Hello. I'm Ryan O'Connor,

Explorer of the interaction between technology and architecture, humans and their environments; 

 

Creator of memorable experiences informed by great stories and deep emotions.

 

Alchemist, transforming my curiosity into creativity and inspiring others around me to imagine what is impossible. 

 

"No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be….This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking."

 

Issac Asimov

professional work 

personal mission

See why i choose to design >

 

CASE STUDY

LOWE's studio: acl fest

How do you get a new generation of future homeowners and DIY Millennials to learn about your brand? You build an experience that is unforgettable, deliberate, and uses your products. 

CASE STUDY

intel @ the Olympics

See how we transformed an existing restaurant into a brand-forward Intel hospitality space for VIP guests at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

 
 

How can we utilize A.I. to help bring people together? This prototype tries to spark conversation using shared interests.

hi, i'm spark 

CASE STUDY

 

more projects

that were game changers for how I produce creative work 

01

SkyCar City 
A Pre-Emptive History
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WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

Because it changed the way I understood how to apply creativity to solve problems. I realized creativity is bigger than designing buildings. Creativity is invention and it can predict, direct and influence the future. It can be new approaches to old ideas, and it can tell amazing stories.

What was it about: This project was a collaborative effort into the hypothetical vision of a city built around flying cars.  We learned how to be futurists, science fiction visionaries, and collaborators with MVRDV; the winner of the first Marcus Prize awarded at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Architecture.  

Key Learning:
Understanding that we could not design a city from the top down. We had to understand how a flying car would move, why people choose to move from place to place, and only then see patterns that led to a bottom-up approach which allowed us to visualize a city in 2100. 
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02

To Move Is Human 
Algorithmically derived perceptions of speed and landscape via a high speed rail and interstate travel
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WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

I'm fascinated by movement and how we perceive movement. Humans have shown time and again we understand our world through moving our bodies in space. This motion can create memories and experiences around changing perspectives. This understanding helps me today explore how people engage with brands. 

What was it about: My thesis was about how I could use a parametric tool (computer coding in the Rhino environment) to derive unique experiences and perceptions at speed .  I used the parametric tool as way to generate emergent behavior- specifically by manipulating large numbers of subtle changes to the design of pylons. Taken together together these changes create macro perceptions like a sense of trajectory, rhythms or focused views to augmented the experience of transit and our perception of landscape and movement.

The Key Learning:

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In 2007, when the merits of parametric tools were still being debated to the extent of their value within design, my thesis became less about ideas of movement, perception, and temporality (much to my surprise) and more about how technology has a place in design. I still carry this lesson with me today. 

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03

Illuminated Soffit 
Parametrically controlled design & fabrication

WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

It was the first time I used parametric tools help push aesthetic design and aid fabrication - learning a valuable lesson on value.

What was it about: This project was a collaboration with a team of students from UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture.  They came to me to consult on the design and fabrication of an illuminated soffit for a local coffee shop. I leveraged the parametric design tool called Grasshopper within the Rhino 3D modeling software to help them merge aesthetics and fabrication information into one digital model. I created a digital model that allowed them to tweak their design in response to client feedback while retaining information for fabrication. Specifically, my model was able to output all cut lengths, bend angles and other critical dimensions in real-time as design aesthetics changed.

The Key Learning: 

 

Value.  A parametrically driven model incorporating build-data allowed the students to make aesthetic changes much further into the 6 week timeline - requiring only 2 days to cut materials, and one week to fabricate and install the piece. This ultimately creates more value for the client. 

04

Business Ventures
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WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

I'm more interested in business than I thought.

What was it about: My interest in entrepreneurship has led me to create various design related ventures. In 2009 after graduating into a "down" economy, some classmates and I founded Design Fugitives. A design and fabrication studio focused on architectural art aimed at the developer and architecture community. I have since stepped away from this company, but am still proud to see it flourishing in Milwaukee.  In 2016 and 2017 I have created two ventures; "Catalyst" - aimed at offering specialized visualization skills to local small-scale / solo architecture/interiors professionals and, "Your Architecture Friend" - a business for the clients in the soft spot between DIY home improvement and full on architectural services.  

Designing a business strengthens strategic creative thinking and how to market your ideas.  Both understanding how to turn a profit and putting yourself in a client's shoes. It also taught me design has value. 
Key Learning:
 

05

Animations & Electronics
Key Learning:
Challenging oneself is key to learning. Both of these projects were very fun to work on. 

WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

Animation is difficult. These are challenging and exciting to dive into and learn from. 

What was it about: I'm a bit of a science geek and follow things related to the unexplained.  Here are a few outlier projects that pull together these interests and fall in the crossover of my Venn diagram.  

 

The first project is an animation of a UFO encounter by Terry Lovelace as heard on the Astonishing Legends podcast- episode "Auction at Devil's Den. I tried to faithfully re-create the encounter as a way to verify some facts as well as present the significance of this event to a larger audience.  

The second project is about my tinkering with electronics and interface with industrial design - shown here is a project that uses Arduino and creates a light and vibration for a therapy technique called EMDR

 

nine more

giddy up

teaser question

Where do I draw my inspiration from?

As many places as I can find. 

I believe inspiration is critical to creativity.  

BLOGish

Design Tools: The Computer Revolution And The Simulated Architect

I believe it is only a matter of a few years (5-7) before we are relying even more on complex algorithms and AI technology to generate hundreds of iterations of architectural solutions for any given site and client need.

 

areas of