Ultrastrucutres Title Picture

Organized by Forrest Meggers, Dorit Aviv, and Axel Kilian

conference Sept 19th, 2015
exhibition Sept 14th-30th, 2015

…from the Architectural Laboratory to the Embodied Computation Lab
…from the Thermoheliodome to the Cool Oculus


PART 1, ARCHTECTURAL LABORATORY (visit Google maps for location).

11:00-12:00 – Lunch
12:00-12:20 – Forrest Meggers and Hongshan Guo / Welcome to Ultrastructures, Research, and the Arch Lab
12:20-12:40 – Daniel Barber / Conceptual Architecture of Victor and Aladar Olgyay’s Thermoheliodon, c. 1957
12:40-1:10 – Axel Kilian and Kaicong Wu / Embodied Computation
1:10-1:30 – Ryan Johns / Augmented Materiality
1:30-2:00 – Panel Discussion

PART 2, BETTS AUDITORIUM, School of Architecture

2:30-2:50 – Andrés Jaque / Cosmo
2:50-3:10 – Sheila Kennedy / Carbon Hacks: THICK/THIN
3:10-3:30 – David Benjamin / Designed to Disappear
3:50-4:10 – Kiel Moe / Order of Magnitude
4:10-4:30 – Salmaan Craig / Geometrically Activated Thermal Mass
4:30-4:50 – Jonathan Grinham / Nano, Micro, Macro at Work
4:50-5:10 – Dorit Aviv / Cooling Oculi
5:10-5:40 – Closing Discussion and Exhibition View


Speaker info

William W. Braham FAIA is a late addition, but very much welcomed, as Professor of Architecture at UPenn he directs both the Master of Environmental Building Design and also the TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies. He authered several books including one hot off the presses this month: Architecture and Systems Ecology: Thermodynamic Principles of Environmental Building Design, in three parts.

Daniel Barber is faculty at UPenn Architecture and this year visting Princeton this year as a fellow at PEI, focusing on history of technology and architecture and is an expert on the Olgyay twins who did research at Princeton in the 50’s (at the Arch Lab).

David Benjamin is head of The Living practice who are doing the new design for the renovated arch lab, and he teaches at Columbia. He built and will be presenting the Hy-fi that was at MoMA PS1 last year.

Andrés Jaque taught studio at Princeton last year so we are famliar with his great projects and intellect at Office for Political Innovation. He will be discussing COSMO, his PS1 project.

Sheila Kennedy is professor of practice at MIT, and principle at KVA where she directs the MATx research team and lectures and teaching extensively on novel use of materials.

Kiel Moe is associate professor at Harvard GSD, and the author of several books, all bridgning important technical and environmental concepts into architecture. His most recent, Insulating Modernism is does a good job of dissecting standard design tropes

Salmaan Craig is Lecturer in Environmental Technology at Harvard GSD, and works in conjunctions with researchers at the famous Harvard Wyss Institute to bridge new science and ideas into architecture.

Jonathan Grinham is a designer of numerous computational and energy systems and is working with Salmaan Craig on is Doctorate studying the breathing wall system outlined in the final chapter of Kiel Moe’s most recent book.


Ultrastructures is a conference and exhibition dedicated to exploring the union of formal design processes at the macro scale with fundamental physical processes at the micro scale. These physical processes lie in the domains of thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, water filtration, and material science. In natural science ultrastructures refer to tiny biological organizations that help an organism survive in its environment. At the macro-scale realm of architecture and engineering, infrastructures refer to the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society. This conference investigates how the design process can span the two scales, with the aid of computational tools and dynamic analytical inputs that link environmental processes to formal conception.


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Research team led by Prof Forrest Meggers, faculty jointly appointed in the School of Architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.