Project Status: Competition

Design Architects: Danny Karas, Chris Thackrey

Project Status: Concept Design

Year: 2015

Architect: Gianni Ranaulo
Design Architect: Danny Karas
Renders: Andre Rosh

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Project Status: Competition

Location: Paris

Year 2015

Architect: Gianni Ranaulo
Design Architects: Danny Karas, Viola Ago
Renders: Matteo Alfonsi, Felix Dodd

Project Status: Concept Design

Architect: Gianni Ranualo
Design Architect: Danny Karas

Project Status: Competition

Architect: Gianni Ranaulo

Design Architect: Danny Jens Karas

Status: Competition Proposal

Location: Abu Dhabi

Year: 2015

Architect: Gianni Ranaulo
Design Architect: Danny Jens Karas

The inception of new generations of schools in Abu Dhabi by ADEC is a bold step in the advancement of the future of education in Abu Dhabi and the Emirates. In order to make a statement as bold as that of ADEC’s, the concept implemented by the joint venture seeks to push the boundaries of what it means to build a ‘new generation’ of schools. Inspired by the design prototypes in Abu Dhabi that utilized the concept of courtyards, this cutting edge design tangibly touches upon that concept and develops it into the proposed form as part of a synergy system that evolves and thrives on concepts of sustainability, adaptability, and innovation. The underlying vision of this concept is the result of several studies that included investigating the natural forces of clouds, rains, and ‘mozan’ which are form changing, natural forces that bare resemblance to the cycle of education notion and the centrality of the students’ experience as exemplified in the design.


Danny Karas
Hernan Diaz Alonso

Repetition in architecture has typically manifested itself in duplication. In the process of duplication formal lineage is lost. The articulation is singular, a simple element repeated, rather then evolved. By taking the act of duplication and treating it as a genealogy, there is a potential to create form without singularity.
Take, for example, the simple architectural gesture of the box; we shall call this box “M”. In order to repeat “M” without duplication we look at the gesture and location. By relocation M along an axis of symmetry we have the act of mirroring, but this in not enough to create a new lineage. This new box that we will call “N” must be deformed in a way that makes reference to “M” yet still has individuality. This process can be done by connecting features through splines, these splines attach the the axis of symmetry and create a deformation connection, linking “M” and “N”. This link is the first step in creating a lineage of formal duplication. Once “M” and “N” are joined we are left with an object with a new connected line of formal symmetry and several open splines ready to be repeated. This connected object becomes the new “M”. This process can now be repeated adding new lines of symmetrical deformation. These open lines of symmetry can be used for Macro level formal moves or Micro level detail. Using these parameters it is possible to create a large form embedded with a “genealogy”. As “N” is repeatedly drawn from “M” the form increases in complexity yet does not lose its lineage.
“M”and “N” are breeding through splines and creating architectural complexity without the need for the typical methods such as aggregation or repetition. Using this process it is possible to create a larger figure embedded with the harmony of duplication, without the doldrums of repetition. The origin of “M” and “N” becomes lost yet has created new architectural DNA that manifests itself in the life of a project of architecture.

The Project is a proposal for a competition proposed by ArchMedium for a Fire House in San Francisco port 30. The program includes room for living working and learning for the fire department. The Firehouse contains multiple trucks as well as boats and a helicopter. The project is a unique fusing of a private institution with the design elegance of a large public building. The design has expressed structure and grandeur as a way of projecting power for the people of San Francisco in the same way docked Battleships of the past had.

In the larger analysis M and N is a statement on the uselessness of endless metaphors as generators for architectural thesis. There is no reason why an educational project cannot have aspirations of plausibility. Anymore time spent on pure representation and excessive experimentation takes architecture away from taking any responsibility.

Genealogy Process (How M became N)

1). Origin of Form starts from a basic square which contains 4 open spline edges
2). Splines are extruded into caps that create an exponential number of open splines.
3.) Extrusions are opened and warped to change the central line of symmetry
4). Minor and major lines of symmetry are created into a plate ready to be connected.
5). Open splines are all connected creating a closed object with multiple lines of symmetry.


The plate is deformed by a simple formal arrangement allowing the original plate to stretch and skew warping lines of minor and major symmetry.

Technique is amplified into a central object containing over 500 lines of internal symmetry.

Central Symmetrical object is then deformed by another near symmetrical object (program massing) creating a play between the symmetry of the program mass and the articulation of the small detail symmetry of the pre- deformed object in line 3.

Family Tree

The process of near symmetry is evolved along the project, creating a central line of symmetry for the project. As the project is split further and further into its origins it is possible to notice a breaking down from the larger formal symmetry from the original deformation to the smaller articulations from the pre deformed object. This tree is a snippet from the larger line of formal genealogy which breaks down all the way to the original M and N which was the multiplication of a single square.

Site Aerial

The Project is located at dock 30 in San fransico allowing for easy access and sight-lines to the majority of the city.

Entrance Elevation

M&N contains 2 entrances and 2 exits for incoming firetrucks as well as employees for underground parking at the dock level.

North Elevation

M&N deforms from a a horizontal line of symmetry by using the large formal gesture of a sphere as equally splitting the side with denotating a central point splitting dock area from entrance.

Firetruck Garage Chunk

A smaller chunk showing the arrangement of parking for interior fire trucks. The garage has capacity for 8 firetrucks and 5 exterior trucks . The lower dock level has space for 2 large fire boats as well as an adjacent parking area for employees holding 22 parking spaces. A single helipad sits on the exterior of the dormitory area allowing a simple transition from living to working.

Northwest Perspective

The most pertinent view in showing the large interior extrusions poking through exterior carapace.

Entrance to Interior

The interior Oject of M&N also contains lines of near symmetry and creates large formal gestures that a more akin to the predeformed technique and show a simpler pairing of M and N that is easier to trace.

Interior Skin isolated

Southeast Iso

Iso Cutaway

Iso Cutaway Details

Exterior Chunk

Section Parallel Projection Tilted

Sushi Cut Section

3d Print section model

By: Danny Karas
Studio Professor: Hernan Diaz Alonso
TA: Ivan Bernal

In analysis of the modern skyscraper there is traditionally an aesthetic agenda that localizes itself in a “shoes” or “hat” location. The tower typology has ignored the possibility of a center distortion. This distortion acts as an aesthetic element as well as an organizational(programmatic) locator. By designing from the middle out there is a chance for the building to better blend with its context by keeping the processional elements in the center. Entrance and roof conditions mimic their tower brothers and give a moments rest in the exuberance of design. This proposal creates a center distortion and layers form through a simulation of gravity and the“claspyness” of the outer skin. The inner void acts as a way of creating a Secretary oriented office program rather than a traditional first floor security, freeing up the center of the building to the public. The project looks to rationalize itself through components rather than a monolithic form.
Ultimately the project yearns for build-ability as a way of taking the next step in digital design. This project is less about the result and more about the statement of digital production. Just as the machine revolution allowed the 1920's working man 8 hours of freedom, the digital project of the 10's gives the designer extra time to work on other elements like texturing and design development. Ultimately this project is a statement of the speed and quality that digital design can create and how this revolution of speed can give the architect a greater chance to impact that project outside of pure form making. Architect's can now impact design into the later stages sooner and potentially prevent some value engineering and hopefully stop the slow erasure of architects in building.

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Keep It All Inside


Sir. John Soane Museum, London, England
Instructor: Hernan Diaz Alonso
TA: Ivan Bernal

Carving in architecture is typically subjected to material that is quite homogeneous in relation to the scale in which it is buildable (carving out a marble column).

Cutting out portions of material from a preexisting heterogeneous mass offers a very disparate method to producing constructible material. In this case, the scale of material already has form. Because of this and unlike that of a marble column, cutting up the material is not the only way a designed figure derives its form.

Two different sophistically detailed primitives serve as the base objects in which cuts are made and chucks removed from. One primitive is hard and porous in nature; the other is soft and fatty.

Certain constraints like weight, porosity and enclosure all influence the location and direction of each cut on the primitive. The topology of each cut is in relation what part of the initial object is being cut and where the removed piece will be situated against the others. There could be larger cuts through some of the more porous areas and smaller cuts along the thicker more massive areas. This allows for a certain level of control over the outcome, but is ultimately subjected to the character of the initial mass in which it was cut from. After a series of these chucks have been carved out, they are assembled together.

The result is a miscreation, neither a complete deliberately designed thing nor the unauthored original object it stemmed from.

Shaping form in this manner changes the relationship of material to the thing it embodies. Now, instead of the architectural model serving as a reference to build from, it is a stage in which model and material are of the same process. Different chunks are continually being dismembered, combined, left in place or removed again - constituting a process of production based in deformity.