UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD) has announced it will work with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc., which is backed by JumpStartFund, for its 2014–15 master of architecture II program, known as SUPRASTUDIO.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is a newly created company that aims to bring to life entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept: a high-speed tube transit system that could whisk passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes. Engineers Marco Villa, former director of missions operations at SpaceX, and Patricia Galloway, the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, will spearhead the development of Hyperloop. The project was created through JumpStartFund, a crowd-powered online incubator led by CEO Dirk Ahlborn and chief operating officer Paul Coleman, a UCLA professor emeritus of physics.
Under the direction of architecture and urban design professor Craig Hodgetts, students in the 2014–15 SUPRASTUDIO program will contemplate where stations in major cities could be based, what the urban planning around those areas might look like, what design solutions could enhance the experience for travelers (as it relates to station design, vessel design and local transportation options to and from Hyperloop stations) and how such a project could be brought to life.
“Although solving the engineering and physics components of this project are of utmost importance, an early consideration of the impact on the urban community and surrounding areas is also very vital,” said Hitoshi Abe, chair of UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. “As with all innovations of this scale, it’s not the technology itself that is the most important but how cities and people change because of the technology and how these changes are reflected in the urban environment.”
Hodgetts, known for the acoustical redesign of the Hollywood Bowl and the Wild Beast Pavilion at the California Institute of the Arts, is a cutting-edge architect specializing in translating emerging technologies into practical, future-oriented projects. In 2005, the American Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles awarded Hodgetts its Teacher of the Year award, and in 2006, he was honored with the chapter’s Gold Medal.
SUPRASTUDIO 2014–15, which begins in August 2014, will be part of A.UD’s IDEAS, a platform for cross-disciplinary research and collaborations among students, faculty and industry partners that questions, challenges and expands the current parameters of architectural practice. IDEAS is located at the Hercules Campus in Playa Vista, Calif., the historic site where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose aircraft in the 1940s.
“It is a pleasure to be working with young folks to brainstorm what is truly a first-of-a-kind project and opportunity,” Galloway said. “This project offers so many ways for academia, industry, professional organizations and the public at large to collaborate on what is a historical feat and what will change the way we conceptualize, design and build the megaprojects of the future.”
“Since the first call with Hitoshi Abe, it was evident how the vision and expertise of his department would be a great complement to the team,” said Villa. “The quality of the SUPRASTUDIO program is unmatched, we are privileged to be a part of it and we are looking forward to the contribution of the students and professors.”
JumpStartFund, based in El Segundo, Calif., is a crowd-powered online incubator that gives accredited investors access to exclusive deal flow and technology transfer opportunities. JumpStartFund helps people raise money for startup companies and a wide variety of projects, including Hyperloop, using the disruptive power of the crowd to vote, comment and contribute on ideas in development. Its primary mission is to help both entrepreneurs and investors leverage the power of the Internet to make it easier for companies to raise capital.
UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD), part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, pursues issues confronting contemporary architecture and urbanism through its bachelor’s of arts program in architectural studies and its four advanced degree programs: the master of architecture I, master of architecture II, master of arts in architecture, and doctorate of philosophy in architecture. The programs’ primary focus on advanced design is complemented by concentrations in technology and critical studies of architectural culture.