Nicholas de Monchaux
2011 Fellow

Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect and urbanist, whose work examines the intersections between nature, technology and the city.  Currently assistant professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UC Berkeley, he has recently authored Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (published by the MIT press).

His project Local Code: Real Estates used geospatial analysis to identify thousands of publicly owned abandoned sites in major US cities – imagining this distributed, vacant landscape as a new urban system. Using parametric design, a landscape proposal for each site is tailored to local conditions, optimizing thermal and hydrological performance to enhance the whole city’s ecology—and relieving burdens on existing infrastructure. Local Code’s quantifiable effects on energy usage and stormwater remediation eradicate the need for more expensive, yet invisible, sewer and electrical upgrades. In addition, the project uses citizen participation to conceive a new, more public infrastructure as well —a robust network of urban greenways with tangible benefits to the health and safety of every citizen. Local Code was recently exhibited at SPUR and was a finalist in the WPA 2.0 competition sponsored by UCLA Citylab and appeared at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas.