The World Is Flat - syllabus


Lumina Pavilion(s)





  • Andrew Kudless : CCA

  • Melissa Goldman : UVa

  • Michael Leighton Beaman : UVa + RISD

University of Virginia | School of Architecture

SARC 5555 + ARCH 5500

Campbell Hall : 139

Wed. : 3:30pm - 6:00pm +



Our world is not flat - though many of materials we use to build are. As we create ever more formally and spatially complex projects using digital modeling and computational software, their realization with available building materials requires increasingly difficult. This course will explore methods of creatively and rigorously translating between the dimensionless space of software, the 2-dimensional space of many building materials and methods, and the three-dimensional space of our built environment. To this end, we will embark on two projects that consider the structural, programmatic, and construction issues that accompany surfaces with double curvature. The first is a full-scale pavilion for the UVa Bicentennial that will be exhibited on the Lawn and which we will design and build as a group. The second is a proposal for a stereotomic structure that builds on our findings from the first part, but that leverages 3-dimensional manufacturing capabilities of the Architecture School’s Kuka robotic arm, which you will be able to design and prototype in teams or individually.   

This semester, we welcome Andrew Kudless, founder of Matsys and Associate Professor of Architecture at the California College of the Arts to UVa as our workshop leader. Kudless’s work bridges computation, digital fabrication, and material exploration. His work has been exhibited internationally. The course will begin with two concentrated workshops from Andrew (Week 1 & 4).  The mandatory workshops will extend outside of the regular classroom schedule, so students will have to be flexible and focused during these times.  The culmination of these workshops will be the completion of the Bicentennial Pavilion.

The second project will take the structural and computational research into 3-dimensional building components using our  6 axis robotic arm. As we go from flat to shell, surface to solid, we will jump across dimensions to test surface optimization of lightweight structures, explore CNC manufacturing and assembly techniques, and translate our process and the resulting artefacts into drawings and diagrams. Students will be introduced to all software through workshops, though a working knowledge of Grasshopper is strongly encouraged.

Our studio will be divided into 3 parts, each focusing on a different aspect of this research.  They are as follows: 

  • Part A: Surface Pavilion

  • Part B: Volume Pavilion

  • Part C: Documentation (A & B)




All work and participation is graded using a points systems. Points are determined using three criteria, and distributed by the stated percentages and/or points. Points translate to grades from A - D in  +/- increments.


Grading will be determined by how well each student performs in the following areas: 

Part A | 45%

Part B | 40%

Part C| 15%



Grading will be determined by how well each student performs in the following areas: 

Understanding + Application
The understanding of the course/studio project at hand, combined with an appropriate process of inquiry & development of a consistent and rigorous analysis/design process with clearly articulated ideas.

Craft + Execution
The ability to accurately and precisely craft a digital and physical response to the analysis/design assignment.  This includes the ability to clearly and concisely communicate ideas, and produce well-formed digital and physical: models, diagrams, drawings, and images the project.

Effort+ Participation
The ability to engage in the assignment with fellow students and your instructor & the ability to receive criticism and incorporate this into your project’s development. Your ability to work in groups, meet deadlines, and contribute to studio culture.



A | Excellent:  90 - 100 points  
Project / Course Work surpasses expectations in terms of inventiveness, appropriateness, verbal and visual presentation, conceptual rigor, craft, and personal development. Student pursues concepts and techniques above and beyond what is discussed in class. Project is complete on all levels.
B | Good: 80 - 90 points
Project / Course Work is thorough, well researched, diligently pursued, and successfully completed.  Student pursues ideas and suggestions presented in class and puts in effort to resolve required projects. Project is complete on all levels and demonstrates potential for excellence.
C | Acceptable: 70 - 80 points
Project / Course Work meets the minimum requirements. Suggestions made in class are not pursued with dedication or rigor. Project is incomplete in one or more areas.
D | Poor: 60 - 70 points
Project / Course Work is incomplete. Basic skills, technological competence, verbal clarity, and/or logic of presentation are not level-appropriate. Student does not demonstrate the required design skill and knowledge base. Work is incomplete.


Software & Hardware

This course focuses on digital design and manufacturing processes & practices - you will be required to use the assigned hardware and software.

Each student is required to have a laptop with the following software installed on the first day of class, unless otherwise noted. Each student must complete any required training associated with the use of laser-cutters, CNC milling, and 3D printing at UVa. You will be expected to use this software and hardware throughout this course.  

Software Requirements:

Hardware & Training Requirements

  • Subtractive Manufacturing (Laser Cutter & CNC Mill)

  • Additive Manufacturing Techniques (3D printer training)

  • 2D printing & plotting



The following adhere to the University of Virginia polices and may impact your grade. Please read carefully.

Students are required to participate in all class activities. Participation includes completing assignments and group presentations, contributing to class discussions, and presenting work. Each student is expected to come to class prepared with questions and comments about assigned reading(s), and completed assignments.  

Students who are 15 minutes late to class will be marked late. 3 late days = 1 unexcused absence. 4 unexcused absences will result in a lowering of one letter grade, and an additional letter grade for each unexcused absence thereafter. Regardless of tardy of absence, students are responsible to complete all assignments on time, unless alternative arrangements have been made with the instructor.

The University of Virginia is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. Members of the UVa community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work in tests and assignments. This includes recognition and adherence to the UVa honor code. 

Any student who feels s/he may require accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately at the beginning of the semester to discuss specific needs. In addition, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at the University of Virginia's Department of Student Health directly to coordinate reasonable accommodations prior to the start of any UVa course if you need to discuss or implement solutions to specific needs.


Students are required to submit documentation of their work. Late submissions will be graded accordingly. Incomplete and/or failing grades will be given to any student who fails to submit both sets of work documentation

Documentation of all assignments and final project must be submitted to the instructor via Google Drive folder (link will be provided). This submission must include the following:

 1. Packaged InDesign file + PDF of final project board
 2. Photos of your final models, installations, prototypes, etc
 3. All files and requirements from previous assignments 

File naming convention for Individuals: 2018_ARC1020_Last Name_Assignment Number_Document Type

For example: 2017_ARC5555_Beaman_A01_CirculationDiagram

File naming convention for Teams or Groups | Group Name or Number_Assignment Number_Document Type

For example: 2017_ARC5555_GroupA_A01_CirculationDiagram



This schedule is subject to change at anytime to accommodate the needs of the studio, facility and equipment availability, review schedules or any unforeseen issues. 

Part A | Surface Pavilion (1 credit)

Week 01 | Aug. 21

21 Mon | N/A

22 Tue | N/A

23 Wed | Class

3:30pm - 9:00pm | Introduction & Lecture

5:15pm | Site Visit

7:00pm | Dinner


24 Thu | Group Pavilion Proposals / CNC Training

10:00am - 1:00pm | Meet with Teams

10:00am | CNC Router Workshop 1

2:00pm - 5:30pm | Meet with Teams

2:00pm | CNC Router Workshop 2


25 Fri | Group Pavilion Proposal

10:00am - 1:00pm | Meet with Teams

2:00pm - 4:00pm | Meet with Teams

4:00pm - 5:30pm | All school Meeting


26 Sat | Final Group Proposals Due | Pavilion Selection | Manufacturing/Assembly Groups

10:00am - 12:00pm | Morning Team Work

12:00pm - 2:00pm | Proposal Presentations

Paper Model

Plan Drawing (with site)

Drawing/Image of Pavilion on Site

Pavilion Dimensions | Material Area Estimate | Cut Time Estimate

3:00pm - 7:00pm | Afternoon Team Work


27 Sun | Prototype Production Files Due

10:00am - 1:00pm | Morning Team Work

2:00pm - 4:00pm | Afternoon Pin-Up | Test Object

4:00pm - 5:00pm | Final Discussion (S, M, L, XL)


Week 02 | Aug. 28

28 Mon | Detail & Assembly Development | Mock-ups / Prototyes

29 Tue | Detail & Assembly Development | Mock-ups / Prototypes

30 Wed | Production Schedule | Part Production (S) | Assembly (S)

31 Thu |  Routing & Assembly (S)

01 Fri |  Routing & Assembly (S)

02 Sat |  Routing & Assembly (XL)

03 Sun | Routing & Assembly (XL)


Week 03 | Sept. 04

04 Mon | Routing & Assembly (XL)

05 Tue | Routing & Assembly (XL)

06 Wed |  Routing & Assembly (XL)

07 Thr | Routing & Assembly (XL)

08 Fri | Routing & Assembly (XL)

09 Sat | Routing & Assembly (XL)

10 Sun | Routing & Assembly (XL)


Week 04 | Sept. 11

11 Mon | Routing & Assembly (XL)

5:00pm - 7:00pm | Assembly (XL)

12 Tue | Routing & Assembly (XL)

9:00am - 7:00pm | Routing (XL)

11:00am - 7:00pm | Assembly (XL)


13 Wed | Routing & Assembly (XL)

9:00am - 7:00pm | Routing (L)

9:00am - 7:00pm | Final Assembly (XL)


14 Thu | On Site Assembly (S, L, XL)

9:00am - 7:00pm | Routing (L)

9:00am - 7:00pm | Assembly (L)


15 Fri | XL Openning & Andrew Kudless Lecture

9:00am - 5:00pm | Routing (L)

9:00am - 5:00pm | Assembly (L)

5:00pm - 6:00pm | Andrew Kudless Lecture

6:00pm - 7:00pm | Reception


16 Sat | Workshops

10:00am -5:00pm | Visualization / Documentation Workshops


17 Sun |  Workshops 

10:00am -5:00pm | Visualization / Documentation Workshops


Part B | Volume Pavilion + Part C | Documentation (2 credits)


Week 05 | Sept. 18

20 Wed | Documentation Workshop 2 | GH Tutorial 


Week 06 | Sept. 25

27 Wed | Kuka Workshop 1


Week 07 |Oct. 02

04 Wed | Kuka Workshop 2


Week 08 | Oct. 09

11 Wed | Research Proposals


Week 09 | Oct. 16

18 Wed | Prototyping


Week 10 | Oct. 23

25 Wed | Documentation Workshop 3 | Prototyping


Week 11 | Oct. 30

01 Wed: Prototyping


Week 12 | Nov. 06

08 Wed | Prototyping


Week 13 | Nov. 13

15 Wed | Mid-Project Review


Week 14 | Nov. 20

22 Wed | Part Production + Section Assembly


Week 15 | Nov. 27

29 Wed | Part Production + Section Assembly


Week 16 | Dec 04

06 Wed | Documentation 4 | Redlining


Week 17 | Dec 11

13 Wed | Final Review Week