Who we are
studio[Ci] is a design lab within the College of Architecture+Design at Lawrence Technological University founded by Constance C. Bodurow, AICP, Assoc. AIA, as a transdisciplinary team of professional architects, urban designers, civil and environmental engineers. We believe that density [intensity] is sustainable and should be broadly defined and visualized utilizing diverse data [metrics]. Further, that a new urban geography and ecosystem are required to balance the benefits and impacts of both shrinking cities and rapid urbanization within the context of the bioregion and to leverage the assets and complex combinations of forces of the cityscape. Our transdisciplinary faculty/student design team has created the Ci methodology and Geo Design platform (4D digital interface) which allows us to proactively design for the “coming together” of metrics [criteria] into a spatial convergence. We map relevant data, model “analysis layerings”, and make specific design proposals to describe the role of density, infrastructure networks and net zero energy in sustainable urbanism. We then create land use, urban design and architectural proposals utilizing digital technology to pose questions and experiment at an urban scale to recommend future dense, sustainable urban form. Our approach is collaborative, criteria driven, integrative, transdiciplinary and both local and global in scale.
studio [Ci] is investigating sustainable and parametric urbanism and enhancing the Ci (Convergence of Intensity) 4D digital interface with additional capabilities to create generative models to predict future urban form and physical, social, and infrastructure density utilizing script-based form finding [Rule + Logic = Parametric Modeling and Logic + Formula = Sustainability]. The results of our expanded investigation support the studio’s previous assertion that a new urban eco-system is required, one which takes advantage of the complex combination of forces, while increasing flexibility and reducing susceptibility to their mercurial nature.
We describe our methodology, experience with parametric design at an urban scale, and the application of Ci in several cities. We conclude that our design methodology is replicable and globally applicable to empower the purposeful shrinkage of cities across the spectrum of urban density.
Through studio[Ci], we are pursuing three primary areas of investigation:
1. Value Densification is “a focus on investment and development in neighborhood and districts of the city where inhabitation, cultural, blue-green + gray infrastructure, and economic assets are in evidence”. The Value Densification Community mapping project (VDCmp), is a theory, a community-based process and an interactive Google Earth platform digital interface which incorporates ArcGIS, Sketch Up, and other software programs. We input public and private information, model data layers and create “analysis layerings” to empower the community and inform decision making, policy, planning and design. This research has been funded by the American Institute of Architects, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Southwest Detroit Development Collaborative (SDDC).
2. Convergence of Intensity [Ci], is the purposeful phenomenon of “re-sizing” the city using density metrics to define the new geography of the city. We encourage communities to proactively design for the “coming together” of metrics into a spatial convergence. Ci builds on and uses the VDCmp digital interface, and identifies various data sets to describe population, capacity, energy, infrastructure and investment. We then create an applied urban design framework and generate density proposals for future urban form and program.
3. Parametric Urbanism, began with a DENSITY=GREEN Fall 2009 seminar and continues with graduate seminar entitled Visualization of Urban Density. The DENSITY=GREEN seminar began to explore and expand upon the established methodologies for “carrying capacity” to define a “tipping point” to human habitation in the urban context – a level at which the new eco-system created through built and population densities begins to negatively impact the natural environment and ecological capacity of an urbanized region. Now we are exploring parametric modeling, establishing rules and logic, researching data sets for specific cities and learning modeling software. We will apply generative modeling to create 3+4D parametric recommendations for several scenarios of future urban form for Detroit and other cities along the spectrum of urban density.