Studio Critic & Technology Development
Chris Sharples is a founding partner at SHoP Architects, a New York-based firm established 20 years ago to bring together diverse expertise in designing buildings and environments that improve the quality of public life. In addition to his work at SHoP, Sharples teaches at Yale University and has taught at Cornell University, Parsons School of Design, The City College City University of New York, The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Columbia University, and at the University of Virginia. He received a Bachelor of History degree and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Dickinson College. In 1990, he received a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, graduating with honors for excellence in design.
At CEA and within BEEM Lab, Chris is teaching the advanced sustainability studio for the MArch I and MArch II programs which explores the frontiers that are opening up across multiple design disciplines as a result of the ongoing revolution in data-driven biocompatible manufacturing processes and related fields. As the flight of manufacturing has left rural economies and former factory towns across America desolate and without regional economic viability, we now have an opportunity to reimagine ‘economies of making’ on some of the most fundamental levels. This leads us to several questions: 1. How do we want to produce materials and systems in the 21st century? That is, what criteria need to inform new value structures that support a range of scales of engagement? 2. What are the new programmatic modes and values that inspire and drive us in the wake of the ecological destruction wrought by 20th-century throughput material economies and planned obsolescence? 3. What do people who work in places of production and manufacturing need in order to more fully participate and creatively contribute to industrial processes that previously consumed human lives with repetitive, robotic work? 4. How can we leverage automation processes to transform these expectations, and transform the ‘factory’ into a social place of wonder and discovery? 5. How do we connect the excitement of innovation to the local context, such that the town can enjoy the lofty and often sublime spaces of production? 6. Finally, how can we connect and merge with synergistic programs, such that the formerly isolated behemoth factory of the modern era can be reimagined as a framework of interconnected activities and economic scales from small retail and entertainment to other institutional programs that are more loosely connected, but galvanized by the places of production in their midst.