On behalf of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, especially the students who now present the culmination of their M. Arch education through their thesis, we extend our gratitude to the guest critics who have generously joined us on Thursday, December 22, 2022:

Erin Besler, Garnette Cadogan, Sean Canty, Beatriz Colomina, Natalia Dopazo, Jenny French, Antonio Furgiuele, Caroline Jones, Ang Li, Diana Martinez, Lauren Pacheco, Julian Rose, John Todd, Ivonne Santoyo Orozco, Hans Tursack, Matthew Okazaki, Mark Wigley, and Alpha Yacob Arsano.

MIT Master’s
of Architecture

Fall 2022

Into the Rhino-verse

Paul Gruber 

Thesis Committee 

Mark Jarzombek

Deborah Garcia
Cagri Hakan Zaman 
J Jih

Architects and designers are fully reliant on digital tools to complete their work. The need to constantly produce creative work has reached exhausting speeds. These programs are exponentially expanding and consuming each other, creating even more complex relationships. Architects are thrown into this technological jumble, expected to keep up with the rapidly evolving modes of production. How do we make sense of this, as Rem Koolhaas might describe it, technological “culture of congestion”?

Amidst the various available “architecture”, “CAD”, or “model” software, emerges “Rhinoceros 3D” in 1998. Today, the 3D modeling software is prolific in design studios and used in architecture offices, as well. Within the past decade, hundreds of animal plug-ins have emerged to assist and expand Rhino’s design and analysis capabilities. These animals are under the direct control of the designer, but what individual control do the tools possess?

Like the architectural characters of John’s Hejduk’s Victims or Masque projects, what if the plug-ins for Rhino and Grasshopper become characters? This thesis furthers this strategy by bringing order to the diverse and growing selection. What is the new hierarchy to these “characters”? What architecture results from their combined efforts? What world can be produced when the plug-ins are left to their own devices? What new animals are needed to further enhance the capabilities of the Rhino-verse and produce a more realized architectural narrative?

How we design matters just as much as what we design. These characters are crucial in shaping current architectural production and their biases heavily influence the output of what is imagined. This thesis embraces the absurdist digital ecosystem as more than just a branding mechanism, but as a useful tool in understanding the possibilities and limitations of digital design thinking in the sometimes-dreary, isolating, and confusing technological environment architects and designers inhabit daily.