PaperCity Magazine

March 2020- Houston

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Page 77 of 131

76 W hen asked to describe what he does for a living, Andrew Kudless takes a long pause. It's the only question to momentarily stump him during our two-hour interview, which otherwise sails through the technicalities of robotics and computational design. "This is always so hard," he says. "The short answer is designer. But I am also an artist, maker, craftsman, professor, design technologist, and architectural designer." Kudless will tap into all of the above as inaugural director of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design's new Advanced Media Technology Laboratory at the University of Houston. Developer Gerald Hines and his wife, artist Barbara Hines, have donated $1 million to construct the lab, which will be completed this spring. Another $500,000 has been pledged to the Bill Kendall Memorial BEAUTIFUL Endowed Professorship, a teaching position that Kudless also holds. Kudless will be charged with developing new materials and manufacturing techniques for the construction industry. It's a natural continuation of his work, which brings an innovative approach to the things we take for granted, be it a pavilion in a park or original artwork. That pavilion, at Confluence Park in San Antonio, was awarded the AIA's top architecture honor last year. And the artwork, generated by Kudless' own software, is a series of Rings paintings that mimic the rings of a tree. Each time he runs the program, a different version emerges, like a living organism. In Houston, Kudless will be experimenting with digital fabrication, robotics, 3D printing, and parametric design, a process based on algorithmic thinking, in an effort to make construction safer, faster, and less expensive. One result: Prefab high-rises may indeed be in our near future. "My hope is that the new facility supercharges the region with innovation," he says. The lab will be the first of its size and scope anywhere in the world, and he describes its potential as "incredible." When we spoke mid-January, Kudless had arrived in Houston just three days before. He and his wife, Robin Anderson, and their two young children were occupying a mostly empty apartment overlooking White Oak Bayou in the Heights. A moving truck with their belongings — along with some of his experiments — was still making its way from their former home in Oakland, California. There, he was associate professor of architecture at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and Anderson was executive director of a dance company. (She's now managing director of Open Dance Project in Houston.) The Height's parks and bike trails remind them of leafy Oakland, and offer a welcome, laidback vibe after 12 years of what Kudless describes as "the BY REBECCA SHERMAN. Jim Shreve, photographed for PaperCity at the Adolphus Hotel, Dallas THE TECHNOLOGICAL CREATIONS OF ANDREW KUDLESS ARE IN MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD AND AMONG LOUIS VUITTON'S PRESTIGIOUS OBJETS NOMADES COLLECTION. NOW HE'S PULLED UP STAKES TO HEAD A NEW LAB AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON. WITH ROBOTICS, 3D PRINTING, AND INNOVATIVE THINKING, HIS NEXT PROJECT IS TO REVOLUTIONIZE HOW WE BUILD OUR HOMES AND CITIES. MIND Andrew Kudless (continued on page 78)

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