ARCH 8856 | Portman Prize Studio

David Yocum, Jude LeBlanc, Heather Ligler, Charles Rudolph

The 2020 Portman Prize Studio explores regenerative building, an approach to the conception, design development, and technical specification of architecture that seeks to radically reduce its consumption of raw material and nonrenewable energy resources throughout the building lifecycle and reshape design practice to ameliorate the current degradation of global environmental health.

ARCH 8866 | Lars Spuybroek

99 Stellavista: The Robot House

The studio will use the notion of a robot house to investigate a broad range of questions about inhabitation. For example, do we by definition inhabit a house with previous or even imagined inhabitants? Are all houses haunted, in a way? Or, what is the nature of service? When a house “serves” the inhabitant, does that involve the famous master-slave relationship so deeply studied by Hegel?—after all, the word “domination” stems from the Latin domus, “house.” What, then, does comfort mean? Does that mean a house can fully take over our lives, close its own curtains and, via the so-called “internet of things,” replenish the groceries and order our pizza? How does home automation relate to our own automated behavior such as habits? Or, when we design a fully robotized house, how far can that push the interaction with the inhabitant, and is the robot-house then still a house or is it simply a second inhabitant, like Gloria Tremayne?

ARCH 8866 | Debora Mesa


Home is both a physical and a spiritual need. As users of our houses we might take for granted the value of having a place we can call “home”. But the fact is that as the demand of housing rises, and consequently the price of housing rises, the capacity of people to afford a place to live is dramatically decreasing in many cities across the US. Within the past century, different strategies have been devised and tested aiming to facilitate access to houses: from stigmatized public housing developments, to rent control, mixed-income buildings or housing vouchers; where affordability implies high subsidies that for the most part go into paying excessive construction costs to build low quality, spatially insufficient or inefficient, segregated and aesthetically poor houses. As more people seek accommodation in cities, market forces press against, making urban residents spend a disproportionate part of their income in securing a roof, if they can find one. Hence housing takes competing meanings: home for some, investment or commodity for others.

ARCH 8866 Michael Gamble, Tarek Rakha

Daylight + Nightlight

We will examine the technics and poetics of natural light and artificial light as a shaper of life via the themes daylight and nightlight. How do we shape buildings to capture and generate the maximum amount of natural light and artificial light?

ARCH 8866 | Ellen Dunham-Jones

Super Practical / Super Visionary

SUPER PRACTICAL / SUPER VISIONARY will challenge students to re-imagine how senior housing and generic suburban intersections can be relocalized and address an aging society, the loneliness epidemic, autonomous vehicles and climate change. And, the studio will equip students with the practical tools to design/develop their proposals.


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