Studio TZ

GaTech Spring’19
Instructors: Keith Kaseman, Jonathan Dessi-Olive, Vernelle A. Noel, Hayri Dortdivanlioglu

ARCH 2854 is an architecture design studio focused on each student’s ability to independently produce an architecture project through methodological rigor, iterative design development and an expanded set of working modes. It is a continuation of the sequence of 1stand 2ndyear studio sequence, and is specifically framed as a transitional synthesis that incorporates operational insights gained from the most recent studio (Figuring)with the enhanced digital and parametric capabilities developed in Media + Modelling, also taught in Fall 2018.

As such, students will engage in design, production and communication processes that rely upon a multitude of techniques and technologies (both digital and physical) including associative and parametric modeling, simulation / analysis, (static) virtual reality (VR), laser-cutting, 3d-printing and model-making. ARCH 2854 provides a studio where all of the above will be iteratively exercised towards the following key objectives:

·       Expand working toolset and modes of design operation to place full emphasis on 3-dimensional digital models and associated physical / digital output as the core media for all aspects of studio work, its development, production and communication.
·      Develop and communicate comprehensive site delineation, analysis and design.
·      Rigorously employ iterative design towards spatial, organizational, material and structural clarity.
·       Cultivate and foster a culture of open, collaborative exchange within the studio.
·       Design and deliver a robust set of architectural ideas to Tanzania and East Africa.

We will systematically direct all of the above towards the design of DRONEPORTS, a new architectural typology yet to be extensively explored, for the city and region of Mwanza, Tanzania.


Researchers in the school of architecture were invited to participate in the Lake Victoria Challenge Trial Symposium, October 29-31st, an event that drew nearly three hundred people to Mwanza, Tanzania to explore the possibilities of using cargo drones in Africa in the immediate future. This first of its kind symposium was organized by the Tanzanian government with numerous partners including, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, UNICEF, and Aerial Futures.

The region of Lake Victoria (the world’s second largest fresh-water body) is considered to be the most densely populated rural area of the world, as it is home to more than 30 million people. Although outstandingly beautiful and culturally vibrant, the region suffers numerous challenges that make the current era extremely difficult. The population suffers and estimated HIV prevalence 30% - one of the highest in the world. A lack of health infrastructure and environmental regulation, food insecurity from over-fishing and a lack of sanitation have caused a public health crisis. The LVC sought to imagine how cargo drones could improve medical supply and service chains, connect isolated areas to commercial opportunities, and assist in disaster response. The symposium was divided into three exploratory tracks: regulation, technology, and infrastructure.

Faculty members Jonathan Dessi-Olive, Ventulett NEXT Generation Visiting Fellow, and Keith Kaseman, assistant professor, along with two master of architecture students, Daniela Marquez and Joel Jassu, joined over a dozen other experts from around the world in architecture, engineering, drone technology, digital fabrication, and community leadership for a think-tank on DRONEPORTS: a new typology for civic space in East Africa. The infrastructure track at the Lake Victoria Challenge Trial built on the 2016 Droneport concept for Rwanda by the Redline group in collaboration with the Norman Foster Foundation and Jonathan Ledgard.

With the help and expertise of the Georgia Tech team, the infrastructure track at the LVC developed guidelines and priorities for safe droneports for Mwanza and the greater region of Lake Victoria. Whereas current civic spaces in the region are currently centered around schools, churches or soccer pitches, droneports designed and built according to the resultant Mwanza Rulesis envisioned as a totally new type of iconic civic space; a beacon of local pride that is empathetic, women-centric, and serves as a hub for stable energy, internet, and digital fabrication. Droneports are therefore not objects, nor buildings, but rather places in and of themselves. The group further observed that droneports must exist within highly distributed network of open droneports with local business models that make more imaginative use of development bank and private sector investment toward an array of positive outcomes for the people of the region.

After making a visit to a potential site for a droneport on Juma Island (around one hour away by small boat), the infrastructure track gathered for a droneport brainstorming session led by Aerial Futures. Recognizing the rich and far reaching potential at hand, the Georgia Tech team helped facilitate the discussion and synthesized the plethora of concerns that were brought to the table. After the discussion, the team produced presentation materials which were delivered by the students Daniela Marquez and Joel Jassu alongside Ledgard to the entire symposium.

Studio TZ is positioned to play an important role in boosting SoA involvement with the Lake Victoria Challenge. In conjunction with several other design research initiatives that will also be underway during the spring 2019 semester at SoA*, Studio TZ is poised to broadcast a diverse collection of architectural ideas directly into Mwanza, as work developed through this studio will be curated and delivered as an exhibition at the Lake Victoria Challenge Symposium in June, 2019.
Georgia Institute of Technology
School of Architecture
245 4th Street, NW, Suite 351
Atlanta, Ga 30332