Architecture Student Research Grant Support Recipients from Taubman College Architecture Program Explore Fabrication, Gender, and Material Waste in Design

Each year three teams of Taubman College architecture students are awarded funding to pursue self-initiated design studies through the Architecture Student Research Grant (ASRG) program. Initiated by the Class of 2013, ASRG provides a unique funding opportunity for student research seeking to discover new ways of working, making, and representing architecture.

Research projects for the 2023-2024 cycle focus on digital technologies, gendered workplaces, and “maker space” materials. These are currently displayed at the Liberty Street Research Annex, 305 West Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, through May 15, 2024.

2023-2024 ASRG Research Projects

Chair Translations

Team Members: Michael Thut, Evan Weinman

Research Statment: Chair Translations explores the role of cutting-edge design technologies through an iterative process combining digital tools and analog fabrication. The project utilized Gravity Sketch, a Virtual Reality CAD software, and 3-D LiDAR scanning to uncover faults in the technology and capitalize on mistakes made in the translation process–digital mistranslations. Beginning with designs inspired by Finn Juhl’s FJ48 and Marcel Breuer’s Cesca Chair, the iterative process of design and fabrication resulted in the production of two series of chairs that are a direct product of the digital and physical tools used throughout the process. This allowed the makers to explore themes ranging from texture mapping and kitbashing to gestural motion and human proportion.

Acknowledgments: Woodshop and TVLab staff


Team Members: Caroline Stahl, Sabrina Ramsay, Sahr Qureishi, Sophie Mỹ Hạnh Nguyễntrần, Sydney Sinclair, Valeria Velázquez, and Zephaniah Lynna Romualdo

Research Statement: Workplace architecture overtly favors the male body. This is observed from the construction site to the corporate office. The worker is envisioned as a man in a full-length suit at a corner office or performing hard labor in rigid cotton workwear. When gender separations in the workplace began to disintegrate, women’s workwear manifested as iterations of the accepted male uniform. WORKWEAR&TEAR investigates the shortcomings of this uniform to meet the needs of all workers and to counter these failures through a range of modifiable work-wear pieces that return bodily agency to the non-male worker. The project occupies three realms. The Unreal realm simulates and satirizes workplace scenarios to collect and synthesize qualitative data on the needs of the wearers in shifting environments. The Real realm constructs, assembles, and prototypes adaptable, agency granting wearables. The final realm, Publication and Distribution, will make WORKWEAR&TEAR an accessible resource for wearers to gain agency of their bodily comfort through wearables.

Makers Waste

Team Members: Natalie DeLiso, Sophie Pacelko, Zione Grosshuesch, Tara Mehta

Research Statement: Maker’s Waste aims to reduce, reuse, and re-envision materials produced in maker spaces in pursuit of an interdisciplinary, sustaining, replicable, and systems-based material approach. Institutionalizing sustainable practices is at the forefront of the proposal, where Taubman College is their test location, and its Fabrication and Robotics Lab (FABLab) is the starting point, a maker space with significant and novel waste. The waste inspired the team to create and suggest alternatives used within our school, eventually serving as a case study for the future of reducing, recycling, and re-envisioning materials. Following the culture of computational design, maker spaces, and fabrication facilities, the team aims to share results through digestible logs, protocols, and fully transparent pathways to product design. Beyond the replicable, re-envisioning aspect, we are determined to bring awareness to the concrete effect that fabricating has on the climate.

The grant is funded through the Taubman College Architecture Program and the generous gifts of alumni Lisa Sauve, M.Arch ’11, M.S.’14, and Adam Smith, M.Arch ’11 of Synecdoche, Ann Arbor, and Robert Yuen, M.Arch ‘11, M.S. ‘12, of Monograph, San Francisco.