Graduate Architecture

Posted January 18, 2017

‘Asset Architecture’ 2 Published

From bejeweled towers and drone hives to finance capitalism and Bataillean economics, the latest issue of the Department of Architecture publication Asset Architecture brings together studio work by recent graduates of the MSD-Advanced Architectural Design program and essays by leading architects on contemporary urbanism that mean to change the way we look at, and experience, cities.

Says Ali Rahim, Professor and Director of the MSD-Advanced Architectural Design program, “Asset architecture, the product of global capital flows taken to extremes, is leaving cities dark and unused. Manhattan is a prime example of this and, as a result, has seen the development of the new typology of pencil towers. The tension between global markets and the rise of new typologies provides fertile ground upon which to speculate on the future of asset architecture and its possible implications.”

The issue's cover announces MSD students’ ambitions: Yifeng Zhao, Hadeel Ayed Mohammad, and Chengda Zhu designed The Hive, a central control terminal that hosts docking and charging stations for personal or commercial drones in the center of Manhattan. It's one of two projects in the book that won a 2016 eVolo Skyscraper Award, along with Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu's New York Horizon.

The designs featured in Asset No. 2 were shaped not only by faculty members, but also insiders like ARUP’s Gillian Blake and Goldman Sachs’s Martha Kelley, who advised students on the infrastructure of New York City and privately funded development.

Asset No. 2 includes essays by Evan Douglis, Professor and Dean, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“Aesthetics, Polemics and Bling: The Commodification of Novelty in the Flesh of Urban Icons”); Christopher Hight, Associate Professor, Rice University (“Objectives of Desire”); Robert Neumayr, Lecturer, PennDesign and Assistant Professor, University of Applied Arts, Vienna (“Capitalism as an Urban Catalyst”); Ferda Kolatan, Senior Lecturer, PennDesign (“Accelerating Beyond”); and Matthew Soules, Assistant Professor, The University of British Columbia, and director, Matthew Soules Architecture (“Leisure, Nature and Views: Notes on Spatial Financialization”). 

Asset is available from the Department of Architecture now and will be available at and bookstores this spring.