Before joining RISD’s faculty, Marcus Shaffer was assistant professor of Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. He has a Master’s of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a BFA in Industrial Design from RISD. In 2013 he published the book Rise Tectonic Machines (ORO Editions) and earned a Creative Achievement Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
Shaffer’s research activities focus on works, theories and
practices that engage the Machine as an architectural extension of our
impulse to examine and remake the natural world. This work includes
building machines, automatons and spiritual mechanisms that represent our
earliest technological expression; the mechano-pagan influence of the
Machine on modern/visionary architecture; and attempts to embody
architectural knowledge and craft in construction/fabrication technologies.
As a designer and studio critic experienced with industrial and handcrafted
means of making, Shaffer addresses architecture not only as the manifestation of
our physical needs and cultural desires, but also as constructed form
directly resultant from the combination of mind, machinery, materials and
process/labor. While Shaffer studies and contributes to a critical discourse
probing and defining the Machine in an architectural context, his
historical/theoretical search is informed by and applied to the design and
fabrication of various Tectonic Machines. The agenda for these machines
is a synthesis of our powerfully rationalized technologies with the potency
of meaning found in our ritual practices – including building.
- BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
- MARCH, VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE