Posts tagged with "University of Pennsylvania":

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AN picks the best of the fall’s East Coast architecture school lectures

With summer coming to a close, it’s back to school for many architecture students. The start of the semester also marks the beginning of the fall lecture circuit, a highlight of architectural education in the U.S. and a chance for young designers to learn from the field's most influential people. This season's crop yields an array of thinkers and designers from a variety of fields, from cinematography to tech, and tackles questions about how architecture and architects can take on the challenges of today's turbulent political climate. Traditional bold-faced names are often eschewed in favor of younger provocative talents reshaping the profession. But lectures aren't only for academics. Many are free and open to the public, so we’re surveying the schedules of several schools on the East Coast and hand selecting certain events you won’t want to miss—even if your student days are long gone. Put these nights on your calendars now before the season ends.   Yale University YSOA Anab Jain, co-founder and director of Superflux "Other Worlds Are Possible" Thursday, September 6 Georgeen Theodore and Tobias Armborst, Interboro Partners "Oh, the Places You’ll Go!" Thursday, September 20 Omar Gandhi "Defining a Process" Thursday, September 27 Columbia University GSAAP Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest Friday, September 7 Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, co-founders of Neri&Hu Monday, October 8 Elizabeth Timme and Helen Leung, co-founders of LA-Más November 8 Cornell University AAP Virginia San Fratello: Printing Architecture Wednesday, September 26 Eyal Weizman: Forensic Architecture: Counter Investigations Wednesday, October 10 Dorte Mandrup: Conditions Wednesday, November 7 University of Pennsylvania School of Design Designing the Political Landscape: Activism + Design in the Trump Era Thursday, August 30 Jennifer Newsom & Tom Carruthers, Dream the Combine Wednesday, September 12 Donna Graves: Learning from LGBTQ Places: Thoughts on Heritage and Preservation Tuesday, September 25 Harvard University GSD Hannah Beachler, Black Panther production designer, with Jacqueline Stewart Thursday, October 4 Christopher Hawthorne, L.A. Chief Design Officer Tuesday, October 9 Sou Fujimoto Wednesday, October 11 A few universities haven’t publicly posted their fall lecture series yet so stay tuned as we update this page. Also, don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Architect’s Newspaper in print for our September calendar of events and lectures to check out throughout the country.
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With Kahn, Venturi, and others, a new exhibition explores the Philadelphia School

A new exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania highlights the work of the Philadelphia architects whose work resisted modernism. The school is hosting a monthlong exhibition on the work of Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, Romaldo Giurgola, and others who were affiliated with Penn's architecture program. In considering its subjects, "What was the Philadelphia School?" uses a 1961 Progressive Architecture article that called Louis Kahn the "spiritual leader" of the Philadelphia School as its point of critical departure. “There are some architectural historians who have the view that the term ‘Philadelphia School’ isn’t really a school—it’s just a bunch of people who were at Penn at one time. We’re pushing back against that,” exhibition co-organizer Izzy Kornblatt told Curbed. The school claims that "What was the Philadelphia School?" is one of the first to consider the affiliated architects' work "as a bona fide movement reflecting a distinctive culture and set of ideas, rather than just a collection of architects united by affiliation with the university and physical proximity." The exhibition features more than 50 models and drawings, including a rare Kahn drawing from his early years and Venturi model of a concert hall that could have been built on the lot the Kimmel Center now occupies. What was the Philadelphia School? runs through April 17 at the University of Pennsylvania in College Hall.
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1100 Architect combines an 1851 cottage with a modern research center on University of Pennsylvania’s campus

In 1865, “hat and cap merchant” Robert D. Work purchased a Gothic Revival cottage at 3803 Locust Walk in West Philadelphia, riding the wave of the migration to the suburbs. This cottage, designed by prolific architect and author Samuel Sloan, was built in 1851. It now forms part of the Perry World House—a new destination on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus courtesy of New York studio 1100 Architect.

Work’s cottage 165 years ago featured fake limestone—stucco scored to look like a French stone chateau in suburban Philadelphia. Today, the new structure, which officially opened September 20, employs a closed facade featuring real limestone blocks hanging from a steel, barn-like perimeter cage.

“The project presented the challenge of putting history adjacent to modernity in the most blunt and direct way,” said cofounder of 1100 Architect David Piscuskas. Though limestone carries connotations of weight, the facade respectfully resists falling flush to the cottage’s shingles, following this sight-line down the rest of the front elevation.

In addition, a cage structure facilitates a more or less column-free interior. This provided freedom when mapping out areas of circulation and spaces for interactivity. (The building has a capacity of 554.)

“Any structural columns that are there are hidden very well,” said Piscuskas, the soon-to-be AIA president of the New York chapter. Despite the closed facade, the building maintains a sense of transparency from both outside and within. “The way that you move through this building is celebrated and is on view at all times,” Piscuskas added. From the outside, wide, metal-framed oriel windows facing the street allow passerby to see inside: Bridges, staircases, and open social spaces are all on display.

Elements of the original structure can be found inside, too. An original wall from the cottage is near the foyer. On the second floor, a meeting room translates the language of the facade as an extrusion through the space. A pitched ceiling creates a sense of verticality resulting from combining the cottage’s original second floor and attic and restructuring the roof.

On South 38th Street, the Wharton School’s imposing building once jarred with the quaint stylings of this 19th-century cottage six lanes of traffic away. Now, its impact is less severe, thanks to the new massing that still manages to mirror and echo the former suburban vernacular. Made up almost entirely of glass fenestration, the double-height venue gets a generous dose of daylight, making it an attractive place to meet. The roof comprises a series of pitches, all varying in height, which creates a contemporary expression of the original gables.

Form was also guided by inconveniences, such as a manhole encroaching on the building’s footprint. “We saw this as an opportunity to have more fun,” said Piscuskas, who described how a chunk carved from a corner was a workaround that aligned with the rest of the building’s similar geometry. The site’s topography, too, falls in line with the angular aesthetic as open space in the rear slopes down to the street.

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Eavesdrop> Sources give new details of University of Texas Architecture Dean’s departure

Shots fired! Fritz Steiner, the University of Texas at Austin‘s architecture dean, says that he is leaving his post because of the state’s new campus carry laws. “I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry. I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn’t believe in,” Steiner told The Texas Tribune. National media have sensationalized the story, and Steiner has even appeared on NPR to tell his story, which includes a new deanship at UPenn active July 1. Sources tell AN that the real reason Steiner left Texas is because of feuds with the president of the University, which included a lack of support for a new architecture school building. Steiner claims that the president “hung him out to dry.” However, sources say that the real reason UT won't be getting a new architecture school building any time soon is Steiner’s inability to raise the funds to do so. He claimed that he was angry and hurt by the president. They described it as an ungracious performance that came off as undignified. While Steiner left the school citing the gun law, sources say that he was silent for the six months of debate over the law, when he really could have had an impact on its implementation. "Yes, there are other reasons relating to the state support for public research universities in Texas, but there is no 'feud' with the president. He’s someone I admire and respect greatly," Steiner told AN via email.
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Texas gun laws prompts Fritz Steiner, dean of UT Austin’s architecture school, to decamp for Penn

Shots fired! Fritz Steiner, the University of Texas at Austin's architecture dean, says that he is leaving his post because of the state's new campus carry laws. Under Steiner, the UT-Austin architecture school has ranked among the best in the country. According to The Texas Tribune, Steiner said that "I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry. I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn't believe in." What's Texas's loss is Pennsylvania's gain:  When the University of Pennsylvania School of Design approached him last semester about an opening, Steiner was receptive. On July 1, Steiner will become dean of University of Pennsylvania School of Design. For the past 20 years, it's been perfectly legal to carry concealed guns onto campus, but not into campus buildings. Although new campus carry laws were ratified last year, the laws don't go into effect until the first of August. In a state with some of the nation's most liberal gun laws, it's worth noting that the new law does not allow open carry on campus; students, faculty, staff, or visitors must have a handgun license; and the gun owner must be 21 or older. Public universities are allowed to create some limited "gun-free zones," but those zones can't include classrooms. Students for Concealed Carry, a campus group that supports gun rights, criticized Steiner, stating that, essentially, the only thing to fear is fear [of the law] itself. For his part, Steiner is looking forward to returning to the institution from which he earned three degrees: "Penn is a great institution and I am very happy to go to Penn, but I was approached ... and, if it wouldn't have been for campus carry, I wouldn't have considered it."
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Philly’s University City to undergo a ground-up rethink by Ayers Saint Gross, ZGF, and OLIN

In West Philadelphia, a team of developers, planners, and architects are asking one of urbanists' favorite questions: How can a mega-development be made to feel like a neighborhood, and not a bland corporate campus plopped in the middle of the city? Lead developers Wexford Science + Technology and the University City Science Center are spearheading the from-scratch transformation of a former superblock into a sort of mini city within a city. The developers' suggested new name for University City, uCitySquare, is bland, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Inga Saffron contends, though the master plans may not be. Ayers Saint Gross took the lead on the plan, with Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang as a contributor. It appears that the project is riding the same trends that developers used to remake Philly's 12th and Market area into a successful mixed-use district. The uCitySquare master plan would break the 14-acre site into four pieces by restoring 37th and Cuthbert streets, demapped in the urban renewal that transformed the once-dense neighborhood of row houses into growth space for the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel. It suggests moving 37th Street east of its original location, to make traffic and pedestrian flow smoother along the north-south access between Penn and the residential neighborhood of Powelton Village. Stubby Cuthbert Street would be extended east-west, linking Presbyterian Hospital to the Drexel campus. So far, the uses of two of the four parcels have been set. Drexel commissioned Rogers Partners to build an elementary and a middle school. Project start dates are contingent on budget negotiations with the city's school district. The first buildings are sprouting. ZGF Architects' 3675 Market will break ground this spring. The bulky glass cube's main tenant is the Cambridge Innovation Center. The Baltimore-based firm is doing a second building at 37th and Warren with solar panels embedded into the facade. Erdy McHenry will design a mid-rise apartment building with ground-floor retail on Lancaster Avenue that breaks ground this summer. The developers are committed to making common spaces not boring. The University City Science Center says that there will be a supermarket, wide sidewalks, and underground parking to minimize street space devoted to cars. The master plan calls for Philadelphia-based OLIN to design a public park at the center of the site. So far, these are good promises that are tempered by the science center's present foray into urbanism: folding chairs and brick pavers along a pedestrian-only stretch of 37th Street that will connect to uCitySquare is intensely uninviting.
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Construction on Philly’s 40th Street Trolley Portal by Andropogon finally moves ahead

Plans are finally underway to remake Philadelphia's 40th Street Trolley Portal. In conjunction with the city, nonprofit University City District (UDC) will transform the boring, character-free concrete SEPTA trolley terminal, adjacent to the University of Pennsylvania, into a social space for one of Philly's most vibrant areas.  The terminal serves four busy trolley lines, but provides little in the way of comfort or amusement for passengers. Landscaping, by Philadelphia's own Andropogon Associates, will lure pollinators with native plants. The beds will be surrounded by seat-walls, an ingredient in William H. Whyte's famous formula for the social life of small urban spaces. UDC has a positive track record around refurbishing heavily used public space. A 2013 streetscape intervention at Baltimore Crossing created bump-outs at three corners to make the busy intersection safer for pedestrians. Curbed reported that a pedestrian plaza will include tables and chairs shaded by a grove of trees, surrounded by native plants, and flanked by artfully placed boulders. A restaurant with a green roof, art installations, bike parking, improved pedestrian circulation, and cultural programming will round out the redevelopment. Trolley waiting stations will have green roofs, too. The one acre site presents some challenges. For safety, the landscaping has to be low enough to allow clear sightlines, and trees cannot be too tall, or they risk interference with the trolleys' catenary wires. Construction on the 40th Street Trolley Portal will begin in 2016, with an opening set for 2017. UDC states that the project will cost $2.1 million.
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Transparency by Design: Weiss/Manfredi’s Nanotechnology Center

Multiple layers of glass combine with corrugated metal panels to balance visibility and privacy in the University of Pennsylvania's new research center.

As an experiment in interdisciplinary research, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania is not a typical science center. It follows, then, that the university would not want a typical laboratory building, with a central corridor and minimal public space. Instead, the University of Pennsylvania asked Weiss/Manfredi to design the Singh Center around two principles. First, the building should create a new campus green for the school of engineering and applied sciences, in keeping with both the university’s and the city’s tradition of building around open quads. Second, the building should maximize natural light and visibility without compromising the integrity of the research itself. The most outstanding feature of Weiss/Manfredi’s design is the multi-layered glass curtain wall on the Walnut Street side of the building, which was designed with facade consultant Heintges and installed by National Glass & Metal Company. The outermost layer of glass, Guardian SunGuard AG 50 low-E on UltraWhite, which separates the building’s public spaces from the courtyard, achieves transparency while minimizing solar heat gain (the building is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification). It comprises an exterior etched panel by Walker Glass Co. wedded to a reflective panel with interior frit by JE Berkowitz. The etching and frit pattern varies from one part of the building to the next, for a total of five glass pattern modules. “The idea with that pattern was that where views out are most important, it’s most transparent,” said Weiss/Manfredi senior project architect Mike Harshman. “Where it’s more an issue of daylight, it’s more opaque.” The second layer of glass divides the Singh Center’s public spaces from its laboratory spaces. There, Weiss/Manfredi installed a laminated assembly with two layers of translucent frit. Again, the architects aimed for balance, this time between privacy and views out. Interior solar shades allow occupants to shut out daylight—or the eyes of passersby—when needed. On the first floor, an amber glass interlayer demarcates the research center’s 10,000-square-foot Bay/Chase Cleanroom. The color protects the interior of the cleanroom from ultraviolet rays and specific light wavelengths in the visible spectrum without walling it off completely. “Cleanrooms are typically a closed thing, but you can walk in and see everything going on in [there],” said Harshman. Glazed in interior fritted glass, write-up offices front the laboratories themselves, allowing light to enter the general labs. “We really saw the sections—the exterior glass, interior, and glass on [the] labs—as one assembly,” explained Harshman. The design allows daylight to penetrate deep into the building, while the combination of patterned glass and solar shades protects both the researchers and their experiments.
  • Facade Manufacturer Walker Glass Co., JE Berkowitz, LP, Vanceva, Wyatt Incorporated, Spectrum Metal Finishing, National Glass & Metal Company, Guardian Industries
  • Architects Weiss/Manfredi
  • Location Philadelphia
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • System curtain wall of etched and frit glass on AESS frame, interior laminated and frit glass, corrugated aluminum plate panels with custom reflective coating
The Singh Center facade is not all glass, however. Far from it. “From some views it looks like it’s very glassy, but the glass only represents one-third [of the building envelope],” said Harshman. “The rest is opaque and very insulated. The question became how to clad that surface.” Weiss/Manfredi explored a number of materials, including champagne-colored metal to echo the surrounding brick buildings. Ultimately the University of Pennsylvania chose silver anodized aluminum plate panels, explained Harshman, “because for them the context was technology.” The corrugated panels, which were fabricated and installed by Wyatt Incorporated with a custom finish by Spectrum Metal Finishing, were hung as a rain screen system over a prefabricated highly insulated exterior backup wall. “[There was] a great interest on Penn’s part that the project would have an aspect about scale and light. They liked the idea of the corrugated panels catching light at different times of the day,” said Harshman. The logic of the Singh Center facade culminates in the Forum, the multipurpose conference space that cantilevers over the courtyard. Its back and sides wrapped in protective metal, the Forum’s front wall is fritted glass overlooking the main campus. As a result, the place where researchers present their work is also the most connected to the university and the community around it. In the Singh Center, the University of Pennsylvania did not have to choose between openness and an effective research environment. They achieved both, with a building that turns traditional laboratory design on its head.
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Review> The New Normal: Penn Symposium Explores Generative Digital Design

[Editor's Note: The following review was authored by Gideon Fink Shapiro and Phillip M. Crosby.] A generation’s worth of experimentation with generative digital design techniques has seemingly created a “new normal” for architecture. But what exactly are the parameters of this “normal” condition? On November 14th and 15th Winka Dubbeldam, principal of Archi-Tectonics and the new Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, called together some of contemporary architecture’s most prominent proponents of generative digital design techniques for a symposium, The New Normal, examining how these techniques have transformed the field over the past twenty years. According to Ms. Dubbeldam and her colleagues in Penn’s post-professional program who organized the symposium, digital tools have “fundamentally altered the way in which we conceptualize, design, and fabricate architecture.” Participants were asked not only to reflect upon the recent past, but also to speculate on future possibilities. Even among this select group of practitioners, the shared enthusiasm for digital techniques does not imply an affinity of beliefs or approaches. While Patrik Schumacher (who, notably, lectured at Penn one week later) would have us believe that parametric techniques will triumphantly lead to a New International Style, what the New Normal symposium revealed was not a singular orthodoxy, but rather a rich multiplicity of approaches. On the one hand, one perceives a renewed sense of craftsmanship in which computation and robot-assisted fabrication can "extend the potential of what the hand can do," in the words of Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio. On the other hand, ever-increasing computational and 3D-modeling power have nourished a whole field of virtual "screen architecture" that follows in the tradition of conceptual and utopian proposals. In his opening keynote address, Neil Denari discussed several contemporary artists—from Gerhard Richter to Tauba Auerbach—who use or misuse tools to elicit unexpected results. Similarly for architects, the computer should be seen as a filter or intermediary tool between author and work, rather than a seamless executor of authorial will. More pointedly, Roland Snooks of Kokkugia asked, "What are the behavioral biases of digital design tools?" He then suggested that contemporary architects might need to invent and design their own tools (software plug-ins and algorithms) in parallel with the architecture. Simon Kim of IK Studio went so far as to attribute to machines an agency once reserved for humans. And Francois Roche of New-Territories Architects said, "We have to torture the machine" to stretch its conventional functions, teasing out new "erotic bodies" and "ways to tell a story" through playful cunning. Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix were all invoked, but not by the speaker who wore sunglasses during his talk—Jason Payne of Hirsuta. Citing previously published remarks by Jeffrey Kipnis and Greg Lynn, Payne urged architects to test the assumed limits of their digital instruments, just as Hendrix pushed the limits of his guitar by playing it upside-down and incorporating electronic feedback in his radical performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969. However, Payne cautioned, as he cued a slide of Eddie van Halen, the pursuit of technical virtuosity alone can lead to manneristic excess. Indeed, what made Hendrix's Woodstock performance great was not only his innovative guitar work but also his subversive and liberating rendition of the national anthem at a time of social upheaval, sharpened by his insider-outsider status as an African-American rock star. The point is, instrumentation cannot necessarily be isolated from the substance of a work and the social conditions in which it is produced. Tobias Klein gave voice to the digital zeitgeist in declaring, "We [human beings] are soft, malleable data sets." Yet if everything is now data, including bodies and buildings, how and to whose advantage is that data analyzed and applied? Selection criteria are inevitably human constructs that may take the form of artistic judgment, energy metrics, economic models, or political values. Ben van Berkel of UNStudio hinted at the conundrum of data analysis in his concluding keynote, in which he listed "different scales at which information comes together"—namely the diagram, the design model, and the prototype. But alas the Dutch architect, an acknowledged master of the diagram, did not elaborate on how, exactly, his office wrangles messy information into a clear design mandate. One notable absence from the slate of participants in the symposium was a critic or historian to situate the New Normal within both the history of architectural practice and the wider milieu of contemporary culture. While one of the most prominent theorists of generative design, Manuel De Landa, made important contributions to the discussions, his comments focused not on situating the discourse, but instead on the artistic repurposing of non-linear, morphogenetic tools developed by scientists to create more personalized digital form-finding devices. Also lacking were the voices of women, who numbered only three out of twenty speakers and moderators, including Ms. Dubbeldam. What the relentless experimentation among the symposium’s participants suggests is that, while there may be a new normal for the practice of architecture, it has yet to become normative—and that is a sign of its vitality.
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The City That Never Was: Learning from the Spanish Housing Bubble

Described as "crime scene photos," stark images of Spain’s housing bubble landscapes depict a grim reality. But instead of a somber discourse on the evils of political corruption and real estate speculation, the Architectural League’s symposium this past Friday, The City That Never Was, looked forward and, as Iñaki Abalos aptly asked, wondered if we, "can turn shit into gold." Building on their research and design studios at the University of Pennsylvania, Chris Marcinkoski and Javier Arpa, the moderators, explored the future of urbanism through the lens of Spain’s economic crisis and its resulting desolate urban form. Framing the historical context of boom and bust cycles, they reveal that the Spanish situation is only unique in scale and intensity. It exists as part of a larger commodification of urbanism all over the world resulting in similar conditions in an ever simplified placeless urbanism. An international range of speakers from both Spain and the US covered issues regarding agricultural production, city planning, waste flows, and repurposing of vacant land. Each panel ended in a group discussion which began as an invigorating dialog, but by end of day became a bit muddled in message. University of Pennsylvania’s new Chair of Landscape Architecture, Richard Weller, struck a positive note in the final panel when he said that each speaker had "left clues" as to how the current situation could be ameliorated and avoided in the future. Some of which included Barcelona’s Enric Batlle’s ideas regarding the preparation of space over time providing a road map for incremental change and Chris Reed’s kit of parts for Detroit which could be useful in facilitating the reuse of incomplete developments. In thinking about other paradigms for development, Weller advised "designing the system, not the aesthetic." To that point, the discussion of waste became particularly fertile when Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence for the NY Department of Sanitation answered the previously asked question with a resounding, "Shit is gold!" The audience may not have left with a definitive recommendation but was certainly inspired about the possibilities.
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Notes From Penn Design’s “Architecture Education Goes Outside Itself”

ARCHEdem Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania have been at the forefront of the education of American architects since the late 19th century. This past weekend, the University's School of Design held a two day conference, Architecture Education Goes Outside Itself, on the evolution of architecture education in the past century-and-a-half from the first "school"—a correspondence course created in nearby Scranton, PA. A group of young scholars selected, and perhaps inspired, by Penn professor Joan Ockman (whose important new book, Architecture Education: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, thoroughly covers the subject) presented papers on America's always-evolving efforts to initiate and rethink the education of architects. From the debates on the value of aesthetics versus technical requirements and the AIA's desire to direct educational policy, to Lewis Mumford's attempt to open up architects to outside influences and Sigfried Giedion's plans to bring history to Harvard despite Walter Gropius' ambivalent relationship to teaching history, these scholars focused on dozens of important moments of change in architecture schools. In the post-World War II period there were papers on G. Holmes Perkins experiments at Penn, Feminist summer schools and the AA unit system and it's influence in America, travel as a form of knowledge in design studies starting with the Venturi's Yale trip to learn from Las Vegas and teaching at historically black colleges and universities. In all of these sessions the question of the future of design education seemed never to be far from the speakers' and audience's interest and concerns. Penn dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor and professor David Leatherbarrow provided the right amount of levity, insight and passion to keep the symposium focused and on point throughout the two days of talks and discussion. Finally the university's glorious architectural archives were put on view in a special exhibition in their Kroiz Gallery that focused on education topics. A entire series of water damaged boards from Venturi's studio visit to Levittown complimented Beaux Arts renderings and Robert le Ricolais models in the exhibition which is open to the public.
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Australian To Lead University of Pennsylvania’s Landscape Department

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Design has announced that Australian Richard Weller has been appointed Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Penn Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor believes that Weller is just the person to build on the department's well known legacy of research and teaching since it was founded over 50 years ago by the legendary Ian McHarg. The department has been directed by Field Operation's James Corner since 2000 who asserts that Weller is a "leading edge figure in our field." Weller has been teaching at the University of Western Australia and was director of both the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and the design firm Room 4.1.3. His current research concerns ways of "conceptualizing, representing and designing cities a mega-regional scale." In March of this year Weller will release his latest book, Made in Australia, that focuses on the long term future of cities.