SUPRASTUDIO is a one-year post-professional program that leads to a Master of Architecture II degree. During the academic year, students work in a small class setting with 15 students and a world-renowned figure in architecture on a dedicated research topic with technology seminars, critical studies, and related courses developed to complement each studio’s theme. Research collaboration with partners in fields that include transportation, aerospace, entertainment, technology and the non-profits further expand each studio’s theme to identify new areas of research and development. SUPRASTUDIO’s unique cross-disciplinary platform explores emerging technologies and encourages knowledge transfer with adjacent industries to radically question, challenge and expand the current parameters of architecture.
Under the umbrella of UCLA, a premier global research institution, SUPRASTUDIO provides a dedicated degree program for advanced applied research that connects education to industry.
Led by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry, this studio explores the possibilities for intelligent micro technologies that support going “off the grid” at the building and urban scale. Currently, the built environment is organized around networks of distribution infrastructures — for power, water, heat, fuel and other services — that over the past century have dramatically affected the structure of the built environment and people’s way of way of life. Often, this design for the grid comes at the expense of the needs of people. But what if the grid itself were unnecessary? The studio will hypothesize what new cities might look like if inhabitants could control their own creation and consumption of energy, cooling, water and other services.
In the last decade, our environments have become ever more mobile with increasing sensing and processing capability, and therefore with greater intelligence. The next generation of designers should be trained to engage and imagine the potential of dynamic, deformable environments with the situational awareness to adapt and transform smartly. In an effort to reduce the real estate as well as energy footprint of buildings, transformable structures are inevitable. The next frontier in architectural innovation is not shape and complexity but spectacular motion. This 2013 studio will investigate the implications of both moving and intelligent structures.
Led by UCLA Distinguished Professor and Pritzker Prize winning architect Thom Mayne and Now Institute Director Eui-Sung Yi, the studio is a year-long research investigation at the graduate level in collaboration with The Now Institute, UCLA’s dedicated urban planning and research center with a history of over 10 years of initiatives that span the greater Los Angeles region and abroad. A core advisory group includes Charles Waldheim, Harvard GSD Chair of Landscape Architecture; Alan Berger, MIT Professor of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture; Albert Pope, Rice Professor of Architecture; David Herd, Principal, Buro Happold; and Greg Otto, Principal, Buro Happold.
Birthed from the idea that education should not be pursued in a vacuum, The Now Institute SUPRASTUDIO challenges the paradigm of pure academia with a hybrid approach into new territory that combines disciplined research and professional rigor. Past projects include the award-winning L.A. Now series, new town planning for the City of Madrid, the Float House for residents of New Orleans, and consulting for shrinking post-industrial cities across America. The Now Institute SUPRASTUDIO expands beyond architecture and urban research in the academic sphere to respond to complex, real issues and their spatial manifestations. The complexity of urban phenomena is studied through an interdisciplinary, integrative approach and hybridizes interactions across diverse disciplines. The social, cultural, historical, economic, and political layers that generate today’s modern condition are analyzed before a problem is stated. Prescriptive solutions are replaced with reasoning and relevant design. This model of research, problem formation, and design is the blueprint that will drive intelligent, informed solutions for any other independent scenario.
In facing our complex modern urban condition, SUPRASTUDIO and The Now Institute maintain a rigorous research and design methodology and anticipate an outcome of cultural intelligence, social relevance, and the broader advancement of our urban environment.