How to Build a House | Panel Discussion and Opening Reception

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 6:30 - 9:30pm

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The Mesh Mould end effector positions, welds and cuts 6mm rebar, DFAB HOUSE, Switzerland, 2018

How to Build a House
Panel Discussion and Opening Reception

Panel Discussion: Architectural Research in the Digital Age
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium

Reception to Follow in the 41 Cooper Gallery

In conjunction with the exhibition How to Build a House, a panel discussion – Architectural Research in the Digital Age – will take place in Cooper Union’s Frederick P. Rose Auditorium. Participants Benjamin Dillenburger, Mania Aghaei Meibodi, Jenny Sabin, and Skylar Tibbits will give presentations of their work, followed by a discussion moderated by Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler. Introductions by Dean Nader Tehrani and Hannes Mayer.

The event is free and open to the public. General public should reserve a space. Please note seating is on a first come basis; an RSVP does not guarantee admission as we generally overbook to ensure a full house.

Matthias Kohler and Fabio Gramazio are architects with interests ranging from computational design and robotic fabrication to material innovation. Together, they founded the award winning architecture practice Gramazio Kohler Architects. Most notably, the office was responsible for the NEST building for the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Both partners are full professors at ETH Zurich, where they jointly lead Gramazio Kohler Research, the Chair for Architecture and Digital Fabrication, together with Hannes Mayer and Aleksandra Anna Apolinarska. Matthias Kohler has been the founding director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and in this position initiated and headed the DFAB HOUSE project on the NEST building.

Benjamin Dillenburger is an architect who explores computational design methods and digital fabrication to broaden the design freedom for architecture and to develop performative building solutions. Recent works include the design of two full-scale 3D printed rooms for the FRAC Centre, Orleans and the permanent collection of Centre Pompidou, Paris. Benjamin Dillenburger holds a PhD degree from ETH Zurich and is Assistant Professor for Digital Building Technologies (DBT) at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he is also a Principal Investigator of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication. Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto.

Hannes Mayer is an architect, Senior Researcher, and member of the board at Gramazio Kohler Research. He also directs the Master program in Architecture and Digital Fabrication (MAS ETH DFAB) and has been a lecturer at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences at ETH Zurich. Prior to joining Gramazio Kohler Research, he was Professor for Architectural Design and Research at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) as well as University of Westminster, London. In Parallel, he was the director and editor-in-chief of the review for architecture archithese before launching his own architecture magazine manege für architektur.

Mania Aghaei Meibodi is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as the founding principal of meonia, an architecture and development practice in Stockholm and Toronto. She is also an associate senior researcher at the team of Digital Building Technologies (dbt), Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich, where she led several cutting-edge projects such as Smart Slab of the DFAB HOUSE and Digital Metal. Alongside, Mania has been a senior researcher at the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication in Switzerland. Meibodi’s research focuses on developing computational design methods and innovative ways of employing digital fabrication to create smart building elements: customized, light-weight, integrative, building parts with unseen aesthetic.

Jenny E. Sabin is an architectural designer whose work is at the forefront of a new direction for 21st century architectural practice — one that investigates the intersections of architecture and science, and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of material structures. Sabin is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture and Associate Dean for Design at Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning where she established a new advanced research degree in Matter Design Computation. She is principal of Jenny Sabin Studio, an experimental architectural design studio based in Ithaca and Director of the Sabin Lab at Cornell AAP, a trans-disciplinary design research lab with specialization in computational design, data visualization, and digital fabrication. In 2006, she co-founded the Sabin+Jones LabStudio, a hybrid research and design unit, together with biologist, Peter Lloyd Jones. Sabin is also a founding member of the Nonlinear Systems Organization (NSO), a research group started by Cecil Balmond at PennDesign, where she was Senior Researcher and Director of Research.

Skylar Tibbits is the founder of the Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Associate Professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture. Tibbits has a professional degree in architecture and a minor in experimental computation from Philadelphia University, and a masters in design computation and masters computer science from MIT. He has worked at a number of renowned design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design, and is the founder of multidisciplinary design practice SJET LLC.

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Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.