Author : Danny Karas

University : Southern California Institute of Architecture

Status : MArch, 2013

Advisors : Hernan Diaz Alonso, Ivan Bernal

Title : SOFI


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 surroundings 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 skin is designed to be perceived as more of a lacey volume hiding the inner-mass yet in the right light disappearing and letting the inner monster emerge. This jackel and hyde effect of the inner and outer skin is meant to keep the eye intentionally out of focus. 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. By focusing on the parts to whole relationship the project adapted to the concept of build-ability in its panel size and something as banal as the curvature limits of steel. These elements of design while “unsexy” add up to a rational that helps the brain rationalize the digital grotesque of sci-arc into something more placeable.


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 the10’s gives the designer extra time to work on other elements like texturing and design development. 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.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Danny Karas_ The layering of organic architectural gestures counterbalanced with tectonic expression.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
DK_ I recently have been very interested in robotics as a way of constructing facades as well as snap on joinery as a way of revolutionizing pre fabricated components.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
DK_ The most important thing I have learned in architecture school is the ability to bridge techniques in-between software and projects. Not in the terms of collage but rather a mash up.

S//A : Describe your dream project
DK_ I would like to create a project completely constructed through a large central robot through the technique of snap on joinery