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Craft, Computations, and Constructions

Designs by Jonathan Dessi-Olive.

Jonathan Dessi-Olive
Assistant Professor  |  Kansas State University School of Architecture

Jonathan Dessi-Olive joined the Department of Architecture at Kansas State University in 2019 as an Assistant Professor, teaching design studios, structures, and construction research seminars. Prior to joining KState, he was the inaugural Ventulett NEXT Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture from 2017 -2019.

Jonathan‘s work takes a critical approach to technology while integrating history and theory of architecture, contemporary construction, and computational design. His motivation is to help designers and builders learn to design more intuitively, systematically, and visually. He firmly believes making is inseparable from design. Studying making itself, provides a context for learning that brings to light the relationship between current design tools and methods, and our necessity to make breakthroughs in techniques of assembly and construction.

His recent contributions have been to develop new methodologies for designing and building high-performance, sustainable vault structures in the United States, Europe and Africa. As the inaugural winner of the RAMSA Traveling Fellowship, Jonathan initiated and led a project to construct a hybrid wind and solar-powered radio studio on a remote island in Kenya, in collaboration with Minneapolis-based NGO Organic Health Response. The building was constructed using historical construction techniques, adapted through local building traditions.

His on-going projects include developing: computational design methodologies for architectural acoustics, large-scale deployable structures using inflatable compression members in tensegrity geometries, constructing monolithic structures with emerging bio-materials such as mycelium, and methodologies for thin-shell vault structures in the United States, Europe, and East Africa.

Jonathan’s research has been published through the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS), the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA), the Symposium for Simulation in Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD) and the Conference for Nonconventional Materials and Technologies (NOCMAT). His design and construction work has been exhibited in public venues such as the Venice Architecture Biennale and TEDxPenn.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jonathan also enjoys biking and flying two-handed kites. He plays electric bass guitar and sings in a Minneapolis-based cover band called Sabby White.

2017    SMArchS  in Computation
             Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2014    Master of Architecture
             University of Pennsylvania School of Design

2010    Bachelor of Science in Architecture
             University of Minnesota College of Design

all work by Jonathan Dessi-Olive unless otherwise noted.  © 2021 all rights reserved.