Strand Garden

Project Title: Strand Garden
Date: 2016
Size: 700 Square Feet
Materials: Oak, Concrete, PLA, Chardonnay Skin Powder, LEDs
Location: Miami, FL
Client: Maison Perrier-Jouët
Exhibition: DesignMiami/2016

Inspired by the organic curves of Art Nouveau and translated through Matsys’s unique approach to digital craftsmanship, these new pieces explore the champagne-making process and its emblematic materials.

Strand Garden’s three screens of curved strands, evoking tree trunks or vines, mark out a central area: “You’re in a small clearing,” Andrew Kudless explains. “You get hints of what lies beyond, but it’s an inward-looking, reflective space.”

The oak tops of his interlocking benches evoke Perrier-Jouët’s riddling racks and wine presses, while the concrete of their legs has been specially crafted to resemble the chalk that shelters the Maison’s cellars and nourishes its vines.

The table in the center of the space is 3D-printed in a clear bio-plastic that conjures up glass: its filaments sparkle in the light to suggest the fine, vibrant bubbles of Perrier-Jouët’s distinctive wines.

Finally, the ice bucket takes the organic relationship with champagne to the limit, by 3D-printing ground Chardonnay skins into rippled petals that recall the wrinkled skin of a raisin.

Design: Andrew Kudless
Programming: Clayton Muhleman
Concrete: Concreteworks
3D Printing: Emerging Objects
Screen Assembly: Sitou Akolly, Marianna Munguia-Chang, Mengjie (Tina) Shen, Xiaoxue (Amy) Guo, Sam Villasenor, Armughan Faruqi, Taylor Metcalf
Prototyping: Anh Vu, Ania Burlinska
Carpentry: Ania Burlinska, James Seckelman, Emery Cohen





Confluence Park Pavilion

Project Title: Confluence Park BHP Billiton Pavilion
Date: 2014-2017
Size: 7000 Square Feet
Materials: Concrete
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Design Team: Matsys, Lake|Flato Architects, Rialto Studio, Architectural Engineers Collaborative
Client: San Antonio River Foundation
Project Website: Confluence Park Website

The San Antonio River Foundation Confluence Park provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the ecology of the South Texas region, demonstrate the value of our natural resources, and foster environmental stewardship in a traditionally underserved area adjoining the San Antonio River. With education as its core purpose, Confluence can be understood as an intricate teaching tool that will inspire people to become more involved with the river, practice environmental stewardship, and gain a greater understanding of Texas ecotypes. At every corner, visitors will find an opportunity to learn through observation, engagement, and active participation. The principal designers of the park and park structures, Rialto Studio, Lake|Flato Architects, and Matsys, have been working closely with the San Antonio River Foundation and the San Antonio River Authority to realize the visionary goals for Confluence Park.

The programmatic elements and educational features include opportunities to experience and learn more about five ecotypes that occur in the region:

  1. The Grassland ecotype is a central feature in the park around which the paths and other ecotypes are organized.
  2. The San Antonio River Improvement Project ecotype demonstrates the species of plants used along the river as part of SARA’s ongoing restoration project.
  3. The Trans Pecos/Chihuahua Desert ecotype demonstrates the use of west Texas plants that thrive in San Antonio. This ecotype spreads into the parking lot providing dapped shading for cars.
  4. The Texas Oak Conservatory ecotype demonstrates the many types of oak trees that thrive in our region.
  5. The Texas Love Oak Savannah provides shade around the edges of the pavilion and help to block unwanted winter winds from the pavilion space.

The BHP Billiton Pavilion – the primary pavilion – is constructed of large concrete forms that together, create a geometry that collects and funnels rainwater. This lofty pavilion provides shade and shelter while simultaneously allowing visitors to understand the cycle of water at Confluence Park and how this cycle relates directly to the San Antonio River watershed. The pavilion speaks of the confluence of water systems and is oriented to point directly toward the confluence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek.

A site-wide water catchment system collects all the rainwater that falls on the site and feeds this water into an underground water storage tank.

The BHP Multi-Purpose Room has a green roof providing thermal mass for passive heating and cooling. This space can be used for classroom and meeting space as well as pre-function space for the primary pavilion. A photovoltaic array will provide 100% of the energy use for the project on a yearly basis.

A supporting actor to the primary pavilion structure, the building’s lowered elevation makes it appear to emerge from the ground and gradually grow out of the earth, becoming a fluid part of the landscape.

Satellite pavilions create distinct gathering nodes throughout the site and are derived from the same form as the BHP Billiton Pavilion.

Both the unique design of the park and its accompanying structures engage visitors at every corner. Structures are geometrically integrated with supporting sustainable systems, creating beautiful yet functional mechanisms that work symbiotically with the landscape to preserve the park’s ecology.

[Text by Lake|Flato Architects]

Confluence Park from the San Antonio River

Confluence Park Pavilion from the San Antonio River

View of Confluence Park Mitchell Street Entry

View of Confluence Park Mitchell Street Entry

Confluence Park Pavilion from Parking

View of Confluence Park Pavilion from Parking Area

View of Confluence Park Pavilion Interior

View of Pavilion Interior

Aerial view of Confluence Park

Aerial view of Confluence Park looking toward the confluence of San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek.

View of Confluence Park Pavilion from South Plaza

View of Confluence Park Pavilion from South Plaza

View of Support Building from Pavilion

View of Support Building from Pavilion

Confluence Park Site Plan

Confluence Park Site Plan

Public Anemone

Date: 2014
Size: 3m x 3m x 3m
Materials: Fiberglass Composites and LED lights
Tools: Grasshopper, Kangaroo, Weaverbird
Location: Market Street, San Francisco
Exhibition: Market Street Prototyping Festival, April 9 – 11, 2015

Public Anemone is a piece of urban street furniture that advocates for provisional, ambiguous, and playful interaction with the diverse populations of Market Street. Rather than falling into a neat category of “street art”, “bench” or “play structure”, Public Anemone is all of these and more. The design recognizes that Market Street must cater to populations of vastly different backgrounds, interests, and perspectives and provides a structure that invites both cultural and physical interpretation by all people. The structure is simultaneously an urban icon that would draw tourists and locals, a simple, yet playful bench, and a stage set for music and dance performances. At night, its arms subtly glow and pulsate creating an urban campfire around which people can meet up before heading out into the city.

As a prototype, the project explores a variety of ideas:

Branding: The structure is designed to be an iconic symbol for the Embarcadero district of Market Street. The multi-armed design of Public Anemone resonates with a variety of sea creatures and almost appears as if it had pulled itself up out of the nearby Bay. In addition, the design builds on the Embarcadero’s reputation for activating space through civic events, recreation, and art. The design acts as a welcoming symbol for the SF Art Market as people arrive from and the Embarcadero Bart Station and further up Market Street.

Playfulness: The structure is designed to encourage play on, under, and around it by all ages. Almost like the roots and branches of a tree, the structure twists and turns and invites the public to discover new ways to crawl under, sit on, and climb over it. Specifically, the elephantine legs of the structure will draw children to move between them and play in a space that is only large enough for them.

Modularity: The design is made out of 24 identical fiber-composite arms. Each arm is rotated around a central node and composed of two parts: a translucent composite shell that would be backlit at night with low-power LEDs and an opaque composite shell that provides more structural rigidity.

Scalability: The modularity of the arm design allows it to scale up to multiple sites or even multiple arm designs in the future (e.g. longer arms that could provide more seating, bicycle parking, etc.)

Mobility: The use of fiber-composite construction means that the structure is both strong and lightweight and could be easily moved during the festival to multiple locations. This enables the structure to be reconfigured as needed for specific events such as potential music and dance performances.

Durability: The fiber-composite structure also makes the structure resistant to wear as well as waterproof. The use of a modular design means that parts could be quickly and inexpensively replaced if damaged.

Interactivity: The prototype design currently uses a modest, pre-programmed pattern of pulsating light however this could be developed further to explore how the lighting change according to real-time data acquired from either local sensors or online databases.

Andrew Kudless (Design); Stephanie Stockwell, Rhett Cowen, Mosaab Alsharif (Prototyping); Kreysler & Associates (Fabrication Consulting)






Photo by Paul DieLemans

Photo by Paul Dielemans

P Fold

Date: 2014
Size: N/A
Materials: Plaster, Nylon Fabric
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Evolving out of the P Wall series of projects, P Fold explores the use of linear constraints on a flexible fabric formwork. The focus of this early stage of the research has been on the digital simulation of the inflation process. The system developed subdivides a wall into a number horizontal and vertical constraints on the fabric surface that prevent it from inflating when the liquid slurry is cast into the formwork. Unlike previous projects exploring flexible formwork, the P Fold wall is cast vertically instead of horizontally. This may allow the wall to be cast in-place instead of tilt-up or prefabricated.




Scripted Movement Drawings Series 1

Date: 2014
Size: 910mm x 650mm
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, HAL, ABB IRB-6640 Robot, Pentel Aquash Water Brush, Ink

For information on purchasing these drawings, please contact the Salamatina Gallery.

We are moving towards an a future where the terms “nature” and “technology” will not be seen as opposites. Natural systems are increasingly being augmented, modified, and hybridized by the hardware and software that enables contemporary life. Likewise, the systems we make are increasingly life-like. Our technologies are not quite alive, not sentient, but still resonate with a vital energy.

In this context, I am interested exploring work that is both natural and technological. I try to decode the underlying structures of natural systems and then use these in the production work that is complex without being complicated. Using a variety of digital technologies, from scripting languages to digital fabrication, the work is both grown and made. That is, I focus on creating the literal code, the rules and parameters of a system, and then allow the system to take on a life of its own as it’s deployed.

In the Scripted Movement Series of drawings/paintings, I have begun to experiment with the use of industrial robotics. Typically used in the production of cars or other mass-produced items of contemporary culture, these robots are essentially larger, stronger, and more precise version of the human arm. Made up of a series of joints that mimic yet extend the movements of shoulder, elbow, and wrist, the robot has a wide range of highly control motion. The real value of these robots is that, like the human arm, their usefulness is completely determined by the tool that is placed in its hand. Although with industry these tools include welding torches, vacuum grippers, and saws, really any tool can be used.

Presented with an opportunity to use one of these robots, I decided that trying to teach myself and the robot to draw would be a good first step in understanding the nature of the machine. Each of the works produced in this series was entirely programmed and drawn through software and hardware. None of the lines or curves was manually drawn either within the computer or in physical reality. Rather, I created a series of different scripts or programs in the computer that would generate not only the work shown here, but an infinite number of variations on a theme. Essential to the programming was understanding the relationships between the robot and human movement and control. Unlike a printer or plotter which draws from one side of the paper to the other, the robot produces the drawings similarly to how a human might: one line at a time. The speed, acceleration, brush type, ink viscosity, and many other variables needed to be considered in the writing of the code.

The contents of each drawing/painting explore a variety of themes but all in some way touch on difference and repetition. I am interested in how a singular element (a line, a circle, a triangle, etc.) can be drawn again and again in an infinite number of different ways to produce something that is more than the sum of its parts. The work is inspired by the techniques of artists such as Sol Lewitt and others who explored procedural processes in the production of their work. The script, or set of rules, as well as the ability or inability of the robot to follow these instructions is the focus of the work. There is almost a primitive and gestural quality to the drawings created through the tension between the rules and the robot’s physical movement. Precisely imprecise.

Untitled #1 (Robotic Bourgeois or 15 Overlapping Circles With Lines Drawn from Center to Edge at 25mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #1 (Robotic Bourgeois or 15 Overlapping Circles With Lines Drawn from Center to Edge at 25mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #2 (Offset Minimal Spanning Tree of 2400 Points Drawn at 25mm/s on a Slightly Warped Table), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #2 (Offset Minimal Spanning Tree of 2400 Points Drawn at 25mm/s on a Slightly Warped Table), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #3 (Extended Lines Drawn from 300 Points on an Ovoid to 3 Closest Neighing Points at 100mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #3 (Extended Lines Drawn from 300 Points on an Ovoid to 3 Closest Neighing Points at 100mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #4 (or Five Generations of a Fractal Branching Mesh Projected to a Flat Plane), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #4 (or Five Generations of a Fractal Branching Mesh Projected to a Flat Plane), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #6 (1066 Circles each Drawn at Different Pressures at 50mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #6 (1066 Circles each Drawn at Different Pressures at 50mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #7 (1066 Lines Drawn between Random Points in a Grid), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #7 (1066 Lines Drawn between Random Points in a Grid), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #8 (Horizontal Lines Drawn between Points at Stochastic Heights at 100mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #8 (Horizontal Lines Drawn between Points at Stochastic Heights at 100mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #9 (Reduced Packed Circles from Cellular Regions Drawn at 25mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #9 (Reduced Packed Circles from Cellular Regions Drawn at 25mm/s), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #11, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #11, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #12, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #12, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #13, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #13, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #14, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #14, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #15 (Twenty Seven Nodes with Arcs Emerging from Each), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #15 (Twenty Seven Nodes with Arcs Emerging from Each), Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #16, Andrew Kudless, Scripted Movement Drawings 1,, Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Untitled #16, , Andrew Kudless, 2014, Robotic Drawing

Scripted Movement Drawing Series 1, Andrew Kudless, 2014

Scripted Movement Drawing Series 1, Andrew Kudless, 2014

Parametric Drawing

Date: 2012 – 2014
Size: Various
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Human, Lunchbox, FabTools, Illustrator

Although the use of parametric 3D models has become common, the use of parametric tools to produce evocative and engaging 2D representations has been less developed among architects, designers, and artists. Standard parametric modeling programs like Revit, although highly capable of handling relational geometries, are rather limited in terms of allowing for representational experimentation. Programs such as Processing have enabled the non-programmer to more easily enter into the word of procedural design, yet they still require working in traditional, text-based programming environments. And graphic design tools such as Illustrator are enormously powerful in creating evocative visual representations, yet largely the workflows within these software packages are highly manual and allow for little parametric functionality.The parametric modeling plugin Grasshopper offers a potential middle ground that provides parametric control, ability to manage complexity, and a highly intuitive graphic user interface.

This research was initiated through an interest in the body of work produced by the Minimalist, Op-Art and Conceptual Art groups in the 1950′ through 1970’s. Artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Eve Hess, Bridget Riley and many more explored the construction of drawings and paintings through procedural techniques. Since this period, a number of other artists including both analog and digital artists have explored generative rule-sets in the production of their work (Casey Reas, Jared Tarbell, etc). Yet in most cases, the work is heavily based on scripting, a technique difficult for many architects, designers, and artists to learn (even Processing). This project explores how more intuitive digital techniques can be leveraged to give artists, designers, and architects opportunities to develop experimental and generative drawings and diagrams.

The work has been conducted both as a solo project and as a collaborative project with colleagues and students. I would like to thank Andrew Heumann for his excellent Human plugin for grasshopper that has enabled much of this work. In addition, I would like to thank Adam Marcus who co-taught the first workshop in 2013 with me exploring these ideas. Finally, I would like to thank all of the students and attendees in the courses and workshops I have taught on this topic as your ideas and questions have contributed to the exploration of the work.

"Image Sampler I (after Mau)", inspired by Adam Marcus's definition

“Image Sampler I (after Mau)”, by Matsys 2014, inspired by Adam Marcus’s definition

Image Sampler II (after Mau), inspired by Adam Marcus's definition

Image Sampler II (after Mau), by Matsys 2014, inspired by Adam Marcus’s definition

Image Sample from Matsys on Vimeo.

Descending (after Riley)

Descending (after Riley), by Matsys, 2013

"Every Combination of an Incomplete Cube +1 (after Sol Lewitt)" by Matsys

“Every Combination of an Incomplete Cube +1 (after Sol Lewitt)” by Matsys

"Every Combination of an Incomplete Cube +1 (after Sol Lewitt)" (detail) by Matsys

“Every Combination of an Incomplete Cube +1 (after Sol Lewitt)” (detail) by Matsys, 2014

“Every Combination of an Incomplete Cube +1 (after Sol Lewitt)” from Matsys on Vimeo.

Matsys “Untitled I (after Kenneth Martin)” 2014

“Untitled I (after Kenneth Martin)”, Matsys, 2014

Matsys “Untitled II (after Kenneth Martin)” 2014

“Untitled II (after Kenneth Martin)”, Matsys, 2014

Custom Type I

Custom Typograpghy I, by Matsys, 2012

Fuzzy Font

Fuzzy Font, Matsys, 2014

Fuzzy Font Detail

Fuzzy Font Detail, Matsys, 2014

Recursive Voronoi I

Recursive Voronoi I, Matsys, 2014

Recursive Voronoi II

Recursive Voronoi II, Matsys, 2014

Recursive Voronoi III

Recursive Voronoi III, Matsys, 2014

Matsys “After Kelly I”, 2012

“After Kelly I”, Matsys, 2012

"After Kelly II" Matsys, 2012

“After Kelly II” Matsys, 2012

Matsys “After Kelly III”, 2012

“After Kelly III”, Matsys, 2012

"Camera Hatching III", Matsys, 2014

“Camera Hatching III”, Matsys, 2014

Spore Lamps

Date: 2013
Size: 0.75m x 0.75m x 0.75m
Materials: Composite paper-backed cherry wood veneers from Lenderink Technologies.
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo

Inspired by the microscopic spores of various plants that float through the air and find purchase on all types of surfaces, these lamps are designed to not have a “correct” orientation. Rather, the lamps can be positioned in any orientation and repositioned as needed by the user. Hung, sitting on the floor, or even clustered with other Spores, the lamps fill the space with a warm and complexly patterned glow. Each cell of the Spore is laser cut and hand assembled from wood micro-veneers.

Mariko Kobayashi (Schematic Design), Seth Barnard (Assembly)

Spore Lamp, 2013, Matsys

Spore Lamp, 2013, Matsys

Spore Lamp (detail), 2013, Matsys

Spore Lamp (detail), 2013, Matsys

Spore Lamp (detail), 2013, Matsys

Roka Akor SF Restaurant Wall

Date: 2013
Size: 36′ x 11′ x 3″
Materials: Precast Fiber-Reinforced Concrete
Location: Roka Akor, 801 Montgomery St, San Francisco, California
Fabrication: Concreteworks, Oakland, California

Matsys was commissioned to design and prototype a feature wall for the main room at Roka Akor. Inspired by tall bamboo grass, the wall uses a linear constraints on a flexible fabric mold to produce the striated and undulating pattern on the concrete.

Photo by Patricia Chang

Photo by Patricia Chang

Roka Akor, Concrete Wall, Matsys, 2013

Roka Akor, Concrete Wall, Matsys, 2013

Roka Akor, Concrete Wall, Matsys, 2013



Roka Akor, Concrete Wall, Matsys, 2013

Roka Akor SF Bar Wall

Date: 2013
Size: 36′ x 6.5′ x 6″
Materials: Amber Plyboo
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper
Location: Roka Akor, 801 Montgomery St, San Francisco, California
Fabrication: S/U/M, Oakland, California

Matsys was commissioned to design and fabricate a feature wall for the new bar of Roka Akor. The wall’s gentle undulations evoke the region’s rolling hills while also making resonating with waves and wind. Inspired by Japanese screen paintings of cloudy mountain scenes and the existing vertical wood rib theme found elsewhere in the Bar, the new wall adds a distinct element to the Bar’s main seating area.

Similar to the Zero/Fold Screen completed in 2010, Matsys was interested in minimizing material waste in the fabrication of the wall by using parametric modeling to align adjacent ribs next to each other when cut. The back side of one rib becomes the front side of the next.

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Roka Akor Bar Wall, Matsys, 2013

Roka Akor Bar Wall, Matsys, 2013

P_Wall (2013)

Date: 2013
Size: 6.1m x 3.6 x 0.3m
Materials: Fiber-Reinforced Thin-Shell Precast Concrete Panels mounted on Steel Frame
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo
Location: FRAC Centre, Orleans, France
Fabrication: Concreteworks, Oakland, California

P_Wall (2013), part of on-going research by Matsys into the use of flexible formwork (see earlier projects in the series here, here, here, and here), celebrates the self-organization of material under force. The form emerges through the interaction of the elastic fabric formwork and the liquid slurry of plaster. The designer has control over the locations of the constraints on the fabric which inform the overall form of each panel, but the specific curvature is determined solely by the system finding a state of equilibrium between mass and elasticity.

This iteration of the wall focused on three areas of innovation in reference to past iterations. First, this wall is the first to be constructed out of fiber-reinforced concrete rather than plaster. Rather than solid panels, each panel is only 2cm thick, vastly reducing the weight of each panel and allowing them to be much larger than previous installations. This process entailed the use of five original fabric-cast plaster patterns and subsequent rubber molds for the thin-shell concrete fabrication process.

Second, we were interested in exploring the boundary between modularity and repetition. At what point is something that is modular also repetitious? At what point does a pattern emerge that conflicts with a desired informal landscape? Using a tiling pattern of four panel sizes and five modules rotated in two directions, the pattern is never repeated across a total of thirty-four panels.

Third, using digital simulation models, a rough approximation of the wall was created virtually that allowed many more rounds of design iteration and testing in comparison with earlier projects in the series. Using a spring-network of meshes, the elastic fabric and the mass of the liquid plaster slurry could be modeled within an acceptable range of accuracy based on physical testing.

P_Wall (2013), by Matsys at the FRAC Centre, Orleans, France

P_Wall (2013), by Matsys at the FRAC Centre, Orleans, France

P_Wall (2013), by Matsys at the FRAC Centre, Orleans, France

IMG_9176P_Wall (2013), by Matsys at the FRAC Centre, Orleans, France_clean_1200

SEAcraft Eggs

Context: Advanced Architecture Studio at the California College of the Arts
Instructor: Associate Professor Andrew Kudless
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: 2013
Materials: Wood, Plastic, Composites, Paper, etc.
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo, various traditional fabrication methods
Dimensions: 12″ x 12″ x 16.5″

In Malcolm McCullough’s 1996 book, Abstracting Craft, it is posited that craftsmanship can (and should) be extended to digital media. In this argument, craft is not tied to traditional tools or techniques but rather to an approach to the artisan’s chosen medium that rests in an alchemical mixture of expertise and improvisation. The craftsperson, drawing on a deep well of skill-based knowledge, works and reworks their medium in a feedback loop that integrates a multitude of simultaneous and often conflicting performance criteria that range from the technical to the poetic. This understanding of craft as a deep relationship between maker and medium allows the term to be extended to any process of creation, even those whose “materials” are the notionally immaterial pixels, vectors, and 3D geometry that populate the digital realm.

This advanced architectural design studio at the California College of the Arts focused on the relationship between craft and design. The studio was divided into three roughly equal-length phases, each exploring a different aspect of craftsmanship. In the first phase, students focused on developing a range of digital and physical modeling skills that allowed them to become experts in a particular material system. Rather than focus on site or program, the two traditional generators of architectural form, the students were asked to develop several eggs that simply researched the relationship between form, fabrication, and materiality. The goal of this phase was to produce a studio culture that focused on the value of making as a design generator.

In the second phase, students applied their skills to a specific design problem: a new ferry terminal for the Seattle waterfront. Beyond the necessary docks, waiting areas, and ticketing booths of the terminal, the project integrateed a number of other programs to support the maker and craft cultures of the Seattle region such as fabrication, retail, and exhibition spaces. During a visit to Seattle in early March, students researched both the urban environment of Seattle and its emerging maker community. Students met with the founders of Makerhaus as well as the design software company McNeel & Associates (the maker of Rhino).

During phase three, students continued to develop their design proposals through a limited number of highly crafted representations including physical models, drawings, and renderings.

The studio supported students who are interested in the value of making in contemporary culture. It celebrated the re-emergence of craft-based personal production embodied by entities such as Maker Faire, TechShop, and Etsy as a viable alternative to the anonymity and blandness of industrial mass-production. The studio did not presuppose any level of skill in digital or physical modeling, but required students to be rigorous, motivated, and open to experimentation as they developed their craft.

Ji Ahn, Maria Araujo, Nathan Booth, Vanessa Carvalho, Logan Kelly, Shawn Komlos, Alessandra Marsh, Rena Montero, Mehdi Nikseresht, Anthony Quivers, Gry Taraldhagen, Hugh Vanho, Jason Vereschak, Brendan Williams, Alex Woodhouse



Location: Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Date: 2013
Materials: Wood Lathe, Stainless Steel Bolts
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo
Dimensions: 35′ x 35′ x 7′

Project Description
This project was developed during a fast-paced 3-day workshop with students at Tulane University. Building on the earlier gridshell research conducted during the SmartGeometry 2012 workshop, this grid shell attempted to improve on various aspects of the earlier prototype. In an effort to both increase fabrication speed while decreasing material waste, the parametric model integrated more material feedback and analysis. First, the model would warn the user if the timber member length exceeded the available timber members in order to eliminate the need for splicing members together. Second, the model would produce warnings whenever the maximum bending radius was exceeded, assuring that the surface curvature was producible at full scale. Third, the edge beam members were doubled to increase the overal stiffness of the beam.

Initial Parametric Modeling and Workshop Instructor: Andrew Kudless
Design, Fabrication, and Assembly: Charles Boyne, Jack Waterman, Kyle Graham, Sam Naylor, Sarah Cumming, Dennis Palmadessa, Elizabeth Kovacevic, Lauren Evans









Location: London Design Festival, SCIN Gallery
Date: 2012
Materials: 3D Printed Concrete
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Weaverbird
Dimensions: 20cm x 20cm x 20cm

Project Description
SCIN, a material resource center for designers and architects in London, asked a small group of emerging designers to produce a small cube that represents their approach to design, materiality, and technology for an exhibition that coincides with the London Design Festival. Our submission reflects the reoccurring presence in our work of cellular solids, a transmaterial grouping characterized by high strength to weight ratios. The cube was designed using a network of digital cellular bodies that are first relaxed to produce a more uniform field and then structurally differentiated in relation to their distance to the outside surface. The inner core’s cell edges are extremely thin and fragile yet are protected by the multiple layers of increasing more robust edges closer to the cube boundary. For the exhibition we collaborated with the fabrication consultancy Emerging Objects to create a simple yet lightweight cube that is digitally printed from concrete. This sample of our work embodies our interests and facility with digital craft, material innovation, and structural performance.

Andrew Kudless (design), Emerging Objects (fabrication)

Photo by Emerging Objects

Photo by Emerging Objects

Photo by Emerging Objects

Photo by Emerging Objects

SCIN Cube 04

SCIN Cube 03

Shellstar Pavilion

Date: 2012
Size: 8m x 8m x 3m
Materials: 4mm Translucent Coroplast, Nylon Cable Ties, Steel Foundations, PVC and Steel Reinforcement Arches
Tools: Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo, Python, Lunchbox, Rhinoscript
Location: Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Event: Detour 2012

Shellstar is a lightweight temporary pavilion that maximizes its spatial performance while minimizing structure and material. Commissioned for Detour, an art and design festival in Hong Kong in December 2012, the pavilion was designed to be an iconic gathering place for the festival attendees. Located on an empty lot within the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, the design emerged out of a desire to create a spatial vortex whereby visitors would feel drawn into the pavilion center and subsequently drawn back out into the larger festival site. Working fully within a parametric modeling environment, the design was quickly developed and iterated with the 6 weeks of design, fabrication, and assembly. The design process can be broken down into 3 processes that were enabled by advanced digital modeling techniques:

The form emerged out of a digital form-finding process based on the classic techniques developed by Antonio Guadi and Frei Otto, among others. Using Grasshopper and the physics engine Kangaroo, the form self-organizes into the catenary-like thrust surfaces that are aligned with the structural vectors and allow for minimal structural depths.

Surface Optimization
The structure is composed of nearly 1500 individual cells that are all slightly non-planar. In reality, the cells must bend slightly to take on the global curvature of the form. However, the cells cannot be too non-planar as this would make it difficult to cut them from flat sheet materials. Using a custom Python script, each cell is optimized so as to eliminate any interior seams and make them as planar as possible, greatly simplifying fabrication.

Fabrication Planning
Using more custom python scripts, each cell was unfolded flat and prepared for fabrication. The cell flanges and labels were automatically added and the cell orientation was analyzed and then rotated to align the flutes of the Coroplast material with the principal bending direction of the surface.

Schematic Design: Andrew Kudless / Matsys
Design Development and Prototyping: Andrew Kudless and Riyad Joucka
Fabrication and Assembly: Art Lab / Ricci Wong, Wong Sifu, Geoff Wong, Wilton Ip, Justin ling, April Lau, Andrew Kudless, Riyad Joucka, Eric Lo, John Thurtle, Garkay Wong, Felice Chap, Kenneth Cheung, Godwin Cheung, Quentin Yiu, Rena Li, Garesa Hao En, Cheryl Ceclia Lui, Huang Xinliu, Horace Cheng
3D Scanning of Built Structure: Topcon HK using a Faro Focus3D Scanner


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo


Photo: Dennis Lo

ShellStar_Diagrams 1

ShellStar_Diagrams 2

ShellStar_Diagrams 3

Shell Star Assembly and Construction from Riyad Joucka on Vimeo.

Photo: 3D Scan of Shellstar: No. of scanned points: 170 Million, No. of Set-ups: 10, Scanner: FARO FOCUS3D, Scanning Time: 1.5 hrs, Data Processing: ~15 minutes, Avg. Pt. Spacing : ~5 mm

Seed (p_ball)

Date: 2012
Size: 96″ x 96″ x 96″
Location: University of California, Berkeley Botanical Garden, Redwood Grove
Material: Fiber-Reinforced Concrete
Exhibition: Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists & Poets in the Garden

Project courtesy Salamatina Gallery. Please contact the gallery for more information on the project.

Description: The latest iteration of the “P” series of projects (P_Wall(2009), P_Wall (2006), P_Wall (Weathering)), the Seed takes the series into a new dimension. Inspired by the vitality of the Redwood Grove at the UC Botanical Garden, the Seed attempts to embody the fertility, wonder, and strength of the redwoods through the placement of this mysterious concrete object within the Grove. The form is composed of 32 thin-shell fiber-reinforced concrete panels that are based off of plaster patterns made from casting liquid plaster into fabric forms. The fabric expands under the mass of the plaster slurry until it finds a state of equilibrium with the tensioned fabric. This play between the pressure of the liquid versus the tension in the fabric fibers mirrors the dynamic conflict that exists within every cell of organic bodies.

Credits: Andrew Kudless (Design), Ron Rael of Emerging Objects for the fabrication of the 3D-printed concrete prototype, Mark Rogero of ConcreteWorks for the generous donation of fabrication support, David Shook for engineering support, and Shirley Watts and Mary Anne Friel (curators and organizers of the exhibition, and all of the staff of the Botanical Garden for their support.

Rendering of Seed within the Botanical Garden's Redwood Grove

3D printed concrete prototype by Emerging Objects

3D printed concrete prototype by Emerging Objects

3D printed concrete prototype by Emerging Objects

3D printed concrete prototype components by Emerging Objects

3D printed concrete prototype components by Emerging Objects

Inflation Test 01 from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

Chrysalis (III)

Date: 2012
Size: 190cm x 90cm x 90cm
Materials: Composite paper-backed wood veneers from Lenderink Technologies. Cherry veneer (exterior) and poplar veneer (interior).
Tools: Grasshopper, Kangaroo, Python, Lunchbox, Rhinoscript
Location: Permanent Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Exhibition: Multiversites Creatives, May 2 – August 6, 2012

Project courtesy Salamatina Gallery. Please contact the gallery for more information on the project.

Description: The latest in a series of projects exploring cellular morphologies, Chrysalis (III) investigates the self-organization of barnacle-like cells across an underlying substrate surface. The cells shift and slide across the surface as they attempt to find a more balanced packed state through the use of a relaxed spring network constrained to the surface. Each cell is composed of two parts: a cone-like outer surface made from cherry veneer and a non-planer inner plate made from poplar veneer that stresses the outer cone into shape. Each of the 1000 cell components are unfolded flat in the digital model, digitally fabricated, and hand assembled.

For more information about the exhibition, please download the Multiversites Creatives press releases in English or French.

Credits: Andrew Kudless (Design), Jason Vereschak and Emily Kirwan (Fabrication Support), Maciej Fiszer (for the lending of assembly space in Paris), and the Pompidou Centre Industrial Prospectives Department (Valerie Guillaume, Hélène Ducate, Dominique Kalabane, and Marguerite Reverchon)

Orthographic Drawings

Diagram of Plate Formation

Still frames of 2D animation of cell relaxation from pure voronoi network to relaxed voronoi network (vorlax)

Assembly Diagram showing the various stages over 5 days in different colors

Vorlax in 2D from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

Vorlax on Surface from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

SG2012 Gridshell

Date: 2012
Location: Smartgeometry 2012, RPI, Troy, NY
Size: 11m x 7m x 4m
Material: Straight Wood Lath
Workshop: Gridshell Digital Tectonics
Workshop Instructors: Mark Cabrinha, Andrew Kudless, David Shook

Description: This 4-day workshop at SmartGeometry 2012 focused on the design and construction of a wooden gridshell using only straight wood members bent along geodesic lines on a relaxed surface. Using parametric tools, the design was developed and analyzed to minimize material waste while maximizing its architectural presence in the space. In addition, a feedback loop was designed between the parametric geometric model and a structural model allowing for a smooth workflow that integrated geometry, structures, and material performance.

More information on the Smartgeometrty website.

Workshop Collaborators: Elif Erdogan, Giuseppe Giacoppo, Alexander Jordan, Chu-Hao Pan, Lara Alegria Mira, Elliot Mistur, Artyom Maxim, Sarah Murray, Dan Reynolds, Oliver Sjöberg, Caressa Siu, Elsa Wifstrand, Katja Virta

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Photo by Mark Cabrinha

Front Elevation

Side Elevation

Assembly Plan

Rendering showing proposed mini-lath skin

2D Lath Layout

Detail of 2D Lath Layout

Curvature Analysis of smallest bending radii in structure

Smartgeometry 2012 Gridshell Digital Tectonics Cluster from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

sg2012 cluster: gridshell digital tectonics from Marc Webb on Vimeo.

Catalyst Hexshell

Date: 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Size: 25′ x 30′ x 12′
Material: 1/8″ Corrugated Cardboard

Description: This project was the result of a 4-day workshop taught with Marc Swackhamer at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture in March 2012. The workshop explored the design and fabrication of shell structures. Inspired by the work of designers such as Guadi, Otto, and Isler, the workshop explored how digital tools could be used in the design, simulation, and fabrication of a contemporary thin-shell structure. The workshop was structured in the following way:

  • Day 1: Parametric Modeling Tutorials and Lecture on Thin-Shell Structures
  • Day 2: Design Competition among student teams
  • Day 3: Fabrication
  • Day 4: Assembly

Credits: The project could not have happened without the amazingly talented and dedicated students at the University of Minnesota who designed and built the structure using the tools that I provided them at the beginning of the workshop. Thanks to all of them:
Namdi Alexander, Daniel Aversa, Tia Bell, Alex Berger, Amy Ennen, Andrew Gardner, John Greene, Kelly Greiner, Artemis Hansen, David Horner, Jonathon Jacobs, Hwan Kim, Jenn McGinnity, Shona Mosites, Kristen Salkas, Stuart Shrimpton, Paul Treml, Katie Umenthum, Pablo Villamil.

Catalyst Hexshell from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

Construction drawing used by the team to divide the larger shell into smaller assemblies.

Catalyst Catenary Simulation from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

Catalyst Catenary Construction Time Lapse from Andrew Kudless on Vimeo.

P_Wall (Sevenstar)

Date: 2011
Size: 1.93m x 1.75m x 0.3m
Materials: Fiber-Reinforced Plaster

This project belongs to the larger P_Wall series of projects that investigate the self-organization of material under force. Using nylon fabric and wooden dowels as form-work, the weight of the liquid plaster slurry causes the fabric to sag, expand, and wrinkle before finding a state of equilibrium. The form that emerges resonates with the tension between our own elastic skin and fluid interior. Using digital tools to design and simulate the process yet allowing the forms to develop according to the inherent physical forces, there always exists a welcome gap between the designed and the emergent in the work.

Fabrication and Installation: Andrei Hakovich, Sean Wong, and Nathan John

P_Wall (Sevenstar), 2011, Matsys / Andrew Kudless

P_Wall Reinstalled @ SFMoMA

SFMoMA has reinstalled the P_Wall (2009) piece in their 5th Floor Gallery overlooking the Sculpture Garden. The wall is part of their “The More Things Change” exhibition focusing on the work of emerging artists over the last decade. The exhibition closes on November 6, 2011.

(Note: The amazing chair shown in the images is, unfortunately, not mine. The chair is by Dutch designers Tejo Remy & René Veenhuizen. The curators at SFMoMA did a great job pairing the wall and chair together.)

Aldgate Aerial Park

Project Name: Aldgate Aerial Park
Year: 2010
Location: London, UK

Aldgate, one of the medieval gates of London, sits between the old City and the new eastern development for the 2012 Olympics. The Aldgate Aerial Park resists the binary relationship of the traditional gate typology. More than just a singular threshold between one urban zone and another, the network of vaults span multiple streets and pathways. Rather than a simple opening between one place and another, it expands out into the city and forms its own identity as a new urban park. The aerial park creates a space of relaxation and community above the chaos of the city streets. The cells of the park include amphitheaters, gardens, restrooms, and open spaces. Rather than reinforce the dividing line between new and old London, the new gate attempts to create a spatial blur that brings people together.

Diploid_B Lamp

Year: 2010
Size: 20″ x 20″ x 20″

Description: Working with an updated version of the script that produced the earlier Diploid Lamps, this new lamp is fabricated entirely without glue. Every connection is a locking tab that enables the lamp to be built quickly despite the nearly 1000 parts. For price, please email

Zero/Fold Screen

Year: 2010
Size: 10′ x 10′ x 3′
Location: Kasian Gallery, University of Calgary, Canada

Description: Although digital fabrication has allowed architects and designers to explore more complex geometries, one of the byproducts has been a lack of attention to material waste. Often digitally fabricated projects are generated from a top-down logic with the parameters of typical material sheet sizes being subordinated to the end of the design process. This project attempts to reverse that logic by starting from the basic material dimensions and then generating a series of components that will minimize material waste during CNC cutting while still producing an undulating, light-filtering screen in the gallery.

Diploid Lamp Series








Year: 2009
Size: 36″ x 12″ x 12″

Description: The Diploid Lamp series explores multiple patterns inspired by nature such as scales, honeycombs, and barnacles. Using parametric modeling, scripting, and digital fabrication, the light’s geometry is created, refined, and produced. Each lamp is custom designed and hand assembled from digitally fabricated paper components. The series is composed of five individual lamps and is an ongoing project.