School of Architecture College of Design

Contingent Scapes


Workshop Summary

Contemporary building practice tends to describe architecture as object situated in spatial and cultural field. The ecology posits that all entities are bound together in thermodynamic relationship of energy and information exchange: ecosystem. This workshop aims to investigate the effects of water behavior within a bio-synergetic context on shaping of architectural constructs. As water becomes more central to current state of urban design it is critical to re-frame its force as directly formative within the design process. Using simulation of environmental data sets related to landscape formation and water flow, we will use computational modeling and analog 3d printing to investigate new emergent architectural forms within given landscapes. The workshop will forefront bio-technological framework of architecture and will ask students to negotiate differences between organic and inorganic, formal and performative, cultural and ecological, zones and boundaries, solids and gradients, proximities and tendencies, objects and fields. Using abstraction as a codifier of geo-spatial data sets we will attempt to re-scribe the invisible forces into formed constructs, with hope to shift the focus of design away from singular contextual 'truth' of data, towards the constraints of perception and spatial aesthetics.


Guest Instructor

Dana Cupkova, Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon, School of Architecture; Principal, EPIPHYTE Lab


Guest Biography

Dana Cupkova holds an Assistant Professorship at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and is a co-founder and principal of EPIPHYTE Lab, an architectural design and research collaborative. From 2005-2012 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Cornell University Department of Architecture. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of ACADIA and is Track Chair of SoA's Masters of Science in Sustainable Design (MSSD) program.


Cupkova's design work engages the built environment at the intersection of ecology, computationally driven processes, and systems analysis. In her research, she interrogates the relationship between design-space and ecology as it engages computational methods, thermodynamic processes, and experimentation with geometrically driven performance logic. Her work has been supported bye the New York State Council on the Arts, the AIA NY Center for Architecture Foundation, the Cornell University Faculty Innovation in Teaching Grant, the Architectural League of New York, the AIA Urban and Regional Solution Grant, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance Grant, and others. Cupkova's design work has been published internationally in professional venues such as Dwell, The Architectural Review, Green Building & Design, The Cornell Journal of Architecture, Architect's Newspaper, International Journal of Architectural Computing and presented at many academic conferences.


Cupkova received the professional degree of Engineer Architect from the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava' she completed her thesis at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and holds an Master of Architecture degree from the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA, where she was awarded the Unrestricted University Fellowship, the Mimi Perloff Award, and the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship for outstanding design work. Cupkova was a founder and design director of DCm-STUDIO, an architectural design practice in New York City, and has extensive international professional experience in Europe, the United States, and Southeast Asia. She was previously in practice with Smith-Miller+Hawkinson Architects, RUR Architecture in New York City, and TR Hamzah & Yeang in Malaysia.


Faculty Host

Marc Swackhamer, Associate Professor & Head of School, UMN ARCH

School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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Contact Information

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General Information
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