Jeff AndersonAssociate, Design Lab Developer
When did you know you wanted to be a technology developer?
My graduate thesis at Princeton University was a gesture-based virtual reality design program. During development, I had to engage a number of new technologies and advance skills I had learned over the years, both inside and outside of architecture. Being able to teach myself and to work independently on a project which brought together architecture, interactive design, software development—and even some mechanical and electrical engineering—was incredibly rewarding. This project was very formative for me and continues to guide my thinking on the relationship between multiple disciplines. After graduating, I continued to develop my interests in VR/AR technologies because I really believe they will change our industry in the near future.
What’s the biggest highlight of your career?
Last year, I was appointed curator for the Thematic Exhibition of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, directed by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Hyungmin Pai. I was responsible for selecting, critiquing, developing, and overseeing the installation of 40 exhibitions by architects, designers, and researchers that I had been interested in and looked up to for years. The general theme of the Biennale focused on urbanism, but we wanted to push ourselves to not do an exhibition which simply highlighted aspects of a number of cities. So instead, we focused on how contemporary cities manage resources (such as air, water, and energy) and engage new technologies (such as sensing, connecting, and recycling technologies). This way, we could engage both cities and their impact on global flows and trends, including those in rural areas. The monumental task of coordinating 40 exhibitions and seeing them all come to fruition in the final days of installation was hugely rewarding to me as a designer and researcher, especially because the content aligned with my own interests.
What’s the best thing about working at Mancini?
I get to work on a lot of different small projects at once and direct my own research initiatives. This allows me to employ a wide variety of skills and wear many hats. I also get to develop technologies and workflows that are useful to the projects going on in the firm.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Two contradictory pieces of advice:
“It is not enough to do something. Do something else.” – Jeffrey Kipnis
“If you don’t know what to do, do what you know.” – My algebra teacher in the 7th grade
What is something you collect?
I collect a lot of electronic components for my students at Pratt to use. Depending on the needs of the students and the focus of the class, I will have a long list of loaned equipment that I need to keep track of throughout the semester—stuff like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, projectors, actuators, sensors, controllers, webcams, and VR equipment. At the end of the semester, it all goes back to my closet and tool chest.
What’s the most unusual item in your desk drawer?
Batteries for a drone.