University of Calgary

Branko Kolarevic: The Travelling Lecturer

Submitted by jwalla on Mon, 2012/11/19 - 10:42am.

As a Chair in Integrated Design, Branko Kolarevic explores in his research the disciplinary and professional overlaps between architecture, engineering and construction. He is interested in the use of digital technologies in the design, analysis, and production of buildings and sees the digital information models of buildings as a binding agent for what are traditionally separate professions.

In his scholarly work, Kolarevic writes about the innovative use of parametric modeling, performance simulation, and digital fabrication and the novel forms of buildings that these digital tools have made possible. He has published several books, such as “Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing”, “Performative Architecture” (with Ali Malkawi), and “Manufacturing Material Effects” (with Kevin Klinger).

His “Architecture in the Digital Age” book is a bestseller. First published in 2003, it has sold thousands of copies around the world and could be found on students’ desks in most schools of architecture. The “Manufacturing Material Effects” book, published in 2008, is now translated into Chinese, with the print run of 2,500 copies. His next book project (with Vera Parlac), tentatively titled “Architecture of Change: Building Dynamics and Kinetic Matter”, should appear on the shelves in 2013.

Kolarevic’s books are the reason he receives a constant stream of invitations to lecture around the world. Over the past decade, he has delivered over 60 keynote presentations and public lectures on five continents (he has yet to travel to Africa). He has lectured in architecture schools at some of the most respected institutions in North America (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Berkeley, etc.) and Europe (Architectural Association and Bartlett in London, TU Delft in the Netherlands, etc.).

Since the start of this year, Kolarevic has given a number of lectures. The highlight was the “2012 EmTech Keynote Lecture” at the Architectural Association in London, delivered in mid-January. At the end of January, he travelled to wintry Winnipeg for a public lecture at the University of Manitoba. In March he went to RPI in Troy, New York, to deliver an invited presentation at the 2012 SmartGeometry conference. In May Kolarevic was back in London, to speak at the PhD Symposium at the Architectural Association in London, when he also gave a talk at the Bartlett School of Architecture. In early June he flew to New York to speak at the “Intersections” Symposium. Next was Barcelona, where he co-chaired the “Technology” sessions at the ACSA International Conference. In late September he was in Norway to give a public lecture at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). A few weeks later, he was at the ACADIA 2012 Conference in San Francisco to chair a session and participate in the final jury of the TEX-FAB design competition. This November, Kolarevic is speaking at Universite Laval in Quebec City, followed by a presentation at the aceBIM symposium in Edmonton and a keynote lecture at the “Matter in Contemporary Forms” conference in Lyon, France. In early December he will give a public lecture at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece.

According to Kolarevic, he will fly over 100,000 miles this year. He enjoys public speaking, traveling, and meeting colleagues and students in other schools. (The only part that he doesn’t like is having to take the shoes off when flying to and within the United States.)

In his lectures, Kolarevic speaks enthusiastically about the future in which the disciplinary and professionals gaps that exist between architecture and its allied professions of engineering and constructions will give way to increasing overlaps between them, perhaps returning us to the age of “master builders” when architect and builder were the same person.

He sees integration as inevitable in the building industry, enabled by Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). For him, the current integrative trends are great news for architecture: integrated design is the future of the discipline and the profession.

Branko Kolarevic is the Associate Dean of Architecture, Chair of Integrated Design and Professor at EVDS. To learn more about his research click here.

For more Faculty research, click here.