Degree: Master of Architecture
College/School: College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
Albert Elias’ architectural designs are out of this world – literally. He is using code to bring the cities of the future, on earth and in space, to life.
Under visiting professor and NASA fellow Neil Leach, Albert worked in the Space Fictions design studio, which challenged students to create a habitat in space while taking factors like radiation and weightlessness into consideration.
As a child, Albert expressed his fascination with astronomy and nature through building and drawing. Today, that passion continues and inspires his research.
Realizing the disconnect between science and design, Albert explored new ways to tell the story of our world’s fragile environment, and he enrolled in several computer science courses. Then he taught himself to code – and soon was using climate change data in his programs to generate prospective future landscapes. In his final thesis project, this innovative approach received a departmental award.
As a research assistant on a National Science Foundation-funded project, Albert led in the development of an augmented reality app – the same technology in Pokémon Go – that allows users to get an interactive x-ray glimpse of buildings. He’s also made virtual realities for music videos for Universal Studios and collaborated on FIU’s I-CAVE “First Folio” project that featured a digital experience of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.
Currently, Albert is working on a virtual environment to show how the Everglades is changing in order to encourage restoration and protection. After graduation, he plans to continue his research in computational design and possibly pursue a doctoral degree.