This is the website of Adam Marcus, an architect and educator based in Oakland, California. Adam directs Variable Projects, an award-winning architectural practice, and he is a partner in public art collaborative Futures North. He also teaches architecture at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

News Log

Construction Update: Meander

Meander, a permanent public artwork for CHS Field in Saint Paul, MN that I am designing and building together with my Futures North collaborators, is on track for completion in April. We completed a working full-scale prototype in December and have commenced final fabrication of the fifteen custom cast-concrete pillars and cast glass lanterns that will be lit from within with programmable LEDs. See the process blog on the Futures North website for updated images.

Buoyant Ecologies Update

The Buoyant Ecologies research project—an outgrowth of the studio that I co-taught with Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones in fall, 2014 at CCA’s Division of Architecture—is gearing up for the next phase. The students’ work, six proposals for a floating expansion of Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco, will be featured in an upcoming exhibition this spring at the Autodesk Gallery at One Market Street. The opening event on March 31 will feature presentations by the project collaborators: CCA, Autodesk, Moss Landing Benthic Lab, and Kreysler & Associates.

See this link for images of the student work from December’s final review.

Fall Semester Kickoff

We’re three weeks into the fall semester at CCA Architecture, and both of my classes are off to a great start. This fall I’m teaching Design Media 3, an undergraduate core class that introduces students to techniques of parametric design, digital fabrication, and visualization. I’m also co-teaching an Integrated Building Design studio called “Buoyant Ecologies,” in collaboration with Autodesk’s amazing Pier 9 Workshop. Our students are designing proposals for a floating expansion to the workshop, which is located on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, and we’re exploring ways to merge strategies of fabrication, ecology, and public engagement to formulate new models of waterfront development. It continues a fruitful collaboration with Pier 9 that we began with our “Architecture In The Making” design studio this past spring. This fall, we’re also working with consultants and partners at Kreysler & Associates and the Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. The students’ work will culminate in a publication and exhibition in early 2015.

There are a number of other exciting events happening this semester at CCA. The Digital Craft Lab just installed a brand new Kuka robot arm, and to kick off CCA’s new investment in robotics, my colleague Jason Johnson has organized Creative Architecture Machines, a terrific colloquium in November featuring a stellar roster of guest presenters. I’m also co-coordinating CCA’s role in the upcoming Market Street Prototyping Festival (April 9-11, 2015), which promises to be a groundbreaking civic event. In addition to supervising a series of urban prototypes for the Financial District section of Market Street, CCA will be constructing one of the festival’s anchor pavilions. Stay tuned for more updates as the project develops.

Formations Workshops at CCA

I just wrapped up teaching two terrific workshops as part of the Formations 2014 summer program at CCA Architecture. ‘100 Scripts’ was an introduction-to-parametric modeling workshop, focusing on the use of the Grasshopper platform to generate iterative formal studies. ‘100 Prototypes’ introduced students to techniques of digital fabrication, utilizing the laser cutters, CNC router, and 3d printers in CCA’s Rapid Prototyping Studio. See this link for pictures of the student work and final exhibition.

AA Visiting School Los Angeles

Earlier this summer, I led a studio as part of AA Visiting School Los Angeles, a two-week program that looked to the city’s Case Study House Program for inspiration in rethinking the design of contemporary residential architecture. Students in my cluster focused on the generic loft typology as a site for investigation new modes of domestic living. For some images of the work, see this album on the Variable Projects Facebook page.

Modular Variations at ASCA Miami Beach

I will be presenting my Modular Variations project at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Thursday April 10 at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach. The project investigates the design of a single reconfigurable mold that can produce a wide range of variable, cast components.

Spring Semester Update

Classes began last week at CCA Architecture, and I’m excited for what promises to be a busy and productive semester. I’m teaching two courses this spring, both of which will incorporate intensive full-scale prototyping. Together with Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones of Assembly, I’m teaching an advanced integrated building design studio titled “Architecture in the Making,” in which students will be designing an annex facility for the REALM Charter School in Berkeley. The school has partnered with Studio H, a nationally recognized design-build workshop and curriculum for high school students, and we’re looking forward to working with both the faculty and students to imagine new architecture for such an innovative program. We will also be collaborating with Autodesk and Instructables (where I am an artist in residence this spring) to produce some full-scale metal envelope prototypes at their new Pier 9 Workshop.

My second class is an advanced Design Media elective titled “Performative Ornament.” We’ll be exploring new approaches to contemporary ornament, particularly in the context of processes of computational design and digital fabrication. I expect some ambitious and experimental prototyping from the students; you can see the class website for more info & process images.

All in all, an action-packed semester… Stay tuned for updates.

New Futures North Website

The new year is underway, and my Futures North partners and I are cruising on design ideas for the Lowertown Ballpark Public Art project. We just launched a new Futures North website as well as a Tumblr blog for the Lowertown project, which documents both the design process and our community outreach efforts.

Modular Variations in Suckerpunch

The work of my spring 2013 Modular Variations studio has recently been published in the popular suckerPUNCH blog. See this link for more info; for full documentation of the students’ work, see the Modular Variations publication.

AIA Minnesota Honor Award

I’m very excited to announce that my office Variable Projects is the recipient of a 2013 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects Minneapolis. The project is a data-driven installation designed and built this year for the University of Minnesota School of Architecture on occasion of the School’s centennial anniversary. More info here; see this link for the official AIA-MN press release; see this link for more info and images of the project.

Lowertown Ballpark Public Art Commission

I’m thrilled to announce that Futures North, a design/build collaborative that I direct along with Daniel Dean, John Kim, and Molly Reichert, has been selected to complete a permanent public artwork for the new Lowertown Ballpark under construction in St. Paul, MN. The artwork will be integrated into the new building, which will serve as home to the St. Paul Saints and is being completed by a joint team of Ryan Companies, Julie Snow Architects, and AECOM. We are so excited to work on such a visible project, in such a dynamic community, and with such terrific collaborators. For more info, see the ballpark’s press release and an article in the Pioneer Press.

Workshop: Formations 2013 @ CCA

I’m excited to lead a workshop on parametric diagramming and drawing, with Andrew Kudless at CCA on Saturday, October 19. The one-day workshop is part of FORMATIONS 2013, a series of workshops for students and professionals in the Bay Area. More details & registration info here.

Publication: Modular Variations Studio

The work of my Modular Variations studio (spring 2013, University of Minnesota School of Architecture BDA Program) has been published in digital form. The book (link here) documents the work of the semester-long studio, which culminated in the Modular Variations Prototype II installation. Special thanks to Elliot Olney and Chris Tallman for putting in extra time over the summer to finish the book project.

California Bound

I’m excited to announce that after two terrific years in Minneapolis, I’ll be relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area this summer to start a new teaching position as Assistant Professor of Architecture at California College of the Arts. I’ll be teaching design studios and courses in visual & digital media, and I’m really looking forward to joining such a great group of faculty and students.

New Variable Projects Website

I’m happy to announce that the Variable Projects website has, at long last, been redesigned and updated. More projects to come soon; stay tuned.

News Archive »