About IDEAS

IDEAS is a platform for cross-disciplinary research and collaborations among students, faculty, and industry partners that questions, challenges and expands the current parameters of architectural practice. 

Removed from the constraints of a traditional university context at a new satellite campus, IDEAS serves as an incubator looking beyond architecture’s traditional boundaries to explore topics arising from adjacent fields including film, automotive, aerospace, and tech industries to explore rapidly emerging new technologies and possibilities for innovation and interdisciplinary growth. As part of this initiative, the Department has expanded its Masters of Architecture II / SUPRASTUDIO program to feature three studio courses taught by luminaries in the field — Thom Mayne, Greg Lynn, and Frank Gehry. During these yearlong, post-professional studios, students will study with one of the three world-renowned, award-winning architects, focusing on a research theme in collaboration with an industry or nonprofit partner and a broad array of outside consultants. The new applied research platform provided by IDEAS and the expansion of SUPRASTUDIO will allow students to pivot out from traditional architecture to discover new applications for architectural expertise. IDEAS takes a step further with an overarching agenda that will develop into multi-year research initiatives, long-term partnerships with industry, cross-disciplinary lecture series open to the public, and other curatorial projects. 

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A key element in the success of IDEAS is collaborations with forward-thinking corporate leaders who share our vision of dynamic future environments and want to collaboratively explore solutions to contemporary urban challenges. Previous collaborations with partners such as Toyota Motor Sales, Walt Disney Imagineering, and the National Endowment for the Arts have generated a new set of design problems, research interests, scholarships, and practices to which students, faculty and partners would not have otherwise had access.

To develop and test new design concepts, the IDEAS campus provides access to a 13,000-square-foot facility including an Advanced Technologies Lab which houses some of the largest industrial robots available in a university setting, as well as cutting edge fabrication and 3D printing tools. The new lab offers opportunities to examine not only how robotics and other technologies can change the way buildings are made, but how they can be integrated into architecture and urban design methodology. The Advanced Technologies Lab is sponsored in part by Toyota Motor Sales, which served as a corporate sponsor for A.UD's 2008–09 SUPRASTUDIO Megavoids led by Neil Denari and is an A.UD partner in ongoing initiatives.

IDEAS is located at the Hercules Campus in Playa Vista, CA, a historic site where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose aircraft in the 1940s. The Hercules Campus now serves as a technology and innovation hub for creative companies, which include YouTube, Earthbound Media Group, leaders in tech and emerging media, and a changing roster of high production Hollywood films that have included Avatar, Star Trek, and Transformers.