Brian Holland

BArch, California Polytechnic State University–Pomona. MArch, University of Pennsylvania. Registered architect with extensive professional experience, including award-winning design projects in California, Colorado, New York, Europe, and the Middle East. Founder and principal of Open Set, a Brooklyn-based design studio working at the intersections of architecture, landscape, and ecology. Assistant director of the New York Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, where he leads research and design studios exploring the future of architecture and urbanism in New York City. Adjunct faculty, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Previously taught at the American University of Beirut, Ohio State University, Parsons School of Design, and the University of Pennsylvania. Recipient: Howard E. LeFevre Fellowship for emerging practitioners, Ohio State University. SLC, 2017–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Visual and Studio Arts

Architectural Design Studio: Shaping Space, Site, and Environment

Open , Seminar—Spring

This studio course is a hands-on introduction to design at the scale of the architectural environment. Emphasis is on the tools, methods, and concepts involved in the design and representation of architectural space, the manipulation of site, and the shaping of local environmental conditions. This course asks students to consider the designer’s role in producing meaningful, healthy, and sustainable environments in light of pressing challenges like climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and habitat loss. Could buildings be conceived as productive participants in an ecosystem instead of obstacles to a healthy environment? And what might the architectural implications of such a strategy be? Readings, discussions, site visits, and case studies help us consider these as cultural questions as much as technical challenges. Alongside a series of exploratory design exercises, students are asked to examine and assess a selection of writings by architects positing nature and architecture as being either intrinsically opposed on the one hand—or in harmonious equilibrium on the other—and, through a final design project, to invent richly productive hybrid assemblages of built forms and natural processes. This is a project-based studio balancing collective and individual efforts. Experimentation with drawing, diagramming, model building, storytelling, and collage encourages students to think through making and to take creative and intellectual risks in service of invention and discovery. Experience with drawing, modeling, and other analog or digital design media is helpful but not required.

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Urban Design Studio: Ecologies of Public Space

Open , Seminar—Fall

This studio course is a hands-on introduction to urban design as a situated cultural practice. Using New York City as our living laboratory, we explore the life and design of its many public spaces. From parks, plazas, and open spaces to public institutions and infrastructural landscapes, our goal is to examine urban forms and processes in relation to wider social, political, and environmental concerns. In positing the contemporary city as a dynamic but legible formation subject to ongoing and perpetual change, this course explores the tensions between contemporary culture’s progressive dynamism—our ceaseless need to renew, refresh, and reinvent ourselves—and the material inertia of our architectural inheritance. Through a structured process of research, observation, and analysis, we uncover and interrogate New York City’s myriad social, cultural, and ecological networks; situate them in their historical and architectural contexts; and then record, reimagine, and ultimately reconfigure them using the tools of urban design. Experimentation with drawing, diagramming, mapping, model building, storytelling, and collage encourages students to think through making and to take creative and intellectual risks in service of invention and discovery. Studio work balances collective and individual efforts, while site visits, case studies, readings, and discussions provide support by raising issues of environmental sustainability, urban climate resilience, and social and economic justice in city planning and development. Experience with drawing, modeling, and other analog or digital design media is helpful but not required.

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