PJ Dick Innovation Fund Teaching Grant: Image Deep: /Contested Matter

Course 2024
Dana Cupkova, Associate Professor
an AI Workflow Diagram created by Kui Yang Yang

Image Deep: /Contested Matter
Dana Cupkova, Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon Architecture

Linxiaoyi Wan, Spring 2024 RA/TA | Beginning Spring 2024 (three-year sequence) | 10-12 students

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning (DL) are reshaping the future of the design discipline, challenging conventional authorship and the use of architectural precedent. These tools rapidly generate entire architectural proposals, creating images and sketches solely through natural language, referencing vast digital archives. This studio will explore expanding AI's role in the design process beyond mere visual inspiration. By connecting AI and material research with natural elements and bio-cement, we will construct analog material models to guide AI workflows and explore alternative pathways, distinct from text-to-image models' predefined aesthetics. This process will rely on preparation and tools supported by the PJ Dick Innovation Fund. Our approach rejects the notion that AI is merely a service to architectural labor; instead, it demands a deeper understanding of technology's impact on society. We will address AI ethics, data ownership and biases in relation to geopolitics and human conditions.

This studio merges two lines of inquiry using image-based spatial models, focusing on extracting embedded information from images for direct translation into 3D models through depth map modeling. Additionally, we will conduct material research to develop custom physical material prototypes to inform AI workflows. This studio is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Material Science for experiments with bio-cement. The studio design approach will encourage rethinking housing models within specific social, ecological and geopolitical contexts, emphasizing material sustainability and equitable labor systems.

Image Credit: AI Workflow Diagram, IMAGE DEEP:/ reImagine Studio 2023. Credit: Kui Yang Yang

About the Instructor

Associate Professor & MSSD Track Chair

  • Carnegie Mellon Architecture is committed to the mission-defining challenges of climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The PJ Dick Teaching Grants Program recognizes that the future of architecture and its related industries start with the education of the profession’s next generation of practitioners through innovative pedagogies. The teaching grants are focused on supporting changes to existing courses and development of new courses that focus on the three challenges.

  • The Faculty Grants Program will award a total of $400,000 over four years and is open to all full time faculty at the school. The 2024 proposals were evaluated by a committee comprised of school head Omar Khan; associate heads Joshua Bard, Mary-Lou Arscott and Kai Gutschow; Erica Cochran Hameen, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Theodossis Issaias, Special Faculty; Jenn Joy Wilson, Assistant Dean for Research Development and Sponsored Projects; and Aaron Martin, Associate Director, Institutional Partnerships, College of Fine Arts.

    The Faculty Grants Program, established in 2023 by PJ Dick Trumbull Lindy Group, supports faculty research and teaching innovations that address the school’s three pedagogical challenges: climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The proposals were assessed on their impact in furthering a faculty member’s research and teaching, their contribution to interrogating the school’s challenges, and their viability to garner further research support, make an impact on the discipline and expand the pedagogy of the school.