CMU Students Design Aqua Pavilion

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, with 65 faculty, 14 staff, 275 undergraduate students, 30 master students, and 30 PhD students, offers 12 degree programs: a professional Bachelor of Architecture degree, a professional Master of Architecture degree, 7 post-professional master degrees, and 3 PhD concentrations. Complimentary to these programs are five centers, labs, and institutes: The Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, The CoDe Lab, The Digital Fabrication Lab, The Remaking Cities Institute, and the Sustainable Design Academy. In addition to these offerings, they also have partnerships like the one listed below with community organizations like Grow Pittsburgh. Read about the collaboration on the design of a water harvesting garden pavilion, the Aqua Pavilion.

(via The Tartan)

The Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture has been granted the privilege to contribute to a community garden here in Pittsburgh. Located in Uptown, the Aqua Pavilion will function as a structural water-catching device, while also standing as the attractive centerpiece for the local garden. Professor of architecture Joshua Bard, along with senior architecture major Jack Fogel, and junior architecture major Brandon Darreff, were contacted for their insight into this unique opportunity.

The Aqua Pavilion project has been a design assignment for second year architecture students for the past few years. However, it was not until the Class of 2019 was contacted by Grow Pittsburgh that their designs came into fruition. Professor Bard elaborated on the process of being selected to work with the volunteer organization. As part of their coursework, students had one week to design an outdoor functional pavilion in teams of four back in 2015. That year, the instructors had reached out to partnering communities in Pittsburgh to find some traction for the application of these designs. Grow Pittsburgh then reached out to the School of Architecture in May of this year and offered funding should they choose to participate in the project. In September, nearly 15 students from the Class of 2019 volunteered to design and construct the pavilion before Christmas.

The design was a collaborative effort between the students and Grow Pittsburgh. Several iterations were presented, including ideas from last fall, until the final design was decided on this year. The Aqua Pavilion will catch and store water in a large cistern and will water the plants in the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden in the Hill District. The overall design is “compelling” and “relatively simple to construct,” explains Fogel. Given that students are building it, the project should not be overly complicated. Fogel describes that the completed pavilion will be a rectilinear structure with beams and columns, while having a series of trusses that hold up the roof. For aesthetic appeal, the trusses will each progressively rotate at 15 degrees to create a “ruled surface.”

The onsite structure will be easy for the contractor to build. Jennifer Lucchino, an adjunct professor and co-founder of inter*ARCHITECTURE, a local contracting firm, is partnering with the students. Students will construct the various pieces on campus, and then transport the trusses to the garden. The materials and supplies are all paid for by Grow Pittsburgh. The architecture students who are participating in this project, Darreff points out, are purely volunteering this semester in addition to their existing coursework.

Given that the Aqua Pavilion will be both a functional and enjoyable aspect of the garden, students hope their work will integrate into Pittsburgh’s community expansion. Grow Pittsburgh intended for the pavilion to operate also as an event space, in faith that the community garden will serve more as a gathering space. Unfortunately, the university’s exposure to the project has not been extensive. The entire undertaking has been kept within the School of Architecture with little chatter amongst other Carnegie Mellon students. However, Bard hopes that the completed pavilion will be published as a positive impact on behalf of the university for the community.

Seeing their designs come to life and having the opportunity to contribute to real work in the community is an incredible opportunity for the students. Both Fogel and Darreff are exceptionally proud to participate in such an integral aspect of Pittsburgh, and see their studio work being applied outside of the classroom. For Bard, this opportunity has been a work in progress. The instructors have been attempting for a couple of years to find partnerships and engage in projects like this. The Pavilion will be the largest project constructed outside of the studios. In ten years, both the students and professors hope the garden grows and adapts the pavilion to their needs through community engagement from both the university and the city.

Architecture Guide App for Pittsburgh

Wouldn’t it be nice, when visiting a new city, to just be able to pull out your phone and have the city’s history at your fingertips? Now, you can! At least in Pittsburgh thanks to over,under! #theresanappforthat

(via Architects Newspaper)

The Boston-based interdisciplinary architecture firm over,under has launched a mobile architecture guide app called Jaunt Pittsburgh. The app provides navigation to a curated list of historic and contemporary architecture throughout the city, and can be downloaded for free for from Apple’s App Store or Google play.

Users can search and find architecture in three ways. Projects can be sorted through 1) a grid of icons, 2) a sortable list of architects, location, date, or other characteristics, and 3) a navigable map. Along with helping users find buildings throughout the city, the app includes photographs and historical information. Each project also includes a list additional readings outside of the app.


Courtesy of over,under

“It has unusual breadth—it showcases Pittsburgh buildings as well as industrial and infrastructural sites dating from the city’s founding to the present,” says Martin Aurand, Architecture Librarian and Archivist at Carnegie Mellon University, and collaborator on the app. “It includes rare archival images from the Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives, and is particularly strong in its inclusion of modern and contemporary projects.”


over,under worked with students from Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and from the Carnegie Mellon Qatar campus on the app. The interdisciplinary practice works on architecture, urban design, graphic identity, and publications. The firm produces everything from architectural films and mobile apps to building and urban design proposals.


CMU Students Win NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge for Mars Competition

MARS ICE HOUSE from Mars Ice House on Vimeo.

(via CMU News)

Carnegie Mellon Visiting Professor Christina Ciadullo’s Team Designs Winning Habitat for Mars

Visiting Ann Kalla Professor Christina Ciardullo and her team, SEArch (Space Exploration Architecture) and Clouds AO (Clouds Architecture Office), an architecture and space research collective, are the winners of the NASA- and America Makes-sponsored 3D Printed Habitat Challenge for Mars competition. Their proposal, ICE HOUSE, was awarded the top prize of $25,000 at the New York Makers Faire at the New York Hall of Science on September 26th and 27th, 2015 where the challenge’s design segment culminated in the presentation of a 3D printed scaled model of their proposal.

The SEArch / Clouds AO team, with ties to Pratt Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Parsons School of Design, is comprised of award-winning designers Christina Ciardullo, Kelsey Lents, Jeffrey Montes, Michael Morris (project team leader) and Melodie Yashar of SEArch, and Ostap Rudakevych, Masayuki Sono, and Yuko
Sono of Clouds AO. Consulting on the project are fifteen leading space-related subject matter experts (SME’s) comprised of scientists, astrophysicists, geophysicists, ice experts, structural engineers, roboticists and 3D printing engineers.

Ciardullo also consulted for the second-place competition winner TeamGAMMA in their design for a redundant inflatable system combined with a laser-sintering regolith construction technique.

Read more about the NASA Centennial Challenge, and see more information on the winning project.

(via CMU News)

Learn more about Carnegie Mellon’s Architecture Program here!