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Prof Marjan Colletti

Prof Marjan Colletti

Professor of Architecture and Post Digital Practice

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
25th Sep 2000

Research summary

I have been investigating a novel graphic and tectonic digital vocabulary, form and language since the mid 90s. My current and recent research projects explore digitality, focussing on 3 main subject matters: phenomenology (cognition, interaction, feedback), social systems (urbanity, sub-cultures, body), and digital tectonics (morphologies, ornamentation). I am pursuing these enquiries by what I call ‘propositional’ research—research that results also in physical output: drawings, installations, prototypes, projects and buildings. The design is informed by the research as much as the research is driven by the design, and it is intrinsic to the nature of this modus operandi to strive for rigour and for originality at the same time. The focus is towards the discovery—i.e. what already exists, and what still is to be found—of digitality within the context of hybridity of technē (craftsmanship) and poiēsis (art).

These objectives result from my efforts as practicing architect (the architectural practice marcosandmarjan in London) to combine academic research with research-lead design investigations on the applicability of new digital 2D/3D/4D modelling design techniques and innovative construction and manufacturing technologies in architecture. Within the practice I pursue the development of new typological, topological, morphological and ecological conditions in complex building projects through a variety of competitions, built projects, international commissions and a series of avant-garde small-scale installations (sponsored, partly by 160.000£ grants and sponsorships that I raised). The architectural design work, because driven by precise investigations, plays a major role in my research activity and output, sustained and developed by various international publications. Such design work (the Lisbon building and the Beijing project for example) has been submitted to the 2008 RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) by the Bartlett and by Westminster University, and future research-led design work is to be submitted to the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework) assessment.

My research, design and teaching agendas are positioned within the field of digital architecture, despite of my criticisms towards pure parametric and algorithmic computerised architecture. Instead I favour a synthetic digital design process that achieves the hybridisation of technological parameters and phenomenological properties, implying an approach that develops from inside out, involving experiential qualities, inhabitation and use. The methodology employs 2D, 3D and 4D software packages, Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC), Rapid Protoyping (RP), Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies to investigate future trajectories of digital design.

Current research projects are: Fetish (2010-…), Foldsters (2010-…), InterPolis (2006-…), Future Living (2010-…). Concluded research includes Digital Poetics (2000-07), Convoluted Flesh (2006-09), 2&½D Twoandahalf Dimensionality (2006-07), 3D Moodle (2008-09), Cyberbaroque (2008-09), Exuberance (2008-10), NURBSTERs (2003-8), Mimetic Intrafaces (2005).

Teaching summary

 

I have international teaching experience since 1997 and on all levels, from year 1 to Ph.D. by design, teaching advanced design studio, advanced design research and theory, inter-disciplinary design fundamentals, complex design processes, conceptual agility, analytical thinking, design theory, visual communication/representation, as well as integration of digital design and fabrication. Main themes have been Digital Poetics, contemporary Sacred Spaces, Exuberance and Digital Virtuosity, Middle-Eastern and Asian artificial ecologies and urban design. Most recently I have been teaching architectural design studio in degree (Bartlett Unit 5 2000-03) and in diploma (Bartlett Unit 20 2003-ongoing and Westminster DS10 2006-ongoing), as well as supervising PhD by Architectural Design (research be design route, Bartlett).

At the same time I have built up a considerable experience of different educational models and systems at various UK, EU, US and Asian institutions, and a considerable body of student work (internationally awarded, and widely published) exploring experimental speculations on novel implementations of 2D/3D/4D CAD technologies—from complex architectural building design and urban design, digital design and theory.

Two premises lie at the core of teaching digital design nowadays: that the contemporary architectural practice (design process and manufacturing) is unthinkable without computational aid, and that today's teens and pre-teens are the first officially digitally-educated generation (from Mexico to Japan). If both school education and industry presume literacy and spontaneity with information and communications technology, I consider it unavoidable to prepare my students for the architectural profession on this subject matter, but also to be prepared to accommodate their own sensibilities, as they are very used to interact with digital technologies and computer-based learning. My attempt is to allow them to capitalise on and to thrive thanks to their intimacy with computers (and networks and other media devices) in a variety of new fields, ranging from geometric calculus to physic simulation, from digital theory to CAD/CAM manufacturing processes, the computation of material properties (affordances and constraints) and bio-ornament in architecture etc. By looking into advances within a wide range of modelling methodologies and manufacturing technologies—its methods, applications and expressions and its sensorial and experiential implications—I teach student to develop their work from an open-minded and creative interpretation of such processes. The most successful students develop their own architectural language, and are now running their own design studios internationally.

Previous teaching appointments include: Visiting Professorships at the University of California at Los Angeles, University of Texas at Arlington, Tu Vienna, Innsbruck University, Ecole Speciale d'Architecture Paris, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, Oslo School of Architecture, Tonghai University Taichung Taiwan and Feng Chia University, Taichung Taiwan; senior lecturer at the University of Westminster London; visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, KIAD Canterbury; external reviewer for habilitation procedure at Innsbruck University; visiting critic at the Architectural Association, East London, South Bank, Oxford Brooks, Kingston, EPFL Lausanne, studio Prix at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, RWTH Aachen et al.

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Education

University College London
PhD, Architecture | 2008
University College London
MArch, Architecture | 1999
Universita Iuav di Venezia
STEX, Architecture | 1999
Universita Iuav di Venezia
DOT, Architecture | 1998
Universitat Innsbruck
Dipl. Ing., Architecture | 1997
Liceo Classico
DIPMC, Humanities with Classical Studies | 1991

Biography

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.Ing. MArch. Dott.Arch. PhD Marjan COLLETTI

I am a practicing architect, an educator, a researcher and author on digital architecture. I am and currently a Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture and University Professor at the University of Innsbruck, where I co-direct (with Prof. Patrik Schumacher) the Institute for Experimental Architecture.Hochbau. I am the co-founder of the London-based architecture studio marcosandmarjan, a design-research environment with a strong knowledge transfer angle through its components teaching, apprenticeships, exhibitions, applied design & technology, and knowledge transfer processes (from digital theoretical research of techniques and technologies into practical design, file-to-factory protocols, inclusion of industry know-how such as material parameters and machine-related constraints).

The office’s work includes the Alga(e)zebo Pavilion for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, the built cafeteria and auditorium and general layout for the 75th Book Fair in Lisbon (2005), the built NURBSTERs and FOLDSTERs prototype series (digitally fabricated prototypes, since 2001), the winning competition proposal (various phases) for the Xiyuan Entertainment Complex in Beijing China (2004), various urban proposals and studies for towers and other typologies for private clients (since 2005) in China, Dubai, Pakistan, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, and currently Taiwan (2x).

I am the author of the forthcoming book Digital Poetics (Ashgate Publishing), guest-editor of AD Architectural Design Exuberance: New Virtuosity in Contemporary Architecture (Wiley), co-editor of Research Projects 2009 (Bartlett UCL), co-author of marcosandmarjan: Interfaces/Intrafaces (SpringerWienNewYork), and author of 2&1/2D Twoandahalf Dimensionality (Bucher Hohenems), and have authored and co-authored over 40 articles in international journals, books and magazines. I have curated over 20 exhibitions in several countries and have exhibited individual and marcosandmarjan work in over 60 venues from Los Angeles to Sao Paolo to Venice to Tokyo, including the Venice Biennale (3x), the Royal Academy (3x), Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Festival Hall in London. I am regularly invited as lecturer, panelist and critic internationally.  I have been an expert reviewer for the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation - New Eurasia Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, Journal of Cultural Economy, Ashgate Publishing, American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates, Queen's University Belfast and University of Innsbruck. 

Previous teaching appointments include: Visiting Professorships at TU Vienna, University of California at Los Angeles,  University of Texas at Arlington, Innsbruck University; plus workshops at the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture Paris, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, Oslo School of Architecture, Tonghai University Taichung Taiwan and Feng Chia University, Taichung Taiwan; senior lecturer at the University of Westminster London; visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, KIAD Canterbury; external reviewer for habilitation procedure at Innsbruck University;  et al.

U20   GAD   PhD  

Publications