Closing the Gap: Information Models in Contemporary Design Practice, an edition of Architectural Design by Richard Garber, assistant professor at NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design has been published by John Wiley & Sons. Garber was both editor and contributor to the newest volume in this prestigious ongoing series of the venerable and influential journal.
The book features texts and designs by Garber, other faculty members at NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design and other architects. The theme focuses on information modeling technologies and their impact on architecture and design.
Garber’s essay highlights 15th century architect Leon Batista Alberti, of Florence, who codified the practice of architecture as it broadly exists today. Alberti was a contemporary of famed Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who did the seemingly impossible by designing a structure that could span the massive opening of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the city cathedral in Florence. His design was notable for its adept use of physical models. The volume also details Garber’s award-winning pedestrian walkway built near the World Trade Center site in 2007.
An essay by Urs Gauchat, dean of the College of Architecture and Design, analyzes the business of architecture. “The $300,000/year Architect” outlines the architect’s place in a complex future where there is an increasing demand for buildings but demise in available materials and conventional energy sources.
NJIT Assistant Professor Douglas Gauthier focuses on his featured project “BURST* 008,” a prefabricated housing system that functions like a kit of parts. The house was one of four selected to be realized at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York last year. The kit produces homes that use small building pieces to achieve individually tailored spaces, allowing the architectural shape of each house to conform to the specifics of distinct project constraints.
An alternative to mass-produced versions of domestic life that reduce prefab houses to differing arrangements of boxes, each BURST* system offers the potential of creating unique spaces and forms based on environment, site, orientation and the needs of the owners. In the last 25 years, the broad use of computer software has revolutionized the way architectural design proposals are generated and documented.
Launched in 1930, Architectural Design (AD) has had an almost unrivalled reputation worldwide, staying consistently at the forefront of cultural thought and design. Architects say that this publication inspires theoretical, creative and technological advances, and provides space for topical architectural issues.
Garber teaches design studios and directs the school’s FABLAB. His work involves the use of computer simulation and computer numerically controlled hardware in the generation of innovative design, construction, and assembly solutions.
In 2007 his practice, GRO Architects won the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s re: Construction Competition. The resulting work, Best Pedestrian Route, was fabricated at the FABLAB and installed at the corner of Broadway and John Street in Lower Manhattan. In 2008, GRO won an AIA Merit Award and a NY Designs Award from the Architectural League of New York for these efforts.
Garber was also the ‘Emerging Architect’ Visiting Assistant Professor at Barnard College in 2007 with Nicole Robertson. He was previously a project manager at SHoP Architects and at Greg Lynn FORM. He holds architecture degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University.
Contributors to the book included Coren Sharples, of SHoP Architects; and Scott Marble, of Marble Fairbanks – both New York architects; and Los Angeles software designer Dennis Shelden, of Gehry Technologies.