Intersections 2012 Speaker Profiles

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Gil Akos

Founding Partner
Studio Mode | modeLab

Gil Akos is a Founding Partner of Studio Mode | modeLab, a Brooklyn-based studio and research collective committed to design as a form of applied research.

Gil holds both a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Kansas. His professional work contains a number of published and award winning projects that range in scale from buildings to products and include significant contribution to the J&J Olympic Pavilion, the Water Planet exhibit in the San Francisco Academy of Arts, and the LARD Furniture Series. Gil has led design studios and research seminars at Pratt Institute, New York City College of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, and University of Minnesota College of Design. In addition to these courses, he has assisted in design studios at University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, as well as Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Over the past four years Gil has co-directed a collection of workshops throughout North America that focus on the intersection of computational design practices and new modes of material production. His personal research agenda surrounds the relationship between form-active analog models and physics-based simulation, whereby intuition and direct knowledge may be readily extracted from and redeployed through a continuum between the analog and the virtual.

Ultimately, Gil’s work centers on an open-ended and promiscuous design approach where collaborations are manifest, intelligence is cross-pollinated, and new forms of thinking and doing are discovered.

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Phillip Anzalone

Columbia University GSAPP Laboratory for Applied Building Science
Atelier Architecture 64

Mr. Anzalone is the Director of the Building Science and Technology Sequence and the Director of the Laboratory for Applied Building Science at the Graduate School of Architecture, Columbia University.

As Director,Mr. Anzalone leads research and curriculum related to applied and experimental building science and technology, digitally based design, fabrication and assembly techniques. Research conducted in the past by Mr. Anzalone includes the Trusset System, a patented CNC manufactured three dimensional differential space-truss (with Cory Clarke), Amphorae, and an innovative concrete blocking system using Ductal.

Mr. Anzalone has written and participated as a Principle Investigator and Consultant on numerous grants including Department of Energy projects, NSF – IGERT grants, NYSERDA building system grants, and university institutional funding. Current research projects include chairing the committee on developing curriculum to research the future of the building industry as part of the GSAPP’s new C-BIP initiative.

Phillip Anzalone is a Registered Architect with experience as a curtain wall consultant for R. A. Heintges & Associates, as an architectural designer with Greg Lynn Form, and is currently a partner of Atelier Architecture 64 (AA64) with Stephanie Bayard. AA64 is a Brooklyn based Architecture firm specializing in the design and production of projects involving exploration and integration of traditional and advanced materials and processes, with built projects in New York, France, San Francisco and South Korea.

Phillip Anzalone holds a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University and B.P.S. Architecture from SUNY Buffalo, with a minor in Business Administration.

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Arpan Bakshi

Sustainability Manager
YR&G Sustainabiligy

Arpan Bakshi is a Sustainability Manager at YR&G and President of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, New York Regional Chapter. Arpan’s experience is with assisting design teams set building performance goals and develop optimized environmental design solutions. Arpan provides design and technical guidance using the latest methods in building energy, daylight and comfort simulation as well as analysis-driven parametric and building information modeling (BIM). Arpan holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University and an Master of Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Arpan is an Adjunct Professor at the New York City College of Technology, a research partner with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a visiting lecturer at the Columbia University School of Continuing Education.

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Phil Bernstein

Vice President for Strategic Industry Relations

Phil is a Vice President for Strategic Industry Relations at Autodesk where he is responsible for the company’s future vision and strategy for technology with particular focus on the building industry as well as cultivating and sustaining the firm’s relationships with strategic industry leaders and associations. Formerly a principal with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, he teaches Professional Practice at Yale where he received both his B.A. and his M.Arch. He is co-editor of Building (In) The Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture and BIM In Academia, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and former Chair of the AIA National ContractDocuments Committee.

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Francis Bitonti

Founding Principal
Francis Bitonti Studio

Francis A. Bitonti is an architect/designer and researcher based in New York. Francis holds a Masters of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a BFA from Long Island University in Digital Media. Francis has worked across a variety of design disciplines ranging from architecture to industrial design.

Most notably Francis was a Project Architect at Acconci Studio in Brooklyn New York. Currently Francis is the founding principal of Francis Bitonti Studio, and is dedicated to the research and application of new technologies specifically algorithmic form generation, smart materials, and interactive environments.

Francis’s work has been exhibited and published internationally in many prestigious institutions including the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. In addition to his work with Francis Bitonti Studio Francis has been a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute and is currently teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture.

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Robert Brackett

Digital Nouveau

Robert Brackett III completed his Bachelors Of Science In Architecture at the University Of Illinois UC with highest honors in 2004. In 2007 he furthered his study of architecture and design with a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University in New York, graduating with the AIA Medal for Excellence in the Study of Architecture. As an undergraduate student Robert worked as a research assistant for Carolyn Dry of Natural Process Design, developing new material technologies with applications from prefabricated building panels to self healing polymers for NASA space craft.

He worked as production manager, shop manager, fabricator and designer for Associated Fabrication LLC in Brooklyn, NY. His primary responsibility was to tighten the relationship between the design, digital fabrication, and realization of built projects ranging from small works of art to self intricate furniture, to full residential and retail materials. Current projects include designing jewelry and household objects, with his partner Laura Coombs, which take advantage of cutting edge
digital production technology.

He serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Robert has also been a professor at Columbia University in NY and taught specialized digital design seminars at City College in NY.

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Mark Collins

Proxy Design Studio

Mark Collins is a teacher, designer and programmer investigating the culture of innovation and technology in architecture. Mark is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation where he teaches classes on computational design and co-directs the Columbia University Cloud Lab, an experimental laboratory that explores the design of our environment through emerging technologies in device culture.

Mark co-directs Proxy, a design firm that specializes in the development of innovative design technology. Proxy works on a wide range of projects, from architecture and design to research in CNC fabrication and software development. Mark is also a co-creator of the Morpholio Project, a software development company focusing on novel technologies for designers.

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Zach Downey


Zach Downey received his Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia (2005). He worked at SMBW Architects in Richmond, Virginia (2005 – 2007) where he contributed to the firm winning the 2007 Virginia Firm of the Year award. While at SMBW he worked on 403 Stockton Street, was the lead designer of the Manchester Design District Masterplan which won a state AIA Honor Award for un-built work, was a designer on the Luck Stone Corporate Headquarters and then became the project manager during the construction of the headquarters.

Zach joined SHoP in 2007 and has assisted in a various number of projects in the office as a Digital Design Specialist helping teams achieve specific project tasks. Zach founded, a software tutorial website to share the knowledge of parametric and analysis based modeling techniques in the fall of 2008, where he continually shares new and varied design techniques. He has conducted workshops and lectures nationally on design technology and parametric modeling, most recently at Columbia University, Parsons, The University of Arizona, and Virginia Tech and is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He has written for several publications, including A+U & Yale University’s Constructs.

In 2009 Zach became the Director of the Applied Technology Group at SHoP and has since been involved in many projects to orchestrate Building Information Modeling deliverables. Zach left SHoP in Late 2011 to cofound Parabox, Parabox is a technology company focusing on exploiting emerging technologies to provide seamless data management for all processes directly related to the construction and facility management process, including initial designs, procurement information, as-builts, and engineering specifications for O&M. Zach is also a registered architect in New York.

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David Fano

Founding Partner

David Fano is a founding partner of CASE, a virtual design and construction (VDC) and integrated-practice consultancy based in New York City. David is primarily responsible for leading technology implementation, knowledge capture and sharing, social media initiatives and business development. He previously worked at SHoP Architects where he held the position of Director of Technology Research. David received his Master of Architecture with honors from Columbia University in 2006 where he was the recipient of the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize and the Computer Aided Design Honor Award and has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s GSAPP since 2007.

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Tyson Hosmer

Balmond Studio

Tyson Hosmer is an architect, software developer, and researcher with Balmond Studio in London and has worked previously as an architect at Asymptote Architecture LLC in New York and Axi:Ome LLC in St. Louis. He received his Bachelors of Architecture from Virginia Tech and received his Masters from the Architectural Association Design Research Lab.

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Ronnie Parsons

Founding Partner
Studio Mode | modeLab

Ronnie Parsons is a Founding Partner of Studio Mode | modeLab, a Brooklyn based studio and research collective committed to design as a form of applied research.

Ronnie holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master degrees in Architecture and has studied abroad at the Architectural Association, London, The Institute for Experimental Architecture, Innsbruck, and The University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Ronnie has led design studios and research seminars at Pratt Institute, New York City College of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, and University of Minnesota College of Design. In addition to these courses Ronnie has assisted in design studios at Harvard University GSD, Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, as well as Princeton University School of Architecture. Over the past two years he has co-directed a collection of workshops throughout North America that focus on the intersection of computational design practices and new modes of material production.

Ultimately, Ronnie’s work centers on an open-ended and promiscuous design approach where collaborations are manifest, intelligence is cross-pollinated, and new forms of thinking and doing are discovered.

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Monica Ponce de Leon (KEYNOTE)

Dean and Eliel Saarinen Collegiate Professor
University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Monica Ponce de Leon Studio

Monica Ponce de Leon is the Dean and Eliel Saarinen Collegiate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She is also the design director of the architecture firm MPdL Studio, and a Founding Partner of the former architecture firm Office dA. Monica Ponce de Leon’s work is internationally recognized for its innovation in design. She has been honored by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (National Design Award in Architecture, 2007) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Award in Architecture, 2002). She has also received honors from the United States Artists (Target Fellowship in Architecture and Design, 2007) and the Architectural League of New York (Young Architects Award, 1997) Additionally, Monica Ponce de Leon’s projects have received many awards for their excellence in design, which include the AIA Institute Honor Award, the AIA/ALA Library Building Award, the Harleston Parker Award, and twelve Progressive Architecture Awards in fifteen years. Her work has been featured in publications around the world and has also participated in exhibitions at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Monica Ponce de Leon received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1989 from the University of Miami and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1991. She joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design faculty in 1996, where she was a Professor of Architecture and the director of the Digital Lab. She has also held teaching appointments at Northeastern University, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design and Georgia Institute of Technology among others.

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Steve Sanderson

Founding Partner

CASE exists where building and technology intersect. We combine our experience as architects, projects managers and teachers with a passion for technology to improve the way buildings are designed, built and operated. CASE is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) Consultancy that provides strategic advising to building design professionals, contractors and owners seeking to supplant traditional project delivery methods through technology-driven process innovation. We help the building industry identify, implement and manage the technologies and business practices that enable more effective coordination, communication and collaboration.

Steve Sanderson is a founding partner of CASE, a virtual design and construction (VDC) and integrated-practice consultancy based in New York City. At CASE, Steve is primarily responsible for leading building performance and technology strategy consulting for significant AECO clients.

Prior to CASE, Steve was the Director of Design Technology at SHoP Architects, where he was responsible for introducing and leading SHoP’s building information modeling, parametric design, and environmental modeling efforts; establishing the firm as an industry thought leader.

Steve received his Master of Engineering from the Product-Architecture Lab at Stevens Institute and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from Virginia Tech. He has led numerous workshops and speaks internationally on technology and innovation at venues such as SIGGRAPH, SmartGeometry, Autodesk University, AIANY Tech, and LA Design Technology Forum. Since 2009 he has been a part-time lecturer in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School for Design, where he teaches programming and environmental technology.

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Markus Schulte


Markus Richard Schulte joined Arup in 1993. Markus holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Structural Engineering from the Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany. He is a registered structural engineer in Europe and in multiple states in the United States. Since April 2011 Markus has been appointed as the leader of Arup’s façade engineering and building physics group in the New York Office.

Markus has been a visiting lecturer on issues related to the design of complex structural systems at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany, at the University in Vienna, Austria, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and at Cooper Union in New York.

In addition, and amongst a long list of projects, Markus led Arup’s engineering team for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and he been responsible for the engineering design, analysis and construction of the Sony Center in Berlin, Germany – a large-scale Urban Entertainment Center that features multiple fl agship stores and theaters. His experience includes the engineering design and analysis of the ‘stadium size’ Sony Center Forum Roof exploring a unique combination of glass and Teflon coated fabric on a cable structure.

Over the years Markus’ work has been recognized with multiple awards. Recently in 2010, and again in 2011, Prof. Schulte’s work on Lincoln Center was recognized with the IDEAS Award, the highest honor by the structural steel industry for engineering excellence in the country.

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Erik Verboon

Senior Facade Engineer
Buro Happold

Erik Verboon graduated from the innovative Product Architecture Laboratory at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He is now a Senior Facade Engineer at Buro Happold where he does everything from computational design to structural and environmental analysis.

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Marius Watz

Oslo School of
Architecture and Design

Marius Watz (NO) is an artist working with visual abstraction through generative software processes. His work is concerned with the synthesis of form as the product of parametric behaviors. He is known for his hard-edged geometries and vivid colors.

Watz has exhibited at venues like the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Todaysart (The Hague), ITAU Cultural (Sao Paulo), Museumsquartier (Vienna), and Galleri ROM (Oslo). He is a lecturer in Interaction Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. In 2005 he founded Generator.x, a curatorial platform for the production of a series of events related to generative art and computational design.

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Andrew Whalley

Deputy Chairman

Andrew Whalley has been an instrumental part of Grimshaw since the earliest days of the practice, and has been Partner in Charge of a range of diverse projects ranging from infrastructure projects to performing arts buildings. His award-winning projects include the International Terminal at Waterloo, The Eden Project in Cornwall, the redevelopment of Paddington Station in London and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in New York.

In 2011, he was appointed Deputy Chairman. In this new position, Andrew works closely with the Chairman to cultivate Grimshaw’s relationships with clients and other institutions worldwide, and manage Grimshaw’s design approach, PR and external communications.

Andrew’s lecture credits include keynote speeches and symposia in many countries around the world. Andrew has a long time involvement in academia and has taught at the Royal College of Art, Architectural Association, University College London and was a visiting Professor at Washington University.

Publication credits include a book with Sunday Times architecture critic Hugh Pearman, “The Architecture of Eden,” published by Transworld in 2003. He has written for many magazines and journals and currently edits Grimshaw’s annual publication Blue. He has been with Grimshaw since 1986.

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