Master in City & Technology 2020/21 – Term I
Seminar Name: Urban AI – Artificial Intelligence & Urban Design
Faculty: Dr. Sandra Manninger & Dr. Matias del Campo

Credits: architecture of AI language – Yanci Chen, Yining Yuan, Zhipeng Liu – thesis studio Architecture & AI – Matias del Campo, Sandra Manninger


Credits: Nishang Wang, Jiawei Yao, Zhauxuang Yang

This course interrogates the use of artificial intelligence in general and more specifically machine learning as a highly informed methodology for urban design. It relies on the use of 2D to 2D style-transfer based on neural networks to explore data driven operations that combine aspects of expediency and performance with aspects of urban culture, form, and sensibility.


Dr. Sandra Manninger received her MSc from the TU Vienna, and her PhD in Philosophy from RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. She is principal of SPAN, an award-winning architecture practice that she established with Matias del Campo in 2003. The focus of the practice is on the integration of advanced design and building techniques that fold nature, culture, and technology into a design ecology. Manninger’s work is part of the permanent collection of the FRAC Orleans, the Luciano Benetton Collection, the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts Vienna), the Pinakothek Munich, the Albertina Museum and many more. She has been widely published, and has taught architectural design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna; the Technical University in Vienna; the Bauhaus Dessau; Tsinghua University in Beijing; Tongji University in Shanghai; PennDesign, and RMIT in Melbourne before joining Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Most recently she has established a collaboration with Michigan Robotics and Computer Science geared towards developing techniques that combine artificial intelligence technologies with architecture design.

Dr. Matias del Campo, a registered architect and designer, is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. His obsessive explorations of contemporary moods are fueled by the opulent repertoire of materialization protocols in nature, cutting-edge technologies, and philosophical inquiry that together form a comprehensive design ecology. In 2003, he co-founded (with Sandra Manninger) the architectural practice SPAN in Vienna. SPAN gained wide recognition for its winning competition entry for the Austrian Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, as well as the new Brancusi Museum in Paris.