Karen Kensek

Professor of Practice; ACSA Distinguished Professor

SB, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.Arch., University of California, Berkeley

Professor Kensek teaches in the field of computer applications for architecture. Her research work includes BIM + Sustainability, BIM + digital simulation, virtual reconstruction of ancient places, the role of ambiguity in reconstructions, solar envelopes, and digital design. Previously she taught computer seminars and assisted with computer-aided design studios at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the recipient of numerous grants and donations of computer hardware and software. She is a past president of the Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), was awarded the 2002 Tau Sigma Delta medal for distinction in teaching and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at USC in 2004. She has been teaching for over 20 years in the transforming field of computer applications. Kensek has hosted many building information modeling symposia at USC, annually since 2008. She has spoken at the AIA Annual Conference several times, was awarded with the School of Architecture the Autodesk Revit BIM Experience Award in 2008, and spearheaded the effort for an Honorable Mention awarded by the AIA TAP Group in Building Information Model for B III M (Building Integration Interoperability Interdisciplinary Modeling) in 2010. She is the co-editor of Building Information Modeling: BIM in Current and Future Practice (Wiley, 2014) and the author of Building Information Modeling (Routledge, 2014), which is available in English, French, and Chinese.

Currently Teaching
  • 307
    Digital Tools for Architecture
    Digital Tools for Architecture
    Building information modeling (BIM) is a digital paradigm shift, in many ways similar to that of the CAD revolution of the 1980s. What is BIM? How is it different from CAD? Why does an architecture student need to know about it? This course provides an introduction to BIM from the viewpoint of the architect (Revit Architecture), engineer (Revit Structure and Revit Mechanical), and contractor (Navisworks, Bluebeam). Depending on time, other software such as Fuzor or Stingray (BIM in a game engine), Fusion (rapid prototyping), FormIt (conceptual modeling), or Dynamo (visual programming) will be explored. Guest lecturers will speak on current digital issues facing the architecture profession. Please feel free to contact the instructor for more information.
  • 507
    Theories of Computer Technology
    Theories of Computer Technology
    Building information modeling (BIM) is one of the hottest topics in the architecture / engineering / construction profession (AEC) today. Learn what it is (3d parametric modeling), common software tools (this class concentrates primarily on Revit Architecture and some Navisworks), how it relates to sustainable design issues (Vasari and Green Building Studio), and why it is useful to the AEC industry (including being able to create awesome adaptive components!). Although offered in the School of Architecture, the techniques taught are equally applicable to others with an interest in the applications of BIM. Building science majors, structural engineering students, construction management students, and others are strongly encouraged to enroll. It is assumed that students already have a basic understanding of 2D CAD and 3D digital modeling.
  • 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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