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As new sources and strategies for data collection and analysis become available to the architectural profession, data-driven practices and methods are paramount to shaping the next generation of design. Leading data evangelists and design experts will identify, discuss, and share ideas on the tools and techniques integral to the success of a project’s data life cycle, from conception to production to post-occupancy. Our first panel explored how and why data must be used to design, measure, and learn from buildings and occupants to improve the architectural product. ( Now, some of NYC’s best and brightest will show you how to better leverage data within your own practice to improve and iterate on the design and performance of your work. Our panel will focus closely on human, social and urban data sets.

The increasing amount of data available to architects and designers represents an exciting opportunity to improve projects and profits, from work processes and client relationships to document management and strategic collaboration. With the pressure on architects to differentiate their business with faster, cheaper, and more valuable services in an ever-expanding data ecosystem, the critical moment is now; leverage the skills and tools of our profession to shape the next-generation of data-driven design.

Shawn Rickenbacker (, Co- Founder, URBAN DATA + DESIGN ( (UDD), is managing partner and principal research and design consultant. Shawn holds a Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Virginia with a Certificate in American Urbanism. He has over 15 years of design field experience, having practiced architecture, product design and also as a curator of art and exhibitions. He has taught systemic design approaches at both international and national universities. His dossier of extensive world travel and a love of systems has forged his creative insight and problem solving skills. His work and design research has been exhibited and published, and has received numerous awards. Shawn is also a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design where he teaches data driven design, allowing him to put into practice that which he preaches.

Zak Kostura ( is a Structural Engineer in ARUP’s ( New York office, with particular expertise in high performance structures. He has been a part of the project team for the Fulton Center project for more than ten years, on which he served as lead structural designer for Sky Reflector-Net, an eight-story tensile structure that serves as the centerpiece for the project. His design contributions on the project also extend to computational analysis of the historic cast iron tunnel structures of the New York City Subway within the Fulton Center complex, and design of structural modifications to enhance connectivity within the transit system.
In addition to work on the Fulton Street Transit Center, Zak has worked on a broad array of other projects, including tall and supertall buildings in the Middle East and Asia, sculptures and other artistic installations, airports, railway stations and underground structures. In his work, Zak emphasizes the importance of modern computational tools and techniques in an efficient process that yields the greatest value for clients. Zak is also an adjunct assistant professor of architecture in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where he provides a focus on structurally expressive architecture. He is also co-instructor of a materials-based advanced design studio.

Darrick Borowski ( is a designer, futurist and expat of the Midwest, with over 17 years’ experience working on architecture, design and branding projects worldwide from offices in New York, London, Seattle and Chicago. He is Principal and Design Director at ARExA (, an architectural practice advancing new modes of living, working and growing in an increasingly urbanizing world. Each project is seen as an opportunity for research through design and vice-versa, with an interest in our relationship with design and its effects on us and our behavior. Previously, as Creative Director at JPDA he led teams in retail, entertainment and interactive experience design for top tier clients including Apple, American Apparel, Harley Davidson and O2. As co-founder of the research collaborative Edible Infrastructures, Darrick lectures and publishes about his research employing algorithmic design tools to speculate on new generative mechanisms for the design of future cities. Darrick teaches 2nd year design studio at the School of Visual Arts Interior Design program. The studio's focus is on research methodologies in design practice.

Jeff Ferzoco (, Founder of Linepointpath (, has more than a decade of experience in information design, and specializes in new ways to visually explore the data in urban spaces. His practice meets at the crossroads of information, interactivity and urban planning — resulting in new ways to collect, display and use place-oriented data, or just have fun with it. His mapping projects have been featured in Fast Company, the New York Times, Atlantic Cities, and used in cities across the world.


Melissa Marsh ( is Founder and CEO of PLASTARC (, a social research, workplace innovation, and real estate strategy firm dedicated to shifting the metrics associated with workplace from 'square feet and inches', to 'occupant satisfaction and performance.' PLASTARC is a portmanteau of plastic and architecture, representing a focus on engaging architecture to be more flexible, dynamic, and fun through social research and analytics. An active contributor to many professional communities, Melissa curates the AIANY Transforming Architectural Practice series ( which explores emerging topics in the management of business in the A&E industry, such as technology, strategic differentiation and intellectual property.