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Digital Ecologies


Intelligent technologies are increasingly changing our society.  Digital tools offer us opportunities, influence our practices, shape our cultures and are constantly evolving.  Digital thinking is prerequistie to understanding how to design, produce and negotiate our future in the virtual and physical world.

The Digital Ecologies certificate program cultivates knowledge through research and design practices responding to our increasingly digital society.  The program cultivates theory, application and innovation in a number of areas, but the following sub-areas are emphasized:


  • Computational Design and Morphology
  • Parametric Design and Shape Grammars
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Smart Materials and Smart Structures
  • Interaction design and evaluation at multiple scales of the built and natural environment
  • History and theory of digital tools, methods and environments artifacts
  • Visualization


  • ARCH 8129 Computational Design / Fabrication Methods  (Lee and Sutherland)
    Introduction to computational design with emphasis on parametric and algorithmic design tools presented as case studies and investigated in a hands-on environment. This course will incorporate robotic fabrication research for the optimization of variable mold making strategies for cast architectural elements.  You will learn Grasshopper for Rhino and various CNC equipment in this course. It is recommended to take ARCH 8570 concurrently.
  • ARCH 8790 Design Science (Barrios Kleiss)
    Design Science studies theories and practices of creativity and collaborative work through formalistic models of visual design analysis, formal composition, and computational design. Special emphasis is on Shape Grammars and Parametric and Generative Design.
  • ARCH 8570 Lunar eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab)  (Newman and Sutherland)
    Student teams will design, manufacture, assemble, test, and demonstrate functional prototypical subsystems and innovations that enable increased functionality for human space exploration missions. The prototypes produced by the teams may be integrated into existing NASA-built operational prototypes. It is recommended to take ARCH 8129 Computational Design concurrently.
  • ARCH 8570 Los Angeles Studio: ADD_home – The Additive Manufactured Home  (Hecker)
    The term 3d printing has in recent years given way to the term additive manufacturing. The significance of this evolution in terminology confirms the shift of the 3d printer from a representational and prototyping device to a manufacturing device capable of producing entire buildings out of any material that can be pulverized into powder or formed into filament ( + ) In the last three years numerous projects have been undertaken to 3d print houses directly from CAD files. The implications for our discipline are profound.  Additive manufacturing is arguably the most disruptive building technology in architecture since the industrial revolution and will fundamentally alter our notion of how we conceive and fabricate buildings of our design. The studio will be both exploratory and pragmatic in assessing this technology and its implications on the built environment with an emphasis on exploiting the inherent social and environmental benefits provided of additive manufacturing. The American single-family home will be the program that we use to understand, examine and finally set an agenda for utilizing this technology to promote not only new ways of building but also living.

COURSES from which students can fulfill program requirements include:

      • Computation Design Methods ARCH 8120, Spring
      • Smart Materials & Kinetic Structures ARCH 8760, Fall
      • Digital Manufacturing Processes ARCH 8780, Fall
      • Interactive, Responsive and Assistive Artifacts and Environments ARCH 8790 Special Topics in Architectural Technology, Spring
      • Directed Studies in Landscape Architecture LARC 8900, Fall and Spring
      • Directed Studies in Architecture ARCH 8900, Fall and Spring
      • Selected Topics in Architectural Technology ARCH 8790, Fall and Spring

Interested students need to complete the minimum credit hours prior to graduation; submit a completed Graduate Certificate Curriculum Form to the School office for signatures; and submit this signed form with the required form for requesting graduation.  The earned certificate will be acknowledged on the recipient's academic transcript.

(For these Graduate School forms and submission procedures, see