I recently had the privilege to co-teach a one week design workshop with Evan Douglis, the Dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The workshop co-sponsored by Tongji Universities Graduate School of Architecture and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was hosted at Tongji University in Shanghai. The 5 day course titled "Autogenic Futures" was headed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutes Dean of Architecture, Evan Douglis and hosted by Philip Yuan of Tongji and MIT. During the five days, thirteen highly talented graduate students from Tongji were challenged to engage the concept of the pavilion in a post expo Shanghai. These students were asked to re-imagine the pavilion as an event that projected a future architecture capable of engaging the ecosystem and climate of Shanghai as a participant that contributed back to both occupants and surroundings. Additionally, as an extension of Dean Douglis' ongoing research, students were encouraged to conceptualize how an architecture of yet unknown materials might engage its surroundings on a level spatial and material performance. To achieve this goal the course focused on an intense introduction to parametric principles using Grasshopper 3d as a means to rapidly prototype and experiment with new architectural concepts. The result was a diverse and rich series of proposals which ranged from inflatable pavilions which would float as a new urban strata in the sky cooling the city below , to pavilions which would open and fray like trees cleaning the air while harvesting and reclaiming airborne pollutants. Each one of these phenomenal student teams not only took on the challenge of the concept, but took ownership of complex concepts, projecting what they saw as a future architecture for China.
Wang Jiannan, Guan Junlin, Yao Youning, Liangfeng Ge,Lei Xin,Xinyi Gao, Zhang Sheng Kan, Bai Wen Feng, Wu Wei, Tao Jia, Wenlei Lu, Zhongxing Lu