Advanced Synthesis Option Studios
Professor Cupkova's ASO studios are focused on the intuitive and creative use of data frameworks in design. As human impact on the world’s biosphere reaches critical levels, we should recognize and accept the fact that the concept of nature has radically transformed. Nature is not an untamed plane of reference where forces re-circulate in a balanced and harmonious way; in the words of Slavoj Zizek, nature is crazy, catastrophic and brutal. Such acceptance will help us avoid the contemporary cultural pitfall promoted by what we should define as “ecological ideology”. At the same time, it will liberate a much more radical attitude towards the development of new models of transformation of the environment, new design practices for the reconfiguration of the city, and the role of architecture as an agent of resiliency. Cupkova's ASO studios are organized as a research platform that engage shaping, form-finding and form-making across multiple scales. This process forefronts the use of simulation feedback and iterative design investigation. The architecture is explored as a contingent object and emerges as a new figure embedded within site-specific ecological and cultural flows. Students learn to navigate, organize and synthesize complex information sets about the site and building systems, while developing individual design workflows that oscillate between computational and analog processes.