CED Open House 2019

Kyle's Work and Role in the MArch Program

Kyle Steinfeld for the College of Environmental Design, Fall 2019

My work centers on the dynamic relationship between the creative practice of design and computational design methods.

While one of these is often characterized as a direct determinant of the other, my work seeks to demonstrate that...

  • new technologies of design
  • do not directly determine social relationships,
  • but are among the network of actors -
  • designers and specialists,
  • software and users,
  • data and drawings -
  • that compete to shape
  • the diffusion of design authorship
  • the social distribution of design work.
  • The interplay between new technologies of design and the culture of design practice comes into sharp contrast at intense moments of technological or social change. In my career as a student and a scholar of architectural design, I have witnessed two such intense moments.

    (left) The sort of thing that I drew in 1995.
    (right) Computational Geometry, Ko Steinfeld 2018

    The first was in the mid-1990s, when, as an undergraduate student of architecture, I was a part of a transitional generation that saw the shift from analog to digital representation.

    The second was in the early-2000s, when, as a graduate student and young professional, I saw the adoption of computational techniques in design, such as scripting and parametric modeling.

    Increasingly realistic synthetic faces generated by variations on Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).
    From left to right:
    Goodfellow et al (2014), Radford et al (2015), Liu and Tuzel (2016), Karras et al (2017), Karras et al (2018)
    Adapted from General Framework for AI and Security Threats


    Zhu, Park, Isola, Efros: CycleGAN


    Hesse: Edges to Cats
    Here, an ML model has been trained to understand the transformation from a line-drawing of a cat to a photographic image of a cat. Once training is complete, this model will attempt to create a cat-like image of any given line drawing.

    Google Magenta: Sketch RNN
    Here, the drawings of an author are augmented with predictions of what is to come next. The model underlying this tool was trained using Google Quickdraw.

    Google Magenta: Sketch RNN
    The same model as in the previous slide, with this visualization showing many possible futures for the sketch. The model underlying this tool was trained using Google Quickdraw.

    Suggestive Drawing among Human and Artificial Intelligences
    Here, an ML model has been trained to understand the transformation from line drawings to a whole range of objects: from flowers to patterned dresses. Deploying this model in the service of a creative design tool, Nono Martinez Alonso demonstrates the potential of computer-assisted drawing interfaces.


    The reflective loop of design activity.

    The three-stage cycle of Generative Design.


    The means by which Generative Design proceeds.

  • Until recently,
  • generative design means
  • have not be applicable
  • to imagistic,
  • symbolic,
  • or allegoric ends.

    The Fresh Eyes Cluster was supported by Lobe.ai, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and the SmartGeometry Organization



    Hunting a banana and a zucchini
    Kyle Steinfeld, 2019


    I primarily teach two types of courses in the Department of Architecture: core courses in design and architectural representation, and topical research studios and seminars in Design Computation. In addition to formal course instruction, I often serve as advisor of theses and dissertations for students both within the Department and in the broader University.

    Introduction to Design