Pliant Bodies research seminar at the University of Virginia’s School of architecture. Combining computational design and simulation methods with materials assemblies research, this series of constructions produced by students at UVA seeks to generate structure, enclosure, form, and effect simultaneously through the careful engineering and composition of layered, woven, laminated and other techniques that create spacial bodies. The installation opens on Thursday, May 9th @ 5pm

Read More

Meta-Field Launches

meta-field, a speculative & applied design research group at the University of Virginia, launches on Nov 6th 2017. Meta-field, a collection faculty, researchers and students, from multiple disciplines examines the intersections between Materials, Environments, Technologies, and Assemblies. Meta-field is co-directed by Zaneta Hong, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia & Leighton Beaman, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia and Design and Technology Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design. 

more at

Read More

Smart Environments Research Group & Data Dialogues

Michael Leighton Beaman joins the Smart Environments Project. The UVA SMART ENVIRONMENTS project challenges the social equity and urban spatial implications of data informatics. In a 3-year project, a group of scholars will contribute an architectural, ecological, and urban policy perspective to a broader Humanities Informatics initiative at UVA that aims at a critical, and often-neglected humanities dialogue within information studies and data science.

Learn More at the Smart Environments Website

Read More

Oyster Blocks published in IntAR Journal

Sub-aqueous Interventions for Non-Humans, an article about the Oyster Block Project is available in the Int|AR Journal Vol. 08

As more emphasis is placed on humanity’s impact on the Earth’s environments, and what might be called an acknowledgement and exploration of the ecological context of our activity, designers have become more involved in adaptive and interventional projects that are realized in larger, more interconnected ways. Increasingly, those projects are involving sub-aqueous environments and ecotones. These projects are expanding the notion of intervention and adaptation for designers to encompass water. The Oyster Blocks Project, which began as a collaboration between Beta-field and Allied Concrete, was born from this approach to design intervention. Our collaborative goal was to investigate how manufactured elements which play a role in these environments, might be reconsidered to be more specific in form, material, and construction; more responsive in relation to its intended intervention and more mindful of unintended effects.

Read More

Kenya Building Manual wins Research Grant

The Kenya Building Manual, and on-going project between GA Collaborative and students from the Rhode Island School of Design & the University of Virginia to investigate, communicate, and disseminate low impact building techniques to developing communities in Kenya and across sub Saharan Africa, has received a Summer Research Grant from the University of Virginia. The research will investigate and develop graphic modes of communication. 

Read More

"The Observational Domain" @ Fogg Art Museum

Zaneta Hong Presents "The Observational Domain" at the Harvard University Fogg Art Museum on Tuesday, Novemebr 15, 2016 (5:45 - 7:45). Zaneta will be presenting with Laura Muir, Research Curator for Academic and Public Programs.

The Observational Domain explores the ways in which technologies become embodied through observation and how this hybrid vision is framed by disciplines and practices. 

For more on the optical domain check out our chapter in the the book: Innovations in Landscape Architecture

Read More

"Landformation After the Bifrucation of Nature" @ the University of Michigan

Leighton Beaman Presents the peer-reviewed paper "Landformation After the Bifrucation of Nature: On Speculative Landformations" at the 2016 ACADIA Conference held at the University of Michigan. The paper describes recent work from Beta-field on speculative landformations which build off of research in geomorphology, climate science, and the hybrid authorship human-nonhuman assemblages. 

Read More

“The Well-Tempered City” | Lecture @ the University of Hawaii

“The Well-Tempered City: Health & the Built Environment in Interdisciplinary Design Education,” Joint Fall Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture [ACSA] & Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health [ASPPH] – Building For Health & Well-Being: Structure . Cities . Systems Conference, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Read More

"Documenting Landscapes" | Exhibition @ the Fogg Art Museum

Zaneta Hong curated a collection of photographs from the Harvard Universities photography collection which examine the ways scientific instrumentation records its environment.  The collection is part of her course of visualization and landscape architecture taught at the Graduate School of Design.

VIS 2141: Landscape Representation I introduces students to the history, techniques, and conventions of representation used in the field of landscape architecture. Rather than a static description of a design agenda, landscape representation is an active means for building and understanding complexity in design work. 

For more information visit the Fogg Art Museum at

Read More

Autodesk's Live 360 | Review In Architecture Record

I recently reviewed AutoDesk's new VR cloud service LIVE. For the full review check out Architectural Record. Here is an excerpt:

Last week, Autodesk released Autodesk LIVE, a new cloud-based visualization service. It quickly transforms a building information model (BIM) into an interactive, rendered, 3D environment that can be navigated in real-time. Amar Hanspal, Autodesk Senior Vice President, describes LIVE as “dynamic visualization” because it allows designers, collaborators and clients to move through digital models as they choose and it creates these immersive experiences without long lead times.

Read More

"Manufacturing Resonance" published in Innovations in Landscape Architecture

Manufacturing Resonance explores the productive discontinuities between representational systems in design and the exhaustively complex conditions they seek to affect. Through  human-nonhuman hybrid observers that attempt to manufacture greater observational scope and fidelity this chapter examines who and what is doing the observing and the implications on representational systems that operate beyond human access.

Innovations in Landscape Architecture is available here.

Read More

"Reciprocal Artifacts" published in Computational Ecologies

"Computational Ecologies" The Exhibition  Exhibition Catalog of the 35th Annual Conference of the 35th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). Reciprocal Artifacts an exhibition of on-going research from Beta-field + an exhibition installation which expands this initial research to anthropometric spatial datums, is featured in the book. 

Its available here.

Read More

"Speculative Landforms" Awarded RISD Research Grant

The Speculative Landforms Project (SLP) is part of an on-going cross-disciplinary design/research agenda that examines the ontologies of future anthropogenic land forms.

Human beings already operate as geomorphic agents, directly reshaping the surface of the Earth to provide capacities not currently or adequately available. The Speculative Landforms Project treats this activity as a design problems by expanding the operability and agency of environmental design practice via historical inquiry, simulation, and representation

Read More

Leighton Beaman awarded 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellowship

Leighton Beaman was named a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow.  The residency will focus on the Speculative Landforms Project (SLP). SLP examines the future of anthropogentric geological scale land manipulation as a design problems by expanding the operability and agency of environmental design practice via historical inquiry, simulation, and representation.


Read More

Leighton Beaman receives PTFA Design Technology Grant

Leighton Beaman was selected for a PTFA Design Technology Grant for the Object-Oriented Ergonomics Research Project (OOE).  

The OOE project examines changing definitions of ergonomics within post-humanist design theory, through the simulation and production of alternative biogenic human forms. Mirroring conceptual approaches in the emerging theoretical school of speculative realism, the OOE project re-focuses ergonomic design research away from anthropocentrism and towards understanding the relationships between autonomies  and environments.

The OOE project is the first step in applying this theoretical approach to modes of design practice. 

Read More

"Compu-tectonics" Awarded Bridge Research Grant

Computational Ecologies is a collaborative research project that focuses on computational design processes which and their cyclical relationships to computer numerically controlled machines via material artifacts. This project is an extension of the ongoing research of the RISD Code Studio, merging two research practices into a common computational environment to find novel ways of expanding design practice, artistic inquiry, and design education pedagogy. The following proposal is for an intensive three week project workshop during the summer of 2015 that utilizes the equipment and collaborative work space of the Co-Works facility.

Read More