“A designer works to solve problems by crafting answers taken from both personal expression and logic.”

by MARK LAMSTER | portraits by MEI-CHUN JAU

Associate professor, College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at University of Texas at Arlington + Director, Digital Architecture Research Consortium (DARC) at UTA + Co-director, TEX-FAB

If you’re tired of seeing Dallas toss up one boring glass building after another, and you find yourself wondering where a new idea might come from, try looking to the work of Brad Bell. A professor at the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture and the director of its Digital Architecture Research Consortium, Bell is the mind behind the school’s innovative fabrications lab, where he leads experiments with digital technologies and new materials that will quite literally shape the buildings of the future. —Mark Lamster (Editor’s note: Lamster is a UTA faculty member)

WHAT I DO I am an educator and designer. More specifically, I do this within the context of computational design and digital fabrication. My research and expertise are in advanced manufacturing, and how this is changing the built environment — specifically through the precast concrete and composites industry.

WHY I DO IT Twenty years ago, someone showed me that education can open up entire new worlds of opportunity and innovation. Teaching is an opportunity to lead others on that same journey. A designer works to solve problems by crafting answers taken from both personal expression and logic. I think there is something beautiful in this combination.

GREATEST PROFESSIONAL AMBITIONS To stay just enough out of the way of my students so they discover their own personal educational trajectory. To leave one really great building behind after I am gone.


TURN-ONS Brevity

TURN-OFFS Social injustice

FAVORITE BREAKFAST Waffles, two eggs over easy, a cup of coffee — large — and a table outside somewhere

WHAT I VALUE MOST IN SOMEONE Honesty, integrity and a good four-seam fastball.

WHAT I LOATHE Pandering, deception and no sense of humor

WHAT MAKES ME LAUGH My kids in the morning

WORD I USE MOST “Parametric”

WHAT’S NEXT I’m launching a new website announcing the Digital Architecture Research Consortium at UTA [darc.uta.edu]. DARC is a collaborative network of partners focused on integrating expertise around digital fabrication and using the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at UTA as a hub for intellectual advancement dissemination of research on these issues. I am also preparing for the relaunch of TEX-FAB [tex-fab.net], an organization that brings together universities, design professionals and the manufacturing industry in Texas to promote greater awareness of digital fabrication. After seven consecutive years of conferences, competitions and educational programs, we are in the process of retooling for TEX-FAB 2.0, which will be out in early 2016.