California College of the Arts

California College of the Arts

San Francisco, CA


Architecture Faculty Members Win ACSA Faculty Design Award

By Clay Walsh
Apr 12, '11 5:13 PM EST

CCA Architecture faculty members Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno won a 2010 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Faculty Design Award for Aurora, a collaborative project. Only three awards were issued this year. Juried winners are selected from a pool of over 5,000 faculty members from over 200 eligible academic institutions.

According to the ACSA website the award is given “for work that advances the reflective nature of practice and teaching by recognizing and encouraging outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a critical endeavor.”

Johnson and Gattegno’s winning entry, Aurora, was completed during their residency at the Van Alen Institute in New York. During their residency they were recipients of the prestigious Van Alen Institute New York Prize in Systems and Ecology, and were generously supported by the University of Michigan TCAUP and the Graham Foundation in completing the project.

"Aurora superimposed the ephemeral qualities of the Arctic with the dynamic behavior of multiple users,” explain Johnson and Gattegno. The interaction of spectators triggers a reaction in a series of “auroras,” represented by blue cold cathode tubes. As the spectator draws closer to the installation, a series of LED lights installed on the structure’s interior dim and the auroras light the middle of the project.

Aurora was a live model that thrived on the complex interrelationship between user and environment. The model was constructed using a series of horizontal layers that indexed both static and dynamic relationships occurring in the Arctic: bathymetry, temperature, salinity, and ice thickness.”

Additional Contributions to CCA

In addition to their faculty positions in the CCA Architecture Program, Johnson and Gattegno are both design principals of Future Cities Lab, an interdisciplinary collaborative that “routinely employs a promiscuous mixture of design tactics from the fields of interactive design, robotics, biology, material sciences, and advanced fabrication.”

Future Cities Lab has collaborated with CCA on several other projects, including workshops on Biodynamic Structures and Hydra Cities, a CCA summer study-abroad workshop Gattegno taught in Athens that addressed water, public space, ecology, and cities.

Nataly Gattegno also acts as the project coordinator of the CCA Architecture Program's ECOlab, a research and design laboratory that focuses on the increasingly complex relationships between organisms, buildings and their environments. ECOlab is composed of CCA faculty, students and professionals interested in exploring the synthetic, complex and networked nature of our contemporary surroundings.

Jason Johnson is the co-coordinator for CCA Architecture's Media Lab. Media Lab supports students, faculty, and local professionals in the use, experimentation, and development of advanced digital and analog media techniques and strategies in architectural production.

About ACSA

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture was founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. Currently it represents over 5,000 faculty members and 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations, and other individuals.