Marcus Shaffer’s research activities
focus on works, theories, and practices that engage the Machine as an
extension of our impulse to examine and re-make the natural world. This work
encompasses building machines, automatons, and spiritual mechanisms; the
mechano-pagan influence of the Machine on modern/visionary architecture;
and attempts to embody knowledge and ritual in construction technologies. While
Marcus studies and contributes to a critical discourse probing 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.
addition to teaching at RISD, Marcus is an assistant professor in the
Department of Architecture at Penn State’s Stuckeman School, where he teaches
graduate studios and courses pertaining to architectural materials and
construction technologies. In 2013 he shared an ACSA Creative Achievement
Award with Professor Peter Aeschbacher, for machine-related work designed
as part of a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Creative Campus Initiative.
Marcus is the author of two books; Rise Tectonic
Machines! Construct the Exigent City! – and Machine
Book Vol. 1: Mechanical
Extension, Exploration and Empowerment in the Architectural Frontier (with Nathan King -
holds a BFA in Industrial Design from RISD, and an M. Arch from Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University.