University of Minnesota





Trevor Isaacson, Claire Olson, & Susanne Flod

The HHabitat is a multi-scalar facade system that filters and aggregates waste materials into a self-governing, vertical habitat, which provides both ecological and environmental solutions to issues of pollution and invasive species.




Blaine Brownell

Blaine Brownell is an architect and former Fulbright scholar with a focus on emergent materials and applications. He is an associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture and principal of the design and research practice Transstudio. Brownell authored the Transmaterial series as well as the books Matter in the Floating World and Material Strategies with Princeton Architectural Press, and writes the Mind & Matter column for Architect magazine. Considered a leading scholar on advanced materials for architecture and design, Brownell has been published in over forty design, business, and science journals including The New York Times, The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, New Scientist, and Discover, and he has lectured widely in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Blaine’s latest book with co-author Marc Swackhamer is entitled Hypernatural: Architecture’s New Relationship with Nature.

Marc Swackhamer

Marc Swackhamer received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Architecture degree from Rice University. His research explores issues of design agency through material experimentation. His design firm, HouMinn Practice, a partnership with Professor Blair Satterfield from the University of British Columbia, challenges conventional approaches to architectural production. In addition to core design courses, Professor Swackhamer teaches on the topic of “hypernatural” design. Student work from this effort won a 2007 AIA COTE (Committee on the Environment) national education award and was a finalist in the "Biomimicry Student Design Challenge," sponsored by the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute in 2013. With Professor Blaine Brownell, he co-authored the book Hypernatural: Architecture’s New Relationship with Nature in 2015. Professor Swackhamer is an Associate Professor and the Head of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library