Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities]

Studio & Workshops


We need to view the fragility of the planet and its resources as an opportunity for speculative design innovations rather than as a form for technical legitimation for promoting conventional solutions. By extension, the problems confronting our cities and regions would then become opportunities to define a new approach.

Mohsen Mostafavi, Ecological Urbanism


The studio environment is at the core of the Disc* program. While all components of the program are vital and interconnected, it can be said that all roads lead back to the studio. This is where you can put the knowledge that you have gained from the lectures, seminars, workshops, and fieldwork to use in developing your design work.

The goal of the studio is to learn theory and skills to analyze a complex urban environment, assess needs through research and mapping, develop an informed design proposal, and creative effective representation utilizing computer software and digital fabrication methods.



Digital Workshops

GIS Workshops

The GIS workshops expose students to the fundamentals of digital Geographic Information System mapping, gaining knowledge that directly informs studio work. In the workshops, students georeference historical maps and visualize data sets geospatially in order to create new thematic maps. Through these exercises, they not only learn the basics of the software, but also further their understanding of the environmental and cultural history of the sites they are exploring, gaining specific knowledge of historical ecology, land use, urban morphology, infrastructure and mobility patterns.

Rhino Workshops 

The Rhino workshops demonstrate 2D drafting techniques and digital 3D, rendering with the VRay plug-in, graphic exporting, and digital fabrication file processing. The workshop focuses on digital drawing and modeling to develop urban design scenarios, in addition to exporting 2D graphics for Adobe software and presentations and creating perspective renderings with VRay.

Adobe Workshop

The Adobe workshop includes instruction with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The workshop links the workflow from Rhino 2D graphic exports, digital rendering, and generally focuses on creating high quality presentation materials from design work. Photoshop includes instruction on rendering techniques. Illustrator is used primarily to create 2D vector graphics. InDesign is used for Presentation Board layouts.

Digital Fabrication Workshop

The Digital Fabrication workshop demonstrates techniques for additive and subtractive manufacturing. Students use Rhino software to create 2D and 3D files for fabrication of parts for the studio project. This includes the use of 3D printing and laser cutting. In the process, students learn to materialize digital designs into physical artifacts.




Disc* students are given a work desk in the studio space and have access to Wurster Hall's computer labs, Digital Fabrication Lab and Environmental Design Library, as well as to scheduled events, exhibits, lectures and symposiums at the college. Various other facilities and resources across the UC Berkeley campus - such as the RSF gym, Health & Welness Center, meal plans, other campus libraries, student discounts, and so on - are also available to Disc* students.

Digital Fabrication Lab 

Access to the Digital Fabrication Lab is arranged through Disc* instructors in consultation with lab staff. The 1,500-square-foot lab houses a variety of 2D and 3D digitally controlled equipment:

  • Type A Machines Series 1 Prototype v0.3 plastic 3D printer
  •  BitsFromBytes 3000 plastic 3D printer r
  • Two ZCorp 310 powder 3D printers
  • Techno Isel 3-axis CNC router with a tool changer
  • Prolight Metal Mill
  • List of Universal Laser Cutters:
  • ILS Universal Laser Cutter with a 24″x48″ bed and two 75 watt lasers
  • VLS-660  Universal Laser Cutter with an 18″x32″ bed and 50 watt laser
  • X-660 Universal Laser Cutter with an 18″x32″ bed and 50 watt laser
  • V-460 Universal Laser Cutter with an 18″x24″ bed and a 45 watt laser
  • Zünd S3 M-1600 Blade Cutter
  • EOT- Electric Oscillating Tool
  • UCT- Universal Cutting Tool
  • CTT1- Creasing Tool 1
  • CTT2 - Creasing Tool 2