Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing – Install

Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing, an exhibition about the resurgence of local manufacturing in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, opens this Friday, May 16th, at Gallery92 in BLDG92, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center. We are currently installing our exhibition design that displays objects representing the work of 30 local makers and businesses.

DSCN0001 (20)_edit_blogsize DSCN0001 (65)_edit_blogsize

More than 70 interlocking, perforated and folded panels made from aluminum composite function as 3D pegboards that encourage visitors to pick up and test the products on display.


The gallery exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs that will enhance the hands-on experience of the exhibition with factory tours, demonstrations of craftsmanship and production processes, as well as panel discussions on maker related topics.


The exhibition runs until the end of the year. For more information visit BLDG92’s website, browse their event calendar, and check out this video starring some of the makers featured  in the exhibition:

Design Lab: Treehouse Install

We have begun installing Treehouse, the fifth and last of the workshop spaces we are creating in The New York Hall of Science’s Central Pavilion.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The Treehouse is composed of a series of curving vertical ribs constructed from baltic birch plywood. Each rib is shipped in sections, and assembled on site before being hoisted into place.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

After the vertical ribs are erected, a second system of horizontal shelves is inserted to create a rigid grid structure. Lastly, the timber joists and plywood subfloor are installed to create the upper platform of the Treehouse.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

Expanding over two levels and located at the center of the pavilion, Treehouse will serve as an observation point at the heart of Design Lab. Its elevated vantage point will also allow Design Lab visitors to learn about gravity and air resistance, for example by inventing and building “flying” contraptions, dropping them from a height, and observing their flight characteristics.


Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing – exhibition design in process

Starting May 15th, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home to our fabrication shop, will show a hands-on multimedia exhibit titled “Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing” at BLDG 92.

We designed a flexible display system for the exhibition, consisting of pegboard-inspired hexagonal aluminum composite modules with three-dimensional, folded surfaces, that is adaptable to myriad products of varying scales.


Full scale mock-ups installed in our office with text milled into the
aluminum composite modules on our CNC router.

Visitors are invited to actively engage with and even operate the exhibition objects, which represent a wide variety of manufacturing businesses from five industry groups: Energy & Resiliency, Furnishing & Home Goods, Tech & Media, Building & Construction, Fashion & Apparel.


The pegboard-like modules are adaptable to changing exhibition objects of different scales.


To create three-dimensional, structurally rigid surfaces, sheet
Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) has been scored and folded.

Stay tuned for updates on panel discussions, factory tours and the exhibition.

SITU Research joins panel discussion about US drone debate at Studio-X

This past Thursday, SITU Research participated in a panel discussion titled “Landscapes of Secrecy: Data and Reporting in the Drone Debate”, hosted by Columbia University GSAPP’s Studio-X New York and Bard’s Center for the Study of the Drone, and moderated by Arthur Holland Michel from Bard’s Center for the Study of the Drone.


Brad Samuels, Partner at SITU Research, Naureen Shah, Legislative Counsel at the ACLU, and data artist and web developer Josh Begley talked about the gathering and reconstruction of data regarding US drone strikes in the context of their practices. All three panelists stressed how important it is for the law makers’ and the general public’s understanding of the nature and extent of U.S. targeted killing operations to not only gather reliable data on civilian deaths by drone strikes, but also to disseminate this data in an accessible format.

SITU Research shared a recently launched interactive website presented as part of UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s drone inquiry, detailing 30 drone strikes in five different countries.

A screenshot of the web-based platform that maps - and collects information and media relevant to - each of the thirty strikes the UN Special Rapporteur has called for further investigation of. © Forensic Architecture in collaboration with SITU Research, 2014.

A screenshot of the UN SRCT Drone Inquiry website
© Forensic Architecture in collaboration with SITU Research, 2014.

Naureen Shah highlighted how personal narratives in Amnesty International USA reports on drone strikes impact the broader public, and described how detailed on-the-ground accounts and in-depth interviews help to put a human face on the statistics.

Data artist Josh Begley’s intervention is an app that disrupts its users’ daily routine by sending push notifications directly to the mobile device in their pocket whenever a drone attack happens. These real-time alerts for every reported United States drone strike can also be added to an application programming interface (API) – a collection of building blocks for software development that allows anyone with basic coding skills to organize, analyze and visualize drone strike data dating back to 2002.

Josh Bogley’s Metadata+ app sends real-time alerts for every reported United States drone strike to its users.

Josh Bogley’s Metadata+ app sends real-time alerts for
every reported United States drone strike to its users.

This event was the second in the Studio-X Global series on Security Regimes, which examines global spaces of exception, from supermax prisons to territories where mass surveillance or lethal targeting are allowed in the name of security. The series will be followed by a collaborative publication by Studio-X, the Center for the Study of the Drone, the New Institute and dpr-barcelona.

Design Lab: Backstage Install

With the installation of the Backstage, the fourth out of five distinct learning environments that will make up the NYSCI Design Lab, we are making another big leap forward towards the completion of the project in June 2014.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The defining architectural feature of the backstage is a cantilevered welded steel truss with a bent perforated metal mesh skin. Mobile furniture, made of aluminum pipe and standard pipe fittings, allow the open floor area to be easily reconfigured.


Fabricator Lars Christensen installing on-site. Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

© Andrew Kelly, NYSCI

© Andrew Kelly, NYSCI

Once finished, kids will use the Backstage to experiment with all the behind-the-scenes ingredients that go into a theatrical production – from rigging to lighting to costume design. It will be a flexible space that can be transformed to accommodate a variety of activities and group sizes.
We are looking forward to seeing the little makers at NYSCI getting creative in the Backstage!


Emerging Voices 2014

This year,  we are fortunate to be among eight groups of practitioners in architecture, landscape design and urbanism honored by The Architectural League of New York as Emerging Voices in their discipline. This invited, juried portfolio competition recognizes potentially influential firms and individuals based in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

All eight winning teams have been giving lectures in New York throughout March, and on the fourth and final evening of the lecture series on March 27, we had the pleasure of giving a presentation on our practice alongside Guadalajara-based Estudio Macías Peredo at the Scholastic Auditorium in Manhattan.

1000652_690705874305582_1318131736_n (1)

Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas from Estudio Macías Peredo
share recent design and construction work.

IMG_8652_EV lecture_Aleksey_blogsize

SITU partner Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny shares images of Heartwalk installed in Times Square last year.

A shared interest among both Estudio Macías Peredo and SITU is making. The material experimentation and fabrication processes in our work, as well as the celebrated role of local masons, blacksmiths and craftspeople in the building process were highlighted in both presentations.

A warm thank you to The Architectural League of New York for this opportunity. We are honored  to be in the company of so many talented designers in receiving this award.

Surveying the Great Hall

Directly above our Design Lab project at the New York Hall of Science, one of the most unique spaces in New York City is currently undergoing major restoration work. The Great Hall, also known as the Cathedral of Science, is a 7,000 square foot exhibition space enclosed by a 100 foot tall scalloped dalle de verre façade, where 5400 inch-thick panels of cobalt blue glass are cast into concrete tiles and then set into cast-in-place concrete cells. Restoration work entails tediously waterproofing each of the cells and cleaning the tiles with a latex application. In order to access each of the tiles, an elaborate scaffold has been constructed in the Great Hall, echoing the undulation of the concrete walls with a matrix of metal pipes and wooden planks.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

To us, the scaffolding construction is just as impressive as the original building. Standard, off-the-shelf units, typically used for rectilinear construction, gradually curve into and around each turn of the façade. Straight wooden planks overlap and spread as the pathways transition from concave to convex. The construction is an architecture within another architecture, built to allow for inhabitation of the space not intended by the original architect. The construction is built with an economy of materials and time; built for a specific purpose, without aesthetic consideration. The combination of the architectures, the original Great Hall, and the scaffold recalls the work of our enormously inspirational former professor and friend, Lebbeus Woods.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

To document the moment in the history of the building and to inhabit this extraordinary space, we’re attempting to fly a time-lapse camera through the middle of the space. The project entails building a camera rig where we will be able to slowly lift a time-lapse camera 70 feet from floor to ceiling. As the camera rises and falls over 3 hours the camera will be slowly rotating and tilting to survey the space with a corkscrew motion. To see the design and construction of the rig and some of the footage, have a look at the little ‘making of video’ we’ve put together here:

SITU Research participates in FORENSIS exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.

Operating within the frame of the Forensic Architecture project, work produced by SITU Research will be presented at the upcoming exhibition and conference FORENSIS at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.

The FORENSIS brief states:
The exhibition will explore the procedures, tools, and spatial arrangements used in forensics, as well as the potential of a new aesthetic-political practice. FORENSIS seeks to invert the direction of the forensic gaze and designate the emergence of new aesthetic-political practices by which individuals and independent organizations use new technologies, aesthetic practices, and architectural methodologies to bear upon a range of issues from political struggle to violent conflict and climate change.


Image from the 3D virtual model reconstruction of the scene at the moment of the shooting of Bassem Abu Rahma | © Forensic Architecture and SITU Research.

Working in close collaboration with the team at Forensic Architecture, SITU Research’s role has been to provide spatial analyses and visualizations pertaining to inquiries into international human rights violations across a broad array of sites and scales. As part of this work, SITU has worked with Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights (UNSRCT), Human Rights Watch and B’tselem, among others. Investigation subjects include the impact of drone strikes on civilians, the use of indiscriminate munitions in densely populated urban environments and the death of migrants at sea. For more information on these projects and others visit


Image of the reconstruction of a drone strike in Datta Khel, Pakistan that occurred on 17 March 2011
© Forensic Architecture and SITU Research.

In the accompanying conference “The Architecture of Public Truth” on March 15th and 16th, SITU Research will discuss this new territory for designers and architects, and their potential role in politics, science, society, and the environment.

FORENSIS will be on display from March 15th – May 5th, 2014.
The opening reception will take place on March 14th, 6pm.
The “The Architecture of Public Truth” conference will be held on March 15th and 16th.

Work by Forensic Architecture and SITU Research presented as part of UN inquiry into Drone Strikes

Today marks the public launch of a web-based platform created by Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London) and SITU Research for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson.

A screenshot of the web-based platform that maps - and collects information and media relevant to - each of the thirty strikes the UN Special Rapporteur has called for further investigation of. © Forensic Architecture in collaboration with SITU Research, 2014.

The website provides an online presence for the Special Rapporteur’s inquiry into civilian casualties by drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza. The report calls for increased government transparency and documentation of drone strikes when civilian casualties are known or suspected.


The web-based platform focuses on the 30 drone strikes that are included in the Special Rapporteur’s report. The strikes are  geospatially located and are correlated with additional information provided by Emmerson’s report. Forensic Architecture’s work also analyzes several strikes in greater detail by synthesizing multiple sources of data including photographs, interviews, and satellite imagery and the resultant spatial analyses are shown through short videos.

The online platform can be accessed here.

A short demonstration video of the platform can be found here.

The videos and stills detailing the four cases can be viewed here.

Design Lab: Studio Install

While the kids visiting NYSCI have been building dowel structures down in the Sandbox, we’ve been busy installing the tessellated panels and cladding of the next Design Lab workshop – the Studio. The Studio workshop is primarily used for small-scale, hands-on activities, such as DIY electronics and the exploration of urban issues through model-making. One prominent design feature is the “Aggregator” – a space where participants can display and test their creations collectively, learning from one another and building each other’s ideas.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

Design Lab at The New York Hall of Science is a space for tinkering and creative problem-solving for teachers, students, and families. By using simple tools and everyday materials, Design Lab projects invite kids to wrestle with STEM topics through personally motivating problems and to come up with their own creative solutions.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

In Spring 2014, Design Lab will offer four different hands-on design sessions at the museum that tackle challenges ranging from designing and erecting emergency structures to reusing excess plastic bags. The project “Happy City”, for example, invites students to think about how light and movement could make their city a happier place, and to then apply their ideas by building a happy model city with LEDs and motors. This particular activity lets children examine and confront contemporary urban planning issues.

NYSCI DesignLab Happy City

(photo courtesy of The New York Hall of Science)

To learn more about Design Lab and the four new workshop spaces, visit this page.

Structural engineering by Laufs Engineering Design (LED).

Return to top