Author Archives: dornvold

NOW WHAT?! Exhibition under construction!

Please join the Build Lab tomorrow (November 29) for the NOW WHAT?! Exhibition at CCA’s Hubbell Street Galleries. Opening Reception is from 5:30pm-7:30pm and refreshments will be provided!

NOW WHAT?! is the first exhibition to examine the little-known history of architects and designers working to further the causes of civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ movements of the past fifty years. The exhibition content, conversations, and stories inspire a new generation of design professionals to see themselves as agents of change by looking at the past to see new ways forward.

The Build Lab is honored to be participating in this exhibition, featuring student design-build projects from the California College of the Arts. To find more information about the event, please visit

Hope to see you there!

#NowWhatSF #architectureactivism #ccahubbellstreetgalleries #ccabuildlab #ccaarchitecture

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NOW WHAT?! Exhibition

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The Build Lab is helping to host the NOW WHAT?! Exhibition at the California College of the Art’s Hubbell Street Galleries from November 29th to December 14th.

We are SEEKING VOLUNTEERS to help set up the event from November 26th to November 29th. We will need at least 3-4 volunteers to work 4-hour shifts from 10am-2pm or 1pm-5pm each of the days. LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED! Please contact Build Lab at with your interest and availability. Thank you!!

See the following link for more information about the event:

Enchanted Forest


The CCA BuildLab and 826 Valencia join forces in an exciting exploration of variable scale permanent interior installation to be tested in the public realm. 826 Valencia will sponsor and host our full scale intervention in their third site at Mission Bay with the goal of enhancing children’s experience of their environment as well as entering a dialogue between materiality, structure, scale and their imagination.

Students have been working closely with a talented group of artists and fabricators to create a fantastic and engaging environment to sponsor the creative endeavor of children’s writing. We are partnering with one of the most iconic non-profits in the country to help them open their third San Francisco location in Mission Bay. As Office, one of their recent graphic design collaborators, puts it: “The magic of 826 is sparking kids’ imaginations with a unique experience that is surprisingly, decidedly weird. We love weird. If you can use it to connect with kids – get them interested and engaged – the creativity catches on.”

Professor: Sandra Vivanco

Students: Alma Davila, Paulina Buchcik, Dina Elattar, Cera C. Yeo, Yunzhe Li, Jolene Jussif, and Jeycy Diaz

Project Partner & Sponsor: Bita Nazarian, 826 Valencia

Project collaborators: WRNS Architects & BCCI Contractors

Responsive Infrastructures

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Great progress has been made on the mobile structure designed and built by CCA students. The advanced studio is co-taught by Peter Anderson and Lisa Findley. Throughout the semester, students have made progress on the structure, as well as on the BuildLab itself. We now have space in the backlot to build, with the necessary tools to complete this and future projects.


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Design-Build Project Management: Building a Building for Building a Building (BaB4BaB)

With the expanding access to CCA’s ‘backlot”, we now have the possibility of more exterior workspace for the creation and assembly of larger scale prototypes and projects at the school. This has been an excellent addition to our teaching and learning opportunities and combines with the excellent existing shop and fabrication resources we have to make it possible to do more hands-on projects for everyone.

New for this year is the opportunity to define a dedicated facility for CCA’s BuildLab, an interdisciplinary hands-on making laboratory. After several years of planning, the BuildLab has received funding and permissions for this new facility, and our class will be instrumental in planning and producing it. Even though we have some funds available, there are many challenges to figuring out how to make this space useful, including issues of permissions, access, security, storage, and environmental protection, as well as budgeting for and scheduling the production of the improvements. We have identified a potential future build project size of approximately 10’ x 20’ as our possible footprint of project build area, plus surrounding workspace defined by the containers, yielding the overall planned site need of 40’ x 40’.This project will help develop strategies for all of these, including some aspects that can be implemented and realized during the current semester, and other aspects that will be road-maps and guidelines for future implementation of an expanding program of physical making at CCA. 

Professor: Peter Anderson

Student Participants: Marlene Cacho, Jonathan Frederick, Maria Ulloa, Olivia Anne Tang, Diego Saraiva, Pete Pham


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Can a building perpetuate pedagogy? While many different pedagogical philosophies and theories have been developed in the last century changing drastically the way we understand teaching, learning, and playing, the design of the built environment where these activities take place has barely varied. This advanced studio aims to be an opportunity to investigate how design can shape experience and affect the subject in processes of playing and learning.

Students were asked to design a playground (pictured above), a series of open and closed recreational spaces considering them an active part of the pedagogical strategy that will lead the final design of their designed learning environments.


Professor: Lorena del Rio

Student Participants: Abdullah Balkhyour, Hamza Basurrah, Jenny Gonzalez, Yoo Bin Jung, Manasi Kshirsagar, Lilliam Navarro, Adan Rios, Tetiana Muraviova, Hao Yu, Clare Hacko, Justine Humble, Nicholas Scribner


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Spring 2017 Fashion Show Experience showcased the array of talent at CCA. Full of Hot Air, taught by  Peter Anderson, is the studio that produced the setting for the show. Students did hands-on research with membrane materials and fabrication processes, with the goal of producing new prototypes for lightweight built structures.
There is a long history of experimentation with this medium by artists, architects, and engineers, from early examples of balloon and dirigible construction for air travel to tensile-membrane building components. With the rapid development of plastics and advanced composite materials since the middle of the 20th century, many new types of membranes have become available for use, only some of which have been exploited so far in architectural applications. Students explored air-supported and closed-volume membrane structures and components using materials and processes that are accessible to them within the studio and CCA back-lot setting, working at the 1-to-1 scale of human inhabitation.

Professor: Peter Anderson


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BuildLab and Pavement to Parks join forces in an exciting exploration of mutable design and fabrication projects to be tested in the public realm. Pavement to Parks will sponsor and host the final prototypes on site at Pier 70 with the goal to temporarily activate public space within our neighborhood.

This 1:1 AIS designed and prototyped mobile unit(s) for this experimental, resourceful and unpolished waterfront area that is proud of its industrial past. These mobile prototypes provided infrastructure for outdoor learning including different combinations of shelter, stage, and seating that could host teaching, performing and gathering activities of varied size groups. Designing through physical making was the primary focus of this studio. Through an investigation in material literacy, a 1:1 structural and material system emerged for a site-specific construction. This course investigated both traditional and digital fabrication techniques and focused on the process of making, construction management, design detailing and documentation.

Project Partners & Sponsors: Robin Abad, San Francisco Planning and Pier 70

Professor: Sandra Vivanco

Student Participants: Truong Nguyen, Victoria Wang, Hui Ching Fok, Autumn Austin, Han Zhang, Gaby Niken, Emily Blemker, Yan Zhu, De Huynh, Rajah Bose, Wut Hwe, Tiffany Yan

Tunnel Top Park

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Pavement to Parks Professional Practice Interns Fernanda Bernardes and Anh Vo, under the supervision of Meghan Dorrian (CCA) and Robin Abad (SF Pavement to Parks), led the design refinement and implementation of ‘interim amenities’ at Tunnel Top Park in the Summer of 2016. The concept design, ‘Undulating Landscape’ was selected by a Jury comprised of Tunnel Top Park community members and CCA faculty from several generated during the Spring 2016 Building Technology Seminar. During the late Spring and early Summer 2016, the Tunnel Top Park Steering Committee met routinely with the CCA / Planning Department team to refine a site-wide plan and design for ‘Undulating Landscape,’ a modular prototype that incorporates seating, fencing, and lighting for deployment across the park. The summer 2016 design-build studio fabricated and installed “Undulating Landscape” at the Park in August 2016.

Student Participants: Fernanda Bernardes, Ryan Chan, Abrar Felemban, Jonathan Frederick, Wut ‘Demi’ Htwe, Denita Irsjad, Anh Vo

Photos by: Jim Norrena

BuildLab at the 2016 Salesforce Conference

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As a way for students to create interesting collaborations outside of CCA, many seminars will offer design collaborations with outside organizations. Peter Anderson’s seminar, Assembly Required, collaborated with the RED Campaign and Salesforce to create furniture for merchandise and product displays for this year’s Dreamforce Conference held in San Francisco. Students worked in groups during the process, utilizing several tools and design strategies to achieve the final products. Keeping in mind the idea of prefabrication and modular assembly, each team had to create designs that could be movable and reconfigurable if needed. Several materials were utilized for each furniture assembly. Painted 1/4″ plywood sheets were utilized to create an indoor and outdoor shelving systems, while clear 1/8″ acrylic sheets were utilized to hang the product displays on the wings of the pavilion. Wooden panels were utilized to create the cash wrap. The collaboration was successful and taught students the importance of prefabrication and communication amongst every member involved with the project.

Instructor: Peter Anderson

Student Participants: Jae Hyun Seo, Yoo Bin Jung, Sabari Gopakumar, Siwei Deng, Sangdae Park, Sean Cunningham, Karol Horr, Tim Stevens, Samantha Villaseñor, Joseph Chang, Gloria Kiiza, Hao Yu, Eman Barnawi, Bella Mang

Project Support by: David Meighan and Juliet Ragusa of the George P. Johnson Company; SalesForce; and IATSE Local 16 (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Photo courtesy of California College of the Arts
Photo: Jim Norrena, CCA

BuildLab at Market Street Prototyping Festival

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Market Street Prototyping Festival is a three-day festival where local artists and designers create interactive prototypes that engage and educate the public. The collaboration between the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Francisco Planning Department envisioned Market Street as the epicenter for cultivating the sense of community. Market Street was divided into three districts. Three Design Captains were designated to each district. This year, the BuildLab was honored to be the Retail District’s Design Captain. As Design Captain, we overlooked other prototypes within the district.

For this year’s festival, the BuildLab brought out the Mobile Craft Module to be the backdrop for several engaging talks between CCA students and faculty. The Urban Works Agency and AIAS/NOMAS held discussions and presentations at the module. Sandra Vivanco, Lorena Del Rio, and Peter Anderson brought their students to the module where they presented their studio work. These talks and presentations were held within the public realm to influence students on how to engage communities through design.

Photos by: Joaquin Tobar and Adam Marcus


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The Class:

This is the Creative Project Management class, fifth in a series of classes that seek to put project realization skills into the hands of designers, born out of the recognition that while most of our curriculum in Architecture focuses on the design phases of projects, there are limited opportunities for hands-on involvement in the rest of the process of bringing our design projects to physical realization. In addition to issues of fabrication, assembly, and construction, the course deals with the time management, permissions, budgeting, public relations, and fund- raising that is required for many design projects in the professional world. The premise of this course is that in our field it has become too easy for the design professionals to lose control of the process if they allow their roles to be diminished to design-only, with more and more of the responsibilities for bringing the projects to reality being off-sourced to non-designer Project Managers. This trend has been going on in our field for many years, encouraged by contract structures that seek to shift legal liability and responsibility to other parties in the process, which often results in the unintended consequence of also ceding control of the work.

The Project:

The project is to devise strategies for bringing simple structures to remote areas of the world for humanitarian purposes. The central focus has been on creating school classrooms, but the concept of lightweight easily-deployed structures is equally applicable to other building types, such as clinics, community centers, and disaster- relief efforts. The specific design criteria came from a request from a real-life client, a non-profit foundation based in Portugal and Guinea- Bissau, whose primary purpose is to help bring educational opportunities to a remote region of islands off the west coast of Africa–the Bijagos Archipelago. The islands have a unique culture and environment, and many areas are protected as a UNESCO biosphere reserve because of the largely undisturbed and fragile ecosystem. One of the reasons the islands remain undeveloped is because it is very difficult to access them, as there is no regular transportation system connecting the islands to the mainland or to each other. There is only one small airstrip and an occasional ferry on the most populous island in the chain, and most of the other islands are accessible only by shallow draft canoes.

Student Participants: Abibatou Sane, Adika Djojosugito, Amin Aghaie Tafti, Andrea Tse, Bianca Koch, Darshini Shah, Eva Jin, Fredy Lim, Kelly Hang, Mark Nicholson, Mark Zannad, Fernanda Bernardes, Ryan Chan, Abrar Felemban, Jonathan Frederick, Wut ‘Demi’ Htwe, Denita Irsjad, Anh Vo, Marlene Hurtado, Martinus Setiawan, Murhaf Salameh, Prairna Gupta, Rey Kambey, Ryan Uy, Sanby Yu, Sara Schneider, Sha Li

Professor: Peter Anderson, Anderson Anderson Architecture


These marks are but fragments of us

California College of the Arts
Architecture and Interior Design Department Advanced Interdisciplinary Studio Professor Gregory Hurcomb

This interdisciplinary studio looked to examine the nature of surfaces, color, light and space through the instigation and eventual transformation of California College of the Art’s main nave space. By utilizing different digitally and analogue driven techniques such as scripting, collage, physical modeling, photography, rendering, and drawing, the studio sought to explore the interstices between interior design, installation, art, and architecture.

By exploring a variety of themes each student developed their own studio project focused on a certain aspect of surface, color, light and space; and then further investigated these ideas through a series of material artifacts that culminated in their own final studio project that was combined, altered, shifted and integrated into a larger composition that comprises the final installation.

The installation consisted of over 200 printed panels of an adhesive thin film­like material that was affixed to the outside glass of California College of the Arts main façade, which at it’s highest point is over 25 feet and measures approximately 100 feet in length for an overall installation in excess of 2,000 square feet. These pieces were installed and affixed by the instructor and his students. The panels transformed and altered the Nave space from that of a serene white box gallery space to a space filled with patterns and effects of color, vibration, and sublime rhythm.

Exuberance. An overabundance of images frozen in stop motion. Pixelation, noise, reverberation, pause. This collective woven moment of transitory impermanence, a massive transparent surface imagined new, redefined and reconfigured as a degraded pulsating and shifting color field. These marks are but fragments of us.

Program: Installation
Client: Department of Architecture,, California College of the Arts Location: San Francisco, California, USA

Faculty: Gregory Hurcomb (California College of the Arts / Studio Gregory Hurcomb)

Student Participants: Carl Lyon, Carleigh Wamberg, Anna Korkobcova, Kathryn VanCleave, Sara Schneider, Alexander Decicco, Kangning Zhao, Jennifer Giessler, Taylor Patton, Alan Hayes, Sin Lao, Bianca Koch, Hossna Nadjafabadi, David Kelley

And special thanks to:
Ila Berman, Director of Architecture
Cathrine Veikos, Chair of the Interior Design Department Lisa Stoneman, Director of Academic Administration Noah Bartlett, Director of Facilities and Operations
Lia Wilson, Program Manager, Department of Architecture


Urban street beautification projects often confuse “beauty” with cleanliness, sweeping aside the unsavory realities of the street. The Guerilla Street Museum serves as a model for engaging and activating the street while simultaneously revealing what beautification projects often seek to hide. Museums traditionally display only artifacts deemed worthy by the culture that supports it. Here, we give the street its own “museum,” which can be replicated across the city as a mechanism to reveal the hidden stories of many diverse constituencies and neighborhoods.

This project was a collaboration between architecture students at CCA, led by Associate Professor Neal Schwartz, and Larkin Street Youth Services. The work both promotes the mission of Larkin Street and exhibits the creative work of the homeless and at-risk youth they serve. The project was exhibited as one of fifty installations selected for the 2015 Market Street Prototyping Festival and will be exhibited during the summer of 2015 in other venues.

CCA Architecture Team: Adika Djojosugito, Joy Fu, Danny Hsieh, Eva Jin, Saharsh Khaitan, Fredy Lim, Susan Lopez, Li Lu, Martin Setiawan, Andrea Tse, Melody Villavicencio

Professor: Neal Schwartz, Schwartz and Architecture


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

Student Participants: Chris Baas, Kat Vancleave, Matthew Puckett, Hugh Vanho, Oscar Ramirez, Emilie Alongi, Vince Nieto


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