Speculative Design

Speculative design gives an opportunity to stretch our imaginations and develop new and boundary-pushing systems and prototypes to explore what may lay beyond the horizon. 

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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Graduate Thesis: 
Studies in Code-Based Design
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.

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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. 

Key Learning:

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Illuminated Soffit: 
Parametrically controlled design & fabrication
 
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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.

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. 
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.  

Key Learning:
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. 
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Industrial Design & Tinkering
 
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First Arduino project: success!
First Arduino project: success!

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WHY AM I SHOWING YOU THIS PROJECT? 

Changing the scale of design helps understand different priorities of the person experiencing it. 

What was it about:  My tinkering with electronics and interface with industrial design. 

Shown here is a custom computer case I designed and fabricated, inspired by old music amps. 

 

Also shown is a project that uses Arduino and creates a light and vibration for a therapy technique called EMDR

Last, are some examples of industrial design for fabrication for a motorcycle company called Never Ending Cycles. I also built and maintain the website. 

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