Shawn Rickenbacker Organizes and host  the Non Discrete Architectures Symposium April 2nd and 3rd 2015 Sponsored by Motorola and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design.

Symposium Theme:

Within the design fields, the use of programming languages, data, sensors, physical computing, and robotics are serving as new design mediums.  These mediums are proving immensely capable of embedding degrees of intelligence into design which in turn allow for the production of space to move beyond static compositions of building material and toward environments that can sense, read, and react.

This new responsiveness aided by the convergence of digital and physical space will take design beyond physical artifacts and toward the inclusion of interfaces, responsive experiences, and human-machine interaction.  We are now beginning to witness early results of this convergence in the form of non-discrete architectures: digital prosthetics, networked environments, and augmented space and objects. The affordances gained and provided by new design medium and the computation tools that drives them, have ushered in a new aesthetic. This new aesthetic is one that is diffuse, mute, expectantly intelligent, and simultaneously virtual and experiential.

The Non Discrete Architectures Symposium will catalogue and explore the implications, methods of understanding, research and production of the imminent convergence of the digital and physical, and thereby acknowledge its power and intent on shifting and expanding architectural and spatial production.


“Otherness: Data and Design Culture” Presentation by Shawn Rickenbacker at Syracuse University SOA March 2015


“S,M,L versus XL Data at CityAge”  Presentation by Shawn Rickenbacker  at “Innovation City” Waterloo.

October 9th and 10th, 2013 I had the pleasure of presenting to a diverse audience of  incredible thinkers and doers in the tech driven city of Waterloo, recently praised as a model of entrepreneurial growth and innovation.  Google, IBM, Rogers and others presented new and exploratory ideas with respect to technology, design and the city.  For myself as well as many we collaborate with the platform was a great opportunity to shift the prevailing focus of Big Data to one I call S, M, L, XL Data.  One objective was to highlight the importance of human interpretation of data and the obvious but often overlooked scalable nature of data that effects insight.  Bigger is not always better.  The experience has me reaching for my Malcolm Gladwell collection of books, there’s something fascinating lurking I am sure.


NYRP invites UDD to create Resiliency Structure + Design Plan.

August 2, 2013 UDD is invited to participate in a limited design competition, EDGE/ucation Pavilion Design Competition for a state-of-the-art, flood-resistant outdoor recreation and learning center for Sherman Creek Park in Inwood/Washington Heights. The competition was made as a response to the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. In keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s report “A Stronger, More Resilient New York City“, the competition highlights the significance of designing and building strom-resilient structures and landscapes. But even more so, the competition highlights the resilience of New York’s civilians.  The New York Restoration Project, a non-profit founded by Bette Midler dedicated to bringing private resources to under-resourced communities citywide. UDD will compete against seven young and emerging firms in NYC also selected.


UDD accepted into the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program / IBM Partner World 

To begin 2013 we’re excited to have been accepted into the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program.  Through the program, UDD will now have access to a global network of smart, diverse, and progressive entrepreneurs tackling problems and creating platforms.  It also means we have  enhanced our tool kit with access to IBM software products.  With our newly expanded arsenal we will continue to tinker, tailor, solider and spy our way through research, projects and initiatives.   We expect plenty of trail and error, and firmly realize without experimentation there is no real innovation – problems beware!


UDD Co-Founders  interviewed by Francesco Lapenta

Francesco Lapenta, international researcher on media and information technologies and co-organizer of the upcoming International Conference Re-Visualizing the City NY 2012 interviewed UDD co-founders at the Bowery Hotel.   An interesting mind tingling hour long discussion on the future of cities and why data may be more important than the classic model of brick and mortar visionaries.


UDD Featured on World Landscape Architecture 11.2011

UDD’s Newark Renewing Naturally is featured on World Landscape Architecture, by Damien Holmes.   A study sponsored by the Newark Office of Urban Planning smart, productive, cost effective, urban objects and a comprehensive strategy work to provide renewable resources and air purification on behalf of the city of Newark.


UDD + New Partners  10.2011

UDD is very proud and honored along with our partners, The Gaia Institute, S.W.I.M. Coalition and Green Map to submit our proposal to initiate Data, Design and Water: Creating Intelligent NYC Waterfronts to the Rockefeller Foundation.


Follies + World Expo NY 2020  appears on CurbedNY

UDD is now crunching data and design to consider the benefits of a NYC bid to host the World Expo 2020. A tourism windfall, an economic driver, a NYC neighborhood sitting strategy for a full city experience and participation.  Read more…


Chinatown NYC, 2011

UDD takes on resident, tourist’s behavior and safety in Chinatown NYC.   How do you navigate a bustling environment safely?  How do you facilitate the flow of goods and commerce?  How do you manage pedestrian safety and awareness?  UDD develops long term strategies to address these and many other citizen and leadership concerns.  See our Pilot project; Bowery Buffer. Read more…


Newark NJ

UDD address Newark’s Urban Identity.  Former noted City of Newark Urban Planner Toni Griffin invited us to consider Newark’s new urban identity.  How does this city express a new-found commitment to the environment?  Can such a commitment become a new identity?  We asked…. Our response, a new intelligent and visible infrastructure that remediates environment air quality, enhances citizen health and establishes a spatial presence. Read more…


UDD + Apps

UDD  is working with a Local App design team on Citizen Space App.  A new feature rich application letting users search, locate and find public space.  Create your own public space map for friends.  Rate, vote and make recommendations on NY’s popular and hidden gem public spaces.