Justin Brechtel


MS, Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University

Justin Brechtel has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from CALA at the University of Arizona. He is also a graduate of the Master Science in Advanced Architectural Design program at Columbia University. While at Columbia, his research focus was an unorthodox mixture of emerging fabrication technologies, design critique, philosophy, and course work in real estate development and financing. His studio work has been featured in Abstract, a Columbia publication of selected student work, and featured in the exhibit Intimacy: Beyond Media, in Florence, Italy. Prior to establishing his practice, Justin was an integral part of Belzberg Architects, an award-winning firm in Santa Monica, California. While there, Justin was responsible for several commercial and residential projects, including a 15,000 square foot contemporary art museum in the city of Lakewood, near Denver, Colorado; a 10,000 square foot creative office building in Santa Monica, California; and a 5,000 square foot residence in Pacific Palisades, California. Justin has also worked for notable Los Angeles architect Steven Ehrlich, where he was responsible for several award-winning residential projects and featured in numerous domestic and international publications. Justin established his own practice in 2007 with a focus on creating innovative and functional solutions with an emphasis on economic and environmental sustainability. Each new project is informed by on-going research into design techniques, fabrication technologies and emerging material innovations. In addition to his practice, Justin is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Architecture where he teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in design technologies, rapid prototyping and design methodologies utilizing computer modeling techniques. Justin is a licensed architect in the state of California and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Currently Teaching
  • 207
    Computer Applications in Architecture
    Computer Applications in Architecture
    Computer Aided Design (CAD) has become an essential tool for architecture students (and other students interested in design) while in school and for professional work. Initially, CAD was seen as computer-aided drafting, a translation of manual methods of producing drawings into a digital method of doing something similar. The term CAD has grown beyond that. Explore digital models with a special emphasis on thinking about the relationships between 2d and 3d, virtual and real, and especially fabrication.
  • 407
    Advanced Computer Applications
    Advanced Computer Applications

    Our material world is primarily produced by a method in which design, analysis, representation, fabrication and assembly is a seamless process - with the glaring exception of the building industry. Until recently, the building industry has rejected this methodology and instead relied upon a traditional project delivery method- a method that has increasingly separated the architect from the building process. This separation thus necessitated the production of two-dimensional representations by the architect in order to communicate the design intent to a third party builder. Whether by tradition or necessity, the notational limitations of the plan/section/elevation representation has remained the primary method by which the architect communicates design. But as architects are increasingly exploring more complex forms, it has become crucial to find design and production methodologies to realize these projects in the built environment without incurring the information loss inherent in traditional design representations.

    Essential to this course is an understanding of how the increased efficiencies of software and emerging fabrication techniques are changing the way built projects can potentially be realized. This is a fundamental shift away from utilizing the computer as a visualization/documenting tool, and moving toward recognizing the computer as a generative tool. This course will utilize CAD/CAM technologies for the design, visualization, and production of components and fixtures. As a point of reference, we will explore product design and related industries as a microcosm of the larger issues facing the production of architectural assemblies. Lectures on these topics are accompanied by software and machine demos, in-class exercises and assignments that introduce both the digital as well as the fabrication environments. Lastly, students are encouraged to explore design communication techniques that move away from hyper-realistic rendering and toward the formation of an individual style.

    Prerequisites: ARCH 207 and ARCH 307, CADD studio or department/faculty approval.

  • 526
    Professional Practice Legal & Economic Context, Project Documentation
    Professional Practice Legal & Economic Context, Project Documentation
    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 302bL The laws and regulations that affect the practice of architecture and building economics and the development of comprehensive project documentation, detailing, specifications, drawing formats and organiza­tions.
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