UNDISCIPLINED CMU: A DESIGN-BUILD MASONRY STUDIO is the book that document the project of the same name. The book was done during the Summer of 2015 in collaboration with Pier Paolo Pala, Chau Tran and Yuliya Veligurskaya, students who took part on the Spring semester making the project. The book is available for purchase here and to view online here.
UNDISCIPLINED CMU is the second iteration of a second year undergraduate studio project at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in which a construction is developed as part of a masonry studio. Material is investigated as a given condition and turned into an unexpected object after intense exploration. The resultant object is a concrete construction that, as an education device, opened the possibilities of reimagining and reconsidering the banality of the most typical, and less valued material in the construction industry, by literally cutting it; aiming for an expanded consideration of disciplinary knowledge and industry in the academic setting.
Students: Mariza Antonio, Spoorthi Bhatta, Rawad El-Aawar, Monica Girgis, Freddy Martínez, Brian Mourato, Chit Yee Ng, Joel Nuñez, Pier Paolo Pala, Eliott Pérez, Lauren Rose, María Silva, Roman Schorniy, Chau Tran, Yuliya Veligurskaya, Jeffrey Youmans.
Studio Instructor, 2015.
Spatial Construction: Occupying a Grid is an exercise for the Introduction to Architecture and Visual Culture studio for non-majors at Barnard and Columbia. It is focused on the better understanding of space within a set of given parameters. First, it will work around a virtual cubic structure (12″x12″)that will contain a formal grid. This will define one “spatial” and “formal” boundary to be enhanced, explored, challenged or disrupted. Second, following your home-to-studio-trip record and experience, you will elaborate a spatial construction based –but not limited to– your trip.
Studio Instructor, 2015-16.
The House Opera project seeks, through architectural innovation, to propose a fertile alternative to the blight binary of neglect versus demolition. The project seeks to explore what might occur when the borders of a house open up to annihilate the borders between art and community, makers and receivers of art, museums and home.
House Opera | Opera House aims to open and produce new possibilities of public engagement for architecture as a discipline and for houses as a built typology, investigating the means by which a formerly vacant house may serve as a node of cultural infrastructure. As historian Reinhold Martin argues, infrastructure is what is reproduced (financial, political or social infrastructures), the House Opera | Opera House is the product and produces communal infrastructures.
The House Opera | Opera House was originated and led by Mitch McEwen when she bought the house and received funding by grants from the Knight Foundation, Graham Foundation, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and individual donors from a crowdsourcing campaign with matched funds by Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Location: 1620 Morrell Street, Southwest Detroit, Michigan, USA
Designers: Marcelo López-Dinardi, Mitch McEwen, A(n) Office, McEwen Studio
Structural Consultant: Sarah Millsaps Towles
Collaborators: Ye Fu, Salam Rida, Rebecca Curtis, Juan Martínez
Video documentation here.
House Opera website here.
A complement to the 2nd year studios at the New Jersey Institute of Technology students work on a masonry build-mock-up, a competition based project in which students create a masonry construction with the help of masons, typical solid CMU blocks were cut in order to create the space of “staged interactions” within the school environment. The inquiry of the concrete masonry unit, the most typical construction element, offered the opportunity to reconsider a usually overlooked material and its capacities. First prize.
Studio Instructor, 2014.
Barnard + Columbia Introduction to Architecture and Visual Culture studio for non-majors in architecture. Students were asked to develop a Urban Intervention based on active verbs that they first enacted in person. Verbs were interpreted and informed by the students’ body through conceptual drawings, then translated into site-specific interventions.
Studio Instructor, 2014.
The project, the new Visitors Center and Museum for the Luis Muñoz María Foundation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, situates itself as a mediator and threshold between a large semi-urban forest and a historic site grouping the former home and small buildings of the owners, where the house of the first elected governor of Puerto Rico is located. A bold two-pieces volume resembles and occupied the space of a natural border that existed before, while providing a threshold welcoming flows through the building to the site and the forest.
Project Lead Designer for Toro Ferrer Arquitectos, 2006-2013.
AIA Puerto Rico, Honor Award, 2008 (unbuilt).
X Architecture Biennial Puerto Rico, Honor Award, 2008 (unbuilt).
The house was conceived as a large open interior/exterior space in between the front and back gardens of the elongated site. Two less permeable volumes contain the private and support areas. Formal public living areas are covered with a high roof to create a continuous environment with the gardens and outdoors.
Project Lead Designer for Toro Ferrer Arquitectos, Lead Project Manager and Construction Administrator, 2006-2011.