A new canopy for a student lounge at the California College of the Arts (CCA) hangs within a double-height space and functions as a light scope, spatial definer, and viewing portal. The minimum surface structure is made up of 546 unique HDPE panels linked to one another by over 4000 pop-rivets. The name of the piece comes from its resemblance in form to a portion of the human heart and the fact that it leaps over an existing structural beam. The surface is suspended from three upper stainless steel rings (two circular, one elliptical) which are held and hold each other in tension. A singular large parabolic ring functions as a “hoop skirt” below. The technical and artistic challenges are unique and did not allow for a conventional approach. Collaborating closely with the designers, the engineers employed non-linear analysis tools and parametric BIM technology to model and predict the final minimal energy form of the piece which, structurally, behaves as a hybrid between a cable-net and membrane structure. A panelized system was developed using Generative Components and a customized Rhino script that took the raw data and turned it into a drawing file to drive a CNC milling machine that generated all the parts. HDPE plastic, the same material used to make milk jugs, was selected for the panels due to its low cost, resistance to solar degradation, recyclability, low embodied energy, and high tensile capability.

FIRM: Visible Research Office

PRINCIPAL: Mark L. Donohue, AIA


The concepts of play and ritual, symbolic inversion, remembrance, otherness and mask play were the under-currents that connected the exploration of the performing body in spectacle and the ritualized space of the urban theater of Carnival. The class culminated in series of creative collaborations with selected community Carnival contingents, designing and fabricating performance objects and spectacle-scale works.

FIRM: A + D, Architecture + Design

PRINCIPAL: Sandra Vivanco


In our IBD studio we explored various architectural interventions within Plaza Adelante, an important cultural institution situated in the heart of the vibrant Mission district of San Francisco. Our client, the Mission Economic Development Association (MEDA) is a community-based organization housed in this historic building. MEDA promotes economic empowerment for the most recent Latino immigrant population and provides a host of services to ease their transition ranging from home ownership, to small business incubators, and from digital literacy to economic empowerment. The goal of this studio is to design and build a family of relevant and appropriate architectural interventions that address the boundaries between the diverse services offered at Plaza Adelante and at the same time actively bring the vibrancy of the street into the heart of the building.

CCA Integrated Building Design Architecture Studio

Design Team: Carmen Smith, Sean Wong, Josue Munoz, Mara Gutierrez, Matt Adams, Cesar Arellano, Fabiola Vargas, Vivian Kwok, Wan-Hsuan Lee, Alison To, Rodrigo Lima, Matt Mochizuki, Olya Piskun, Yibin Chen, Ryan Kocourek, Mike Vargas

Sandra Vivanco, Michael Tauber, Oblio Jenkins


The Mobile Craft Modules, a product of Adam Marcus’s Prototyping Mobility Advanced Architecture Studio at California College of the Arts, proposes an architecture of deployable structures that can be reconfigured to serve a variety of functions. The twin modules can be arranged in multiple ways to facilitate exhibition space, event space, and work space, and they nest together to become secure at night.

The project served as CCA’s anchor pavilion during the Market Street Prototyping Festival, a three-day event in San Francisco that explored new ideas for designing public space. Throughout the festival, the modules hosted a series of exhibitions and events featuring CCA students and faculty. Following the festival, the project returned to CCA to serve as mobile workstations on the Back Lot, the new outdoor making space on the College’s San Francisco campus. The intent is for the modules to provide an infrastructure for the construction of future design-build projects undertaken by students and faculty.

Each module is open on one side, providing access to the modular shelving and work surfaces on the interior. The reconfigurable plug-in shelving system includes caps, which double as stools once they are removed from the module. The structural frame is fabricated from welded steel tube, with angle iron members welded to the corners to serve as protective edges for the cladding. The cladding is fabricated from western red cedar boards, each of which is cut to size. A robotically-cut pattern carved into the cedar boards consists of abstract shapes that merge together to spell “CCA” as one moves around the module.

Design/Build Studio, California College of the Arts / CCA Digital Craft Lab
San Francisco, California

Project Credits:
Prototyping Mobility Advanced Architecture Studio
Spring 2015 / California College of the Arts / CCA Digital Craft Lab
Instructor: Adam Marcus
Students / Design & Fabrication Team: Barry Atiabet, Keith Edwards, Joshua Evans, Tien Yi Hsieh, Ludmila Ilieva, Reynaldo Kambey, Thomas Monroy, Ryan Montgomery, Mark Nicholson, Chien Lien Pan, Murhaf Salameh, Adithi Satish, Jin Shen
Photography: Prototyping Mobility studio, Joseph Chang, Jeffrey Maeshiro