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Co-Founder and Design Partner - Future Cities Lab, San Francisco

Jason Kelly Johnson is the founding design partner of Future Cities Lab, an experimental design and spatial research office based in San Francisco, California. Working in collaboration with his partner Nataly Gattegno, Jason has produced a range of award-winning projects exploring the intersections of public space, art and architecture with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems. Future Cities Lab is at the forefront of exploring how advanced technologies, social media and the internet of things will profoundly affect how we live, work, communicate and play in the future. Their approach to design and making, which has been described as “high performance craft”, is also deeply experiential, interactive and materially rich. Future Cities Lab is an interdisciplinary studio employing an adventurous team of designers, architects, technologists, digital craftspeople, urban ecologists and more. Jason is also a tenured Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco and co-directs CCA's Digital Craft Lab.



Mr. Johnson's design and robotics work has been published and exhibited worldwide. In 2013-14 the Theater of Lost Species and Hydraspan installation were exhibited at the YBCA, the California Academy of Science and the Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale.  In 2012 the Hydramax project was exhibited at the SFMOMA and the Datagrove project was a featured installation in the Zero1 Art and Technology Biennial. Most recently he was awarded the 2011 Architectural League of New York Young Architects Prize, and the 2008-09 Oberdick Fellowship at the University of Michigan TCAUP, and the 2009 New York Prize Fellowship at the Van Alen Institute in New York City, and exhibited work at the 2009-10 and 2013-14 Hong Kong / Shenzhen Biennale. In 2015 he was a winter key note speaker at the AA-DRL in London.

Jason is currently a tenured Associate Professor at the CCA in San Francisco (California College of the Arts) and leads workshops around the world, including the Architectural Association (AA) Global Summer Program Biodynamic StructuresTEX-FAB in 2013 and 2014, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, University of Oregon, Princeton University and more. Jason served as the Conference Chair of the ACADIA 2012 Conference "Synthetic Digital Ecologies" held in San Francisco, and was recently elected to the ACADIA Board of Directors. Jason will serve as the President of ACADIA beginning in Oct 2015.  

He has also served as a consultant to the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto; International Program Committee for the 2012 and 2014 "Media Architecture Biennale"; Program Committee for SIMAUD 2014 (Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design); International Scientific Committee for the Assoc. for Robots in Architecture Conference; speaker at the Sketching-in-Hardware conferences, Google X, and recently gave key note talks at the Wired Magazine conference in Tokyo, the Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco, and the the 3D Printing World Expo.  

Jason has also recently collaborated with Andy Payne on the FIREFLY for Grasshopper toolbar and Primer. Firefly offers a set of comprehensive software tools dedicated to bridging the gap between Grasshopper (a free plug-in for Rhino) the Arduino micro-controller and other input/output devices. It allows near real-time data flow between the digital and physical worlds. 

Jason's design work has been awarded an Unbuilt Architecture Award from the Boston AIA, and an ACSA Faculty Design award in 2010. Recent publications featuring the work of Future Cities Lab include: Interactive Architecture by Fox and Kemp; Softspace: From a Representation of Form to a Simulation of Space, ed. by Lally & Young; Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments by David Gissen; AD:Territory - Architecture Beyond Environment, among others.
Mr. Johnson has previously taught at Cornell University, the University of Michigan (Oberdick Fellow 2008-09), the University of Virginia, The University of Pennsylvania and the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. He teaches design studios and research seminars in design, public space and advanced technologies. His research seminar “Robotic Ecologies” explores responsive environments, interactive kinetic architectures, and self-organizing intelligent systems. In 2005 he became a Research Associate of the NSO (The Non-Linear Systems Organization) founded by Cecil Balmond and supported by the Arup Foundation and PennDesign. He has been an invited juror at the AA-DRL London UK, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, IIT, The University of Toronto, The University of Calgary, Pratt, UVa, The University of Michigan, among others.

Jason Kelly Johnson (b. 1973) was born and raised in Canada. He received his Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University in 2001, and his Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia. While at Princeton Mr. Johnson was awarded a Butler Traveling Fellowship, a Princeton University Academic Fellowship, and the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Thesis Prize for design research. He was the guest editor of 306090, a journal of emergent architecture and design, distributed by the Princeton Architectural Press. He has previously worked with Polshek Partnership (now called Ennead Architects) and Reiser+Umemoto Architects in New York City.


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