Eric Farr, Ph.D.

What do you teach?

At NewSchool, I teach a collection and combination of conventional and digital architecture and computational design courses in my area of expertise including undergraduate and graduate theses, architectural and urban theory and history and, of course, the Digital Architecture and Fabrication (DAF) program’s courses, as well as occasional courses specifically and originally designed – linked to the aforementioned areas and research interests – for advancing the imagination of students and professionals including but not limited to creative imagination, design methods and processes and tessellation design. In addition, in collaboration with transatlantic schools, I contribute to pedagogical practices by supervising and consulting Ph.D. theses and advanced research methodologies.

In other words, for teaching itself, I have a passion for both teachable and (seemingly) unteachable subject matters to enable students to effectively and meaningfully connect the dots from the past through today, in order to build up a more advanced future. To achieve this, I always try to discover the ways to improve the analytical, technical, procedural and methodological skills of the students. To me, a good education should be able to evoke a sense of comprehensiveness, of alternative perceptions, aspiration, intuition, inspirational endeavors, creativity, knowledge which might lead to a wisdom for life, years after graduation.

What is your background?

I come from the last generation of conventional architectural education when and where the enthusiastic individuals, like myself, professionally initiated the use of digital tools in design and architecture, while they were incubating and pushing the underpinning mindset too. It was not accepted at the beginning, but with the invaluable help of many people, practices and companies, we walked through numerous complications to establish the digital mentality like it is; the acknowledged norm today. This has been with me from undergraduate through graduate education to my Ph.D. candidacy and thesis as well as during 17 years of my teaching; also, while, in various capacities, I professionally worked with and for several renowned firms worldwide for over 15 years.

How long have you been teaching at NewSchool?

My initial involvement with NewSchool dates back to 2010 when I joined the studio crits as a reviewer. Then, a couple of years later, I started teaching the studios and then other classes.

What is your favorite class to teach?

The following classes are on top of my list: Architectural and urban theory and history, thesis projects, digital architecture and computational design, design methods and processes and research methodologies. However, my experience has shown that B.Arch thesis studio is a key year to the students’ further success and major identity-maker of NewSchool where I believe, all students’ skills and knowledge merge and make them mature and ready to join the industry. That’s why I tremendously value 5th-year thesis studio.

What is your favorite aspect of teaching at NewSchool?

Commitment to pioneering, multidisciplinarity, human-centered and comprehensive attitudes along with strong leadership, diverse approaches and assorted thesis projects – where architectural education’s outcome gets summarized and flourishes. A truly cosmopolitan environment and its center, providing equal opportunities for everyone to grow personally and professionally shape the major proportion of NewSchool’s identity which consolidates our future plans and what makes me so delighted to be part of this atmosphere and community.

What projects are you currently working on?

There are a wide range of research and professional projects I am working on, including mass-customization, sustainable design and sustainability science for which my projects have scholarly obtained a high impact factor. My most recent focus over the past few years has been on computational design means and tools, human-machine interaction, digital fabrication and fabrication economy as well as virtual and augmented reality in design, fabrication process and facility management.

What is DAF?

DAF (Digital Architecture and Fabrication) is a program through which the students can pursue and achieve a minor for undergraduate students, a concentration for graduate students or a certificate for non-student professionals in this area, by successfully fulfilling the credits listed in the school’s catalog. Besides, DAF provides an umbrella definition and framework for digital and computational activities at NewSchool based on NewSchool’s Digital Roadmap (NDR). In the aforementioned areas, this includes but is not limited to promoting the relevant mindset, advancing the students’ skills, maintaining the educational and teaching qualities, designing and offering new courses, hosting workshops, lectures and seminars, overseeing the provision of tutorials to the individuals as well as hosting the immersive lab environments which allows the students to work on cutting-edge VR/AR technologies.

What types of careers can students pursue with a background in DAF?

There are countless routes the students who graduate from the DAF program can pursue. I would say the sky is the limit and obviously, the student’s desire is the key. For instance, some may be interested in design aspects; some would advance their abilities for optimization of building’s performance while many others would join the fast-growing digital fabrication, virtual reality and gaming industries. It really depends on what they are interested in the most.

What do you think is the future of architecture?

Like many other disciplines, the upcoming future of architecture will be affected by the computationally technological advancement more than ever before in history. There is a consensus among the scholars that types of jobs, the role of architects (and relevant people to architecture), and the authority of architecture/architect will experience change and a huge amount of a colorful range of technical knowledge and skills will be key for the next generation of the professionals in architecture. Workforces’ mobilization and the number of jobs might grow in the near future, while the definitions and responsibilities of the people in the discipline might face a drastic change. I believe, we at NewSchool, are ready and prepared for this exciting future not just as a successful player on the field but as a major agent of influence.

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