Tom Hennes (photographer) / Water Planet Center Island, California Academy of Sciences.

Visiting Faculty Lecture: Joe MacDonald

November 30, 2011
Kemp Auditorium

Visiting professor of architecture Joe MacDonald will deliver a lecture titled The Agency of Constraints. MacDonald is founding principal of URBAN A&O and has served as an associate professor of architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design for the past ten years. He regularly incorporates his academic research into practice at the scales of building, landscape, and urban design and his work has been published and exhibited widely.

Urban A&O is one of a handful of architecture and design firms that operate within the sophisticated computer design environment of parametric modeling. The firm employs the powerful tools of CATIA-based software and digital fabrication processes to produce sculptural and geometrically complex forms and environments. The resulting innovative work tests the limits of material and space through the development of radically new spatial geometries with strong conceptual underpinnings.

MacDonald's goal as a practitioner is to seek out imaginative intersections between art, science, architecture, cities, and technology, in an effort to communicate emerging developments within each of these fields to the widest possible audiences. His work has focused on several fronts simultaneously, from theoretical design idea collaborations, competitions, and art installations, to architectural, landscape, and master planning projects at an urban scale. He has lectured extensively on the relationship between architecture and technology. His built work investigates the possibilities of emerging design and manufacturing technologies as well as their implications on new building materials and assemblies in the city, and how they may impact and influence our collective cultural and social lives.

MacDonald received an IDEA International Design Excellence Silver Award for Environments for the Water Planet, 2009, and the 2009 China's Most Successful Design Award for the Johnson & Johnson Olympic Pavilion in Beijing. MacDonald also received Architecture Magazine's Vanguard award in 2008, which identifies the top ten emerging architects from around the world in its annual edition, and his work has been exhibited widely, including in association with the award of "highest honors" recipient of the 2008 New Practices New York from the New York Chapter of the AIA, and at the TED Conference in Monterey, California, in 2006. His work has also been written about in numerous publications, including: Metropolis Magazine, Interior Design Magazine Market Tabloid Best in Show, The Architect's Newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, The New York Times, Domus, Harvard Magazine, and Vanity Fair.