Design Philosophy

Matsys is a design studio exploring the emergent and integral relationships between form, growth, and behavior in material systems. This term, material systems, is not only the source of our practice’s name, but a philosophy of design that unites the biologic, geologic, and synthetic domains through their inherent matter and energy. As such, Matsys works across all scales and pursues a material practice that blends art, design, architecture, and engineering. We are relentlessly curious about and inspired by the diversity and complexity of all matter and strive to understand how to produce new material systems through technological and material innovation.

Central to this process of investigation is our interest in craft in both physical and digital mediums. Craftsmanship occurs at the intersection between material knowledge and tool expertise. With the rise of digital fabrication, architects have far greater direct control of the production of their work yet this also requires them to take on more responsibility for the resulting quality of the craft. Matsys has attempted to use our projects as a way to explore and expand the emerging craft of digital fabrication, generative modeling, and code.

Beyond the production of finely made work, our focus on craft is a research method that values learning through making. That is, our design process often begins with experiments with matter and code. It is only after multiple iterations of experiments do we begin to add in the complexities of site and program, and allow their criteria to modify the parameters of the material and/or computational system. This way of working flips the traditional architectural design process around where often discussions of matter are relegated to the final design phases. For us, the visceral, material, and tactile world come first and we search for ways that digital technologies can enable new experiences with it.

Many of our projects explore the capacity of material, geometry, and performance to work together to produce a more integrative design. This extends from our interests in structural form-finding in several shell projects (e.g. Confluence Park and Shellstar Pavilion) as well as the P Wall series of projects (2006 – present) that investigate the use of flexible fabric formwork in the production of precast façade panels. These projects celebrate the emergent effects of an integrated design process and resonate with vitality.

Our interest in craft, combined with a fascination with the emergence of structure, form, and intelligence in the natural and synthetic worlds, drive us to create objects, spaces, and landscapes that are complex, playful, and a bit uncanny.

Collaborators and Clients

  • Autodesk
  • Better Places Forest
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Fletcher Studio
  • FRAC Centre
  • Kreysler & Associates
  • Lake | Flato
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Maison Perrier Jouët
  • San Antonio River Foundation
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Studio Workshop
  • Vivid Sydney


Andrew Kudless is an designer based in San Francisco where he is an associate professor at the California College of the Arts. Andrew has taught design studios, workshops, and seminars at The Ohio State University, the Architectural Association (London), Yale University, and Rice University. In 2005 Andrew was the Howard E. LeFevre Fellow for Emerging Practitioners at OSU. He earned a Master of Arts with distinction from the Architectural Association’s Emergent Technologies and Design graduate program and a Master of Architecture with honors from the Tulane University School of Architecture. In 2004 he was the recipient of a Design Merit Award in the Far Eastern International Digital Architecture Design (FEIDAD) competition and in 1998 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research architectural design and urbanism in the Kansai region of Japan. He has worked as a designer for Allied Works Architecture in Portland and New York and as a digital design, modeling, and fabrication consultant for Expedition Engineering in London. Andrew’s work has been exhibited in the US, England, France, Japan and China and is in the permanent collections of the Pompidou Centre, the FRAC Centre, and SFMOMA.

Photo by Raphael Gianelli-Meriano.

Matsys on Instagram

Using Format