Sean Ahlquist is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan – Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He directs the Lab for Socio-Material Architectures, developing research which spans computational design thinking, advanced material research and the ramifications of novel sensorial systems on human behavior. Through intense interdisciplinary work, from structural engineering to behavioral sciences and experiences with his autistic daughter, Ahlquist examines architecture’s culpability towards creating exclusionary spaces related to medicalized conceptions of physical and cognitive disabilities. He explores design frameworks and adaptive material systems that facilitate agency in a manner equitable towards neurodiversity, shifting the conventional notion of auteur from the architect to that a social collective. For this on-going research, Ahlquist has recently received the 2020 Award of Excellence for Innovative Research from the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). Currently, a new public installation, called Sensational Equilibria, is being developed as part of the invitation to exhibit in the How Will We Play Together? Thematic Station of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021.
Ahlquist received his masters degree at the Architectural Association from the Material Systems MSc program. He is currently completing his PhD with the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) at the University of Stuttgart.