Marcus Shaffer is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture.
His research focuses on the works, theories, and practices that engage The Machine as an extension of our impulse to explore and re-make the natural world. His work addresses building machines, automatons, and the spiritual mechanisms that represent our earliest technological expression; the mechano-pagan influence of The Machine on modern and visionary architecture; and attempts to transmit architectural knowledge and craft through construction machineries.
While Shaffer studies and contributes to a critical discourse probing The Machine in an Architectural context, his historical/theoretical search is informed by—and applied to—the design and fabrication of various tectonic machines. The agenda for the machines he designs and fabricates is to synthesize our powerfully rationalized technologies with the potency of meaning that is found in human ritual practices, which includes the act of building. The goal in designing and producing these machines is to enhance, extend, and transmit the very human act of architecture across physical, political, and temporal boundaries.