Jeff Ponitz

Position Associate Professor




office hours F23 Thursday 2:00-4:00 pm or by appointment
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Areas of Expertise

Architectural Design
Parametric Design
Digital Fabrication
Building Envelopes


Jeff Ponitz is a licensed architect, designer, and maker. At Cal Poly, he coordinates the 3rd Year Integrated Design Studios, and also teaches courses in computational design and digital fabrication, geometry, and building envelope design. In his teaching as well as his own work, he promotes an ethic of “thinking through making”: an iterative process where material, form, and phenomena intermingle to generate unexpected possibilities. He believes that looking critically at what we make, how we make it, and why we make it can reveal unanticipated and potentially innovative solutions—perhaps to problems we didn’t know existed.

Jeff is a founding partner of VERT Studio, an experimental design-research practice. His research explores the productive overlap of material, geometry and performance using computational design and digital fabrication processes. His work straddles the line between product design's approach of manufacturing for the masses, and architectural design's approach of customized crafting for a single client. In 2016, Jeff was awarded a residency at Autodesk Pier 9 in San Francisco, CA, where he developed zero-waste manufacturing methods for environmentally performative surfaces. This work is currently under further development with the support of a ZGF Architects Building Performance grant. Other design awards include a Virginia Society AIA Merit Award for his Compression Screeninstallation in 2009, and an Honorable Mention for his design proposal Crowd-Sourced Curation: Towards an Institutional Ecology in the 54 Jeff design competition (no relation) in 2013. Jeff has exhibited and published his work nationally in venues such as the AIA National Convention Expo, the Facade Tectonics World Congress, and the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA).

Previously, Jeff taught at the University of Virginia, where he coordinated the 2nd Year foundational design studios in addition to teaching courses in computational design and fabrication. He has worked as a designer in the Chicago offices of Solomon Cordwell Buenz as well as Valerio Dewalt Train. He holds a Master of Architecture from The University of Michigan as well as the University of Virginia, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan.


Educational Credentials:

M Arch, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA  2008
M Arch with Distinction, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI  2004
BSArch, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI  2002

Teaching Experience:

Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo  2017-Present
Assistant Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo  2011-2017
Lecturer, University of Virginia  2008-2011 

Professional Experience:

VERT Studio, San Luis Obispo and San Francisco, CA
Toolpath, LLC Design + Digital Fabrication, Charlottesville, VA   
Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Chicago, IL   
Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Chicago, IL   
Progressive AE, Grand Rapids, MI     
Luckenbach/Ziegelman Architects, PLLC, Ann Arbor, MI   


Licensed Architect, Illinois
NCARB Registration


Selected Publications​ and Recent Research:

  • “Parameters for Plasticity: An Approach to FRP Unitized Facade Design.” Facade Tectonics 2016 World Congress, 2016
  • “Pattern to Volume: Drawing for Fabrication in Expanded Surfaces.” ACSA 104: Shaping New Knowledges, 2016
  • “Surface Effects and Spatial Affect in Digital Fabrication” Proceedings of the 31st National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, 2015
  • “Simplexity: Unitized FRP Façade Systems” Proceedings of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture, 2014
  • “Composite FRP Unitized Façade Systems” Proceedings of the International Conference of the Association of Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research Asia, 2014
  • “Control Structures and Volatility Engines: Dialectic Design Agents for Glocal Public Space” Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association of collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2014
  • “Expanded Atmosphere: A High-Performance, Low-Waste Aluminum Envelope” Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association of collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2014
  • “Synthetic Practices: Molecular Gastronomy and (im)Materiality in the Design Studio” Proceedings of the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, 2014
  • “Collaborative Crafting: Arena Screen Wall” Proceedings of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2013
  • “(re)Constructed Ground(s): Place-Making Through Place Seeing” Proceedings of the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, 2013

Selected Awards:

  • Autodesk Pier 9 Artist in Residence, Expanded Atmosphere, 2016
  • AVRP Studios Housing Innovation Award, Live/Make, 2015 
  • Honorable Mention, 54 Jeff International Design Competition, 2013
  • ACSA Collaborative Practice Award, Gita Primary School with ARCH 402, 2010-2011
  • AIA Education Honor Award, Gita Primary School with UVA ARCH 402, 2010
  • Virginia Society AIA Merit Award, Compression Screen, 2009

Selected Activities:

  • Third Year Design Coordinator  2017-present
  • Co-Chair, National Conference on the Beginning Design Student  2016
  • Co-Director, Digital Fabrication Lab  2013-2015


Updated 12.07.2022

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