David Shanks
Assistant Professor

B.A. New York University; MArch Harvard University Graduate School of Design

David is an architect and educator working to intersect high-performance design with low-cost construction methods. He is co-founder of the architecture and design practice ASDF. At Syracuse, David is currently co-coordinator of the first-year undergraduate design studios. From 2018-20, he was the Director of the Architecture Program at Syracuse University in Florence. He has taught Advanced Building Systems to both undergraduate and graduate students since 2015, a course for which he was awarded an Innovative Program Development Grant from Syracuse University in 2017. Prior to joining Syracuse in 2014, he practiced in several firms in New York City and Boston, including OMA/REX, Preston Scott Cohen, SOM, and Gluckman Tang. His design work has been exhibited at the Boston Society of Architects, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Biennale di Pisa, among other locations. His research has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education, and he has been a resident of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust and the MacDowell Colony. David is a registered architect in the State of New York.

Buildings and Projects

New Americans’ Pavilion, Kirkville, NY, 2020 - present
Solar-powered off-the-grid washing and packing pavilion with community dining space for refugee farmers at Salt City Harvest Farm. Grant funding from the Chobani Community Impact Fund.

Hydro-electric Demonstration Site, New Woodstock, NY 2017
Low-cost enclosure for a 1935 waterwheel with grant funding from the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association

Eastwood Veterans Supportive Housing, Syracuse, NY, 2016
Addition and renovation at the American Legion in Eastwood to convert the facility into a supportive housing and counseling center for homeless veterans.

Crown Heights Painter’s Studio, Brooklyn, NY, 2015
Conversion of a detached garage in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn into a studio for a painter.

Year-rounder House, Wellfleet, MA, 2013
Affordable accessory dwelling on Cape Cod. 2nd place overall in Cape Cod Modern House Trust’s Add-on ’13 Competition


“International Waters: Syracuse Architecture in Florence.” Biennale di Architettura di Pisa: Tempo d’Acqua, 2019.

“Waterwheelhouse” The Image, the Object, the Table. Syracuse University School of Architecture, 2017.

5x5 Chimeras, Syracuse University School of Architecture, 2015 (exhibition design and fabrication).

“Year-rounder House.” Advanced Building Systems Symposium, Syracuse Center of Excellence, 2014.

“Year-rounder House” Conditions and Environments Exhibition, Boston Society of Architects, 2013.

Grants and Awards

Syracuse University Innovative Program Development Fund, 2017

Faculty Works Grant, Syracuse University School of Architecture, 2015-17

Artist-in-Residence, Cape Cod Modern House Trust, 2013

Resident Fellow, MacDowell Colony, 2009

Lectures and Papers

“Friction Fitness.” Three-day design/build workshop with Jin Young Song. Cultural Impacts: First Annual International Design Workshop. Kookmin University, School of Architecture, Seoul, Korea, 2019.

“Playing Against Type.” The Architecture of the City Conference. Politecnico di Milano, AIUC School, Milan, Italy, 2019.

“Who, Mies?” ACSA 107th Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 2019.

“Further Sheds” Invited lecture, Alfred State College, 2017.

“Physical, Digital, and Virtual Prototyping of Emergent Materials for Building Enclosures” (with Amber Bartosh), Syracuse Center of Excellence Symposium, 2013.


Shanks, David R. “Who, Mies? Interrogating the Federal Center Courthouse and the Trial of the Chicago 7.” The Journal of Architectural Education 73:1, 2019. 20-31.

Morgan, William. “Add-On 13: Contemporary Affordable Housing for Cape Cod.” Competitions Annual. Ed. G. Stanley Collyer. Louisville: The Competition Project, 2015. 232-237.