"unlike a building, which is a physical object, architectural design is pure information"


Mario Carpo, The Craftsman and the Curator


This blog documents the work and activities of the CetraRuddy Design Studio in Housing, comprised of 2nd year students in the Master of Architecture Program at the Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York.  Conceived in 2016 by co-founders John Cetra, Spitzer School of Architecture alumnus, and Nancy J. Ruddy, in collaboration with M. Arch. Director Bradley Horn, this ongoing initiative seeks to bridge academia and practice in the pursuit of solutions to tomorrow's housing challenges.

The fall 2018 CetraRuddy Design Studio in Housing will focus on how buildings interact – both with their inhabitants, and with the urban environments which surround them. In this context, housing proposals in the fall studios will be treated as part of a larger ecosystem, one that bridges from the individual inhabitant to the scale of the city. In addition to the pressures resulting from housing policy, market forces, longer life expectancy, immigration, and the sharing economy – the fall studios will consider topics like energy consumption, the impact of information technology on dwelling, and advances in material science & manufacturing as equally important influences on the housing solutions of the future. Students will pursue technological and material research to address a range of social and environmental concerns in new and unexpected ways. 

The two studios, led by professors Loukia Tsafoulia and Martin Stigsgaard, will intervene on vastly different sites:  The Flatiron luxury condominium One Madison; and the Lower East Side public housing development, the Baruch Houses.


One Madison Tower by Cetra Rudy is sited in a vital location within the Manhattan grid. It is an iconic residential tower that optimizes the urban design opportunity presented by its location while engaging in an architectural dialogue with neighboring landmarks and actively shaping Manhattan´s skyline.


Why an existing building? In a city with distinct density and verticality, existing tower infrastructures are a result of multiple forces such as zoning, codes, structural engineering, real estate, public media, latent buyers and more. Apartment towers in New York are leading the evolution of the urban fabric in equally influential ways as infrastructure and public space do. The studio seeks to gain a critical perspective on the current housing market by experimenting with alternative visions of global domesticity and by researching new hybrid housing programs within an existing building framework.

Based on data mining and through close investigation of Kenneth King and Kellogg Wong’s Vertical City:  Solution for Sustainable Living, 2015, students will generate a proposal for a new typology of integrated housing, independent of the city surrounding it.  The studio will consider environmental, formal, socio-economic, and political ambitions.

Baruch Houses is a tower complex on twenty-seven and a half acres of land in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is made up of seventeen nearly identical sixteen and seventeen story buildings. The buildings take up only twelve percent of the site, leaving ample space for landscaping, walking paths, sitting areas, and playgrounds. Buildings on the site appear to lack a systematic organization system, and buildings seem to be placed on the site haphazardly. Many of the buildings are located on the west portion of the site between Columbia Street and Baruch Drive, leaving some buildings slightly more isolated on the east side of the site near Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. These buildings surround spaces such as basketball courts and soccer fields, which are the primary outdoor social spaces of the development.


Loukia Tsafoulia registered architect TEE-TCG and PhD candidate at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), received her Post Professional Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD) from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Her research is positioned in the intersection of responsive environments, digital technologies and the computational theory of design in the 1950s-1970s in Europe and North America.


She is the co-founder of PLB studio, an architecture practice based in NYC. She teaches and coordinates courses as adjunct Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, at the City University of New York, The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, at the New York City College of Technology, Architectural Department of Technology and at Parsons, The New School. Her design work has been exhibited in international design venues, such as the London 3d print show and ICFF in New York and she has lectured in academic institutions in New York, Athens, and various cities in China. She is currently working on the book publication titled Transient Spaces, exploring the concept of impermanence in its various social and formal manifestations and focusing on questions of belonging and displacement.


Martin Stigsgaard born in Denmark and educated at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the heart of Copenhagen.  He has an additional master degree from University of Washington in Seattle as the Valle Scholarship recipient. 

Founder of studioStigsgaard.  As Lead designer with Voorsanger Architects, he has designed and been the lead on several international award winning project and led several major design competitions. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Spitzer School of Architecture and teaches the Master and Bachelor program. Previously, in 2005-2006 he was assistant Director and Professor at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.





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