The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCIRA Open Classroom Demonstration Project- Out There

Out There

UCIRA Open Classroom Demonstration Project

In spring 2013, UCIRA Co-Director and Spatial Arts Professor, Kim Yasuda team-taught the course, OutThere with designer, Gerard Minakawa and engineer, Brandon Nills of the Southern California-based studio, Bamboo DNA ( The special topic curriculum explored sustainable design-build practices in real world settings. Students were encouraged to test the viability of alternative materials and forms through the installation and performance of art works conceived of as interventions in and on both natural and developed field contexts.

Focusing on bamboo as a viable material for construction in art, design and architecture, students developed prototypes based on Geodesic designs and created a large-scale structure with recycled materials, learning modular fabrication and assembly skills in metal, wood and bamboo. The course also developed collaborative team-building skills, both in and out of the classroom, conducting a site visit to Orella Ranch in Santa Barbara to study bamboo planting, harvesting and demonstration projects by Bamboo DNA studio.

Currently, Yasuda, Minakawa and San Francisco-based architect, Nathaniel Corum of Architecture for Humanity ( plan a future curriculum that expands the demonstration of alternative materials and methods, including hay bale, clay and tensile fabric construction, which like bamboo, may be deployed for both aesthetic and utilitarian uses.

More about Architect, Nathaniel Corum, New York Times article, “A Font of Ideas from a Nomadic Humanitarian Architect”

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