About me – Karen Kuchel

I’m in my third year of the graduate architecture and lighting design program. I’m currently working on a light art installation with CDR Studio Architects and work as a research assistant for one of my professors, looking at energy efficiency design. Originally from Australia, I have degrees in music, mathematics and economics and have previously worked as a management consultant and business analyst.

My interest in physical computing is really due to my interest in lighting. There are so many interesting lighting installations using technology and lighting technology itself is rapidly evolving. I also design fixtures and am interested in using LEDs in a more unconventional way. I just don’t know enough to execute my ideas, and along the way I have been kind enough to short out a few circuits in the studio for everyone plus some minor electric shocks.

My current project is for a old hospital site in Williamsburg, where we are installing a canopy constructed of plastic bottles outdoors as a way of calling attention to the new usage of the building as a community arts space. This is what we think it will look something like:

A@R image

We’re also looking at ways to light it so it has a presence at night, and as part of that, we’re experimenting with ways to make solar-powered lanterns with individual bottles: