The Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellowship was created to showcase current research by leading professors of architecture and design and highlight innovative research exploring ways that architecture and design can improve people’s lives and make cities stronger. Exhibit Columbus is proud to award six fellowships to professors representing eight universities.

Viola Ago and Hans Tursack
The Ohio State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sean Ahlquist
University of Michigan

Christopher Battaglia
Ball State University

Sean Lally and Matthew Wizinsky
University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Cincinnati

Daniel Luis Martinez and Etien Santiago
Indiana University

Marshall Prado
University of Tennessee

Columbus has a long history of using architecture, art, and design to make transformative investments in education. We believe it is important to further this effort by inviting public universities in our region to engage with the design legacy of Columbus through their participation in the 2018 National Symposium and the 2019 exhibition.

Anne Surak, Director of Exhibitions

Viola Ago and Hans Tursack share an interest in architecture as a visual and material medium. Their work exploits strategies and tools from neighboring disciplines to create complex installations that blur expected boundaries between designed forms, environmental context, and human activities. Ago is currently the Christos Yessios Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture and a lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Ago earned her master of architecture degree from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, and she worked as a lead designer in the Advanced Technology Team at Morphosis Architects. Tursack is the 2018-2019 Pietro Belluschi Research Fellow at the MIT School of Architecture + Planning. He was previously a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture. He holds a bachelor of fine art from the Cooper Union School of Art and a master of architecture degree from the Princeton University School of Architecture, where he was awarded the Underwood Thesis Prize.

As instructors studying Columbus, we’ve developed a deep appreciation of the way that the city’s strategic aggregations of discrete architectural gestures produce complex formal narratives in time. While Columbus hosts an unparalleled collection of distinct Modern, Postmodern, and contemporary work, the magic of the city lies in the cumulative experience of its architecture; a network of buildings, infrastructural fragments, and charged voids between each landmark.

Sean Ahlquist is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is a part of the Cluster in Computational Media and Interactive Systems which connects architecture with the fields of material science, computer science, and performing arts technology. Ahlquist's research formulates multi-modal design methodologies that position materiality as the primary agent in tailoring the spatial, structural and temporal capacities of architectural systems. Through collaborations with behavioral science, Ahlquist explores the relationships between human interaction and material responsivity, discussing architecture’s pressing need to address inclusivity for populations vulnerable to complex social and sensorial environments. Ahlquist holds a master of architecture degree from the Architectural Association in London, Emergent Design and Technologies Program, and is completing his doctoral research with the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart.

The primary connection with the curatorial statement is reflected in the priority to "emphasize community, not architecture." An absolute necessity of an architecture suitable for individuals with autism is to give them a moment at which they have agency and autonomy over their environment. The ultimate goal is for this specific community to be given the agency to define the architecture and control experience of it––and, in doing so, allowing them better ability to encounter environments beyond these specialized moments.

Christopher A. Battaglia is the 2018-19 Design Innovation Fellow and assistant teaching professor at Ball State University’s Department of Architecture. Battaglia researches techniques to spatialize concrete through additive manufacturing and digital fabrication techniques. His interests in material manipulation, computation, and the fabrication of self-built digital tools were sparked during a research studio at Cornell focused on large scale 3D printing and its potential applications. As an intern architect with the NYC office of Morphosis, Battaglia helped design the punched metal facade of Cornell Tech’s Bloomberg Center in coordination with Zahner. Battaglia holds a bachelor of science degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology and a master of architecture degree from Cornell University, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate of Merit 2017 and the Eschweiler Prize for Merit and Distinction in M.Arch Design Studio 2017. Battaglia continues to work in collaboration with the Robotic Construction Laboratory (RCL) at Cornell University, with their research published in both Rob|Arch and ACADIA.

I looked at ways in which the legacy of the architects who helped build Columbus into this great example of Modernist Architecture came to be. With the town's architectural initiatives, and the ways in which they set out to promote public works, it was important for me to do some research into what makes a positive public space for those who live in a community.

Sean Lally and Matt Wizinsky bring complementary insights from their different disciplines —landscape architecture and interaction design—to create work that bridges disciplinary boundaries. Lally is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UMASS Amherst and his masters in architecture from UCLA. Lally is author of The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come and a Rome Prize Fellow in Landscape Architecture. Wizinsky completed graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design and is now an assistant professor in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at The University of Cincinnati. He is a designer, design educator, and researcher whose projects live at various intersections of participatory design, interaction design, exhibition design, and speculative design. He recently collaborated on a pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

My work is a synthesis of two intense pressures on society today: humanity’s manipulation of the en­vironment and the bio engineering of the human body. The first is changing the makeup of the physical spaces we occupy and the second, the very body that perceives that space. – Sean Lally

Daniel Luis Martinez and Etien Santiago are assistant professors in Indiana University’s new J. Irwin Miller Architecture program, based in Columbus, Indiana. Martinez researches architecture at the intersection of analog craft and digital technology with a focus on relating the potential of digital design methodologies to the values of place. Co-founder of LAA Office, a multi-disciplinary design studio, Martinez holds a master of architecture degree from the University of Florida and has worked at leading architectural practices in New York, including Allied Works and Weiss/Manfredi. Santiago is an architect and historian who investigates the impact of new technologies on architecture and society. He holds a master of architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is completing a doctoral dissertation that uncovers how modern architects revolutionized affordable housing by borrowing materials and building methods developed during World War I. Santiago has worked for architectural firms including the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa, Italy.

My research aims to understand a moment of transition in our culture from a tradition of analog craft towards a more automated, digital future. I believe that paradigm shifts in society, such as the one we are currently experiencing in terms of fabrication and representation, provide a rich context for exploring architecture’s capacity to embody civic and social ideals. – Daniel Luis Martinez

The purpose of my historical research is to tease out the ideas that lie buried within past material designs; the goal of my design work is to explore how new ideas about the world as a whole can lead us to unprecedented kinds of material designs. – Etien Santiago

Marshall Prado is an assistant professor of structural technology at the University of Tennessee. He holds a bachelor of architecture from North Carolina State University and advanced degrees as a master of architecture and a master of design studies in technology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Marshall has previously taught at Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart, where he is currently working on a doctorate on robotic fabrication of fiber composite structure in architecture. He has has been an invited studio critic at the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan and the Wentworth Institute of Technology and has led several workshops on digital design and fabrication techniques. His current research interests include the integration of computation and fabrication techniques into material systems and spatial design strategies.

The city of Columbus has a rich architectural history, one that is filled with modernist treasures and “cutting-edge” design. These buildings showcase how novel architectural ideas and design exploration can strengthen a city, providing a robust, diverse, performative and sustainable urban environment.